A History of Rome to 565 A. D

A History of Rome to 565 A. D

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A History of Rome to 565 A. D

A History of Rome to 565 A. D

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The student beginning the study of Roman History through the medium of the works of modern writers cannot fail to note wide differences in the treatment accorded by them to the early centuries of the life of the Roman State. These differences are mainly due to differences of opinion among moderns as to the credibility of the ancient accounts of this period. And so it will perhaps prove helpful to give a brief review of these sources, and to indicate the estimate of their value which is reflected in this book.

The earliest Roman historical records were in the form of annals, that is, brief notices of important events in connection with the names of the consuls or other eponymous officials for each year. They may be compared to the early monastic chronicles of the Middle Ages. Writing was practised in Rome as early as the sixth century B. C. and there can be no doubt that the names of consuls or their substitutes were recorded from the early years of the republic, although the form of the record is unknown. It is in the annals that the oldest list of the consuls was preserved, the Capitoline consular and triumphal Fasti or lists being reconstructions of the time of Augustus.

The authorship of the earliest annals is not recorded. However, at the opening of the second century B. C. the Roman pontiffs had in their custody annals which purported to run back to the foundation. of the city, including the regal period. We know also that as late as the time of the Gracchi it was customary for the Pontifex Maximus to record on a tablet for public inspection the chief events of each year. When this custom began is uncertain and it can only be proven for the time when the Romans had commenced to undertake maritime wars. From these pontifical records were compiled the so-

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