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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 XII - Nationality, Religion, and Education


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Page 14

On the other hand Epicurus and Zeno agreed both in their aim of rationally explaining the nature of things, and in their physiological method, which set out from the conception of matter. They diverged, in so far as Epicurus, following the atomic theory of Democritus, conceived the first principle as rigid matter, and evolved the manifoldness of things out of this matter merely by mechanical variations; whereas Zeno, forming his views after the Ephesian Heraclitus, introduces even into his primordial matter a dynamic antagonism and a movement of fluctuation up and down.

From this are derived the further distinctions--that in the Epicurean system the gods as it were did not exist or were at the most a dream of dreams, while the Stoical gods formed the ever-active soul of the world, and were as spirit, as sun, as God powerful over the body, the earth, and nature; that Epicurus did not, while Zeno did, recognize a government of the world and a personal immortality of the soul; that the proper object of human aspiration was according to Epicurus an absolute equilibrium disturbed neither by bodily desire nor by mental conflict, while it was according to Zeno a manly activity always increased by the constant antagonistic efforts of the mind and body, and striving after a harmony with nature perpetually in conflict and perpetually at peace.

But in one point all these schools were agreed with reference to religion, that faith as such was nothing, and had necessarily to be supplemented by reflection-- whether this reflection might consciously despair of attaining any result, as did the Academy; or might reject the conceptions of the popular faith, as did the school of Epicurus; or might partly retain them with explanation of the reasons for doing so, and partly modify them, as did the Stoics.

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