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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 VII - The Subjugation of the West


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Page 24


Hand in hand with dexterity in the elaboration of the metals went the art of procuring them, which had attained, more especially in the iron mines on the Loire, such a degree of professional skill that the miners played an important part in the sieges. The opinion prevalent among the Romans of this period, that Gaul was one of the richest gold countries in the world, is no doubt refuted by the well-known nature of the soil and by the character of the articles found in the Celtic tombs, in which gold appears but sparingly and with far less frequency than in the similar repositories of the true native regions of gold; this conception no doubt had its origin merely from the descriptions which Greek travellers and Roman soldiers, doubtless not without strong exaggeration, gave to their countrymen of the magnificence of the Arvernian kings,(15) and of the treasures of the Tolosan temples.(16)

15. Cf. IV. V. Transalpine Relations of Rome

16. Cf. IV. V. Defeat of Longinus

But their stories were not pure fictions. It may well be believed that in and near the rivers which flow from the Alps and the Pyrenees gold-washing and searches for gold, which are unprofitable at the present value of labour, were worked with profit and on a considerable scale in ruder times and with a system of slavery; besides, the commercial relations of Gaul may, as is not unfrequently the case with half-civilized peoples, have favoured the accumulation of a dead stock of the precious metals.

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