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By what criteria do you define degeneration? Milo and Clodius' little wars in the streets?

 

The Late Republic was richer and more powerful than the Middle Republic by far, at least until the coming of Caesar out of Gaul. The Senate though in conflict with Caesarian tribunes like Curio and, at the last, Antonius, still retained a strong hold on the reins of government. The provinces were, if not constantly well-governed, at least well managed.

 

Simply because Caesar toppled the Republic does not mean that it was grossly corrupt or inefficient. A building does not only fall because of rot - in this case, it fell to flame and sword.

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I thought that I asked a question.

As the Republic grew richer and more powerful, the Best People became more avaricious and contemptuous. The Senate, like Cicero, tried to play off both sides, i.e. Pompey and Caesar. Had the Republic been so strong and righteous, it might not have succumbed to Caesar.

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You did ask a question, and I simply asked you to prune down your inquiry that I might better address it.

 

As the Republic grew richer and more powerful, the Best People became more avaricious and contemptuous.

 

Do you have a measurement for this statement, or is it, as I suspect - naught but subjective opinion? The Roman aristocrats of the Late Republic did what the Roman aristocrats of the time of Marius and Sulla, Scipio and Cato had done before them. They squabbled and bickered and fought for offices like children over toys.

 

I assume by "contemptuous", you refer to an attitude toward the Ordo Equester? Or perhaps the Capite Censi? The Senate was by no means one united front - the Boni were but a loose faction among loose factions, albeit an extraordinarily wealthy and powerful one. Individual members had individual positions on individual issues - your greatest ally might have a different stance on the rights of Gallic nobility to attain the Roman citizenship, and would thusly vote and argue for a different position than yours.

 

Roman politics were never an exclusively party affair - individuals won offices, not parties. Individual ambitions, admittedly influenced by the politics of their allies, were indulged in. The Boni had no set stance - theirs was a policy colored by tradition moreso than law. And even then, what were the Boni? Those opposed to the populares? There were many who opposed the popularis tradition, especially after Sulla; but those who did so and worked as a group to suppress it did so on individual motives, not out of any sense of duty to a higher party.

 

The Senate, like Cicero, tried to play off both sides, i.e. Pompey and Caesar.

 

The Senate stuck to politics as it had for centuries. If certain politicians closely aligned themselves with your interests, you scratched their backs in return for yours being scratched. You married their daughters, and their sons married your sisters. Politics did not change in the Late Republic, barring the tenuous argument that Clodius' agitation totally revamped the political scene. Marius had handed out largesse to the populace long before Caesar and Pompey were born - and other generals had done the same long before Marius. The distribution of largesse from a victorious war was a traditional feature of Roman warfare - why bother to expand at all if all you plan to gain is the cost of administrating just one more city?

 

What you see as placating two opposing parties fomenting civil war was, to the Romans, nothing more than catalyzing the continual hunt for offices and influence. No one except Caesar knew that there would be civil war as a result of their political games, at least until it was too late for anything to really be done.

 

Had the Republic been so strong and righteous, it might not have succumbed to Caesar.

 

How many legions did Strength and Righteousness command that might have aided the Republic in throwing down Caesar?

 

The Republic had not changed - it had not decayed or rotted. What had changed was how far one man was willing to go to preserve his own personal political authority and reputation.

 

Caesar was the change.

Edited by L. Quintus Sertorius

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L.Q.S., you, of course do not deal in subjective opinion. You, of course, state facts and not opinion. Perhaps, you should re-read your post. Therein, you might find that you damn the Republic. If you would be so good as to take a peek at the present subject in 'Academia', you will see that your facts are buttressed in re Cato.

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I agree entirely with Sertorius. Not only is his description of political alliances more accurate than the cartoon factionalism that is bandied about on this forum, he is absolutely correct that the republic was a strong and healthy institution until one villain brought the whole system down--Julius Caesar.

 

If more people on this forum would put down the Colleen McCullough and pick up the Erich Gruen and Lily Ross Taylor, Sertorius' opinion wouldn't come as such a surprise.

 

(G.O. please edit your posts for clarity. It made absolutely no sense to me.)

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L.Q.S., you, of course do not deal in subjective opinion. You, of course, state facts and not opinion.

He stated facts and opinion, which I'm sure you realize. If you dispute either, state your disagreement. Otherwise, you just come off as snide, which was probably not your intention.

 

Perhaps, you should re-read your post. Therein, you might find that you damn the Republic.

I don't see anything at all in his post that is damning of the Republic. If you do, identify what's so damning.

 

If you would be so good as to take a peek at the present subject in 'Academia', you will see that your facts are buttressed in re Cato.

 

Again, what exactly are you talking about? What facts are "buttressed in re Cato"?

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What I find so hard to understand is why Brutus followed Pompey so willingly. Pompey did in fact kill Brutus' father for his association in the troubles caused by Lepidus in 77 BC.

 

Allying himself to Caesar would have given Brutus the perfect opportunity to settle an old grudge.

Edited by WotWotius

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Brutus followed Pompey because the Senate and the cause of legitimate Roman government chose Pompey as their champion. A M. Junius Brutus, descendant of the man who slew his own sons for conspiring against the consuls, could never take the standard of an outlaw opposed to the Roman state - even if that outlaw had the best chance of revenging one's own personal grievances. The Republic came before vendetta in any case.

 

For Brutus, much as for Cicero, "Caesar's cause lacked nothing but a cause.".

 

And it was that lack that determined Brutus' position.

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L.Q.S., you, of course do not deal in subjective opinion. You, of course, state facts and not opinion.

He stated facts and opinion, which I'm sure you realize. If you dispute either, state your disagreement. Otherwise, you just come off as snide, which was probably not your intention.

 

Perhaps, you should re-read your post. Therein, you might find that you damn the Republic.

I don't see anything at all in his post that is damning of the Republic. If you do, identify what's so damning.

 

If you would be so good as to take a peek at the present subject in 'Academia', you will see that your facts are buttressed in re Cato.

 

Again, what exactly are you talking about? What facts are "buttressed in re Cato"?

M.P.C.: What's all that balderdash about Cato wishing to return to the early days of the Republic? If he thought the state of affairs was so good, he wouldn't have felt that way.

 

Of course he stated facts and simply deduced a wrong opinion. If my opinion is wrong, then I hold that everyone is entitled to his own wrong opinion. Snide? Read the posts. All The posts.

Edited by Gaius Octavius

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Of course he stated facts and simply deduced a wrong opinion.

 

Then refute it with your own argument.

 

Enough is enough. Different people read the same 'facts' and come to different conclusions. Perhaps you would like to go around in a circle again. Lead on!

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An interesting and heated debate. Something I found interesting was this. . .

 

 

Image what may have occured had Caesar not shown Brutus mercy at Pharsalus, and instead put Brutus to death as was his right as the victor. Not that I think Caesar could have avoided assasination, it would just been an interesting alteration to the timing of the assasination and what could have been done or not done during that time.

 

 

I never considered it before but if Caesar had been as ruthless and efficient at exterminating his enemies as Sulla had been before him, then perhaps he would have lived out the natural course of his life. I have always sympathized with Marius and loathed Sulla. I also approve of Caesar's magnanimous and open-handed policy of forgiving his enemies, but I am now forced to consider that if Caesar had killed all of his enemies he could possibly have gone about his work for a much longer time and possibly avoided the whole second set of triumvirs. . . thus saving more Romans from civil war.

 

Those spared by Caesar were not grateful in the least. Letting them live turned out to be a mistake (but I approve of Caesar's intention to spare fellow Romans)

 

Severus

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