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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 XII - Religion, Culture, Literature, and Art


Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 3

The Oriental Religions

But, if in the present instance a faith no longer believed in was maintained out of political convenience, they amply made up for this in other respects. Unbelief and superstition, different hues of the same historical phenomenon, went in the Roman world of that day hand in hand, and there was no lack of individuals who in themselves combined both--who denied the gods with Epicurus, and yet prayed and sacrificed before every shrine.

Of course only the gods that came from the east were still in vogue, and, as the men continued to flock from the Greek lands to Italy, so the gods of the east migrated in ever-increasing numbers to the west. The importance of the Phrygian cultus at that time in Rome is shown both by the polemical tone of the older men such as Varro and Lucretius, and by the poetical glorification of it in the fashionable Catullus, which concludes with the characteristic request that the goddess may deign to turn the heads of others only, and not that of the poet himself.

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