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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 44

Legislation - Edicts

For legislation the democratic monarch adhered to the primitive maxim of Roman state-law, that the community of the people in concert with the king convoking them had alone the power of organically regulating the commonwealth; and he had his constitutive enactments regularly sanctioned by decree of the people. The free energy and the authority half-moral, half-political, which the yea or nay of those old warrior-assemblies had carried with it, could not indeed be again instilled into the so-called comitia of this period; the co-operation of the burgesses in legislation, which in the old constitution had been extremely limited but real and living, was in the new practically an unsubstantial shadow.

There was therefore no need of special restrictive measures against the comitia; many years' experience had shown that every government-- the oligarchy as well as the monarch--easily kept on good terms with this formal sovereign. These Caesarian comitia were an important element in the Caesarian system and indirectly of practical significance, only in so far as they served to retain in principle the sovereignty of the people and to constitute an energetic protest against sultanism.

But at the same time--as is not only obvious of itself, but is also distinctly attested--the other maxim also of the oldest state-law was revived by Caesar himself, and not merely for the first time by his successors; viz. that what the supreme, or rather sole, magistrate commands is unconditionally valid so long as he remains in office, and that, while legislation no doubt belongs only to the king and the burgesses in concert, the royal edict is equivalent to law at least till the demission of its author.

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