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Why was there so much violence in Rome in the late Republic - Essay Example

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Until about 133 B.C., the era of the Gracchi brothers, Rome had a mix constitution constituted by monarchic, aristocratic, and popular elements – this, together with the military domination of the Italian peninsula and the foreign wars with Carthage, Greece, and beyond, had…
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Why was there so much violence in Rome in the late Republic
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Caesar’s rise to power and his eventual assassination demonstrate the violence that permeated Rome’s late Republic. Caesar was pivotal in the increase in violence as he helped militarize the Roman city. Earlier, Rome was plagued by anarchy and that Cnaeus Pompeius was entrusted with the restoration of order. He achieved this by bringing legionaries into the center of the city, the first time that serving soldiers have been brought there for this purpose, except in times of civil war. (Lintott, p. xiv) After order was restored, these legionaries remained in Rome for two more years under Pompeius’ command. Now, this was used by Julius Caesar as a reason to invade Italy with the pretext of defending his own status. This invasion would bring the Republic to an end.
The transition from armies that were fighting in the battlefield to gangs fighting in the streets has sparked the violence in the late Republic. Such transition was disastrous and it is not difficult to understand why. Cicero argued in favor of arming the Roman citizens in his defense of Milo. However, this proved disastrous as more and more people became violent with their arms up to the point that the government could no longer control them. By the time the Roman Senate passed legislation to control bearing arms for violent purposes in the public realm, it was already too late.
A specific example of the most controversial disturbances happened in 59 B.C., when the consul Bibulus tried to block his colleague Caesar’s legislation. According to Crook, Lintoot and Rawson’s account:
Bibulus offered religious objection to Caesar’s proposals in the traditional way, according to the process known as abnutiatio: he appeared in the Forum and declared to the presiding magistrate that he had seen evil omens… As the year went on, however, civil disturbances increased and Bibulus became the object of such violent assaults that he took refuge in his house and merely issued messages that he was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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