Page:The Outline of History Vol 1.djvu/517

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§ 1. The Science of Thwarting the Common Man. § 2. Finance in the Roman State. § 3. The Last Years of Republican Politics. § 4. The Era of the Adventurer Generals. § 5. The End of the Republic. § 6. The Coming of the Princeps.

§ 7. Why the Roman Republic Failed.

§ 1

WE have already twice likened the self-governing community of Rome to a "Neanderthal" variety of the modern "democratic" civilized state, and we shall recur again to this comparison. In form the two things, the first great primitive essay and its later relations, are extraordinarily similar; in spirit they differ very profoundly. Roman political and social life, and particularly Roman political and social life in the century between the fall of Carthage and the rise of Cæsar and Cæsarism, has a very marked general resemblance to the political and social life in such countries as the United States of America or the British Empire to-day. The resemblance is intensified by the common use, with a certain inaccuracy in every case, of such terms as "senate," "democracy," "proletariat," and the like. But everything in the Roman state was earlier, cruder, and clumsier; the injustices were more glaring, the conflicts harsher. There was comparatively little knowledge and few general ideas. Aristotle's scientific works were only beginning to be read in Rome in the first century B.C.; Ferrero,[1] it is true, makes Cæsar familiar with the Politics of Aristotle, and ascribes to him the dream of

  1. Greatness and Decline of Rome, bk. i. ch. xi.