Letters of a Roman Gentleman

Letters of a Roman Gentleman

Letters of a Roman Gentleman

Letters of a Roman Gentleman

Excerpt

There are times when the world is at the turningpoint. It was at such a time that Cicero was born. Rome after a most remarkable rise seemed due for just as spectacular a fall. Her simple lords had yielded to the lure of mammon and her sturdy farmers had been immolated on the altar of Hannibal's revenge. Moral and political anarchy confronted the state. This was the situation that produced the Letters of Cicero. It will help the reader in his understanding of them and their times if he will rapidly retrace the seven stages that mark the course of Roman society.

First, a period of industrial prosperity in which the kings fostered the middle class as a check to the power of the landholding barons. This attempt at industrialism ended with the expulsion of the Tarquins in B.C. 510 (?).

Second, a period (B.C. 510-367) of struggle by the people for political and economic opportunity in which the farmer lords saved their land policy by yielding their political prerogative.

Third, a period (B.C. 367-266) of expansion in which a policy of colonization postponed the evil day of industrial reckoning.

Fourth, a period (B.C. 266-145) of terrible wastage in . . .

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