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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 69

Annals of the City

That the prospect should be still more lamentable in the field of the general annals of the city and even of the world, was implied in the nature of the case. The increasing activity of antiquarian research induced the expectation that the current narrative would be rectified from documents and other trustworthy sources; but this hope was not fulfilled. The more and the deeper men investigated, the more clearly it became apparent what a task it was to write a critical history of Rome. The difficulties even, which opposed themselves to investigation and narration, were immense; but the most dangerous obstacles were not those of a literary kind.

The conventional early history of Rome, as it had now been narrated and believed for at least ten generations; was most intimately mixed up with the civil life of the nation; and yet in any thorough and honest inquiry not only had details to be modified here and there, but the whole building had to be overturned as much as the Franconian primitive history of king Pharamund or the British of king Arthur. An inquirer of conservative views, such as was Varro for instance, could have no wish to put his hand to such a work; and if a daring freethinker had undertaken it, an outcry would have been raised by all good citizens against this worst of all revolutionaries, who was preparing to deprive the constitutional party even of their past Thus philological and antiquarian research deterred from the writing of history rather than conduced towards it.

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