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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


V. The Establishment of the Military Monarchy

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 I - Marcus Lepidus and Quintus Sertorius


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Page 16

In reality, no one was more fitted to take his place as a member of an aristocratic government than Pompeius. His dignified outward appearance, his solemn formality, his personal bravery, his decorous private life, his want of all initiative might have gained for him, had he been born two hundred years earlier, an honourable place by the side of Quintus Maximus and Publius Decius: this mediocrity, so characteristic of the genuine Optimate and the genuine Roman, contributed not a little to the elective affinity which subsisted at all times between Pompeius and the mass of the burgesses and the senate. Even in his own age he would have had a clearly defined and respectable position had he contented himself with being the general of the senate, for which he was from the outset destined.

With this he was not content, and so he fell into the fatal plight of wishing to be something else than he could be. He was constantly aspiring to a special position in the state, and, when it offered itself, he could not make up his mind to occupy it; he was deeply indignant when persons and laws did not bend unconditionally before him, and yet he everywhere bore himself with no mere affectation of modesty as one of many peers, and trembled at the mere thought of undertaking anything unconstitutional. Thus constantly at fundamental variance with, and yet at the same time the obedient servant of, the oligarchy, constantly tormented by an ambition which was frightened at its own aims, his much-agitated life passed joylessly away in a perpetual inward contradiction.

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