The Greatness and Decline of Rome - Vol. 1

The Greatness and Decline of Rome - Vol. 1

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The Greatness and Decline of Rome - Vol. 1

The Greatness and Decline of Rome - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Why do you want to write a new history of Rome"? That question was asked me many times when I began my work. After all the books written on the subject, it seemed useless to review again the history of the City. The fact is, on the contrary, that there is no country to whose history it is so profitable to return as Rome, because there is no other that reflects more of the great political and social questions of every age.

We have two great histories of Rome, written during the first half of the nineteenth century: one is that of Mommsen, the other that of Duruy. These works are both learned and vivid. In spite, however, of their great merits and of the pious esteem in which they are held, they have almost ceased to be read by cultivated people in America as in Europe. For what reason? Because they were written from the special point of view that interested the majority at that time: the conflict between republicanism and monarchy. The American Revolution, the foundation of so many republics in the New World, and later the French Revolution, let loose in our civilisation a violent struggle between the monarchical principle and the principle of republicanism, a struggle which reached its height towards 1848. This conflict occurred also in the history of Rome, and was the phenomenon that loomed largest to the minds of Mommsen and Duruy. Many of the errors that can be found in their works to-day are due to this restricted point of view. But during the last thirty . . .

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