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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 139

While the taxation in its original character had been an indemnification for the burden of military defence undertaken by Rome, and the community paying tribute had thus a right to remain exempt from ordinary service, garrison-service was now--as is attested e. g. in the case of Sardinia--for the most part imposed on the provincials, and even in the ordinary armies, besides other duties, the whole heavy burden of the cavalry-service was devolved on them. The extraordinary contributions demanded--such as, the deliveries of grain for little or no compensation to benefit the proletariate of the capital; the frequent and costly naval armaments and coast- defences in order to check piracy; the task of supplying works of art, wild beasts, or other demands of the insane Roman luxury in the theatre and the chase; the military requisitions in case of war-- were just as frequent as they were oppressive and incalculable.

A single instance may show how far things were carried. During the three years' administration of Sicily by Gaius Verres the number of farmers in Leontini fell from 84 to 32, in Motuca from 187 to 86, in Herbita from 252 to 120, in Agyrium from 250 to 80; so that in four of the most fertile districts of Sicily 59 per cent of the landholders preferred to let their fields lie fallow than to cultivate them under such government. And these landholders were, as their small number itself shows and as is expressly stated, by no means small farmers, but respectable planters and in great part Roman burgesses!

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