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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 27

It needed no great acuteness to discern that in this decemviral college it was intended to create a power after the model of that of Pompeius, only with somewhat less of a military and more of a democratic hue. The jurisdiction was especially needed for the sake of deciding the Egyptian question, the military power for the sake of arming against Pompeius; the clause, which forbade the choice of an absent person, excluded Pompeius; and the diminution of the tribes entitled to vote as well as the manipulation of the balloting were designed to facilitate the management of the election in accordance with the views of the democracy.

But this attempt totally missed its aim. The multitude, finding it more agreeable to have their corn measured out to them under the shade of Roman porticoes from the public magazines than to cultivate it for themselves in the sweat of their brow, received even the proposal in itself with complete indifference. They soon came also to feel that Pompeius would never acquiesce in such a resolution offensive to him in every respect, and that matters could not stand well with a party which in its painful alarm condescended to offers so extravagant. Under such circumstances it was not difficult for the government to frustrate the proposal; the new consul Cicero perceived the opportunity of exhibiting here too his talent for giving a finishing stroke to the beaten party; even before the tribunes who stood ready exercised their veto, the author himself withdrew his proposal (1 Jan. 691). The democracy had gained nothing but the unpleasant lesson, that the great multitude out of love or fear still continued to adhere to Pompeius, and that every proposal was certain to fail which the public perceived to be directed against him.

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