“…Was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; and sure he is an honorable man. But were I Brutus, and Brutus Antony, there were an Antony would ruffle up your spirits, and put a tongue in every wound of Caesar that should move the stones of Rome to rise and mutiny… … Here was a Caesar! When comes such another,” addressed wise Marc Antony to the manipulated Roman citizens. (Foote and Perkins, 678 –683). During 509 BC to AD 27, Rome was a republic where its citizens elected leaders by voting for senators (people from upper class or patricians). On the other hand an emperor had total power or dictatorship since he controlled the Roman society (different groups of people from the wealthiest to the most poor). As the Roman society was divided into various groups, not all had similar rights, including the right to vote. Thus, even if Rome had elections, was it a democracy? During Caesar’s time of reign (100 BC to 44 BC), this was how the government and the Roman society behaved. In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the similar intense affect or the change on the ordinary citizens can be witnessed due to the manipulation of these citizens by the upper class citizens such as Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus, Cassius, and Marc Antony. The Roman emperors, patricians and the equestrians came from the upper class that had power and various rights such as the right to vote. As a result, they were able to manipulate the uneducated, lower classes of ordinary citizens, slaves and freedmen as politicians by the use of their army, their oratorical skills and by means of bribery, intimidation, and by other acts of abusing their position or power. Due to the unequal levels in society, politicians could easily manipulate the people under them. Majority of the Romans did not have the right and the power to rise and revolt against the politicians since they came from a low-leveled society. The Roman society was classified into different classes though the majority of the Roman citizens consisted of the ordinary citizens, slaves and freedmen. The most powerful and the wealthiest was the emperor from a patrician family who controlled huge areas of land, a professional army, the government, the provincial governors and officials. Since Julius Caesar was born into a family of the patrician class, he had an advantage in having any position in the government. By marriage, he was related to Marius, a politician as well. Julius Caesar began his political career by taking various public offices, such as the head of financial affairs in Spain and later he was in charge of all the public buildings in Rome. Then in 60 BC, he was elected to the highest position as consul. For one year he had complete control over the government and army along with another consul. Also later, his nephew, Augustus became the emperor of Rome. This reveals that being born into the elite class meant having responsibility in the government as either an emperor, a senator or an official, certainly. The patricians were those upper class people who were usually the senators elected as the provincial governors, governing the city. They were responsible to settle disputes in their provinces, to collect taxes and to control the army. These families worked for the government and could afford a great deal of money to spend on their elections. Under the patricians, were the equestrians that assisted the provincial governors as government officials and also provided men for the army. The next group was that of the ordinary citizens. Ordinary citizens, the 4th level of the Roman society, were those that were able to afford to pay high taxes and also gain citizenship all together. During Republican Rome, they lived in farms, not in the city therefore the army protected them from any possible attack therefore they were expected to join and give their support to the army. By joining the army the citizen helped to protect his own land and country. In return, the citizen could gain some...
Bibliography: Coulson, Ian. The Roman Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Corbishley, Mike. Ancient Rome. Oxford: Oxford Ltd., 1989.
Frazee, Charles A. Volume 1: From the Stone Age to 1500 – World History. San Diego, CA: Greenhaver Press Inc., 1999.
Nardo, Don. Daily Life-Ancient Rome. San Diego, CA: Kid Haven Press, 1994.
Nardo, Don. The Roman Empire. San Diego, CA: Kid Haven Press, 1994.
Kleeman, Brian M. “The Roman Constitution.” (1998): 4 pg. 3 May 8, 2004.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document