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Scipio.

As Goes the Republic, So Goes Rome

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What exactly do you mean by "doomed"? Rome continue to exist for several centuries.

 

 

I mean, I've read many times that Rome pretty much went down hill after the end of the republic. I've seen it many places (but for the life of me couldn't give you a list), including on these forums.

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What exactly do you mean by "doomed"? Rome continue to exist for several centuries.

 

 

I mean, I've read many times that Rome pretty much went down hill after the end of the republic. I've seen it many places (but for the life of me couldn't give you a list), including on these forums.

Salve, Amici.

 

I think the end of the Roman Republic (a change of political system) and the Fall of Rome (the collapse of a culture) are two quite different phenomena that we should not confuse.

Edited by ASCLEPIADES

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What exactly do you mean by "doomed"? Rome continue to exist for several centuries.

 

 

I mean, I've read many times that Rome pretty much went down hill after the end of the republic. I've seen it many places (but for the life of me couldn't give you a list), including on these forums.

Salve, Amici.

 

I think the end of the Roman Republic (a change of political system) and the Fall of Rome (the collapse of a culture) are two quite different phenomena that we should not confuse.

 

Agreed, while the death of Republicanism is, for many of us, a tragic event in the history of mankind, it's fall does not bear anything near singular responsibility for the eventual collapse of the empire. I would agree that in the "downhill" slide in political circumstances and electoral freedom since the demagoguery of the Gracchi and Marius, the brutality of Sulla and the rise of the Caesars, but Roman culture, influence and power continued for several centuries.

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While those living in Rome proper certainly suffered under despotism at times, I think many provincials might argue that the empire was from their perspective better managed and more inclusive.

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Some might not. There's plenty of accounts of greedy governors and one way to accumulate enough cash for a dash for political glory in Rome was to rip off the provincials when you had the opportunity. The need for cash must have been a big concern for emperors. Augustus was quite happy to send Varus to tax the germans when his reputation as a greedy man was well known. That was the whole point of his franchise system, to increase the tax base. Caligula took anything from anyone, Nero needed cash to restore Rome, Trajan ran short of readies after his costly military excursions, and thats only the examples I can think of right now.

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Yes, well, corruption didn't end (how could it?) and if we are to believe the sources then the later empire was truly bad (though some scholars see those sources as exaggerated). But everything I have read suggests the early imperial government kept the provincial governors on a tighter leash than the Republican Senate (as the emperor had the final say, and was keen on preventing future rivals). And furthermore regardless of the ultimate motives for expanding the citizen base, it did proceed much better than under the narrow band of oligarchical senatorial families.

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Why exactly was Rome doomed after the Republic fell?

 

Was it a cultural/social sort of thing, or is there something I'm missing?

I've said this before, but...Did it fall at all? I think it just evolved, (or devolved for want of a better modernism).

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Why exactly was Rome doomed after the Republic fell?

 

Was it a cultural/social sort of thing, or is there something I'm missing?

I've said this before, but...Did it fall at all? I think it just evolved, (or devolved for want of a better modernism).

Salve, PC; you have an interesting point.

I think both conceptions are not contradictory but complementary.

 

On one hand, it's true that many Republican institutions were preserved for a long time under the Empire.

The Imperial authority was legitimized under conveniently modified Republican precedents, fundamentally the Tribuniciam Potestas and the Imperium Proconsularis Maior; even such titles like Princeps and Augustus were of senatorial origin.

For a long time, many Roman Emperors dated their reign years from their accession to the Tribunicial power, even if it predated their actual accession to the Throne.

Most Emperors accumulated Republican magistratures (like Pontifex Maximus, Consul and Censor) all across the Principate, and some of them even later, like Maximinus, Gordianus III, Gallienus, Claudius II and even the secessionist Postumus.

The Roman Senate was still a minor partner of the Emperor (Diarchia), at least until Diocletianus; thereafter the Roman Senate was just an administrative municipal body for the city of Rome (and later at Constantinople too), in some way like it had been in the early Republic.

The last non-emperor consul was Belisarius (535) and the last Consul as an independent position was Constans II (642).

Some of these institutions were at least nominally still ongoing at 1453.

 

Even more important was the fact that a great deal of the elective political structure of the Roman Republic was preserved on the municipal administration at the provinces. Such electoral practices were well attested at Pompeii immediately previous to the Vesubian eruption; even new Leges de Ambitus were required.

There's where you find the connection between the Roman Republics and the Medieval republican city-states. In fact, the ongoing Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino comes from 301.

The Roman senate itself was continued under Medieval Rome's local government until it was displaced by the Papacy; we still find the local nobiliary title Consul Romanorum at the XI century.

Eventually, such republican traditions came down to the US and other modern democracies.

 

But on the other hand, the consuls Caius Claudius Marcellus Maior and Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus (DCCV AUC / 49 BC) were presumably the last Roman heads of state ever selected by the Roman people on a truly open and competitive election.

Nuff

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Why exactly was Rome doomed after the Republic fell?

 

Was it a cultural/social sort of thing, or is there something I'm missing?

 

Rome was a society that grew on the back of military conquest. Sure, there was plenty of trade and diplomacy too, but warfare was deeply imbedded in roman culture and had been right from the start. The problem with cultures that expand rapidly due to conquest is that they struggle to retain the initial propserity gained from additional territory. The administration costs escalate, and the wealth in booty is frittered away. Also, the romans spent a huge amount of money on entertainement and luxury from the late republic onward. The cost of staging animal hunts in arenas around the empire was simply humungous, and this was an industry that was depleting its source of animals without any concern for the enviroment where cash was available to reward it. The trade networks that aided Rome began to atrophe too. The Silk Road was cut, banditry increased, and increasing piracy in the late empire reduced prosperity. Also, since the increasing taxes and threat of barabarian incursion meant that whole communities were beginning to opt out of roman control, leading to an ungovernable chaos, especially since the burden of administration has increased to the point where sole emperors were no longer able to effectively control an empire the size of Rome. The change from Republic to Empire (as we describe it) did not in itself doom Rome. It was a symptom, not a cause. However, it should be noted that the Republics inability to restrain individual ambition was not a good sign.

Edited by caldrail

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Rome was a society that grew on the back of military conquest.

 

Caldrail has hit the nail right on the head here. It's a point that has been well attested to throughout history; a civilisation that has no competition will atrophy. It's sort of like the saying "It's not the destination, but the journey that matters". Once Rome had no real rivals, the civilisation became blas

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Once Rome had no real rivals, the civilisation became blas

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Rome was a society that grew on the back of military conquest.

Indeed, a people who considered themselves to be the genuine successors or descendants of Rome (What we call the "Byzantines") were still in existence, and were indeed a force in Mediaeval Europe.

That's inexact; those people considered themselves ROMANS, just as the western Europeans did at least up to 800, and absolutely all other countries did up to Constantinople's last day. And for a good reason; there's no discontinuity in the Imperial succession line, at least up to Alexios V.

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Rome was a society that grew on the back of military conquest.

 

Caldrail has hit the nail right on the head here. It's a point that has been well attested to throughout history; a civilisation that has no competition will atrophy. It's sort of like the saying "It's not the destination, but the journey that matters". Once Rome had no real rivals, the civilisation became blas

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