Cicero, Tradition And The Crisis Of The Late Republic Essay

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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 of factionalism in Roman politics. The optimates preferred rule by tradition and of the best men which Rome could offer. This emphasis on order, traditional political structures and the history of Roman institutions and history was highly favored by the optimates of which Cicero was one of the chief leaders throughout the crises of the late republic. Cicero 's concern with the breakdown of order and tradition and the resulting rise of a new kind of Roman which did not care for tradition and the public good according to him led greatly to the decline of the Republic. Cicero 's contemporaries, men like Julius Caesar and Pompey Magnus did not care about tradition but only for wealth and power which did not square with Cicero 's vision for…

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