The Roman Empire

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Kevin Paltoo
EUH 1000
Mr. Rogers
04/10/2010
The Lex Oppia was a law established in ancient Rome in 215 BC, at the height of the Second Punic War during the days of national catastrophe after the Battle of Cannae. This law was designed to limit the rights of women. The law was also passed to tap into wealthy women fortunes by the state in order to pay for the costs of the war. This law basically stripped the rights of women. Marcus Porcius Cato also known as the censor is one of the statesmen that supported the Lex Oppia law. Marcus Porcius Cato was one of the statesmen who reject repealing the Lex Oppia law. Cato stated “ If each of us, citizens, had determined to assert his rights and dignity as a husband with respect to his own spouse, we should have less trouble with the sex as a whole; as it is, our liberty, destroyed at home by female violence, even here in the Forum is crushed and trodden underfoot, and because we have not kept them individually under control, we dread them collectively. (Par. 2) Cato is saying in his statement that he object in repealing against the Oppian Law because he believe that women were needed to be contained within this law. He believed in order for the husbands to keep control of their spouses properly, they need to be restrained under the Oppian Law. Cato believes that the Oppian Law allowed men to say dominant over women regardless whether some women were wealthier then some men. The main bases of his objections were on the fact of women not becoming superior to men. This was one of his fears of women during the Punic War. He felt that women were getting to be equal to men slowly as time went on and he wanted to prevent this.

However Cato had someone that opposed his views about the Oppian Law. This man was Lucius Valerius. Lucius Valerius was a Republican Politian and was a good friend of Marcus Porcius Cato. Valerius counters Cato by saying “Laws passed in time of peace, war frequently annuls, and peace those passed in times of war, just as in handing a ship some means are useful in fair weather and others in a storm. Since they are so distinguished by nature, to which class, I ask, does the law which we are trying to repel seem to belong? Well? Is it an ancient regal law, born with the city itself, or, what is next to that, one inscribed on the twelve tables by decimvirs appointed to codify law? . . . Since for so many years our matrons lived virtuous lives without it, what danger is there that when it is repealed they will rush into riotous luxury? (Par. 8) Valerius basically is saying that the Oppian Law is based on ancient laws and tradition and is basically a bunch of garbage. These laws are just an excuse to strip away the women rights. Women barely had rights to begin within the Roman republic. Valerius also says that what is the point of these laws? The women of Rome were living virtuous lives without these laws in place anyways. So basically he is saying that we do not need to establish these laws. These laws were just a scam in order to get money from wealthy women in order to pay for the war.
Marcus Tullius Cicero was an orator, lawyer, politician, and philosopher. Marcus Tullius Cicero had many political and social values that were essential to leading a good life on earth and gaining eternal life in the hereafter or so he believed. As has been said, Cicero subordinated philosophy to politics, so it should not surprise us to discover that his philosophy had a political purpose: the defense, and if possible the improvement, of the Roman Republic. The politicians of his time, he believed, were corrupt and no longer possessed the virtuous character that had been the main attribute of Romans in the earlier days of Roman history. This loss of virtue was, he believed, the cause of the Republic’s difficulties. He hoped that the leaders of Rome, especially in the Senate, would listen to his pleas to renew the Republic. Cicero, therefore, tried to use philosophy to...
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