Analysis Of Cicero, Tradition And The Crisis Of The Late Republic

1932 Words 8 Pages
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
…show more content…
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…
Conquest and wealth with time led to a wearing away of the traditions of Roman society and that is something which Cicero railed against. Cicero saw the crisis of the late Republic as a crisis of morality. Rome’s government by the time of Cicero’s career was corrupted, by “the great, exhausted by their luxury and vices, made no other use of their governments, than to enrich themselves by the spoils of the foreign provinces.” These powerful men used their provinces as a way of making money to buy offices and as a way of corrupting the citizens at home. This is was largely a departure from how things had usually been done in Roman politics for the longest time and he located this crisis during his lifetime as coinciding with a strain of political thought led by the populares. Cicero, defined populares as “those who wished all that they said and did to be pleasing to the people. He included among them all who sought social or political change and were prepared to achieve it by appeal to the extra senatorial elements in the state.” All of these men which Cicero called to one extent or another populares, Cinna, Sulla, and Sulpicius

Related Documents