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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 22

Consular Elections - Cicero Elected instead of Catalina

The party put forth all its energies for the struggle of the election. Crassus and Caesar staked their money--whether their own or borrowed--and their connections to procure the consulship for Catilina and Antonius; the comrades of Catilina strained every nerve to bring to the helm the man who promised them the magistracies and priesthoods, the palaces and country-estates of their opponents, and above all deliverance from their debts, and who, they knew, would keep his word. The aristocracy was in great perplexity, chiefly because it was not able even to start counter-candidates. That such a candidate risked his head, was obvious; and the times were past when the post of danger allured the burgess--now even ambition was hushed in presence of fear.

Accordingly the nobility contented themselves with making a feeble attempt to check electioneering intrigues by issuing a new law respecting the purchase of votes--which, however, was thwarted by the veto of a tribune of the people--and with turning over their votes to a candidate who, although not acceptable to them, was at least inoffensive. This was Marcus Cicero, notoriously a political trimmer,(14) accustomed to flirt at times with the democrats, at times with Pompeius, at times from a somewhat greater distance with the aristocracy, and to lend his services as an advocate to every influential man under impeachment without distinction of person or party (he numbered even Catilina among his clients); belonging properly to no party or--which was much the same--to the party of material interests, which was dominant in the courts and was pleased with the eloquent pleader and the courtly and witty companion.

14. This cannot well be expressed more naively than is done in the memorial ascribed to his brother (de pet. cons. i, 5; 13, 51, 53; in 690); the brother himself would hardly have expressed his mind publicly with so much frankness. In proof of this unprejudiced persons will read not without interest the second oration against Rullus, where the "first democratic consul," gulling the friendly public in a very delectable fashion, unfolds to it the "true democracy."

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