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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 V - The Struggle of Parties During the Absence of Pompeius


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Page 12

Worthlessness of the Democratic Successes

But all these doings and disputes, however much noise they made, were, politically considered, of but very subordinate importance. The oligarchy was vanquished; the democracy had attained the helm. That underlings of various grades should hasten to inflict an additional kick on the prostrate foe; that the democrats also should have their basis in law and their worship of principles; that their doctrinaires should not rest till the whole privileges of the community were in all particulars restored, and should in that respect occasionally make themselves ridiculous, as legitimists are wont to do--all this was just as much to be expected as it was matter of indifference. Taken as a whole, the agitation was aimless; and we discern in it the perplexity of its authors to find an object for their activity, for it turned almost wholly on things already essentially settled or on subordinate matters.

Impending Collision between the Democrats and Pompeius

It could not be otherwise. In the struggle with the aristocracy the democrats had remained victors; but they had not conquered alone, and the fiery trial still awaited them--the reckoning not with their former foe, but with their too powerful ally, to whom in the struggle with the aristocracy they were substantially indebted for victory, and to whose hands they had now entrusted an unexampled military and political power, because they dared not refuse it to him. The general of the east and of the seas was still employed in appointing and deposing kings.

How long time he would take for that work, or when he would declare the business of the war to be ended, no one could tell but himself; since like everything else the time of his return to Italy, or in other words the day of decision, was left in his own hands. The parties in Rome meanwhile sat and waited. The Optimates indeed looked forward to the arrival of the dreaded general with comparative calmness; by the rupture between Pompeius and the democracy, which they saw to be approaching, they could not lose, but could only gain. The democrats on the contrary waited with painful anxiety, and sought, during the interval still allowed to them by the absence of Pompeius, to lay a countermine against the impending explosion.

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