Cinna and His Times - Harold Bennett

This book uses ancient sources to explain in detail the political and conspiratorial goings-on in the years 88-80 B.C., during which the Marius-Sulla civil war and proscriptions occurred. It is an informed and balanced look at one of the most critical periods in Roman history. Both Cinna and Marius, the main protagonists, were closely related to Julius Caesar, and he appears to have inherited their mission to overthrow the Roman Republic and replace it with a military dictatorship.

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[Title Page] from Cinna and His Times by Harold Bennett
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By arrangement with the University of Chicago, I am publishing in the following pages a part of my doctoral dissertation, which was submitted to the faculty of that institution in August, 1921. Besides the four chapters now published, the dissertation contains also an appendix on the Enfranchisement of Italy, in which are discussed the Julian and Plautio-Papirian franchise laws, also the vexed questions of the distribution of the Italian citizens into the tribes. It is not my present intention to publish the latter, but in compliance with the regulations, type-written copies of the complete dissertation have been filed in the University of Chicago libraries. My whole dissertation was prepared under the supervision of Professor Elmer Truesdell Merrill, of the University of Chicago, to whom I take this opportunity of expressing my deep appreciation and sincere gratitude for his wise instruction and scholarly criticism.

The conclusions reached in the following pages are my own. I do not know to what extent Professor Merrill accepts them, for in conferences over my manuscript he always professed himself an "advocatus diaboli," and presented for my consideration all the possible arguments against my case. His fine scholarship and penetrating criticism recalled me from many premature judgments, and often saved me from vain efforts to entrench myself in an indefensible position.

I wish to acknowledge also the kindness of other members of the classical faculty of the University of Chicago, who gave generously of their time and scholarship for the discussion of various questions falling within their special fields of interest.

The form of the dissertation is an attempted compromise between straight narrative and pure argument. I have tried to write a complete monograph on the career of Cinna with the fewest possible digressions, introducing into the text only such controversial points as have an important bearing on the interpretation of the man and his times. All minor conflicts of the sources or possible differences of interpretation have been argued in the notes, which will therefore be found to contain an important part of the original element in the dissertation.

I have tried to maintain an impartial attitude through, and if at times I depict Cinna more favorably than most modern historians have represented him, it is because I believe that I have been able to show that in the weighing of conflicting sources too little allowance has been made for the party prejudice of the original writers. The contradictory and fragmentary nature of the sources must ever leave the true history of Cinna and his contemporaries in the twilight of doubt and controversy, but if this re-gathering and re-examination of the evidence leads, directly or indirectly, to the illumination of even a few dark places, the author will feel happy that his labors have not been in vain.

Annville, Pa.
May 1, 1923.

[Title Page] from Cinna and His Times by Harold Bennett
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