By C Wirszubski

This research describes the that means of libertas as a political suggestion at Rome in the course of the 2 hundred years or so among the Gracchi and Trajan, a interval within which the Republican structure progressively gave approach and was once eventually superceded by way of the Principate which, in its personal flip, significantly replaced through the first century advert. Libertas, whereas pointed out with the republican structure throughout the Republican interval, endured to be a favored slogan and a constitutional precept below the Principate, and C H Wirszubski questions no matter if the political content material of Roman libertas replaced because the Roman structure used to be remodeled. He explores the overall features of libertas earlier than enticing with either the history and the key issues that have been at factor, concluding his research with attention of libertas within the context of the Principate. initially released within the Nineteen Fifties, Wirszubski's vintage examine has been digitally reprinted for a brand new iteration of students.

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Extra info for Libertas as a Political Idea at Rome during the Late Republic and Early Principate

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CIVIL D I S C O R D : OPTIMATES AND P O P U L A R E S 35 1 life. 2 The Roman, quite rightly, recognized as a matter of course that some people were better qualified than others to become auctores, that is to say that they were worthy and able to suggest to others what they ought to do,3 and, so long as the acceptance of auctoritas was not exacted, he also did not consider it incompatible with his freedom to follow their lead. Such a frame of mind, combined as it was with the fact that a political career of any significance demanded the possession of considerable wealth, made the existence of a ruling oligarchy (in the original sense and without any odious connotation) inescapable.

Gracchus—qui unus maxime popularis fuit, Cic. De Dom. 24—said in the Assembly (Schol. Bob. 81, 20 St. =Malcovati, Orat. Rom. Frag. 11, p. 139, no. 44): Si vellem aput vos verba facere et a vobis postulare, cum genere summo ortus essem.. nee quisquam de P. Africani et Tiberi Gracchi familia nisi ego et puer restaremus, ut pateremini hoc tempore me quiescere ne a stirpe genus nostrum interiret, etc. 38 CIVIL D I S C O R D : OPTIMATES AND POPULARES ambitious desire to enhance one's prestige gradually destroyed the harmony between the dignitas of some and the libertas of all.

1752 ff. and especially cols. ; and A. Momigliano (reviewing L. S. x x x n (1942), p. 121. a GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF LIBERTAS 19 Another point of great consequence is intercession As has been said, the Assembly could vote only on motions introduced by a competent magistrate. Until the actual voting took place the motion remained essentially an act of the magistrate, and as such was open to veto by par maiorve potestas. In theory intercessio overrode the authority of the magistrate only, not of the Assembly; but in practice it prevented the Assembly from exercising its sovereign rights.

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