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Meeleena
03 Feb 05,, 02:30
In my History class, we were asked to debate apon Julius Ceaser's good/badness. I was asked to show how he was a threat to the Republic of Rome at the time. I can not find anything on the web, everyone just LOVES Ceaser. I seriously need some help.
Why was he a threat to the Republic?

Praxus
03 Feb 05,, 04:05
The Roman Republic was truly great for it's time, rivaled in the level of Freedom granted to it's citizens only by some Greek City states. It consisted of three major parts...

1) The Two consuls which had some powers like that of a Monarchy.
2) The Senate, which had power of the aristocracy
3) The popular assembly, which was elected by the body of Roman citizens, or in other words the Democratic element.

In the ancient world it was viewed (at least by Polybius) that the three major forms of Government (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy) made up a cycle of sorts. That there would be an aristocracy, which would be overthrown by a tyrant (monarch), and then the people would get sick of the tyrant and form a democratic government, then so on and so forth. So the Roman Government was modeled as a direct result of this idea ( I don't know if it was done intentionally or overtime gradually with different unrelated reforms). It was felt that if you could split the power up among the three forms of Government or at least the split up power period, so they would counter-balance each other, you could have a long lasting Government. The only nations to my knowledge in the Western Classical World with a similar idea were the Carthaginians (not as big a degree as Rome) and Sparta (the idea of having two Consuls in all likelihood came from Sparta where they had two kings). Given the fact that they lasted in excess of 500 years shows that at least to a degree they were right.

I don't know to much about the late Republic (I've only gotten to the 2nd Punic War in my readings of Polybius and Livy). I can say however that you should buy Plutarch's Lives and read about Marcus Cato (the Younger) and Marcus Cicero both of which were much admired by our founding fathers.

Julius Caesar may have been temporarily good for Rome, but in the long run the destruction of the balance of powers inevitably aided in it's decline. Emperors are fine as long as they aren't corrupt, incompotent, and outright evil.


Why was he a threat to the Republic?

He had the support of the plebians.

Meeleena
06 Feb 05,, 18:52
Wow, thanks! I understand a little more now! This is great. This will help me write the essay my teacher assigned us...
So. He was a threat becuase he had the plebes behind him? Oh! Because the Republic was patricians and stuff! Okay...plebians were...90%, right? Yeah. So...Wow. No one could stand in his way! It was like having the enitre city against everyone who was against him which was the patricians! So THATS why he was dictator! O.O!!!
You think it might have gone into a monarchy if he wasnt assassinated?
Hmm...
So, do you think he was just doing stuff for the plebes to get them behind him until he was dictator? You think he would have continued to do things for them after that?
Hmm...

Praxus
06 Feb 05,, 19:35
You think it might have gone into a monarchy if he wasnt assassinated?

If you look at Monarchy literally ("archy" being "Rule of" and "Mon" being "One"), then absolutely it was a Monarchy. Dictators were intended to only rule for a short period during an emergency and then step down. I think only the popular assembly can vote him out. I think this because during the 2nd Punic War the Dictator did not have absolute rule, the popular assembly voted to make his Master of Horse (his assistent of sorts) equal in rank to that of a Dictator. So it seems to me (I may be wrong) that the Popular Assembly has the power to throw a dictator out of office.

The thing with Caeser however was that he was immensely popular with the Plebians, who made up the Popular Assembly. Also I would not cast the Government by it's nature as anti-Plebian. In fact it had a seperate house of legislature with some serious powers (The Popular Assembly), also by the time of the 2nd Punic war one of the Consuls had to by law be Plebian.

Veni Vidi Vici
07 Feb 05,, 03:38
So it seems to me (I may be wrong) that the Popular Assembly has the power to throw a dictator out of office.

Really? I may be wrong but I understood that no one could vote a dictator out of office. The tribunes(popular assembly) could veto his appointment but once he was in he was in. This is why Julius Caesar became "dictator for life" because he overturned the 6 month ruling limit and the plebian tribunes(the only ones who could) didn't veto it.

Also it wasn't a case of it "might" have been a monarchy had they not killed Caesar, it was very much a monarchy before they killed him. They killed him because he made it a monarchy.

Praxus
07 Feb 05,, 03:46
Really? I may be wrong but I understood that no one could vote a dictator out of office. The tribunes(popular assembly) could veto his appointment but once he was in he was in. This is why Julius Caesar became "dictator for life" because he overturned the 6 month ruling limit and the plebian tribunes(the only ones who could) didn't veto it.

I don't know for sure, but if they can elivate a master of horse to a dictator, something that the dictator obviously did not want, then the dictator obviously doesn't have absolute power. It might be different by Caeser's time though. I don't know that much about the time period, so I will have to defer to someone more knowledgable then I.


Also it wasn't a case of it "might" have been a monarchy had they not killed Caesar, it was very much a monarchy before they killed him. They killed him because he made it a monarchy.

Yes, and the proponants of the Republic utterly hated the idea of a Monarchy because of Roman experiance with the 7 Kings.

Veni Vidi Vici
07 Feb 05,, 03:48
I don't know for sure, but if they can elivate a master of horse to a dictator, something that the dictator obviously did not want, then the dictator obviously doesn't have absolute power. It might be different by Caeser's time though.


Yes during the Punic wars I beleive that they pleb tribunes held more power but at the time of Caesar they had none because they surrendered it all to him because he was so popular.

Meeleena
13 Jul 05,, 17:22
Yes during the Punic wars I beleive that they pleb tribunes held more power but at the time of Caesar they had none because they surrendered it all to him because he was so popular.
Thats what I heard too.

The Chap
04 Nov 05,, 07:10
Threat to the republic eh? A patrician with plebian acclaim?! Gibbon may be just a tad of help. Go and have a browse through "Decline and Fall" for crying out loud! :)

Am I the only human left who reads books? :confused:

sparten
04 Nov 05,, 10:19
Am I the only human left who reads books?
In the case of Gibbon, well he has got his prejudices. You should check out the author first before reading books. I have lost my lunch way too often reading "feminist" "revisions". :eek: :mad: :mad:

Praxus
04 Nov 05,, 20:56
Threat to the republic eh? A patrician with plebian acclaim?! Gibbon may be just a tad of help. Go and have a browse through "Decline and Fall" for crying out loud! :)

Am I the only human left who reads books? :confused:

Gibbon starts later, I believe it's around 2nd century AD. I will find out when I get the 6 book set for Christmas.


In the case of Gibbon, well he has got his prejudices.

What prejudices are they? Have you read it?

sparten
05 Nov 05,, 06:20
What prejudices are they? Have you read it?
Yes, about a couple of years back. I should elaborate, that when I said prejudices I did not mean to detract it from being the masterpiece it is. What I ment was that Gibbon in his writings was looking through an 18th century prism. Not particularly surprising, we probably do that as well. But for an acedemic discussion we should not use an authors opinions as fact. Still a great book.

Praxus
05 Nov 05,, 06:54
Yes, about a couple of years back. I should elaborate, that when I said prejudices I did not mean to detract it from being the masterpiece it is. What I ment was that Gibbon in his writings was looking through an 18th century prism. Not particularly surprising, we probably do that as well. But for an acedemic discussion we should not use an authors opinions as fact. Still a great book.

What does "18th Century Prism" imply? I don't care if you think it's a masterpiece. What matters, is if it is true and honest.

sparten
05 Nov 05,, 10:35
Lets take the following examples

1) He disapproves of almost every one of the first 15 Roman Emperors except Claudius because of their "interest" in young boys. Now I happen to agree with him about it. But he does not explain it IIRC in terms that the Romans found such action okay and why.

2) He approves of Agustus Ceasers little morality crackdown.


What matters, is if it is true and honest.
Oh it is true in the sence that Gibbon seems able to recount all the relevent facts. And his reasons for the decline are of course unchallenged. But history is as much commentry on events as much as a recording of them.