Reference address :

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
Constantinople Home Page  

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 87

The treatise -De Republica- carries out, in a singular mongrel compound of history and philosophy, the leading idea that the existing constitution of Rome is substantially the ideal state-organization sought for by the philosophers; an idea indeed just as unphilosophical as unhistorical, and besides not even peculiar to the author, but which, as may readily be conceived, became and remained popular. The scientific groundwork of these rhetorical and political writings of Cicero belongs of course entirely to the Greeks, and many of the details also, such as the grand concluding effect in the treatise -De Republica- the Dream of Scipio, are directly borrowed from them; yet they possess comparative originality, inasmuch as the elaboration shows throughout Roman local colouring, and the proud consciousness of political life, which the Roman was certainly entitled to feel as compared with the Greeks, makes the author even confront his Greek instructors with a certain independence.

The form of Cicero's dialogue is doubtless neither the genuine interrogative dialectics of the best Greek artificial dialogue nor the genuine conversational tone of Diderot or Lessing; but the great groups of advocates gathering around Crassus and Antonius and of the older and younger statesmen of the Scipionic circle furnish a lively and effective framework, fitting channels for the introduction of historical references and anecdotes, and convenient resting-points for the scientific discussion. The style is quite as elaborate and polished as in the best-written orations, and so far more pleasing than these, since the author does not often in this field make a vain attempt at pathos.

Previous / First / Next Page of this Chapter

Do you see any typos or other mistakes? Please let us know and correct them

The History of Old Rome: Contents ||| The Medieval West | The Making of Europe | Constantinople Home Page

Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Receive updates :

Learned Freeware


Reference address :