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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 6

Power of the Opposition

Such was the sort of opposition with which the oligarchic government instituted by Sulla had to contend, when it had, earlier than Sulla himself probably expected, been thrown by his death on its own resources. The task was in itself far from easy, and it was rendered more difficult by the other social and political evils of this age--especially by the extraordinary double difficulty of keeping the military chiefs in the provinces in subjection to the supreme civil magistracy, and of dealing with the masses of the Italian and extra-Italian populace accumulating in the capital, and of the slaves living there to a great extent in de facto freedom, without having troops at disposal. The senate was placed as it were, in a fortress exposed and threatened on all sides, and serious conflicts could not fail to ensue.

But the means of resistance organized by Sulla were considerable and lasting; and although the majority of the nation was manifestly disinclined to the government which Sulla had installed, and even animated by hostile feelings towards it, that government might very well maintain itself for a long time in its stronghold against the distracted and confused mass of an opposition which was not agreed either as to end or means, and, having no head, was broken up into a hundred fragments. Only it was necessary that it should be determined to maintain its position, and should bring at least a spark of that energy, which had built the fortress, to its defence; for in the case of a garrison which will not defend itself, the greatest master of fortification constructs his walls and moats in vain.

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