Rome One Could Be Important Essay

Pages: 12 (5688 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Government

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
I picture myself being led on into vaster...depths with every forward step. The task undertaken seemed to grow less with the completion of the early stages; now, in anticipation, it seems almost to increase as I proceed (ibid., 288)"

Foreign affairs (Rome's expansion) shaped the social order at home (the struggle of the orders), and vice versa. For instance, in Mellor, Livy, ambassadors were sent out from Rome to Athens to study their laws, a situation that led directly to the formation of a law code in Rome which helped to quell domestic disturbances (ibid., 215-217). Livy's thesis of a struggle of the orders is an over- simplification of a highly complex series of events that had no single cause. This can be seen as well in the consultation of the fetiales before going to war with Phillip of Macedon in 200 B.C. (ibid. 293-294). Domestic events were tied to foreign affairs and the fetiales were a part of the social order that could not be ignored.

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We have to remember that Livy was writing during the time of Caesar Augustus when the Roman domestic political situation was being quelled and the foreign conquests were being consolidated. While his attachment to the Republic could not be entirely quelled, he certainly could only go so far in portraying its freedmen in a positive light. The status of freedmen developed throughout the Republic as their number increased. Livy states that the freedmen in the early Roman Republic mainly joined the lower classes of the plebeians. During the Empire Livy describes freedmen who had been accepted into the equestrian class. This could not have helped the social situation in Rome. However his relating of Roman virtue would have keep him out of trouble

Freedmen were often highly educated and made up the bulk of the civil service during the early Empire. This freedom was advanced and born from service in the civil service and the Army. In this way, the lower orders had their way to improve their situation.

Essay on Rome One Could Be Important Assignment

Livy's reluctance to veer off the main course of narrating Rome's major domestic and foreign affairs is quite evident from later historians who were much more biting in their analysis (Mellor 13) Tensions certainly have existed and no state can experience 200 years of history without some degree of social conflict and economic unrest. In fact, legal sources indicate that the law of debt in early Rome was extremely harsh and must have sometimes created much hardship. Yet it is impossible to believe that all aspects of early Rome's internal political development resulted from one cause. Early documents, if available, would have told the later annalistic historians little more than that a certain office had been created or some law passed. An explanation of causality could have been supplied only by folklore or by the imagination of the historian himself, neither of which can be relied upon.

Livy's descriptions of early republican political crises reflect the political rhetoric and tactics of the late republic and therefore cannot be given credence without justification. Unfortunately for Augustus, this caused confusion as to what to do with Livy. Allegiances could change overnight. Wars, civil and foreign bled together and political fortunes at home were linked to success on the battlefield. The young Roman Republic frequently found itself at war, not only with foreigners but also with its Republican self.

3. Discuss three individuals from this section who embody Roman values. Explain your selections. In your explanation, single one of them out as best representative of Roman values more than the other two, and defend your choice.

One figure who came to symbolize Roman values was Scipio Africanus. Elements of the legend surrounding Scipio present him as a devoutly religious man or even in mystical terms. He regularly called upon the gods for their divine favor. It was said that he spent long hours in the temples meditating deeply before his decisions. The myth had it that the gods arranged miracles for him based upon this merit in order to bring him victory on the battlefield. The war that he won required superhuman efforts of virtue, as Livy states in general 21.1 "For never did any other states or nations with mightier resources join in combat, nor did these nations in question possess, at any other time, such vast power and energy as then (ibid. 242).'"

This legend existed in Scipio's own day and he used it to motivate his troops in battle and to later gain political advantage and support from the Roman people. Whatever the legend, he was probably a pious man by Roman standards or at least as pious as the average Roman of the time. For instance, he later became a Salian priest of Mars. While this may not justify him as a mystic, it certainly brands him as pious. He certainly was a Stoic, an advocate of that philosophy of dealing with the pain that the human being almost inevitably runs into in life.

Whatever his motivation, it would be no surprise that fighting and war would make Scipio religious. Many successful soldiers and generals have religious experiences. There are truly few atheists in foxholes. Even if this were not true, it would have been foolish for Scipio not to encourage the beliefs. In the superstitious Roman culture, piety would bring good luck as well, something that the battle hardened troops would have savored in a general who led from the front. Obviously, this was a virtue that he fostered and spread among his men.

His young age would not have been a hindrance to his acquiring a piety and adherence to Roman values. Many young men who see their comrades die in battle "grow up" early and become responsible young adults. He displayed emotion in front of his troops. In other words, he was a man who embodied the values and ethics of a good Roman citizen in defending the Republic against its enemies.

One attribute he certainly had in abundance was leadership. This is something that he had to exhibit not just on the battlefield, but at home as well. This was leadership that in North Africa was able to command Gallic auxiliaries and Numidians that had formerly fought for Hannibal (ibid. 242).

Augustus' life was built upon and fueled by Roman tradition and values. During the long life he rebuilt many of the public areas of Rome. Upon these values, he improved the provincial administration, tried to ensure a return to traditional Roman beliefs and values and encouraged such patriotic writers as Virgil, Horace and Livy. By the time that he died, he had been given the title 'Father of the Country' and, especially in the east, was regarded as a semi-divine figure. After his death he was declared a god.

Augustus' reputation as a virtuous Roman allowed him carte blanche to engage in many vital public projects and to command the respect of the people. For more than 50 years, Augustus was the dominant figure of ancient Rome. During this time he reorganized the empire won by the generals of the republic, by Pompey, and by Caesar, and he made great additions to the Roman domain. Augustus restored peace and order after 100 years of civil war. He maintained honest government, a sound currency system, and free trade among the provinces. Augustus developed an efficient imperial postal system, improved harbors, and established colonies. He extended the elaborate highway system that connected Rome to remote parts of the empire. His moral reputation gave him the authority to whip Rome into line (ibid., 322-328).

Augustus had a belief Roman morals had been corrupted in the late Republic that led him to initiate legislation to stop this decline. He felt that the increased luxury that came about due to the conquests that made Rome the world dominating hyper power that it became was the cause of this problem. It had undermined traditional simplicity and frugality and caused a decline in morals due to liberalized divorce laws, hedonistic parties and the embarrassing upper class love affairs in Roman society attractive women and fashionable boys . This brought about a low birth rate. Under the imperium, the money that could be spent on public feasts was limited. Adultery was made illegal. Indeed, his own daughter Julia was exiled for adultery (ibid).

Augustus revised the tax code to penalize bachelors, widowers and married persons who had less than three children. Basically, the "Augustan Age" was a lengthy one and extended far beyond Augustus' lifetime and set the tone for the "five good emperors." Even though these emperors did not always live up to the ideal, they certainly inspired faith in the traditional system of Roman virtue. In the opinion of the masses, Augustus spoke to them and the common sense of the "silent majority" of Romans that felt that law and order and morality needed to be reintroduced… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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