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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 15

League of the Democrats and the Anarchists

The first step towards the revolution projected by the leaders of the democracy was thus to be the overthrow of the existing government by means of an insurrection primarily instigated in Rome by democratic conspirators. The moral condition of the lowest as of the highest ranks of society in the capital presented the materials for this purpose in lamentable abundance. We need not here repeat what was the character of the free and the servile proletariate of the capital. The significant saying was already heard, that only the poor man was qualified to represent the poor; the idea was thus suggested, that the mass of the poor might constitute itself an independent power as well as the oligarchy of the rich, and instead of allowing itself to be tyrannized over, might perhaps in its own turn play the tyrant.

But even in the circles of the young men of rank similar ideas found an echo. The fashionable life of the capital shattered not merely the fortunes of men, but also their vigour of body and mind. That elegant world of fragrant ringlets, of fashionable mustachios and ruffles--merry as were its doings in the dance and with the harp, and early and late at the wine-cup--yet concealed in its bosom an alarming abyss of moral and economic ruin, of well or ill concealed despair, and frantic or knavish resolves. These circles sighed without disguise for a return of the time of Cinna with its proscriptions and confiscations and its annihilation of account-books for debt; there were people enough, including not a few of no mean descent and unusual abilities, who only waited the signal to fall like a gang of robbers on civil society and to recruit by pillage the fortune which they had squandered. Where a band gathers, leaders are not wanting; and in this case the men were soon found who were fitted to be captains of banditti.

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