Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Constantinople Home Page  

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


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 63

Decay of the Roman Military System

The Roman military system of this period was nearly in the same condition as the Carthaginian at the time of Hannibal. The governing classes furnished only the officers; the subjects, plebeians and provincials, formed the army. The general was, financially and militarily, almost independent of the central government, and, whether in fortune or misfortune, substantially left to himself and to the resources of his province. Civic and even national spirit had vanished from the army, and the esprit de corps was alone left as a bond of inward union.

The army had ceased to be an instrument of the commonwealth; in a political point of view it had no will of its own, but it was doubtless able to adopt that of the master who wielded it; in a military point of view it sank under the ordinary miserable leaders into a disorganized useless rabble, but under a right general it attained a military perfection which the burgess-army could never reach. The class of officers especially had deeply degenerated. The higher ranks, senators and equites, grew more and more unused to arms. While formerly there had been a zealous competition for the posts of staff officers, now every man of equestrian rank, who chose to serve, was sure of a military tribuneship, and several of these posts had even to be filled with men of humbler rank; and any man of quality at all who still served sought at least to finish his term of service in Sicily or some other province where he was sure not to face the enemy.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

Do you see any typos or other mistakes? Please let us know and correct them

The History of Old Rome: Contents ||| The Medieval West | The Making of Europe | Constantinople Home Page

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Receive updates :

Learned Freeware

Reference address :