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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 74

To any one who calmly considered to what extent reverence for the law had disappeared from the lowest as from the highest ranks of society, the former hope must have seemed almost a dream; and, if with the Marian reform of the military system the soldier generally had ceased to be a citizen,(39) the Campanian mutiny and the battle-field of Thapsus showed with painful clearness the nature of the support which the army now lent to the law.

39. Cf. IV. VI. Political Significance of the Marian Military Reform

Even the great democrat could only with difficulty and imperfectly hold in check the powers which he had unchained; thousands of swords still at his signal flew from the scabbard, but they were no longer equally ready upon that signal to return to the sheath. Fate is mightier than genius. Caesar desired to become the restorer of the civil commonwealth, and became the founder of the military monarchy which he abhorred; he overthrew the regime of aristocrats and bankers in the state, only to put a military regime in their place, and the commonwealth continued as before to be tyrannized and worked for profit by a privileged minority. And yet it is a privilege of the highest natures thus creatively to err.

The brilliant attempts of great men to realize the ideal, though they do not reach their aim, form the best treasure of the nations. It was owing to the work of Caesar that the Roman military state did not become a police-state till after the lapse of several centuries, and that the Roman Imperators, however little they otherwise resembled the great founder of their sovereignty, yet employed the soldier in the main not against the citizen but against the public foe, and esteemed both nation and army too highly to set the latter as constable over the former.

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