As Senator Cato the Censor (234-149 BCE) righteously perceived, the Roman Republic was “not made by any one man, but by many; not in a single lifetime, but over many lifetimes.” (Rodgers 2006, pge.89) Cato aimed at preserving the mos majorum (“ancestral custom”), which rejected any new forms of influence that would jeopardies his position as Censor, and the Senates power of ruling authority. ‘He passed measures taxing luxury and strictly revised the lists of persons eligible for the Senate” (www.britannica.com, 2013) The Senate was full of men like Cato, determined not to defy traditional laws and practices. And that’s why it was inevitable for the political system to fail, because their rulers acted only in desire and self-pleasure. Undoubtedly this caused major disturbance to the peasants and farmers of ancient Rome, and resulted in a string of actions instigated by multiple individuals, supported by these communities that weakened the power of the Senate and initiated the breakdown of the Roman Republic.
500BCE is said to be the start of economic, political and cultural breakdown. ‘…partly due to the reduction on trade at the end of the monarchy…’ (Roberts, 2006) The Senate was originally there only as an advisory body, but through wars and international trading, they won absolute power over the republic. The consuls and magistrates still remained, but they had little effect over political change if the Senate refused to pass their laws. The governing system needed to change, the revenues won at war were only divided up against the high-class aristocratic. Leaving the peasants, farmers and soldiers who earned that land nothing. The rich and stubborn males of the Senate became greedy and power hungry, men were elected, but to gain entry, money surpassed power or experience. Yet, no one was willing to give up his privileges in return for an honest functioning state. Sallust (86-35BCE) affirms, “Fortune turned against us and brought confusion to all we did....
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