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Preparer's Note

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

1) 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-.

2) 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--

3) Simple unideographic 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.

4) (Especially for 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 picture
based on the following "xxxx"; which may be 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
one of lowercase. Also a construct such as --"id:E" indicates
a symbol that with ASCII resembles most closely a Roman uppercase
"E" but in fact is actually drawn more crudely.

5) 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. The preparer of this document has appended to the end of
each volume a table of conversion between the two systems.

The History Of Rome


Theodor Mommsen

Translated With The Sanction Of The Author


William Purdie Dickson D.D. LL.D. Professor Of Divinity In The
University Of Glasgow

A New Edition Revised Throughout And Embodying Recent Additions


When the first portion of this translation appeared in 1861 it was
accompanied by a Preface for which I was indebted to the kindness
of the late Dr. Schmitz introducing to the English reader the
work of an author whose name and merits though already known to
scholars were far less widely familiar than they are now. After
thirty-three years such an introduction is no longer needed but
none the less gratefully do I recall how much the book owed at the
outset to Dr. Schmitz's friendly offices.

The following extracts from my own "Prefatory Note" dated "December
1861" state the circumstances under which I undertook the translation
and give some explanations as to its method and aims:--

"In requesting English scholars to receive with indulgence this first
portion of a translation of Dr. Mommsen's 'Romische Geschichte'
I am somewhat in the position of Albinus; who when appealing to
his readers to pardon the imperfections of the Roman History which
he had written in indifferent Greek was met by Cato with the
rejoinder that he was not compelled to write at all--that if the
Amphictyonic Council had laid their commands on him the case would
have been different--but that it was quite out of place to ask the
indulgence of his readers when his task had been self-imposed. I
may state however that I did not undertake this task until
I had sought to ascertain whether it was likely to be taken up by
any one more qualified to do justice to it. When Dr. Mommsen's
work accidentally came into my hands some years after its first
appearance and revived my interest in studies which I had long
laid aside for others more strictly professional I had little doubt
that its merits would have already attracted sufficient attention
amidst the learned leisure of Oxford to induce some of her great
scholars to clothe it in an English dress. But it appeared on
inquiry that while there was a great desire to see it translated
and the purpose of translating it had been entertained in more
quarters than one the projects had from various causes miscarried.
Mr. George Robertson published an excellent translation (to which
so far as it goes I desire to acknowledge my obligations) of the
introductory chapters on the early inhabitants of Italy; but other
studies and engagements did not permit him to proceed with it. I
accordingly requested and obtained Dr. Mommsen's permission to
translate his work.

"The translation has been prepared from the third edition of the
original published in the spring of the present year at Berlin.
The sheets have been transmitted to Dr. Mommsen who has kindly
communicated to me such suggestions as occurred to him. I have
thus been enabled more especially in the first volume to correct
those passages where I had misapprehended or failed to express the
author's meaning and to incorporate in the English work various
additions and corrections which do not appear in the original.

"In executing the translation I have endeavoured to follow the original
as closely as is consistent with a due regard to the difference of
idiom. Many of our translations from the German are so literal as
to reproduce the very order of the German sentence so that they
are if not altogether unintelligible to the English reader at
least far from readable while others deviate so entirely from the
form of the original as to be no longer translations in the proper
sense of the term. I have sought to pursue a middle course between
a mere literal translation which would be repulsive and a loose
paraphrase which would be in the case of such a work peculiarly
unsatisfactory. Those who are most conversant with the difficulties
of such a task will probably be the most willing to show forbearance
towards the shortcomings of my performance and in particular towards
the too numerous traces of the German idiom which on glancing
over the sheets I find it still to retain.

"The reader may perhaps be startled by the occurrence now and then
of modes of expression more familiar and colloquial than is usually
the case in historical works. This however is a characteristic
feature of the original to which in fact it owes not a little
of its charm. Dr. Mommsen often uses expressions that are not
to be found in the dictionary and he freely takes advantage of
the unlimited facilities afforded by the German language for the
coinage or the combination of words. I have not unfrequently in
deference to his wishes used such combinations as 'Carthagino-Sicilian'
'Romano-Hellenic' although less congenial to our English idiom
for the sake of avoiding longer periphrases.

"In Dr. Mommsen's book as in every other German work that has
occasion to touch on abstract matters there occur sentences couched
in a peculiar terminology and not very susceptible of translation.
There are one or two sentences of this sort more especially in
the chapter on Religion in the 1st volume and in the critique of
Euripides as to which I am not very confident that I have seized
or succeeded in expressing the meaning. In these cases I have
translated literally.

"In the spelling of proper names I have generally adopted the Latin
orthography as more familiar to scholars in this country except
in cases where the spelling adopted by Dr. Mommsen is marked by any
special peculiarity. At the same time entire uniformity in this
respect has not been aimed at.

"I have ventured in various instances to break up the paragraphs of
the original and to furnish them with additional marginal headings
and have carried out more fully the notation of the years B.C. on
the margin.

"It is due to Dr. Schmitz who has kindly encouraged me in
this undertaking that I should state that I alone am responsible
for the execution of the translation. Whatever may be thought of
it in other respects I venture to hope that it may convey to the
English reader a tolerably accurate impression of the contents and
general spirit of the book."

In a new Library edition which appeared in 1868 I incorporated all
the additions and alterations which were introduced in the fourth
edition of the German some of which were of considerable importance;
and I took the opportunity of revising the translation so as to
make the rendering more accurate and consistent.

Since that time no change has been made except the issue in 1870
of an Index. But as Dr. Mommsen was good enough some time ago
to send to me a copy in which he had taken the trouble to mark the
alterations introduced in the more recent editions of the original
I thought it due to him and to the favour with which the translation
had been received that I should subject it to such a fresh revision
as should bring it into conformity with the last form (eighth
edition) of the German on which as I learn from him he hardly
contemplates further change. As compared with the first English
edition the more considerable alterations of addition omission
or substitution amount I should think to well-nigh a hundred pages.
I have corrected various errors in renderings names and dates
(though not without some misgiving that others may have escaped
notice or been incurred afresh); and I have still further broken
up the text into paragraphs and added marginal headings.

The Index which was not issued for the German book till nine years
after the English translation was published has now been greatly
enlarged from its more recent German form and has been at the
expenditure of no small labour adapted to the altered paging of
the English. I have also prepared as an accompaniment to it a
collation of pagings which will materially facilitate the finding of
references made to the original or to the previous English editions.

I have had much reason to be gratified by the favour with which
my translation has been received on the part alike of Dr. Mommsen
himself and of the numerous English scholars who have made it the
basis of their references to his work.(1) I trust that in the
altered form and new dress for which the book is indebted to the
printers it may still further meet the convenience of the reader.

September 1894.

Notes for Preface

1. It has I believe been largely in use at Oxford for the last
thirty years; but it has not apparently had the good fortune to
have come to the knowledge of the writer of an article on "Roman
History" published in the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1886 which at
least makes no mention of its existence or yet of Mr. Baring-Gould
who in his Tragedy of the Caesars (vol. 1. p. 104f.) has presented
Dr. Mommsen's well-known "character" of Caesar in an independent
version. His rendering is often more spirited than accurate. While
in several cases important words clauses or even sentences are
omitted in others the meaning is loosely or imperfectly conveyed--e.g.
in "Hellenistic" for "Hellenic"; "success" for "plenitude of power";
"attempts" or "operations" for "achievements"; "prompt to recover"
for "ready to strike"; "swashbuckler" for "brilliant"; "many" for
"unyielding"; "accessible to all" for "complaisant towards every
one"; "smallest fibre" for "Inmost core"; "ideas" for "ideals";
"unstained with blood" for "as bloodless as possible"; "described"
for "apprehended"; "purity" for "clearness"; "smug" for "plain"
(or homely); "avoid" for "avert"; "taking his dark course" for
"stealing towards his aim by paths of darkness"; "rose" for "transformed
himself"; "checked everything like a praetorian domination" for
"allowed no hierarchy of marshals or government of praetorians
to come into existence"; and in one case the meaning is exactly
reversed when "never sought to soothe where he could not cure
intractable evils" stands for "never disdained at least to mitigate
by palliatives evils that were incurable."


The Varronian computation by years of the City is retained in the
text; the figures on the margin indicate the corresponding year
before the birth of Christ.

In calculating the corresponding years the year 1 of the City has
been assumed as identical with the year 753 B.C. and with Olymp.
6 4; although if we take into account the circumstance that the
Roman solar year began with the 1st day of March and the Greek
with the 1st day of July the year 1 of the City would according
to more exact calculation correspond to the last ten months of 753
and the first two months of 752 B.C. and to the last four months
of Ol. 6 3 and the first eight of Ol. 6 4.

The Roman and Greek money has uniformly been commuted on the basis
of assuming the libral as and sestertius and the denarius and
Attic drachma respectively as equal and taking for all sums above
100 denarii the present value in gold and for all sums under 100
denarii the present value in silver of the corresponding weight.
The Roman pound (=327.45 grammes) of gold equal to 4000 sesterces
has thus according to the ratio of gold to silver 1:15.5 been
reckoned at 304 1/2 Prussian thalers [about 43 pounds sterling]
and the denarius according to the value of silver at 7 Prussian
groschen [about 8d.].(1)

Kiepert's map will give a clearer idea of the military consolidation
of Italy than can be conveyed by any description.

1. I have deemed it in general sufficient to give the value of
the Roman money approximately in round numbers assuming for that
purpose 100 sesterces as equivalent to 1 pound sterling.--TR.


The First Volume of the original bears the inscription:--

To My Friend


The Second:--

To My Dear Associates



KARL LUDWIG Of Vienna 1852 1853 1854

And the Third:--

Dedicated With Old And Loyal Affection To



BOOK FIRST The Period Anterior To The Abolition Of The Monarchy

CHAPTER I Introduction

CHAPTER II The Earliest Migrations Into Italy

CHAPTER III The Settlements Of The Latins

CHAPTER IV The Beginnings Of Rome

CHAPTER V The Original Constitution Of Rome

CHAPTER VI The Non-Burgesses And The Reformed Constitution

CHAPTER VII The Hegemony Of Rome In Latium

CHAPTER VIII The Umbro-Sabellian Stocks--Beginnings Of The Samnites

CHAPTER IX The Etruscans

CHAPTER X The Hellenes In Italy--Maritime Supremacy Of The Tuscans
And Carthaginians

CHAPTER XI Law And Justice


CHAPTER XIII Agriculture Trade And Commerce

CHAPTER XIV Measuring And Writing



The Period Anterior To The Abolition Of The Monarchy

--Ta palaiotera saphos men eurein dia chronou pleithos adunata
ein ek de tekmeirion on epi makrotaton skopounti moi pisteusai
xumbainei ou megala nomizo genesthai oute kata tous polemous oute
es ta alla.--




Ancient History

The Mediterranean Sea with its various branches penetrating far
into the great Continent forms the largest gulf of the ocean
and alternately narrowed by islands or projections of the land and
expanding to considerable breadth at once separates and connects
the three divisions of the Old World. The shores of this inland
sea were in ancient times peopled by various nations belonging in
an ethnographical and philological point of view to different races
but constituting in their historical aspect one whole. This historic
whole has been usually but not very appropriately entitled the
history of the ancient world. It is in reality the history of
civilization among the Mediterranean nations; and as it passes
before us in its successive stages it presents four great phases
of development--the history of the Coptic or Egyptian stock dwelling
on the southern shore the history of the Aramaean or Syrian nation
which occupied the east coast and extended into the interior of
Asia as far as the Euphrates and Tigris and the histories of the
twin-peoples the Hellenes and Italians who received as their heritage
the countries on the European shore. Each of these histories was
in its earlier stages connected with other regions and with other
cycles of historical evolution; but each soon entered on its own
distinctive career. The surrounding nations of alien or even of
kindred extraction--the Berbers and Negroes of Africa the Arabs
Persians and Indians of Asia the Celts and Germans of Europe--came
into manifold contact with the peoples inhabiting the borders of
the Mediterranean but they neither imparted unto them nor received
from them any influences exercising decisive effect on their
respective destinies. So far therefore as cycles of culture admit
of demarcation at all the cycle which has its culminating points
denoted by the names Thebes Carthage Athens and Rome may be
regarded as an unity. The four nations represented by these names
after each of them had attained in a path of its own a peculiar
and noble civilization mingled with one another in the most varied
relations of reciprocal intercourse and skilfully elaborated and
richly developed all the elements of human nature. At length their
cycle was accomplished. New peoples who hitherto had only laved
the territories of the states of the Mediterranean as waves lave
the beach overflowed both its shores severed the history of its
south coast from that of the north and transferred the centre of
civilization from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean. The
distinction between ancient and modern history therefore is no
mere accident nor yet a mere matter of chronological convenience.
What is called modern history is in reality the formation of a new
cycle of culture connected in several stages of its development
with the perishing or perished civilization of the Mediterranean
states as this was connected with the primitive civilization of
the Indo-Germanic stock but destined like the earlier cycle to
traverse an orbit of its own. It too is destined to experience in
full measure the vicissitudes of national weal and woe the periods
of growth of maturity and of age the blessedness of creative
effort in religion polity and art the comfort of enjoying the
material and intellectual acquisitions which it has won perhaps
also some day the decay of productive power in the satiety of
contentment with the goal attained. And yet this goal will only

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