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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 34


Just as in the sphere of religion, the revolution begun in the previous epoch was now completed also in the sphere of education and culture. We have already shown how the fundamental idea of the Roman system--civil equality--had already during the sixth century begun to be undermined in this field also. Even in the time of Pictor and Cato Greek culture was widely diffused in Rome, and there was a native Roman culture; but neither of them had then got beyond the initial stage. Cato's encyclopaedia shows tolerably what was understood at this period by a Romano-Greek model training;(16) it was little more than an embodiment of the knowledge of the old Roman householder, and truly, when compared with the Greek culture of the period, scanty enough.

16. Cf. III. XIV. Cato's Encyclopedia

At how low a stage the average instruction of youth in Rome still stood at the beginning of the seventh century, may be inferred from the expressions of Polybius, who in this one respect prominently censures the criminal indifference of the Romans as compared with the intelligent private and public care of his countrymen; no Hellene, not even Polybius himself, could rightly enter into the deeper idea of civil equality that lay at the root of this indifference.

Now the case was altered. Just as the naive popular faith was superseded by an enlightened Stoic supernaturalism, so in education alongside of the simple popular instruction a special training, an exclusive -humanitas-, developed itself and eradicated the last remnants of the old social equality. It will not be superfluous to cast a glance at the aspect assumed by the new instruction of the young, both the Greek and the higher Latin.

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