Theodor Mommsen

The history of Rome. Book IV


The Revolution


Translated with the Sanction of the Author

by William Purdie Dickson, D.D., LL.D. Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow

Preparer's Note

This work contains many literal citations of and references to words, sounds, and alphabetic symbols drawn from many languages, including Gothic and Phoenician, but chiefly Latin and Greek. This English language Gutenberg edition, constrained within the scope of 7-bit ASCII code, adopts the following orthographic conventions:

1) Words and phrases regarded as 'foreign imports', italicized in the original text published in 1903; but which in the intervening century have become 'naturalized' into English; words such as 'de jure', 'en masse', etc. are not given any special typographic distinction.

2) Except for Greek, all literally cited non-English words that do not refer to texts cited as academic references, words that in the source manuscript appear italicized, are rendered with a single preceding, and a single following dash; thus, -xxxx-.

3) Greek words, first transliterated into Roman alphabetic equivalents, are rendered with a preceding and a following double-dash; thus, --xxxx--. Note that in some cases the root word itself is a compound form such as xxx-xxxx, and is rendered as --xxx-xxx--

4) Simple non-ideographic references to vocalic sounds, single letters, or alphabeic dipthongs; and prefixes, suffixes, and syllabic references are represented by a single preceding dash; thus, -x, or -xxx.

5) The following refers particularly to the complex discussion of alphabetic evolution in Ch. XIV: Measuring And Writing). Ideographic references, meaning pointers to the form of representation itself rather than to its content, are represented as -'id:xxxx'-. 'id:' stands for 'ideograph', and indicates that the reader should form a mental picture based on the 'xxxx' following the colon. 'xxxx' may represent a single symbol, a word, or an attempt at a picture composed of ASCII characters. E. g. --'id:GAMMA gamma'-- indicates an uppercase Greek gamma-form Followed by the form in lowercase. Some such exotic parsing as this is necessary to explain alphabetic development because a single symbol may have been used for a number of sounds in a number of languages, or even for a number of sounds in the same language at different times. Thus, -'id:GAMMA gamma' might very well refer to a Phoenician construct that in appearance resembles the form that eventually stabilized as an uppercase Greek 'gamma' juxtaposed to another one of lowercase. Also, a construct such as --'id:E' indicates a symbol that in graphic form most closely resembles an ASCII uppercase 'E', but, in fact, is actually drawn more crudely.

6) The numerous subheading references, of the form 'XX. XX. Topic' found in the appended section of endnotes are to be taken as 'proximate' rather than topical indicators. That is, the information contained in the endnote indicates primarily the location in the main text of the closest indexing 'handle', a subheading, which may or may not echo congruent subject matter.

The reason for this is that in the translation from an original paged manuscript to an unpaged 'cyberscroll', page numbers are lost. In this edition subheadings are the only remaining indexing 'handles' of sub-chapter scale. Unfortunately, in some stretches of text these subheadings may be as sparse as merely one in three pages. Therefore, it would seem to make best sense to save the reader time and temper by adopting a shortest path method to indicate the desired reference.

7) Dr. Mommsen has given his dates in terms of Roman usage, A.U.C.; that is, from the founding of Rome, conventionally taken to be 753 B. C. To the end of each volume is appended a table of conversion between the two systems.


BOOK IV: The Revolution

I. The Subject Countries Down to the Times of the Gracchi

II. The Reform Movement and Tiberius Gracchus

III. The Revolution and Gaius Gracchus

IV. The Rule of the Restoration

V. The Peoples of the North

VI. The Attempt of Marius at Revolution and the Attempt of Drusus at Reform

VII. The Revolt of the Italian Subjects, and the Sulpician Revolution

VIII. The East and King Mithradates

IX. Cinna and Sulla

X. The Sullan Constitution

XI. The Commonwealth and Its Economy

XII. Nationality, Religion, and Education

XIII. Literature and Art


The Revolution

'Aber sie treiben's toll;

Ich furcht', es breche'.

Nicht jeden Wochenschluss

Macht Gott die Zeche.


Chapter I

The Subject Countries Down to the Times of the Gracchi

The Subjects

With the abolition of the Macedonian monarchy the supremacy of Rome not only became an established fact from the Pillars of Hercules to the mouths of the Nile and the Orontes, but, as if it were the final decree of fate, it weighed on the nations with all the pressure of an inevitable necessity, and seemed to leave them merely the choice of perishing in hopeless resistance or in hopeless endurance. If history were not entitled to insist that the earnest reader should accompany her through good and evil days, through landscapes of winter as well as of spring, the historian might be tempted to shun the cheerless task of tracing the manifold and yet monotonous turns

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