Roman Tribune Essay

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What is a Roman Tribune? The Roman Army was very much like the modern

day American Army in that used “rank” to determine the levels of responsibility. A

Roman tribune was an officer in the Roman Army who ranked higher than a Centurion.

A Centurion was one of six that commanded a Roman Legion, which was the smallest

unit of the Army. A Legion was normally 6,000 soldiers divided into ten cohorts.

Although the Tribune was “above” the Centurion, they were “below” the Legate. The

Legate was a general in the Roman Army that out-ranked all military Tribunes.

The primary responsibility of the Tribune was to protect the people. They had

little to do with the government/senate activities. Not everyone one in the Army had the
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They were sometimes compared to

“knights” or “cavalrymen” since they rode horses during battle.

2 Ridley

So they question is, what if you did not have the benefit of ancestry, since it

appeared that your destiny was tied to what family ties you had. What did the

“common” people do? They were known as “Plebs”. They were members of the general

body of Rome that were not Patrician’s (Nobel’s). The individuals were ordinary

working citizens who were farmers, shopkeepers, etc., but not including slaves.

In the play, “Julius Caesar”, Marullus was a Roman Tribune. He was a friend

with Flavius, also a Tribune. While walking in the street, they pass two Roman citizens

(Plebs), and Flavius ask them why are they on the street and not working? Because they

are not in their “work clothes”, he wonders aloud to them, “it is a holiday?” One
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Since Caesar killed Pompey, the people think he is a “God”. Caesar has two

friends from childhood, Brutus and Cassius, who all grew up together. Although they

grew up together, they are not of the same society ranking and Caesar treats them like

servants. He also has another servant named Casca, who is in the crowd of people

watching Caesar in the parade. As Caesar is walking by, Casca warns the people to be

quiet and a “soothsayer” in the crowd calls Caesar’s name and says, “beware of the isles

of March”. The Isles of March translates to “March 15th”. Although Caesar hears him, he

really doesn’t take the warning seriously, believing that it is coming from a “dreamer”, a

person who really has no credibility.

Brutus and Cassius leave the crowd and go to a place where they can talk.

Cassius tells Brutus how great he is and how bad Caesar is and what a weak leader he is.

Although Brutus doesn’t believe as strongly as Cassius does, he does agree that Caesar

should be “taken down a notch”. They hear the noise the crowd makes as Caesar makes

his way through the street. While walking, Caesar is talking to Anthony saying

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