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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 III - The Fall of the Oligarchy and the Rule of Pompeius


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 21

Senate, Equites, and Populares

The retirement of the man, to whom as things stood the first place belonged, from the political stage reproduced in the first instance nearly the same position of parties, which we found in the Gracchan and Marian epochs. Sulla had merely strengthened the senatorial government, not created it; so, after the bulwarks erected by Sulla had fallen, the government nevertheless remained primarily with the senate, although, no doubt, the constitution with which it governed--in the main the restored Gracchan constitution-- was pervaded by a spirit hostile to the oligarchy. The democracy had effected the re-establishment of the Gracchan constitution; but without a new Gracchus it was a body without a head, and that neither Pompeius nor Crassus could be permanently such a head, was in itself clear and had been made still clearer by the recent events.

So the democratic opposition, for want of a leader who could have directly taken the helm, had to content itself for the time being with hampering and annoying the government at every step. Between the oligarchy, however, and the democracy there rose into new consideration the capitalist party, which in the recent crisis had made common cause with the latter, but which the oligarchs now zealously endeavoured to draw over to their side, so as to acquire in it a counterpoise to the democracy. Thus courted on both sides the moneyed lords did not neglect to turn their advantageous position to profit, and to have the only one of their former privileges which they had not yet regained--the fourteen benches reserved for the equestrian order in the theatre--now (687) restored to them by decree of the people.

On the whole, without abruptly breaking with the democracy, they again drew closer to the government. The very relations of the senate to Crassus and his clients point in this direction; but a better understanding between the senate and the moneyed aristocracy seems to have been chiefly brought about by the fact, that in 686 the senate withdrew from Lucius Lucullus the ablest of the senatorial officers, at the instance of the capitalists whom he had sorely annoyed, the dministration of the province of Asia so important for their purposes.(8)

8. Cf. V. II. Mutiny of the Soldiers

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