Tribunes In Ancient Rome

Superior Essays
Back in the days of Ancient Rome, tribunes were some of the most feared and respected

people in society. There were many different types of tribunes. These tribunes all had different

roles and played major parts in the Roman society. The most common type of tribune was an

elected position whose job was to defend the civil and religious liberties of the Roman people, to

protect them from oppression from nobles, and to solve certain military issues (TribunesAnd

Triumphs.org). The word tribune is derived from the word tribe, which is appropriate because

these types of tribunes would be assigned a tribe to protect and defend.

Another type of tribune was a military tribune. Military tribunes were officers who were

placed in charge
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Sometimes, other people of high rank were also called tribunes. For example, a Tribune

of the Treasury was thought to be a tax collector (Wikipedia.org).

Marullus and Flavius were Roman tribunes who distrusted and disliked Julius Caesar in

the Shakespeare play The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Their distrust of Caesar stems from the

death of Pompey. Pompey was a leader in Rome who was killed by Caesar, supposedly because

of Caesar’s lust for power. According to Marullus, Pompey was a very popular person,

constantly having parades thrown in his honor and he was trusted by many Romans. Marullus

and Flavius were enraged at Caesar because now that he murdered Pompey, he has a parade

(Shakespeare 3). They believe that the Roman people lost sight of how much they loved Pompey

as a leader, and they think that they are stupid for turning their backs to Pompey so soon and

immediately going to Caesar. They get so angry, in fact, that they start to tear down decorations

off of statues of Caesar (Shakespeare 3). This anger towards Caesar can be viewed two
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As distrust grew, this led to Marullus and Flavius

tearing down Caesar’s decorations and Cassius and Casca forming an alliance to try to kill him

and make Rome a better place.

The phrase “never judge a book by its cover” fits very well in this situation. Marullus and

Flavius only know Caesar by the decisions he makes, which are morally ambiguous at best. They

are, in essence, going off of a hunch. But who’s to blame them? Everyone must make decisions

in their life. Everybody must decide for themselves whether the “Caesar’s” or “McDonald’s” of

life are the real deal, or fake. In this case, Marullus and Flavius chose fake, and that’s not

necessarily a bad thing. They were doing their duty to their people and to Rome. As Roman

tribunes, it was their duty to decide what was good for their tribe and their people, and to make

sure that they were not being needlessly oppressed. In their eyes, Caesar was a power hungry

maniac who would do anything, even murder, to get the crown and rule Rome. They made sure

that people did not mindlessly fall in line with Caesar’s agenda.

While we read this play, we must keep in mind that even people like Cassius are

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