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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 24


Closely allied to this new state-philosophy--or, strictly speaking, its other side--was the new state-religion; the essential characteristic of which was the conscious retention, for reasons of outward convenience, of the principles of the popular faith, which were recognized as irrational. One of the most prominent men of the Scipionic circle, the Greek Polybius, candidly declares that the strange and ponderous ceremonial of Roman religion was invented solely on account of the multitude, which, as reason had no power over it, required to be ruled by signs and wonders, while people of intelligence had certainly no need of religion.

Beyond doubt the Roman friends of Polybius substantially shared these sentiments, although they did not oppose science and religion to each other in so gross and downright a fashion. Neither Laelius nor Scipio Aemilianus can have looked on the augural discipline, which Polybius has primarily in view, as anything else than a political institution; yet the national spirit in them was too strong and their sense of decorum too delicate to have permitted their coming forward in public with such hazardous explanations.

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