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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 18

He avoided open collisions, however, with criminal justice, and lived himself like a genuine moneyed man in homely and simple style. In this way Crassus rose in the course of a few years from a man of ordinary senatorial fortune to be the master of wealth which not long before his death, after defraying enormous extraordinary expenses, still amounted to 170,000,000 sesterces (1,700,000 pounds). He had become the richest of Romans and thereby, at the same time, a great political power. If, according to his expression, no one might call himself rich who could not maintain an army from his revenues, one who could do this was hardly any longer a mere citizen. In reality the views of Crassus aimed at a higher object than the possession of the best-filled money-chest in Rome.

He grudged no pains to extend his connections. He knew how to salute by name every burgess of the capital. He refused to no suppliant his assistance in court. Nature, indeed, had not done much for him as an orator: his speaking was dry, his delivery monotonous, he had difficulty of hearing; but his tenacity of purpose, which no wearisomeness deterred and no enjoyment distracted, overcame such obstacles. He never appeared unprepared, he never extemporized, and so he became a pleader at all times in request and at all times ready; to whom it was no derogation that a cause was rarely too bad for him, and that he knew how to influence the judges not merely by his oratory, but also by his connections and, on occasion, by his gold. Half the senate was in debt to him; his habit of advancing to "friends" money without interest revocable at pleasure rendered a number of influential men dependent on him, and the more so that, like a genuine man of business, he made no distinction among the parties, maintained connections on all hands, and readily lent to every one who was able to pay or otherwise useful.

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