Decline of the Roman Republic QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.
Read the two quotes on page 331… Which do you think is more accurate?
Rome in the 2nd C. BCEIronically, as Rome expanded outward, inside Rome the problems grew.Widening gap between rich and poor led to serious social unrest and vicious power struggles Senate’s chief magistracies had become the patrimony of a few wealthy patrician families
How was LUXURY seen in 2nd Century Rome?• “Asian” or “Eastern” (i.e. Hellenistic) influencesran against traditionally simple, rustic Romanaesthetic•Some wealthy senators appreciated the Hellenisticarts, philosophy, literature - it was stylish amongthe wealthy• Others saw it as as decadent, impure anddisorderly• Powerful senators accused one another of usingluxury to gain support unjustly•This was also a way to discourage imports formthe east, keeping the domestic economy strong
Conquest, Control, and Cash!• Conquered lands were run by Roman magistrates and enforced by standing armies• Some of these magistrates got greedy for more slaves, booty, $ from yearly tributes and taxes• The conduct of generals and magistrates abroad was loosely regulated• There were slave revolts in Italy and wars in Gaul, North Africa, Spain, and Asia Minor• Populist factions arose in the republic who wanted real reform for the common citizens
Important figures in the late Roman Republic: A few good men?
Cato the Elder QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.• Born in the provinces of the LatinLeague, wealthy but not political family• Arrived in Rome as a “new man” and rose through the ranks of the republic• Served as Consul in 195 BCE• Eventually became Censor in 184 BCE• Fought in the 2nd Punic War as well as the Siege of Tarrentum - enemy of the Greeks and Carthaginians• Wrote many books, some of which are lost• Ancestor of Cato the Younger and Nero
Cato the Elder QuickTime™ and a decompressorare needed to see this picture. • Man of integrity - highly principled, which sometimes made him unpopular among the other senators • Lived simply, preached austerity and asceticism • As censor, he passed stringent regulations against luxury were very stringent. He imposed a heavy tax upon dress and personal adornment, especially of women, and upon young slaves purchased as ‘favourites’ • Protector of public works: fixed aqueducts, cleaned up the sewers and prevented people from drawing water from public fountains • Discouraged tax farming
Cato vs. Carthage• Cato was a strong advocate for the 3rd Punic War• His motto was “Carthago Delenda Est” - Carthage must be destroyed!• Rome needed a feared enemy so they don’t get too comfortable and indulge in luxuries and frivolity
Polybius QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.• Greek, from a prominent family in the Achaean league• Deported to Rome in 167 BCE as a hostage suspected of anti-roman hostility• When in Rome, befriended Scipios and other important Romans
QuickTime™ and a decompressorare needed to see this picture. Polybius • Pan-Mediterranean perspective gained through extensive travel • Pragmatic history – Focus on how events effected people and cities – Based on first-hand experience, interviews, and study of primary documents – Still, he included divine destiny in his histories
Polybius • Admirer of Xenophon’s histories QuickTime™ and a decompressorare needed to see this picture. • Thought that there was a constitutional cycle that would play itself out in Rome – Monarchy - Oligarchy - Democracy - Mob rule - Monarchy… • Anti-luxury - promoted a version of “Spartan” values of restraint, patriotism, and austere order • Believed that Rome was changing for the worse after conquest of Greek territories in 167 BCE
Tiberius Gracchus QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.• Noble ancestry but concrned about widespread poverty in Italy• Served as a Tribune - represented the people• Land reforms: limited amount of land one family could own or rent• Released land to the public for redistribution to landless peasant farmers• Rural commoners were happy but old school senators were opposed
Tiberius Gracchus• His reforms passed in the Assembly but the senate wouldn’t allocate the funds he needed to carry out the plan -> fiscal matters were traditionally in the hands of the Senate• When he stood for re-election, the Senators started a riot, claiming he wanted to be king, and killed him on Capitol Hill along with 300 followers• They said his killer was a liberator and a hero fighting for freedom of SPQR
QuickTime™ and a Gaius Gracchus decompressor are needed to see this picture.• Tiberius’ brother, also wanted more equality for the poor• Elected as Tribune in 123 BC, ten years after his brother is killed• Tried to take control of the judicial system away from the Senate (mixed juries, secret ballots)• Set up subsidies for grain• Proposed making some of the overseas territories Roman colonies for the poor• Extending citizenship rights to all Italians• He and 3000 supporters were murdered
After the Gracchi…• Deified by their supporters• Traditionalists (optimates - “the best”) reacted in the wake of these populist attempts at reform• Further polarization of the republic
Gaius Marius QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.• Military man, (not a patrician) held the consulship 5 times in a row• Military reformer – Non-landowning citizens could serve – Full-time professional force, 16 year terms – All soldiers got pay, uniforms, weapons, and training• Soldiers wanted a share in booty and land upon return - appealed to generals rather than the state - shift in the balance of power and control of the army
Cornelius Sulla QuickTime™ and a decompressorare needed to see this picture. • Noble, his family hated Marius’ reforms • Backed by traditionalists • Conflict over who would lead the army against the Italian revolts - Marius was chosen, and in response Sully marched on Rome • After this, Sully went on to ravage Athens and other Greek cities • A new consul, Cinna, banished him but after Cinna died, Sulla came back and started a civil war
Sulla’s Reforms• Sulla won, and became Dictator to ‘settle the state’ after the emergency• Handed juries back to Senators• Doubled the number of senators and installed his supporters• Regulated the channels through which magistrates could rise to the Senate• Tribunes could no longer go on to hold magistracies• Gave Italian land to his veteran soldiers• Created civil courts and fleshed out legal code
So long, Sulla!• Sulla retired as dictator and went back to being consul• Felt that he had been chosen by Venus and prophesy that he would die at the height of his good fortune• Died in 79 BCE of disease• Lavish public funeral• After his death, the Senate was corrupt, violent, and full of turmoil