The Failure of the Roman Republic

The Failure of the Roman Republic

The Failure of the Roman Republic

The Failure of the Roman Republic

Excerpt

Every μἐν has its δἐ, and every general statement its exception. I have attempted in the following pages to explain and interpret the failure of Roman society in the first century B.C., to show how this failure came about, and what were its effects upon the spirit of the society. In doing this I have described what I believe to have been the characteristics of this society in its time of disintegration. But I am well aware that, while the general tone may have been as I have described it, yet there were many men who were exceptions, men whose qualities of character and moral strength would have made them fit citizens of that earlier Rome from which the society of the first century had on the whole fallen so miserably away; there are, after all, few societies which could hope to equal the dismal record of Sodom. These exceptions have not found a place in this book, simply because I believe that they were exceptions, and that to infer the character of a society from its exceptions would be fallacious and futile; their existence must always be borne in mind, but their effect on their society during these times was too slight; they did not represent the grain of the wood.

Since the book is an interpretation of the history of Rome of the first century B.C., not an inquiry into the details of that history, the references are few, and the bibliography does not attempt to list all the works which I have put under contribution or which deal with the history and the other aspects of the subject; it is merely a guide to a student who may wish to pursue further the study of those aspects. To have referred to all the works to which I am indebted would have cluttered up the pages without adding strength to the interpretation; for the interpretation must stand or fall as a whole and does not depend on the detailed elucidation of any point or points; while detailed bibliographies are to be found in the many scholarly works which deal with the history, literature, etc., of the period.

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