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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 90

Diminution of the Proletariate

But, if Caesar accepted with the full consciousness of what he was doing the fundamental character of the capital such as he found it, he yet worked energetically at the improvement of the lamentable and disgraceful state of things prevailing there. Unhappily the primary evils were the least capable of being eradicated. Caesar could not abolish slavery with its train of national calamities; it must remain an open question, whether he would in the course of time have attempted at least to limit the slave-population in the capital, as he undertook to do so in another field.

As little could Caesar conjure into existence a free industry in the capital; yet the great building-operations remedied in some measure the want of means of support there, and opened up to the proletariate a source of small but honourable gain. On the other hand Caesar laboured energetically to diminish the mass of the free proletariate. The constant influx of persons brought by the corn-largesses to Rome was, if not wholly stopped,(48) at least very materially restricted by the conversion of these largesses into a provision for the poor limited to a fixed number.

48. It is a fact not without interest that a political writer of later date but much judgment, the author of the letters addressed in the name of Sallust to Caesar, advises the latter to transfer the corn-distribution of the capital to the several -municipia-. There is good sense in the admonition; as indeed similar ideas obviously prevailed in the noble municipal provision for orphans under Trajan.

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