A Republican Saviour?

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A Republican Saviour?

Postby Curio Agelastus on Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:57 pm

Salvete omnes,

Having asked the question of why the Republic fell, it seems appropriate to ask two questions regarding how it could have been saved. Firstly, since we all seem to be agreed that the Roman Constitution was incapable of supporting the Roman state near the end of the Republic's life, what legislation would, in your opinion, have helped to save the state and yet maintained Rome's Republican ideals?

Secondly, how could such a change in legislation have come about? Was anyone in Rome at this time capable of doing so? Neither Sulla not Caesar seem to have made the right changes to save the Republic - could anyone have done so?

Bene valete,
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Mon Jan 03, 2005 2:05 am

Salvete omnes,

Since no one else seems to care, let me make some controversial statements and see if that will wake you up. :lol:

The general consensus seems to be that the fall of the Res Publica was not due to the actions of any one man, but due to essential deficiencies in the Roman Constitution which made it incapable of handling the way the Roman state had changed. For that reason, it seems logical to assume that drastic constitutional changes would be essential, although clearly in a way that wouldn't destroy the oligarchic nature of the Res Publica.

One of the major flaws in the governing of Rome was that it failed to allow for the growth in power of people with loyal soldiers at their command. This was, after all, one of the consequences of the acquisition of empire. To curb this, maybe the election of multiple military posts a year, with each army being put under joint control of three such men? This is similar to the concept of mlitary management in the Athenian democracy. It might prove somewhat more cumbersome, and indeed lead to situations such as Arausio, where Caepio refused to submit to the authority of Mallius Maximus. However, by doing to the Military Tribunate what Sulla did to the Plebeian Tribune (Deprive it of all political influence and desirability) perhaps Rome's armies would be commanded by career soldiers or by people genuinely interesting in being elected to that post but no others. However, this would make opportunities for military glory for aristocrats fairly limited, making other avenues of advancement more important, such as the political, oratorical and legislative. Perhaps this might even encourage a political elite where it was the great legislators, lawyers and orators who reached the top political offices - and no doubt the Machiavellian schemers also - and the great military men who reached the top military posts. Hopefully this segregation would make the rise of political warlords such as Marius, Sulla, Pompeius and Caesar less likely.

*Curio breathes again* Well, there's controversial statement 1.
What do y'all think?

Bene valete,
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Mon Jan 03, 2005 6:32 am

Salve Curio

Rome tried multiple commanders with the Tribunes with Consular Powers. Not an efective command structure. Independence of military commanders came from their ability to finance their own armies, effectively making them private armies. Needed was for the Senate to have retained effective control of an army's purse strings.

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Fri Jan 07, 2005 1:14 am

Salve Piscine,

So how would you recommend that be done in the face of the financial problems of the last century BCE? Sulla had to raid the temples just to stay solvent, and the treasury for the rest of that century up until Augustus' time wasn't in brilliant condition. How could the Senate have maintained financial control of armies? I ask this because the question posed is how the Republic could have avoided destruction.

Bene vale,
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Postby Q Valerius on Fri Jan 07, 2005 3:18 am

when you grow that big, "something's gotta give"
...I don't think the Republic had a chance...
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Postby Anonymous on Fri Jan 28, 2005 6:56 am

Salvete,

This question has popped into my mind quite frequently. What could save the republic? And I do think the remedy would lie in a change in the organization of the army. But instead of re-structuring the leadership, i think you would have to re-structure the base.
By the "base" i mean the manner in which the rank and file was recruited and the expectations of the common soldier. The power of the roman republic was based off of it's army, and since the army was based off of citizen soldiers, it made sense that a republic should exist. Because the citizens were the ones who decided what the republic would do. But when the empire grew to a point where an irregular militia became impracticle ie after the after the third punic war, Rome aproached a crossroads in military organization. they could have either: A) kept the core of the roman army a citizen force, only instead of being subject to irregullar calls of duty, their term of service would be consolidated into a term of say four or five years upon reaching adulthood. Afterwhich they would continue their civil existance doing buisness or farming and making money. or B) You could have a relatively small amount of men serve for a large amount of time and have them devoted to the trade of soldiering.

When Gaius Marius chose the professional army route you could say that alea iacta erat. The fate of the republic was sealed, rich men could recruit an army, and those soldiers would not have any prospects of a life after the army unlike the citizen soldier. It therefor made sense for them to fight for their general even against rome itself, because if he won it meant riches and booty for them, and for them the sword was the only route to attain such bounty.

Not suprisingly Rome suffered a long string of civil wars right at the time when the army was professionalized, and these wars stoped (for a brief while) only when the republic was did away with and the imperator potentissimus was crowned
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Re: A Republican Saviour?

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Jan 29, 2005 12:01 am

Salve Curio,

Curio Agelastus wrote:Salvete omnes,

Having asked the question of why the Republic fell, it seems appropriate to ask two questions regarding how it could have been saved. Firstly, since we all seem to be agreed that the Roman Constitution was incapable of supporting the Roman state near the end of the Republic's life, what legislation would, in your opinion, have helped to save the state and yet maintained Rome's Republican ideals?

Secondly, how could such a change in legislation have come about? Was anyone in Rome at this time capable of doing so? Neither Sulla not Caesar seem to have made the right changes to save the Republic - could anyone have done so?

Bene valete,
Marcus Scribonius Curio Britannicus.


Personally, I think the Republic needed a more flexible political organisation, and one that seperated military might from political power. With Rome, the problem was that both were always combined. Another option could have been to have some sort of house of representatives in Rome from all provinciae, or to be a little more lenient towards the allies.

Another thing worth considering was a change in the entire political system. Senators and magistrates paid for their own expenses, and as such, only the rich and super-rich (or super-indebted) could afford a political career. Perhaps if political offices were paid for by the State, there would have been more of a social mix in the upper strata of the Republic, which would have caused a more dynamic system.

Anyway, these are just some loose thoughts...

Vale bene,
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Postby Anonymous on Sat Jan 29, 2005 10:08 pm

Salve


I dont think that separation between military and civil affairs would help at all. In fact, one could argue that the degree of the integration of military and politics was an incredible force of stabilty and potancy, provided that Military service was universal. a country full of veterans aren't going to be pushed around easily. The tribunate, for example, was demanded by the pleabs, who were in a tremendous state of agitation due to their mistreatment. The pleabs were grated the right to elect tribunes because they flat refused to fight unless the senate let them have their way. The fact that the people were the army greatly empowered them and gave the republic it potency.

and so if the army and populace were synonimous with each other, the republic could exist, and exist in its natural state which is to say it would be centerd on military affairs.

-Marcus Antonius
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:27 pm

Salve Marce Antoni,

Not sure about that. Most modern states exist with this division. I wasn't saying, to clarify, that the military should have gone about its business without checks and balances, but that combining supreme civil and military power is always a bit of a problem. At any rate, the Republic would have survived longer with professional politicians instead of amateurs.

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