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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 86

Relations of the Oligarchy to the Populace

Moreover, the government not only did nothing to counteract this corruption of the population of the capital, but even encouraged it for the benefit of their selfish policy. The judicious rule of law, which prohibited individuals condemned for a capital offence from dwelling in the capita, was not carried into effect by the negligent police.

The police-supervision--so urgently required-- of association on the part of the rabble was at first neglected, and afterwards(44) even declared punishable as a restriction inconsistent with the freedom of the people.

44. Cf. V. VIII. Clodius

The popular festivals had been allowed so to increase that the seven ordinary ones alone--the Roman, the Plebeian, those of the Mother of the Gods, of Ceres, of Apollo, of Flora(45) and of Victoria--lasted altogether sixty-two days; and to these were added the gladiatorial games and numerous other extraordinary amusements.

45. Cf. III. XIII. Increase of Amusements

The duty of providing grain at low prices-- which was unavoidably necessary with such a proletariate living wholly from hand to mouth--was treated with the most unscrupulous frivolity, and the fluctuations in the price of bread-corn were of a fabulous and incalculable description.(46)

46. In Sicily, the country of production, the -modius- was sold within a few years at two and at twenty sesterces; from this we may guess what must have been the fluctuations of price in Rome, which subsisted on transmarine corn and was the seat of speculators.

Lastly, the distribution of grain formed an official invitation to the whole burgess-proletariate who were destitute of food and indisposed for work to take up their abode in the capital.

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