top-rated free essay

Development of Roman Political System

By bensez Dec 22, 2010 938 Words
Evaluation Of “Rome In The Late Republic“
There appears to be much controversy as to the reasons the Roman Republic ended. Mary Beard and Michael Crawford, both known authors for several works pertaining to ancient Rome, have teamed together and wrote Rome in the Late Republic. This book, fairly contemporary in its research, takes on the challenge of depicting reasons why the Roman Republic ended, and in explaining the reasons; they attempt to incorporate such issues as religion, political institutions, socio-economic attributes of the people, and outside influence into their argument. Beard and Crawford’s thesis lies in the portrayal of these issues in their relation to the fall of the Roman Republic and how their explanation differs from other authors and scholars’ interpretations. Beard and Crawford present their material in an easily readable, and quite short, manner. They have separated their arguments into that which the reader can comprehend and associate with outside information concerning the history of Rome. However, there is a problem, regarding the historical aspect, whereas Beard and Crawford do not give particular examples of historical events, or the like. It is not a problem if the reader has an understanding of the subject, but if someone were not to possess such knowledge, then they would be at a disadvantage, because of this lapse on the authors’ part. For instance, the statement, “As the political system came increasingly under the dominance of powerful individuals, so those individuals, tended also to monopolize links with divine,” does not provide an adequate perception to the certain individuals, which can be learned in other fashions to represent people like Julius Caesar, who served as Pontifex Maximus. Considering this lack of direct historical evidence, the book appears to be more based in a literary manner, with indirect historical evidence, as mentioned. In the literary sense, the authors give their supposition into why the Republic ended, in such statements like “The late Republic had witnessed the development of an elite culture drawing on both Greek and Roman traditions; this development was crucial to the functioning of the relatively complex structure of the Roman Empire” (24). It is made clear what the authors are presenting by their explanations and evidence. Throughout the book, Beard and Crawford divide their assertions into understandable chapters by separating, material like religion, political institutions, and socio-economic attributes of the people that provide a solid argument for why the Roman Republic ended. An example of the information provided concerning religion’s role in the ending of the Republic is, “religious means were used to gain political ends-therefore ‘true’ Roman religion had been perverted away from its proper use” (26). Later in another chapter, Beard and Crawford depict political institutions’ role in the ending of the Republic, with relation to contemporary intellectuals as, “It is difficult to comprehend political life at Rome in the late Republic. Not only are its structures and institutions alien to us; they were also in a state of disruption and change” (40). Finally, depicting the socio-economic argument, Beard and Crawford assert that “The pattern of the Roman conquest of Italy meant that in most essential respects there came to be substantial uniformity in social and economic structure throughout Italy” (79). These divisions that the authors present their argument and separate the material allow for a well formulated book. The final area that Beard and Crawford touch upon is challenging fellow scholars and modern historians. An example of their criticism is that “Ancient authors and modern historians treat the Senate (and to a lesser extent the equestrian order) as if it was, for all practical purposes, a hereditary body” (45). Following that statement the authors present their counter-argument. By mentioning other arguments, the authors give more legitimacy to their material. Another example of this is Some recent writing can leave the reader wondering why the assembly bothered to meet at all, seeing that the view of the elite was so bound to prevail. The elite had, in short, a vested interest in unity-which was, of course, not preserved in the political struggles of the late Republic. However, other historians gave the impression that it was exceedingly hard to become a magistrate or senator if you didn’t have a relative that was a senate, etc. (51).

In this example, the authors’ argument is clearly opposite from what other historians claim. Beard and Crawford’s disagreements with scholars and historians are made known throughout the book. The manner, in which they do so, is by presenting both sides, then proceeding to explain why theirs is superior. This method allows the reader to comprehend the material related to the subject and to understand why Beard and Crawford’s contentions are better. Beard and Crawford’s book is an excellent supplement to studies in Roman history, because it provides a sufficient interpretation into the end of the Roman Republic, outside of the textbook’s straightforward historical evidence. Rome in the Late Republic is more of a literary source and by doing so the authors present historical evidence and material indirectly, though if reading a Roman history textbook at the same time, the reader should have no difficulty understanding what Beard and Crawford are trying to argue, concerning the factors related to the ending of the Republic of Rome. In conclusion, Beard and Crawford do a good job of presenting their reasons for the ending of the Roman Republic, though more historical evidence would allow readers a better comprehension of the material. The book is helpful to those who want to learn more into the reasons why the Republic of Rome.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Political system

    ... A political system is an aspect of the social system, and political activity and study is a special category of social activity and study. The boundary of politics is often not clear, so that, for example, actions of trades union leaders may sometimes be induded in politics and sometimes not. The same is true of activities in areas more oft...

    Read More
  • the impact of political socialization in the transformation of the political system

    ...enters the phenomena of political socialization. This essay will define what the phenomena is, what it encompasses and how it contributes to the transformation of the political system of a community, state or globally. Political socialization can be simply describe as the life long process by which individuals develop a relationship to the poli...

    Read More
  • Roman Class System

    ...Roman Class System An integral part of Roman culture is the divergence of class systems. The laws of ancient Rome actually enforced this divide. People were born into one of two extremes. You were either considered upper class or lower class. There was no concept for a middle class in the Roman empire. This had a major influence in how you...

    Read More
  • Systems Development

    ...Systems Development and Project Management Information technology is an important part of a company’s future success. In order for companies to move into the future compressively they must continue to enhance their Information technology. The systems development process and the management of it are important aspects of strategically enhan...

    Read More
  • System Development

    ... What impact is this likely to have on the organisational structure? What issues will arise from these changes? What else needs to be done in order to make the growth targets realisable? Useful to look at the organisational structure – consider Directors to be running Departments and the boxes underneath to be Teams all run by a Manager. ...

    Read More
  • Computer System Development

    ...management, in the development and implementation of strategies. Learners will be introduced to the software tools available to support management and produce reports for financial planning and control. In this unit learners will also use IT for strategic planning activities and evaluate the impact of IT on management as well as learn the imp...

    Read More
  • The Development of the Roman Empire

    ...The Development of the Roman Empire When he was just nineteen years old, Ceaser Augustus took over the Roman Republic and morphed it into the Roman Empire. Ceaser Augustus rose to power through the death of his father. In this essay, I will discuss the rise of the Roman Empire with the following issues: the reformation of the Roman Republic in...

    Read More
  • Development of the Ancient Roman Navy

    ...Naval warfare was considered a second thought to most ancient Romans. It never carried the same prestige as that of a legionary. Before the First Punic War the Roman navy consisted mainly of allied ships and a few Roman ships that had crews that were very inexperienced. When entering the First Punic War they realized they needed to develop a nav...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.