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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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But in general both the course and the object of these efforts are completely clear. The military power could only be effectually checkmated by another military power. The design of the democrats was to possess themselves of the reins of government after the example of Marius and Cinna, then to entrust one of their leaders either with the conquest of Egypt or with the governorship of Spain or some similar ordinary or extraordinary office, and thus to find in him and his military force a counterpoise to Pompeius and his army. For this they required a revolution, which was directed immediately against the nominal government, but in reality against Pompeius as the designated monarch;(8) and, to effect this revolution, there was from the passing of the Gabinio-Manilian laws down to the return of Pompeius (688-692) perpetual conspiracy in Rome.

8. Any one who surveys the whole state of the political relations of this period will need no special proofs to help him to see that the ultimate object of the democratic machinations in 688 et seq. was not the overthrow of the senate, but that of Pompeius. Yet such proofs are not wanting. Sallust states that the Gabinio- Manilian laws inflicted a mortal blow on the democracy (Cat. 39); that the conspiracy of 688-689 and the Servilian rogation were specially directed against Pompeius, is likewise attested (Sallust Cat. 19; Val. Max. vi. 2, 4; Cic. de Lege Agr. ii. 17, 46). Besides the attitude of Crassus towards the conspiracy alone shows sufficiently that it was directed against Pompeius.

The capital was in anxious suspense; the depressed temper of the capitalists, the suspensions of payment, the frequent bankruptcies were heralds of the fermenting revolution, which seemed as though it must at the same time produce a totally new position of parties. The project of the democracy, which pointed beyond the senate at Pompeius, suggested an approximation between that general and the senate. But the democracy in attempting to oppose to the dictatorship of Pompeius that of a man more agreeable to it, recognized, strictly speaking, on its part also the military government, and in reality drove out Satan by Beelzebub; the question of principles became in its hands a question of persons.

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