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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 IX - Death of Crassus - Rupture between the Joint Rulers


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Page 26

The Aristocracy and Pompeius

This state of things would have decided the part of Pompeius in the impending struggle, even if apart from this it had not been self-evident that he could only enter into it as the general of the legitimate republic. Nature had destined him, if ever any one, to be a member of an aristocracy; and nothing but very accidental and very selfish motives had carried him over as a deserter from the aristocratic to the democratic camp. That he should now revert to his Sullan traditions, was not merely befitting in the case, but in every respect of essential advantage. Effete as was the democratic cry, the conservative cry could not but have the more potent effect, if it proceeded from the right man.

Perhaps the majority, at any rate the flower of the burgesses, belonged to the constitutional party; and as respected its numerical and moral strength might well be called to interfere powerfully, perhaps decisively, in the impending struggle of the pretenders. It wanted nothing but a leader. Marcus Cato, its present head, did the duty, as he understood it, of its leader amidst daily peril to his life and perhaps without hope of success; his fidelity to duty deserves respect, but to be the last at a forlorn post is commendable in the soldier, not in the general. He had not the skill either to organize or to bring into action at the proper time the powerful reserve, which had sprung up as it were spontaneously in Italy for the party of the overthrown government; and he had for good reasons never made any pretension to the military leadership, on which everything ultimately depended. If instead of this man, who knew not how to act either as party-chief or as general, a man of the political and military mark of Pompeius should raise the banner of the existing constitution, the municipals of Italy would necessarily flock towards it in crowds, that under it they might help to fight, if not indeed for the kingship of Pompeius, at any rate against the kingship of Caesar.

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