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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 X - Brundisium, Ilerda, Pharsalus, and Thapsus


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Page 132

Cato in Utica - His Death

There was as little a continuance of the struggle in Africa after the battle of Thapsus, as there had been a year and a half before in the east after the defeat of Pharsalus. Cato as commandant of Utica convoked the senate, set forth how the means of defence stood, and submitted it to the decision of those assembled whether they would yield or defend themselves to the last man-- only adjuring them to resolve and to act not each one for himself, but all in unison. The more courageous view found several supporters; it was proposed to manumit on behalf of the state the slaves capable of arms, which however Cato rejected as an illegal encroachment on private property, and suggested in its stead a patriotic appeal to the slave-owners. But soon this fit of resolution in an assembly consisting in great part of African merchants passed off, and they agreed to capitulate.

Thereupon when Faustus Sulla, son of the regent, and Lucius Afranius arrived in Utica with a strong division of cavalry from the field of battle, Cato still made an attempt to hold the town through them; but he indignantly rejected their demand to let them first of all put to death the untrustworthy citizens of Utica en masse, and chose to let the last stronghold of the republicans fall into the hands of the monarch without resistance rather than to profane the last moments of the republic by such a massacre. After he had-- partly by his authority, partly by liberal largesses--checked so far as he could the fury of the soldiery against the unfortunate Uticans; after he had with touching solicitude furnished to those who preferred not to trust themselves to Caesar's mercy the means for flight, and to those who wished to remain the opportunity of capitulating under the most tolerable conditions, so far as his ability reached; and after having thoroughly satisfied himself that he could render to no one any farther aid, he held himself released from his command, retired to his bedchamber, and plunged his sword into his breast.

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