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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 VI - Retirement of Pompeius and Coalition of the Pretenders


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Page 32

Situation of the Aristocracy

The more firmly and closely the alliance was thus cemented between Pompeius and Caesar, the more hopeless grew the cause of the aristocracy. They felt the sword suspended over their head and knew Caesar sufficiently to have no doubt that he would, if necessary, use it without hesitation. "On all sides," wrote one of them, "we are checkmated; we have already through fear of death or of banishment despaired of 'freedom'; every one sighs, no one ventures to speak." More the confederates could not desire. But though the majority of the aristocracy was in this desirable frame of mind, there was, of course, no lack of Hotspurs among this party.

Hardly had Caesar laid down the consulship, when some of the most violent aristocrats, Lucius Domitius and Gaius Memmius, proposed in a full senate the annulling of the Julian laws. This indeed was simply a piece of folly, which redounded only to the benefit of the coalition; for, when Caesar now himself insisted that the senate should investigate the validity of the laws assailed, the latter could not but formally recognize their legality. But, as may readily be conceived, the holders of power found in this a new call to make an example of some of the most notable and noisiest of their opponents, and thereby to assure themselves that the remainder would adhere to that fitting policy of sighing and silence.

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