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Based on the evidence quoted by Asclepiades, I'd say that a stronger case could be made for Rome exporting democratic ideals to the Etruscans than for the Etruscans exporting democratic ideals to Rome. Not only does this make sense of the chronology, but it also fits in with the overarching message in Livy.

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Anyway, "Indo-European" is a Linguistic term, not ethnic, even less genetic. There is not even consensus about the possible identity of the hypothetical ancestral population of "Proto-Indo-European" speakers (if such a language ever existed at all).

 

I think we should be extremely careful to ascribe any cultural trait (as political structure) to specific ethnic and/or genetic groups

 

Absolutely, again its nothing I claim any expertise in and freely admit to being largely conversational on this topic (linguistics/genetics, etc.).

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Regardless, Kosmo is probably accurate in suggesting that it was an Indo-European cultural development across the board.

 

But the Carthaginians of Atistotle's Politica were semitic.

 

Do we have hard evidence of a Citizen assembly in Carthage? Ernle Bradford maintains that their culture was diluted by philhellenism. It would support the "Greek Thing" hypothesis.

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Do we have hard evidence of a Citizen assembly in Carthage?

Aristotle, Dio Cassius, Livy, and Polybius--they all refer to an assembly in Carthage. Aristotle and Polybius would have had good information on this. Aristotle had assembled written descriptions of the constitutions of all the major city-states. Polybius would have had access to the ambassadors to Carthage. Is there any good reason to doubt their reports?

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Do we have hard evidence of a Citizen assembly in Carthage?

Aristotle, Dio Cassius, Livy, and Polybius--they all refer to an assembly in Carthage. Aristotle and Polybius would have had good information on this. Aristotle had assembled written descriptions of the constitutions of all the major city-states. Polybius would have had access to the ambassadors to Carthage. Is there any good reason to doubt their reports?

 

You can also check the link on post #2 of this thread for more commentaries on the same topic.

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Athens had its Ekklesia

Even Sparta (on paper) had its citizen assembly.

 

and so... of course did Rome.

 

This seemingly ubiquitous social institution seems to be a Greek (for lack of a better term) thing.

But from most of the history of the early Republic it seems that the Etruscans were the stronger initial influence.

 

 

Did they get it from the Greeks. Or did they get it second hand through the Etruscans?

 

I think that the predominantly independent development of these assemblies by each State would be the most parsimonious explanation.

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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I think that the predominantly independent development of these assemblies by each State would be the most parsimonious explanation.

 

I dunno quite a coincidence

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I think that the predominantly independent development of these assemblies by each State would be the most parsimonious explanation.

 

I dunno quite a coincidence

 

No. Parallel evolution, I would say.

 

Like the wings of the birds and of the bats.

 

Isolated populations develop analogous structures to face similar problems.

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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I think that the predominantly independent development of these assemblies by each State would be the most parsimonious explanation.

I dunno quite a coincidence

No. Parallel evolution, I would say. Like the wings of the birds and of the bats. Isolated populations develop analogous structures to face similar problems.

 

I agree.

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Here's an earlier report of Livius on Etruscan elections (Ab Urbe Condita, Liber I, Cp. VIII):

 

"...Romulus called his people to a council. ..he called into his service twelve lictors. Some think that he fixed upon this number from the number of the birds who foretold his sovereignty; but I am inclined to agree with those who think that as this class of public officers was borrowed from the same people from whom the "sella curulis" and the "toga praetexta" were adopted - their neighbours, the Etruscans - so the number itself also was taken from them. Its use amongst the Etruscans is traced to the custom of the twelve sovereign cities of Etruria, when jointly electing a king, furnishing him each with one lictor..."

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I think that the predominantly independent development of these assemblies by each State would be the most parsimonious explanation.

I dunno quite a coincidence

No. Parallel evolution, I would say. Like the wings of the birds and of the bats. Isolated populations develop analogous structures to face similar problems.

 

I agree.

 

I disagree.

Models of political organisation were a very rare inovation. When one was succesfull it was often copied by others at least in some exterior forms. Think about vikings in Danemark using a western european model while the Rus used a byzantine one or about muslim sultanates in far away Malaysia or Phillipines. Even more clearly see the western model of state and how it spread to all corners of the Earth.

Could have romans, etruscans and carthaginians use a greek model for assemblies? For sure as all this civilisations borrowed heavily from Greek culture. And maybe the greek victory in Campania over etruscans was a good push for abandoning etruscan monarchy for greek style republicanism.

Still we see asemblies in many european people that had litlle greek connections like gauls and germans.

Rome had a king and an asembly like most indo-europeans and at a point, with internal and exterior reasons and influences, moved to a model that ended the power of the king in the benefit of the assembly.

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Could have romans, etruscans and carthaginians use a greek model for assemblies? For sure as all this civilisations borrowed heavily from Greek culture. And maybe the greek victory in Campania over etruscans was a good push for abandoning etruscan monarchy for greek style republicanism.

Salve, K.

 

Most Hellenic states were no democracies; that was especially true for Magna Graecia and Sicily.

 

The Greek winners in Campania (Cumae, 474 BC) over etruscans were the tyrants Aristodemus (local) and Hiero I of Syracuse; at least the latter was really a King by another name. He was also the winner of Himera against the Carthaginians six years before, allied with the tyrant Theron of Agrigentum.

 

In fact, this Aristodemus was the first recorded Greek ruler by T. Livius in Ab Urbe Condita (Liber II, Cp. XXI):

"This year (circa CCLVIII AUC / 496 BC) is memorable for the news of Tarquin's death. His death took place at Cuma, whither he had retired, to seek the protection of the tyrant Aristodemus after the power of the Latins was broken."

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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Asclepiades is right about Magna Graecia and Syracusa, meaning that Rome couldn't have copied the political structures of her nearest neighbors. Moreover, what is the likelihood that the ancient Indus river valley civilizations--some of which were also democratic--were also copying Cleisthenes' reforms? It seems more likely to me that the democratic elements in Athens, in the Roman republic, in Carthage, in Etruria, and in India were pragmatic responses to local events rather than wholescale democratic revolutions inspired by Athens. We could be wrong about that, but it seems to fit the facts most simply.

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Could have romans, etruscans and carthaginians use a greek model for assemblies? For sure as all this civilisations borrowed heavily from Greek culture. And maybe the greek victory in Campania over etruscans was a good push for abandoning etruscan monarchy for greek style republicanism.

Salve, K.

 

Most Hellenic states were no democracies; that was especially true for Magna Graecia and Sicily.

 

The Greek winners in Campania (Cumae, 474 BC) over etruscans were the tyrants Aristodemus (local) and Hiero I of Syracuse; at least the latter was really a King by another name. He was also the winner of Himera against the Carthaginians six years before, allied with the tyrant Theron of Agrigentum.

 

In fact, this Aristodemus was the first recorded Greek ruler by T. Livius in Ab Urbe Condita (Liber II, Cp. XXI):

"This year (circa CCLVIII AUC / 496 BC) is memorable for the news of Tarquin's death. His death took place at Cuma, whither he had retired, to seek the protection of the tyrant Aristodemus after the power of the Latins was broken."

 

Good point A.!

Tyrants are neither kings, nor democrats.

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Asclepiades is right about Magna Graecia and Syracusa, meaning that Rome couldn't have copied the political structures of her nearest neighbors. Moreover, what is the likelihood that the ancient Indus river valley civilizations--some of which were also democratic--were also copying Cleisthenes' reforms? It seems more likely to me that the democratic elements in Athens, in the Roman republic, in Carthage, in Etruria, and in India were pragmatic responses to local events rather than wholescale democratic revolutions inspired by Athens. We could be wrong about that, but it seems to fit the facts most simply.

 

Where is your information on the Indus valley Civilization Cato? I dont doubt your veracity, but I thought that we couldn't read their script and the cities of Harrappa and Mohenjo-Daro were laid out with autocratic planning.

(Before you say that New York is a grid plan and it was the product of a direct democracy remember that Lower Manhattan is still irregular)

 

I should probably clarify my arguement

 

I think that we should change the terminology since we're talking about a variety of institution that seems to be pan-classical mediterranean and not democracy per se.

and it seems to be a city-state thing rather than a Greek thing

 

(we can agree that its generally seen in city states rather then empires, right? [besides Rome of course since it started out as a city state])

 

My position is now the unique Polis culture that developed at the end of the Greek dark ages seemed (generally) to feature citizen assemblies whatever its actual political system. Greek colonists took this far and wide and because it seemed to "work" other peoples adopted it as they "civilized".

 

Therefore these assemblies as a political system were not a product of and (to me) it seems the progenitor of Cleisthenes's reforms as Democracy developed in Athens. I know I'm not citing any sources so if we have literary evidence by all means correct me.

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