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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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The Hetaeria commanded by its compact bands the streets of the capital, and with the capital but too often the state. All these things were done in accordance with a certain rule, and, so to speak, publicly; the system of Hetaeriae was better organized and managed than any branch of state administration; although there was, as is usual among civilized swindlers, a tacit understanding that there should be no direct mention of the nefarious proceedings, nobody made a secret of them, and advocates of repute were not ashamed to give open and intelligible hints of their relation to the Hetaeriae of their clients.

If an individual was to be found here or there who kept aloof from such doings and yet did not forgo public life, he was assuredly, like Marcus Cato, a political Don Quixote. Parties and party-strife were superseded by the clubs and their rivalry; government was superseded by intrigue. A more than equivocal character, Publius Cethegus, formerly one of the most zealous Marians, afterwards as a deserter received into favour by Sulla,(4) acted a most influential part in the political doings of this period--unrivalled as a cunning tale-bearer and mediator between the sections of the senate, and as having a statesman's acquaintance with the secrets of all cabals: at times the appointment to the most important posts of command was decided by a word from his mistress Praecia.

4. Cf. IV. IX. Pompeius

Such a plight was only possible where none of the men taking part in politics rose above mediocrity: any man of more than ordinary talent would have swept away this system of factions like cobwebs; but there was in reality the saddest lack of men of political or military capacity.

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