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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 23

The Stoic philosophers showed themselves not insensible to the very lucrative distinction of seeing their system raised into the semi-official Roman state- philosophy, and proved altogether more pliant than from their rigorous principles we should have expected.

Their doctrine as to the gods and the state soon exhibited a singular family resemblance to the actual institutions of those who gave them bread; instead of illustrating the cosmopolitan state of the philosopher, they made their meditations turn on the wise arrangement of the Roman magistracies; and while the more refined Stoics such as Panaetius had left the question of divine revelation by wonders and signs open as a thing conceivable but uncertain, and had decidedly rejected astrology, his immediate successors contended for that doctrine of revelation or, in other words, for the Roman augural discipline as rigidly and firmly as for any other maxim of the school, and made extremely unphilosophical concessions even to astrology.

The leading feature of the system came more and more to be its casuistic doctrine of duties. It suited itself to the hollow pride of virtue, in which the Romans of this period sought their compensation amidst the various humbling circumstances of their contact with the Greeks; and it put into formal shape a befitting dogmatism of morality, which, like every well-bred system of morals, combined with the most rigid precision as a whole the most complaisant indulgence in the details.(9)

9. A delightful specimen may be found in Cicero de Officiis, iii. 12, 13.

Its practical results can hardly be estimated as much more than that, as we have said, two or three families of rank ate poor fare to please the Stoa.

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