Seven Roman Statesmen of the Later Republic...


Book Details

Author  Charles W. C. Oman
Publication Date   July 29, 2010
Pages  372


This history volume was published in 1902.

From the Preface:
There are several general histories of the decline and
fall of the Roman Republic, dealing with its political
and constitutional aspects. This little book is not a
history, but a series of studies of the leading men of
the century, intended to show the importance of the
personal element in those miserable days of storm and
stress. It is thus, I think, that their true meaning is
best brought out.

It is a pleasant duty to express the gratitude which
I owe to my friend Mr. J. Wells, of Wadham College,
for having been good enough to read through my proofs,
and to make a great number of valuable suggestions,
which I have done my best to carry out.

I have also to thank the Authorities of the British
Museum Coin-Room (and especially Mr. G. F. Hill) for
the kindness with which they aided me in selecting the
Roman coins for my three plates of illustrations.


Naples, April, 1902.

The details of the sporadic and never-ending wars in
Spain. Macedonia, and the Hellenic East, which cover the
period B.C. 200-140, hide the unwritten history of the
most important changes in the social and economic con-
ditions of Italy. In B.C. 200 Rome was still in the main
a city-state of the old type, though she had already begun
to acquire important transmarine domains. She was
still a self-supporting agricultural community, feeding
herself on home-grown corn. Moreover, she might still be
described as a narrow-minded purely Italian town, little
affected as yet, either in blood or in thought, by external
influences. The elder Cato, with all his hard practical
common sense, his stolidity, his passion for the life of the
farm, and his contempt for the foreigner, was the typical
Roman of that generation. By the last years of his old
age he had seen a new world grow up, and complained
that he was living in a city which he no longer under-

Tiberius-Gracchus is one of the most striking instances
in history of the amount of evil that can be brought about
by a thoroughly honest and well-meaning man, who is so
entirely convinced of the righteousness of his own inten-
tions and the wisdom of his own measures, that he is
driven to regard any one who strives to hinder him as not
only foolish but morally wicked. The type of exalted
doctrinaire who exclaims that any constitutional check
that hinders his plans must be swept away without
further inquiry, that every political opponent is a bad
man who must be crushed, has been known in many
lands and many ages, from ancient Greece down to the
France of the Revolution. But in Rome such a figure
was an exception ; the stolid conservatism, the reverence
for mos majorum, the dislike for abstract political specu-
lation which marked the race, were against the develop-
ment of such a frame of mind. The reformers of the
past had been content to work slowly, to introduce
changes by adding small rags and patches to the constitu-
tion7~or by inventing transparent legal fictions, which
gained the practical point, while leaving the theory of the
law that they were attacking apparently untouched.

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