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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 106


In the world of quality such things did not occur, but at bottom it was hardly different, and least of all better. In doing nothing the aristocrat boldly competed with the proletarian; if the latter lounged on the pavement, the former lay in bed till far on in the day. Extravagance prevailed here as unbounded as it was devoid of taste. It was lavished on politics and on the theatre, of course to the corruption of both; the consular office was purchased at an incredible price--in the summer of 700 the first voting-division alone was paid 10,000,000 sesterces (100,000 pounds)-- and all the pleasure of the man of culture in the drama was spoilt by the insane luxury of decoration.

Rents in Rome appear to have been on an average four times as high as in the country-towns; a house there was once sold for 15,000,000 sesterces (150,000 pounds). The house of Marcus Lepidus (consul in 676) which was at the time of the death of Sulla the finest in Rome, did not rank a generation afterwards even as the hundredth on the list of Roman palaces. We have already mentioned the extravagance practised in the matter of country-houses; we find that 4,000,000 sesterces (40,000 pounds) were paid for such a house, which was valued chiefly for its fishpond; and the thoroughly fashionable grandee now needed at least two villas-- one in the Sabine or Alban mountains near the capital, and a second in the vicinity of the Campanian baths--and in addition if possible a garden immediately outside of the gates of Rome.

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