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The History of Rome, Book I The Period Anterior to the Abolition of the Monarchy   By: (1817-1903)

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The Period Anterior to the Abolition of the Monarchy



Translated with the Sanction of the Author


William Purdie Dickson, D.D., LL.D. Professor of Divinity in the University of Glasgow

A New Edition Revised throughout and Embodying Recent Additions

Preparer's Note

This work contains many literal citations of and references to foreign words, sounds, and alphabetic symbols drawn from many languages, including Gothic and Phoenician, but chiefly Latin and Greek. This English Gutenberg edition, constrained to the characters of 7 bit ASCII code, adopts the following orthographic conventions:

1) Except for Greek, all literally cited non English words that do not refer to texts cited as academic references, words that in the source manuscript appear italicized, are rendered with a single preceding, and a single following dash; thus, xxxx .

2) Greek words, first transliterated into Roman alphabetic equivalents, are rendered with a preceding and a following double dash; thus, xxxx . Note that in some cases the root word itself is a compound form such as xxx xxxx, and is rendered as xxx xxx

3) Simple unideographic references to vocalic sounds, single letters, or alphabeic dipthongs; and prefixes, suffixes, and syllabic references are represented by a single preceding dash; thus, x, or xxx.

4) (Especially for the complex discussion of alphabetic evolution in Ch. XIV: Measuring And Writing). Ideographic references, meaning pointers to the form of representation itself rather than to its content, are represented as "id:xxxx" . "id:" stands for "ideograph", and indicates that the reader should form a picture based on the following "xxxx"; which may be a single symbol, a word, or an attempt at a picture composed of ASCII characters. E. g. "id:GAMMA gamma" indicates an uppercase Greek gamma form followed by the form in lowercase. Some such exotic parsing as this is necessary to explain alphabetic development because a single symbol may have been used for a number of sounds in a number of languages, or even for a number of sounds in the same language at different times. Thus, "id:GAMMA gamma" might very well refer to a Phoenician construct that in appearance resembles the form that eventually stabilized as an uppercase Greek "gamma" juxtaposed to one of lowercase. Also, a construct such as "id:E" indicates a symbol that with ASCII resembles most closely a Roman uppercase "E", but, in fact, is actually drawn more crudely.

5) Dr. Mommsen has given his dates in terms of Roman usage, A.U.C.; that is, from the founding of Rome, conventionally taken to be 753 B. C. The preparer of this document, has appended to the end of each volume a table of conversion between the two systems.


When the first portion of this translation appeared in 1861, it was accompanied by a Preface, for which I was indebted to the kindness of the late Dr. Schmitz, introducing to the English reader the work of an author whose name and merits, though already known to scholars, were far less widely familiar than they are now. After thirty three years such an introduction is no longer needed, but none the less gratefully do I recall how much the book owed at the outset to Dr. Schmitz's friendly offices.

The following extracts from my own "Prefatory Note" dated "December 1861" state the circumstances under which I undertook the translation, and give some explanations as to its method and aims:

"In requesting English scholars to receive with indulgence this first portion of a translation of Dr. Mommsen's 'Romische Geschichte,' I am somewhat in the position of Albinus; who, when appealing to his readers to pardon the imperfections of the Roman History which he had written in indifferent Greek, was met by Cato with the rejoinder that he was not compelled to write at all that, if the Amphictyonic Council had laid their commands on him, the case would have been different but that it was quite out of place to ask the indulgence of his readers when his task had been self imposed... Continue reading book >>

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