Livy: the Rise of Rome

Topics: Roman Empire, Roman Republic, Ancient Rome Pages: 5 (1675 words) Published: April 2, 2006
In the second century B.C. Rome became the prominent power in Central Italy. The people of Rome achieved this feat through a series of warfare, and diplomacy. Whether attacking or defending they fought with organization, quality in leadership, ability, and discipline. In fact, they used these traits in virtually all aspects of their lives. The success of the Romans started with their organization within the city. Almost all citizens could vote, and after plebeians were allowed to hold office, almost anybody could be appointed to the Senate and other governmental positions. Voting created a pride in the city, as every person held a stake in the city. It created a sprit that could be seen on the battlefield. Voting also allowed for merit to be the key to high rank and success, not birth. Achieving status was easier if you were a patriarch, but plebeians also became integral in running the city and armies. The structure of the government itself was conducive to success at both diplomacy and warfare. The Senate and the People's Tribunes dealt with issues in an appropriate and fair way, trying to decide what was best for the people, the city, and all that it governed (without going too far outside of tradition). They were responsible for electing the military tribunes with consular powers. There were two Consuls elected with the point of having control of the armies, among other responsibilities. One of these responsibilities occurs during times of crisis. A completely unique governmental idea comes from Rome. During times of crisis, the Consuls would elect a Dictator. The Dictator, and a Master of Horse of his choice, would have complete executive power over Rome. Furthermore, they were expected to give up their power after six months, or as soon as the crisis ended. Sometimes a dictator would be appointed for a religious service with the point of doing one short act, hammering a nail. These dictators and consuls had an immense effect on Rome's history. With the acceptance of executive powers, they were expected to act accordingly. Much like today's President of the United States, they were responsible for their actions. The consuls and the dictators were the Army-In-Chief, the Chief-Citizen, etc… to the point where their responsibilities overtook their lives. When Consol Titus Manlius issues an order to avoid fighting the rebelling Latins at any cost, his own son (of the same name) responded to a personal challenge by an enemy cavalryman with deadly force. As a result, Titus Manlius called a meeting of the army and said, "Titus Manlius, you have respected neither consular authority nor your father's dignity; you have left your position to fight the enemy in defiance of my order, and, as far as was in your power, have subverted military discipline, on which the fortune of Rome has rested up to this day; you have made it necessary for me to forget either the republic or myself." (VIII,7.10)

Consul Manlius chose to forget himself, and ordered the execution of his own Son.
Great leaders performed incredible feats throughout this period in Roman History. Marcus Furius Camillus was elected dictator at least six times throughout his life. When leading an army against the Volscians, "the mere news that Camillus was in command threw them [the Volscians] into such a panic that they blockaded themselves behind a rampart, and protected the rampart with piled up logs." (VI, 2.9) The Volscians feared Camillus for good reason, for when battle was met "Camillus charg[ed] the enemy in person though his age made him unfit for physical feats, the men all cheered and rushed forward together, everyone taking up the cry ‘Follow the general!' It is even said that at Camillus' order the standard was thrown into the ranks of the enemy and the front line of troops was urged on to recover it." (VI, 8.10) Many generals were exceptional on the battlefield, and their names caused fear in their enemies, and their...
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