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The Roman Government

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The Roman Government
Latin Investigation By Abhishek Gambhir
January 2013

The High School of Glagow

abhishekgambhir14@gmail.com

1.

Table of Contents
3. 4 5. 6. 7. 8. Introduction The Leaders Political Groups Monarchy to Republic Conclusion Bibliography

Curia Julia The High School of Glagow abhishekgambhir14@gmail.com 2.

Introduction
I have chosen the government for my latin investigation for many reasons. The first and formost reason is that I am very interested in modern politics and how the government works and I thought it would be interesting if I resarched how the romans ruled and governed their country. On the front cover you will see an ancient coin with the letters SPQR on it. This would have stood for “Senātus Populusque Rōmānus” Which literarly translated as “The Senate and People of Rome.” These four letters were one of the most important symbols in roman life it was used as an official emblem of the modern day town of Rome. It appears on coins, at the end of important documents ,gravestones and was branded on the arms of the men in the Roman legions.

SPQR on a Gravestone

SPQR on a the base of a statue of Julius Caeser

In the Table of Contents I hve incuded remains of the Roman senate houses. The one on the left is Curia Julia which was the third senate house to be named. It’s construction began in 44 BC by order of Julius Caeser but was interupted by his unfortunate assassination and was completed by Caesar’s successor Augustus in 29 BC. The Curia Julia is one of the only Roman structures to still be standing today. Throughout the Investigation I will look at different points abot what made the Roman government tick, compare it with modern times and give a personal response. So lets begin with....

The High School of Glagow

abhishekgambhir14@gmail.com

3.

The Emperor

The Leaders

The emperor was the general learder of Rome and was responsible for the city. I will be using Emperor Augustus as an example. The reign of augustus started on 16th January 27 BC. This marked the start of a new era known as the Pax Romana (The Roman Peace). By conquering Egypt, Dalmatia, Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia, Augustus dramatically expanded the Roman emprie. Beyond the frontiers, he made peace with the Parthian Empire. He reformed the Roman system of taxing, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard(a force of bodyguards for the emperor), created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, and rebuilt much of the city during his reign. Augustus died in 14 AD at the age of 75. He may have died from natural causes, although there were rumors that his wife Livia poisoned him. He was succeeded as Emperor by his adopted son Tiberius who can be seen at his feet in the statue.

The Prime Minister

Statue of Emperor Augustus

As a comparison I will be talking about the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, unlike the Roman emperor is bound to “cabinet responsibility” (making joint decisions). In Latin Prime Minister is “Primus inter pares” which means “first among equals. But something the Prime minister and the emperor do have in common is the secutrity. Only other politicians and close friends and family are allowed on downing street.

Response
The way the Leader operates in there two civilisations is very different. Personally I think that our way of handling things is a bit better because in todays day and age, without the proper security assassination would be common and countries would be thrown into chaos.

The High School of Glagow

abhishekgambhir14@gmail.com

4.

Political Groups
The Roman Senate
The Roman Senate was a political organisation in ancient Rome. The word senate derives from the Latin word senex, which means "old man". Therefore the word means “assembly of elders”. The senate was one of the most enduring establishments in Roman history. The Senate was founded 500 BC. The senate was mainly composed of very wealthy people who were called the aristocrates. Only a small number of roman people could become a senetor but once someone had become a senetor the could attend the senate until death. By the middle Republic, the Senate reached the pinnacle of its power. As you can see in the ancient painting everyone is wearing a white robe which symbolises power. The late Republic saw a rise in the Senate's power, being led by Tiberius and Gaius Gracchi.

British Political Parties
As a comparison I will be looking at British political parties. A general election in Britian takes place every 4-5 years but in the Senate, senetors could stay until death once they were appointed. Also in Britian there are multiple political parties to give different viewpoints but in ancient Rome there was only the Senate.

Response
The way these political groups operate in thier respective civilisation is very different. Our system is democratic whereas the roman system is based on wealth and tradition. The Romans have a single party system and whilst this avoids some time being wasted it can make decisions very one sided. The British have a multi party sysetm and this gives more than one opinion on issues and lets the people side with who they want. I think Our system is better because It is less biased than the Romans way.

The High School of Glagow

abhishekgambhir14@gmail.com

5.

Monarchy to Republic
The Roman Republic
The Roman Republic (Res-publica Romanorum) was the period of the ancient Roman civilization when the government operated as a republic. It started with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy which happened around 509 BC, and its replacement was government headed by two consuls, elected every year by the citizens and advised by the senate. A regular system, gradually developed over time. The leaders of the Republic developed a strong tradition and morality requiring public service and support in peace and war, making military and political success linked. despite the Republic's struggle against any persons gain of permanent political powers, Roman politics was dominated by a small number of Roman leaders, their uneasy alliances punctuated by a series of civil wars. This eventually led to the republics demise. The Roman Republic was never restored, but neither was it abolished, so the exact date of the transition to the Roman Empire is unknown. Historians have proposed the appointment of Julius Caesar as perpetual dictator in 44 BC, the defeat of Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the Roman Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to under the first settlement as the defining event ending the Republic.

Britains Switch

As a comparison I will talk about when Britain moved from Monarchy to the system we are all familiar with today. In 1689,William III (and his wife Mary II) finally brought stability and the Bill of Rights was passed. This required all laws to be approved by Parliament, and for Parliament to be independant of the monarchy. By the time of Queen Victoria, the monarchy was no longer involved in politics, which became dominated by the Prime Minister. A series of Reform Acts from 1832 to 1928 would change the voting age to18.

Response
I think that the Republic system is alot bertter thant the moncrchy and that both civilisations were right in switching. It was just the bad times that the Roman republic did not last but in the modern day we all have a system that we are happy with.
The High School of Glagow abhishekgambhir14@gmail.com 6.

Conclusion

In conclusion the Roman government was a very well working and very well organised system for the time when it existed. There are alot of ideas that we could take from the Roman system that could help make our one better.

The High School of Glagow

abhishekgambhir14@gmail.com

Bibliography
The Government of the Roman Empire
Barbara Levick (Author)

The Digest of Roman Law: Theft, Rapine, Damage and Insult
Justinian (Author), C. Kolbert (Translator)

Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire
Simon Baker (Author)

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon (Author)

The Roman Government of Britain
Anthony R. Birley

http://jaysromanhistory.com/rome web/govt/early_govt.htm
(Website)

The High School of Glagow

abhishekgambhir14@gmail.com

6.

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