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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 41

Even in his lifetime many of his enemies as of his friends were of opinion that he intended to have himself expressly nominated king of Rome; several indeed of his most vehement adherents suggested to him in different ways and at different times that he should assume the crown; most strikingly of all, Marcus Antonius, when he as consul offered the diadem to Caesar before all the people (15 Feb. 710). But Caesar rejected these proposals without exception at once. If he at the same time took steps against those who made use of these incidents to stir republican opposition, it by no means follows from this that he was not in earnest with his rejection.

The assumption that these invitations took place at his bidding, with the view of preparing the multitude for the unwonted spectacle of the Roman diadem, utterly misapprehends the mighty power of the sentimental opposition with which Caesar had to reckon, and which could not be rendered more compliant, but on the contrary necessarily gained a broader basis, through such a public recognition of its warrant on the part of Caesar himself. It may have been the uncalled-for zeal of vehement adherents alone that occasioned these incidents; it may be also, that Caesar merely permitted or even suggested the scene with Antonius, in order to put an end in as marked a manner as possible to the inconvenient gossip by a declinature which took place before the eyes of the burgesses and was inserted by his command even in the calendar of the state and could not, in fact, be well revoked.

The probability is that Caesar, who appreciated alike the value of a convenient formal designation and the antipathies of the multitude which fasten more on the names than on the essence of things, was resolved to avoid the name of king as tainted with an ancient curse and as more familiar to the Romans of his time when applied to the despots of the east than to their own Numa and Servius, and to appropriate the substance of the regal office under the title of Imperator.

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