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
From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
The Defeated Aristocracy
With the passing of the Gabinian law the parties in the capital changed positions. From the time that the elected general of the democracy held in his hand the sword, his party, or what was reckoned such, had the preponderance in the capital. The nobility doubtless still stood in compact array, and still as before there issued from the comitial machinery none but consuls, who according to the expression of the democrats were already designated to the consulate in their cradles; to command the elections andbreak down the influence of the old families over them was beyond the power even of the holders of power. But unfortunately the consulate, at the very moment when they had got the length of virtually excluding the "new men" from it, began itself to grow pale before the newly- risen star of the exceptional military power.
The aristocracy felt this, though they did not exactly confess it; they gave themselves up as lost. Except Quintus Catulus, who with honourable firmness persevered at his far from pleasant post as champion of a vanquished party down to his death (694), no Optimate could be named from the highest ranks of the nobility, who would have sustained the interests of the aristocracy with courage and steadfastness. Their very men of most talent and fame, such as Quintus Metellus Pius and Lucius Lucullus, practically abdicated and retired, so far as they could at all do so with propriety, to their villas, in order to forget as much as possible the Forum and the senate-house amidst their gardens and libraries, their aviaries and fish-ponds. Still more, of course, was this the case with the younger generation of the aristocracy, which was either wholly absorbed in luxury and literature or turning towards the rising sun.
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