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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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Thus the leadership of the democracy, in the absence of a man with a true vocation for it, was to be had by any one who might please to give himself forth as the champion of oppressed popular freedom; and in this way it came to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, a Sullan, who from motives more than ambiguous deserted to the camp of the democracy. Once a zealous Optimate, and a large purchaser at the auctions of the proscribed estates, he had, as governor of Sicily, so scandalously plundered the province that he was threatened with impeachment, and, to evade it, threw himself into opposition. It was a gain of doubtful value.

No doubt the opposition thus acquired a well-known name, a man of quality, a vehement orator in the Forum; but Lepidus was an insignificant and indiscreet personage, who did not deserve to stand at the head either in council or in the field. Nevertheless the opposition welcomed him, and the new leader of the democrats succeeded not only in deterring his accusers from prosecuting the attack on him which they had begun, but also in carrying his election to the consulship for 676; in which, we may add, he was helped not only by the treasures exacted in Sicily, but also by the foolish endeavour of Pompeius to show Sulla and the pure Sullans on this occasion what he could do.

Now that the opposition had, on the death of Sulla, found a head once more in Lepidus, and now that this their leader had become the supreme magistrate of the state, the speedy outbreak of a new revolution in the capital might with certainty be foreseen.

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