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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


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Page 67

Historical Composition - Sisenna

The critical writing of history, after the manner in which the Attic authors wrote the national history in their classic period and in which Polybius wrote the history of the world, was never properly developed in Rome. Even in the field most adapted for it-- the representation of contemporary and of recently past events-- there was nothing, on the whole, but more or less inadequate attempts; in the epoch especially from Sulla to Caesar the not very important contributions, which the previous epoch had to show in this field-- the labours of Antipater and Asellius--were barely even equalled. The only work of note belonging to this field, which arose in the present epoch, was the history of the Social and Civil Wars by Lucius Cornelius Sisenna (praetor in 676).

Those who had read it testify that it far excelled in liveliness and readableness the old dry chronicles, but was written withal in a style thoroughly impure and even degenerating into puerility; as indeed the few remaining fragments exhibit a paltry painting of horrible details,(28) and a number of words newly coined or derived from the language of conversation.

28. "The innocent," so ran a speech, "thou draggest forth, trembling in every limb, and on the high margin of the river's bank in the dawn of the morning" [thou causest them to be slaughtered]. Several such phrases, that might be inserted without difficulty in a commonplace novel, occur.

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