Who succeeded politically in Rome between 220

Who succeeded politically in Rome between 220 BC and 150 BC? How and why did this alteration during the period?

“The foremost two centuries of the Republic were a clip of uninterrupted experimentation and alteration. Indeed, the world is that the Republic system was at all phases of its being in a province of change” ( Jones and Sidwell, 1997:9 ) .

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The vision of Rome that was forged between the old ages 220BC and 150BC represented a entire interruption from every other sort of political vision that had come before it in the ancient universe. The classical, Hellenic impression of the metropolis was non as a province but as a municipal division of political authorization. In this manner, metropoliss fought metropoliss ; instead than provinces engaging war with provinces. Under the political development of the Roman theoretical account, the metropolis therefore became the province, pulling thoughts partially from the peoples that it conquered and partially from the unprecedented geographical and military enlargement of its epicenter that saw Rome become during this period the equivalent of a sort of an ancient world power. Ultimately, as Scullard ( 2003,debut seventeen) declares ; “she [ Rome ] was willing to larn from friend and enemy alike.”

There were accordingly many people and involvement groups that made significant political additions during the old ages 220BC and 150BC ; similarly there were many people and involvement groups that were greatly disempowered as a consequence of the huge political turbulences of the epoch. The undermentioned essay seeks to analyze who precisely did addition from the enlargement of Rome beyond the Italian peninsula every bit good as why these groups were best able to work a state of affairs that had no case in point in ancient history. First, nevertheless, a description of the Roman political theoretical account at the beginning of the timeframe in inquiry must be ascertained so as to set up a conceptual model for the balance of the treatment.

Although Rome was in the procedure of morphing from an absolute monarchy to a city?state controlled by the Senate, the Roman vision of a political democracy in the first and 2nd centuries BC was markedly different to what we would understand as representative democracy today. Roman impressions of the political province were derived from the experiences of Ancient Greece where political relations was founded wholly upon impressions of citizenship which needfully affected who could and who could non take part in the running of the province. To the Romans, hence, the province was a multivalent look tied to both the community and its characteristic political civilization. The province, the fundamental law ( which was foremost conceptualised in 287BC but did non truly politically crystallise until the after 250BC ) and the common involvement of the citizens were inherently blurred during this timeframe in Roman political civilization, which means that the historian must be careful non to see the prism of Roman regulation through the lens of 20 first century political political orientation. The Roman State was ne’er a cosmopolitan look of political right to vote ; therefore political power was ever likely to be vested in a select, fortunate few.

Out of all of the alterations that occurred, the constitution of a fixed fundamental law was certainly the most important as it set the parametric quantities for the division of political power in a new Roman Republic. This power was split up into three chief parts: the Magistrates, the Senate and the People. During the period 220BC to 150BC it was the magistrates who – via the Roman Forum – made the most political additions. As the legal representation of the Roman State, the magistrates were able to exert the political power inherent within the fundamental law. Furthermore, the magistrates were able to short-circuit the many ‘checks’ and ‘balances’ within Polybius’ fundamental law by working the Roman compulsion with societal category, which meant that the people ( the plebs ) ne’er managed to exert any permanent influence over the legal development of the early Roman Republic. This is an of import point as it established the Roman tradition of the corruptness of political power that would finally take the province back into the kingdom of dictatorship with the outgrowth of the long line of emperors which began in the first century BC. The political additions of the magistrates ( who hailed entirely from the Roman aristocracy ) therefore paved the manner for a absolutism to boom in the Italian peninsula, which was characterised in the early yearss by work forces bit by bit roll uping huge independent political power that resided both within and outside of the official province fundamental law.

During the period 220BC to 150BC no 1 adult male better personified the failings inherent within the Roman political theoretical account than Cato – besides known as Cato the Censor. Cato’s meteorologic rise through the intrigues of the political system of the early Republic high spots the manner in which power could be bit by bit accumulated by one adult male who, one time inside, can non realistically be removed from political office without resort to military intercession ( a constitutional loophole that would finally destruct the Republic as a political construct. ) Cato was the boy of an agricultural landholder who made a name for himself in the Second Punic War, specifically at the conflict of Sena. Between the eruptions of armed struggle, Cato came under the influence of a local landholder by the name of Flaccus and it was Flaccus who was able to move as political frequenter to Cato within the machination of the Roman Forum. This was Cato’s platform into the domain of the magistrates when he was appointedquaestorin 204BC.

At this point, the nexus between the Roman magistrature and the Roman Armed Forces must be asserted for it is this deep?seated political and military matrimony of convenience that would find the extent of political power that any one individual or group of individuals could achieve throughout the continuance of the early Republic. To achieve power as one of the two Consuls meant to command a host in foreign district and this is how Cato cemented both his military and political repute in Rome after he ( together with his helper Flaccus ) was appointed Consul in 195BC. While, on the one manus, he was instrumental in go throughing administrative and fiscal reforms through the Senate in Rome he was, on the other manus, required to besides put canvas for his new military bid in Spain. In this manner, Cato was able to convey the political ideals of Rome to set down that had no fixed sort of political construct to talk of and to spread out the province beyond its historical and geographical confines.

This alone confederation between the military and the organic structure politic had important effects refering who was able to win politically in Rome during the yearss of the early Republic. In this manner, huge political power was vested in the custodies of a little coterie of military and political swayers. While this may hold been a positive development with respects to work forces such as Cato ( who has been nem con portrayed as an severe and honest politician ) the same can non be said for the many military and political leaders who permitted power to pervert their ability to regulation. In the concluding analysis, hence, the impression of equality between magistrates and senators in the Forum was the greatest casualty of the sole nature of the Roman political theoretical account.

“Never had the power of the Roman Senate seemed as steadfastly based as during the first 70 old ages of the 2nd century BC. The prestigiousness it had won from its behavior during the Second Punic War was enhanced by its new place as the practical swayer of the Mediterranean universe. In the East great Romans such as Lucius Aemilius Paullus or Scipio Africanus appeared as the swayers of work forces and states, the higher-ups of Hellenic male monarchs. In Rome they were treated as peers by their fellow senators ; their powers were no more than those of whatever magistrature they held ; their personal influence what their ainauctoritascould command. But that could so be really great, for the impression of republican equality between senators – nevertheless dear to their Black Marias – was in fact an semblance. The great households were dominant as ne’er before and held a close monopoly of the highest offices of the State” ( Dudley, 1999:83 ) .

Before turning attending towards making a decision, reference must be made of the beginnings that permit us to see the elaborately woven political tapestry of the period 220BC to 150BC. Because history was non seen as the same artistic subject that it is in the modern epoch, of import Roman historiographers such as Suetonius are as a consequence notoriously undependable. “Negatively, Suetonius wrote non?history ; positively, he wrote scholarship” ( Wallace?Hadrill, 1983:10 ) . Likewise Livy, who constructed his gigantic history of Rome since the first initiation of the ancient metropolis as partially chronology, partially narrative with a position non towards indifferent historical discourse as it is understood today but alternatively with a position to fabricating history so that the cumulative illustriousness of the modern-day emperors could be appreciated as a natural, inevitable act of political development. Both Suetonius and Livy wrote their plants during the flower of the Empire, following an overtly pensive stance with respects to the political progresss and additions of the early Republic. Their opinions on this era are hence to be treated with utmost historical cautiousness.


The period 220BC to 150BC shows that political power in the ancient universe could merely of all time shack in the custodies of a choice few, irrespective of the rhetoric of the fundamental law, the Forum and the historiographers who came subsequently on during the zenith of the Empire to paint an idealized image of the initiation of the Roman Republic. Furthermore, the experience of this timeframe shows that huge political power ( such as that which greeted the Consuls during the age of military enlargement ) necessarily corrupts. It was in this manner that little coteries of the Roman aristocracy were able to procure a long?term power base that their households could work in ulterior old ages. Cato, for case, was able to put the political foundations for the huge power attained by his great grandson, Cato the Younger. This underscores the deficiency of chance for public engagement in the Roman political theoretical account during the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC whereby rank, name and category were regarded as far more of import political properties than ability.

In the concluding analysis, the same involvement groups that had ever commanded authorization throughout the ancient universe were able to fend off the democratic semblance of the fundamental law during the old ages 220BC and 150BC. The finding factor within this prolongation of the political position quo was the changeless military enlargement of the province, which did non lose plenty impulse to let serious domestic resistance to further within the great multitudes of the Roman people.


Dudley, D. ( 1999 )Roman SocietyLondon: Penguin

Gelzer, M. ( 1980 )The Roman NobilityLondon: Blackwell

Jones, P. and Sidwell, K. ( Eds. ) ( 1997 )The World of Rome: An Introduction to Roman CultureCambridge: Cambridge University Press

Keppie, L. ( 1998 )The Making of the Roman Army – from Republic to Empire: Second EditionLondon: Routledge

Livy ( Introduction by MacDonald, A. ) ( Translated by Bettenson, H. ) ( 1976 )History of Rome from its Foundation: Rome and the MediterraneanLondon: Penguin

Scullard, H.H. ( 2003 )A History of the Roman World, 753?146BCLondon: Routledge

Wallace?Hadrill, A. ( 1983 )Suetonius: the Scholar and his Julius caesarsLondon: Bristol Classical Press

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