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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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It is probable that Pompeius, who was at a great distance and occupied with other things, and who besides was wholly destitute of the gift of calculating his political bearings, by no means saw through, at least at that time, the extent and mutual connection of the democratic intrigues contrived against him; perhaps even in his haughty and shortsighted manner he had a certain pride in ignoring these underground proceedings. Then there came the fact, which with a character of the type of Pompeius had much weight, that the democracy never lost sight of outward respect for the great man, and even now (691) unsolicited (as he preferred it so) had granted to him by a special decree of the people unprecedented honours and decorations.(1)

1. Cf. V. IV. Aggregate Results

But, even if all this had not been the case, it lay in Pompeius' own well-understood interest to continue his adherence, at least outwardly, to the popular party; democracy and monarchy stand so closely related that Pompeius, in aspiring to the crown, could scarcely do otherwise than call himself, as hitherto, the champion of popular rights. While personal and political reasons, therefore, co-operated to keep Pompeius and the leaders of the democracy, despite of all that had taken place, in their previous connection, nothing was done on the opposite side to fill up the chasm which separated him since his desertion to the camp of the democracy from his Sullan partisans.

His personal quarrel with Metellus and Lucullus transferred itself to their extensive and influential coteries. A paltry opposition of the senate-- but, to a character of so paltry a mould, all the more exasperating by reason of its very paltriness--had attended him through his whole career as a general. He felt it keenly, that the senate had not taken the smallest step to honour the extraordinary man according to his desert, that is, by extraordinary means. Lastly, it is not to be forgotten, that the aristocracy was just then intoxicated by its recent victory and the democracy deeply humbled, and that the aristocracy was led by the pedantically stiff and half-witless Cato, and the democracy by the supple master of intrigue, Caesar.

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