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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 77


Of a kindred nature were the letters interchanged between the statesmen and literati of this period, which were carefully collected and published in the following epoch; such as the correspondence of Caesar himself, of Cicero, Calvus and others. They can still less be numbered among strictly literary performances; but this literature of correspondence was a rich store-house for historical as for all other research, and the most faithful mirror of an epoch in which so much of the worth of past times and so much spirit, cleverness, and talent were evaporated and dissipated in trifling.


A journalist literature in the modern sense was never formed in Rome; literary warfare continued to be confined to the writing of pamphlets and, along with this, to the custom generally diffused at that time of annotating the notices destined for the public in places of resort with the pencil or the pen. On the other hand subordinate persons were employed to note down the events of the day and news of the city for the absent men of quality; and Caesar as early as his first consulship took fitting measures for the immediate publication of an extract from the transactions of the senate. From the private journals of those Roman penny-a-liners and these official current reports there arose a sort of news-sheet for the capital (-acta diurna-), in which the resume of the business discussed before the people and in the senate, and births, deaths, and such like were recorded. This became a not unimportant source for history, but remained without proper political as without literary significance.

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