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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 XI - The Old Republic and the New Monarchy


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Page 103

More numerous and more solid were the Italian landholders of the old type. Contemporary literature preserves in the description of Sextus Roscius, who was murdered amidst the proscriptions of 673, the picture of such a rural nobleman (-pater familias rusticanus-); his wealth, estimated at 6,000,000 sesterces (60,000 pounds), is mainly invested in his thirteen landed estates; he attends to the management of it in person systematically and with enthusiasm; he comes seldom or never to the capital, and, when he does appear there, by his clownish manners he contrasts not less with the polished senator than the innumerable hosts of his uncouth rural slaves with the elegant train of domestic slaves in the capital.

Far more than the circles of the nobility with their cosmopolitan culture and the mercantile class at home everywhere and nowhere, these landlords and the "country towns" to which they essentially gave tone (-municipia rusticana-) preserved as well the discipline and manners as the pure and noble language of their fathers. The order of landlords was regarded as the flower of the nation; the speculator, who has made his fortune and wishes to appear among the notables of the land, buys an estate and seeks, if not to become himself the squire, at any rate to rear his son with that view.

We meet the traces of this class of landlords, wherever a national movement appears in politics, and wherever literature puts forth any fresh growth; from it the patriotic opposition to the new monarchy drew its best strength; to it belonged Varro, Lucretius, Catullus; and nowhere perhaps does the comparative freshness of this landlord-life come more characteristically to light than in the graceful Arpinate introduction to the second book of Cicero's treatise De Legibus-- a green oasis amidst the fearful desert of that equally empty and voluminous writer.

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