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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 4

Historical Significance of the Conquests of Caesar

This task Gaius Caesar undertook. It is more than an error, it is an outrage upon the sacred spirit dominant in history, to regard Gaul solely as the parade ground on which Caesar exercised himself and his legions for the impending civil war. Though the subjugation of the west was for Caesar so far a means to an end that he laid the foundations of his later height of power in the Transalpine wars, it is the especial privilege of a statesman of genius that his means themselves are ends in their turn. Caesar needed no doubt for his party aims a military power, but he did not conquer Gaul as a partisan.

There was a direct political necessity for Rome to meet the perpetually threatened invasion of the Germans thus early beyond the Alps, and to construct a rampart there which should secure the peace of the Roman world. But even this important object was not the highest and ultimate reason for which Gaul was conquered by Caesar. When the old home had become too narrow for the Roman burgesses and they were in danger of decay, the senate's policy of Italian conquest saved them from ruin. Now the Italian home had become in its turn too narrow; once more the state languished under the same social evils repeating themselves in similar fashion only on a greater scale. It was a brilliant idea, a grand hope, which led Caesar over the Alps--the idea and the confident expectation that he should gain there for his fellow-burgesses a new boundless home, and regenerate the state a second time by placing it on a broader basis.

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