Cicero's Late Republic Summary

Cicero, Tradition and the Crisis of the Late Republic
The Late Republic the period following the rise of the Gracchi was known largely as a time period where chaos, disorder and the breakdown of tradition conspired to break down the Roman state that had functioned largely harmoniously since the end of the conflict of the orders and especially during the Middle Republic a time period ruled by the crisis of the Punic Wars. The Roman state and its Constitution was ruled not by any set of written down laws but by tradition and the power of prestige. The Late republic was marked for a general breakdown of this consensus and the creation of new conflicts within the Roman state. The optimates and populares represented a growing and worrying amount
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Cicero argues that the instituttions of the Roman state had been effectively torn asunder by the new party which under the Gracchi and later under other populist leaders aimed to divide Rome in two parts. Cicero claimed that after the death of Tiberius Gracchus there were “two senates in one republic and two separate people. This was clearly a departure from how things had always been done in Rome which had for the longest time a tradition of being a republic which valued working together in order to establish a well-functioning state it must have a principle of government, be it a monarchy, an aristocracy or a democracy. Cicero, using Scipio’s voice in this dialogue argues that the best government is in fact “mixed and moderated government, which is composed of the three particular forms I have before noticed.” The three kinds of government aforementioned by Cicero all have a particular attraction and are at the same point an important part of building a well functioning government. The Roman Constitution is one great example of how a mixed government can be the best way of assuring that it assures the liberty of all and the strength of the …show more content…
The most important distinguishing characteristics of the Roman state which made it unique, the Senate, the division of the state between the patricians and the plebeians and the creation of a form of representative democracy. Dionysus of Halicarnassus describes a system where the Roman people had three privileges “ to choose magistrates, to ratify laws, and to decide concerning war whenever the king left the decision to them.” The people did not have direct democracy though, Rome voted in curiae, or assemblies which had the power to decide on important matters of state. The legacy of Roman government which was handed down as far back as the founding of it by Romulus asserted an important reality about how important tradition and history were to the establishment of political order in Roman

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