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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 147

Influence on the Capitalist System

It was a task far more difficult than the checking of official irregularities, to deliver the provincials from the oppressive ascendency of Roman capital. Its power could not be directly broken without applying means which were still more dangerous than the evil; the government could for the time being abolish only isolated abuses-- as when Caesar for instance prohibited the employment of the title of state-envoy for financial purposes--and meet manifest acts of violence and palpable usury by a sharp application of the general penal laws and of the laws as to usury, which extended also to the provinces;(88) but a more radical cure of the evil was only to be expected from the reviving prosperity of the provincials under a better administration.

88. Cf. V. XI. Robberies and Damage by War

Temporary enactments, to relieve the insolvency of particular provinces, had been issued on several occasions in recent times. Caesar himself had in 694 when governor of Further Spain assigned to the creditors two thirds of the income of their debtors in order to pay themselves from that source. Lucius Lucullus likewise when governor of Asia Minor had directly cancelled a portion of the arrears of interest which had swelled beyond measure, and had for the remaining portion assigned to the creditors a fourth part of the produce of the lands of their debtors, as well as a suitable proportion of the profits accruing to them from house-rents or slave-labour. We are not expressly informed that Caesar after the civil war instituted similar general liquidations of debt in the provinces; yet from what has just been remarked and from what was done in the case of Italy,(89) it can hardly be doubted that Caesar likewise directed his efforts towards this object, or at least that it formed part of his plan.

89. Cf. V. XI. The Roman Capitalists in the Provinces

While thus the Imperator, as far as lay within human power, relieved the provincials from the oppressions of the magistrates and capitalists of Rome, it might at the same time be with certaint expected from the government to which he imparted fresh vigour, that it would scare off the wild border-peoples and disperse the freebooters by land and sea, as the rising sun chases away the mist. However the old wounds might still smart, with Caesar there appeared for the sorely-tortured subjects the dawn of a more tolerable epoch, the first intelligent and humane government that had appeared for centuries, and a policy of peace which rested not on cowardice but on strength. Well might the subjects above all mourn along with the best Romans by the bier of the great liberator.

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