Skip to comments.Rethinking the fall of Rome's republic
Posted on 11/19/2011 2:32:47 AM PST by SunkenCiv
Using a variety of sources, from ancient texts to new archaeological evidence, Broadhead has crafted a novel hypothesis about how Caesar -- as well as Sulla a few decades before, and Augustus several years later -- could march on Rome with his own legions.
"My interpretation is a demographic one," Broadhead says. "Ancient Italy was a place of high geographical mobility, instead of being a place filled with sedentary peasants, which is the stereotypical image." People in towns throughout the Italian peninsula, from whose numbers the Roman Republic traditionally recruited its army, often traveled either to the newly conquered outposts of the Roman world, or throughout Italy, in search of better living conditions.
The Romans had previously used a rigid list, the formula togatorum, to determine how many conscripts should be drawn from which town, stubbornly refusing to change the list over time. But as the population shifted around, Broadhead notes, it became "more difficult for the Roman state to monitor and control that movement, and so the system of military recruitment that had been based very rigidly on the geographical distribution of population dissolved."
The result, he adds, was "a new system of recruitment where a powerful general goes to the population and says, 'Will you all fight with me?' The answer is 'Yes,' because any such volunteers were likely to enjoy the spoils of war. Population movement led to the personal client army of the late republic, which has long been recognized as a key to understanding its fall."
(Excerpt) Read more at web.mit.edu ...
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
If my memory serves, was it not Gaius Marius who first instituted this system, and is this not already widely known? This was before Sulla became the Dictator
Rome fell because (in the end) it could not field armies to fight off the encroaching barbarians. It has been theorized that this was due to a combination of demographic decline and Roman’s not having the will to defend themselves anymore.
Why did the Romans speak Latin and not Roman, and who were the Latins, the tribe dwelling near the city of Rome?
“Rome fell because (in the end) it could not field armies to fight off the encroaching barbarians. It has been theorized that this was due to a combination of demographic decline and Romans not having the will to defend themselves anymore.
What’s more familiar to us 21st Century Americans is politicians bankrupting the nation by bleeding the treasury dry to fatten their own estates. Any of that in Roman history?
Their territory was called Latium; Rome was just one of several towns of the region. They were ruled by the Etruscans until the Romans overthrew their Etruscan king and founded the Republic. This is why Rome became the leading city in Latium and eventually Europe.
“Their territory was called Latium; Rome was just one of several towns of the region. They were ruled by the Etruscans until the Romans overthrew their Etruscan king and founded the Republic. This is why Rome became the leading city in Latium and eventually Europe.”
Good stuff! Thank you.
Why did the Romans speak Latin and not Roman?
How close to societal collapse are we?
From what I understand the Romans came to be dependent upon the dole. That saps ones will to adapt to disaster and destroys ones ability to innovate. It also creates a dependency upon the state for personal protection.
The Current FReepathon Pays For The Current Quarters Expenses?
Remember during the Clinton administration when one of his lackeys (was it snuffleupagus?) talked about crossing the Rubicon? So few understood what that meant.
Rome had always been the most important of the city-states in Latium. Among the others were Tibur (Tivoli) and Praeneste (Palestrina). The modern-day region of Lazio in Italy includes ancient Latium but also land on the north side of the Tiber River that was part of ancient Etruria.
I think that once a state reaches a certain level of prosperity, this may be inevitable. “Smart” politicians realize they can be popular by giving out these goodies. Smart is in quotes because what is good for them (in the short term) is harmful to their civilization in the long term. My guess is that they understand this all too well, but don’t care.
My question is not “Why did Rome fall, but how did they expand and sustain the empire so long? Remarkable for a city to have such an expansive empire for so long.
IIRC the empire was split and they had paid non-Italians for decades to provide an army on the boundaries of the empire. As the barbarians had their own demographic expansion and needed land and wanted a taste of the good life, their southern and western expansions became inevitable. Don’t know how long you can keep your guards at the fence of the property when they want the good life up in the main house.
As I've said before, the fall of the Roman Republic, as opposed to the fall of the Roman Empire, began the day that Carthage was destroyed. The influx of loot from that conquest, coupled with the revenue stream from being the sole, undisputed power in the Med, was the root cause.
Political machinations to control this wealth led to a collapse in civic virtues, and ambitious men abounded, vying to be the one who would distribute the goodies. The Senate became wholly corrupt, and men such as Marius, Sulla, the First and Second Triumvirates became the norm, and not the exception.
At the end of all that, the Roman Empire was born. It too, would not last, due to overweening ambitions, lust for personal power, and collapse of societal virtues...
Rome learned a lot from the Greeks. As a result, it many good policies and practices. This helped it to survive many a bad emperor. Romans also had a very strong sense of honor. Like the Japanese, if you disgraced yourself or your family, you were expected to kill yourself. We can debate the morality of that particular tradition, but methinks it kept their elites on the straight and narrow. [Their mass conversion to Christianity may have weakened this, IMHO]
You also have to remember that the velocity of information back then was very (very) slow compared to today. The reputation of Rome kept her great even after she had rotted internally. Eventually, a few smart barbarians figured out that Rome had become a paper tiger. Even after her fall, it took decades for the word to get out that the Empire was indeed gone for good.
I would add leaving the local authority in place alongside a Roman governor. Taking the kids of the leader to Rome for education and imposing Roman law. I took a strong lesson from the strength and spread of Roman law, that I highly object to the exceptions we see for those inside the beltway.
My understanding was that in the Roman-ruled colonies, such as Britain, regulations became so restrictive, so micromanaging and inflation so high that it crumbled as people picked up and moved in large migrations.
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