CLS 150-01

Roman republic, more

  • cursus honorum, “course of offices” — career ladder
  • Consul = top office; 2 elected yearly
  • Praetor: created to assist consuls, had imperium, many judicial duties; number increased as Rome’s power grew
  • Aedile: oversaw public works, sewers, roads, festivals; varied in number
  • Quaestor: lower of major offices, various financial and judicial duties, up to 40 per year, ex-quaestors became members of the Senate
  • Two special offices

  • Dictator: 1 person (with consent of 2 consuls) given sole power for 6 months in an emergency
  • Censor: 2 senior ex-consuls who counted population, assessed individual wealth & fitness to remain in senate
  • two main assemblies, each with diffferent functions & origin
  • Centuriate assembly: elected chief offices, passed laws, voted by class (5 total) in units called centuries; most important — voting – winner take all
  • tribal assembly: originally plebian; 35 tribes, membership by place of residence; basis for army recruitment & taxation; elected 10 Tribunes annually
  • 10 tribunes of the plebians: could veto actions of the senate or magistrates & otherwise intervene on behalf on plebians; physically sacrosanct: anyone harming a tribune was subject to summary execution. In later republic tribunes play role in senatorial political infighting
  • Some distinctions within the Senatorial class/order

  • Nobiles: those whose fathers or grandfathers (etc) had held the consulship. Between 509 & 200 BC consuls came from only about 20 families: without distinguished ancestors it was nearly impossible to rise as high consul
  • the very rare man who became the first in his family to become a consul was called a novus homo or New Man
  • Optimates and Populares: inner circle vs. mavericks
  • a third class or order, the equestrians (business class)
  • Rome and Italy

  • at first Etruscans and Greeks more advanced, powerful
  • 5th century saw Rome clash w/nearby cities of Latium (Latins) for local dominance
  • by 4th century Rome had subdued Etruscans; in 338 defeated for good a “League of Latin Cities”
  • series of war swith hill tribes: Vosci, Aequi, Sabines, expanding power in central ITaly
  • 390BC Gauls invade Italy from north & capture Rome briefly = Metus Gallicus (Gallic fear): Romans learn it’s better to conquer than to be conquered
  • early republican period key for development of Roman aristocratic ideology: search for glory, noble self-sacrifice for the fatherland, ensure adversirty, triumph over tough enemies, CONQUEST
  • How to treat defeated opponents?

  • annex land & give it to poor Roman citizens
  • resettle land w/ community of Romans as a focus to attract more settlers; role of roads
  • leave autonomous but allied to Rome
  • absorb whole and give limited citizen rights (no vote)
  • citizenship in return for military service (but could only vote at Rome); local citizenship retained too; might later acquire full vote
  • NOTE: granting citizenship a means of control, source of manpower for army, good way to co-opt enemies (give them a share of spoils in future wars)
  • Rome & the world outside Italy, 1: invaders

  • Pyrrhic wars, 280-275 BC; Greek Pyrrhus helps south Italian city of Tarentum (originally a Spartan colony) against Rome
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