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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 25

But even in the following generation the -pontifex maximus- Quintus Scaevola (consul in 659;(10)) set forth at least in his oral instructions in law without hesitation the propositions, that there were two sorts of religion--one philosophic, adapted to the intellect, and one traditional, not so adapted; that the former was not fitted for the religion of the state, as it contained various things which it was useless or even injurious for the people to know; and that accordingly the traditional religion of the state ought to remain as it stood.

10. Cf. IV. VI. Collision between the Senate and Equites in the Administration of the Provinces; IV. IX. Siege of Praeneste

The theology of Varro, in which the Roman religion is treated throughout as a state institution, is merely a further development of the same principle. The state, according to his teaching, was older than the gods of the state as the painter is older than the picture; if the question related to making the gods anew, it would certainly be well to make and to name them after a manner more befitting and more in theoretic accordance with the parts of the world-soul, and to lay aside the images of the gods which only excited erroneous ideas,(11) and the mistaken system of sacrifice; but, since these institutions had been once established, every good citizen ought to own and follow them and do his part, that the "common man" might learn rather to set a higher value on, than to contemn, the gods.

11. In Varro's satire, "The Aborigines," he sarcastically set forth how the primitive men had not been content with the God who alone is recognized by thought, but had longed after puppets and effigies.

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