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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 19

The most daring party-leaders, who made their attacks recklessly in all directions, were careful not to quarrel with Crassus; he was compared to the bull of the herd, whom it was advisable for none to provoke. That such a man, so disposed and so situated, could not strive after humble aims is clear; and, in a very different way from Pompeius, Crassus knew exactly like a banker the objects and the means of political speculation. From the origin of Rome capital was a political power there; the age was of such a sort, that everything seemed accessible to gold as to iron. If in the time of revolution a capitalist aristocracy might have thought of overthrowing the oligarchy of the gentes, a man like Crassus might raise his eyes higher than to the -fasces- and embroidered mantle of the triumphators.

For the moment he was a Sullan and adherent of the senate; but he was too much of a financier to devote himself to a definite political party, or to pursue aught else than his personal advantage. Why should Crassus, the wealthiest and most intriguing man in Rome, and no penurious miser but a speculator on the greatest scale, not speculate also on the crown? Alone, perhaps, he could not attain this object; but he had already carried out various great transactions in partnership; it was not impossible that for this also a suitable partner might present himself. It is a trait characteristic of the time, that a mediocre orator and officer, a politician who took his activity for energy and his covetousness for ambition, one who at bottom had nothing but a colossal fortune and the mercantile talent of forming connections--that such a man, relying on the omnipotence of coteries and intrigues, could deem himself on a level with the first generals and statesmen of his day, and could contend with them for the highest prize which allures political ambition.

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