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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


IV. The Revolution

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XI - The Commonwealth and its Economy


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Page 35

Capitalist Oligarchy

Putting together these phenomena, we recognize as the most prominent feature in the private economy of this epoch the financial oligarchy of Roman capitalists standing alongside of, and on a par with, the political oligarchy. In their hands were united the rents of the soil of almost all Italy and of the best portions of the provincial territory, the proceeds at usury of the capital monopolized by them, the commercial gain from the whole empire, and lastly, a very considerable part of the Roman state-revenue in the form of profits accruing from the lease of that revenue.

The daily-increasing accumulation of capital is evident in the rise of the average rate of wealth: 3,000,000 sesterces (30,000 pounds) was now a moderate senatorial, 2,000,000 (20,000 pounds) was a decent equestrian fortune; the property of the wealthiest man of the Gracchan age, Publius Crassus consul in 623 was estimated at 100,000,000 sesterces (1,000,000 pounds). It is no wonder, that this capitalist order exercised a preponderant influence on external policy; that it destroyed out of commercial rivalry Carthage and Corinth(29) as the Etruscans had formerly destroyed Alalia and the Syracusans Caere; that it in spite of the senate upheld the colony of Narbo.(30)

29. Cf. IV. I. Destruction of Carthage, IV. I. Destruction of Corinth

30. Cf. IV. V. The Advance of the Romans Checked by the Policy of the Restoration

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