I greatly enjoyed reading this book and the many stories that led to the rise (and fall) of the Roman republic.
I just want to share the following pas...moreI greatly enjoyed reading this book and the many stories that led to the rise (and fall) of the Roman republic.
I just want to share the following passage from the book, which for me, describes strong similarities with the current political state of affairs in Belgium:
Marius and Sulla came to represent two emerging groups in Roman public life. On the one hand, the populares spoke for the People; in the footsteps of the Gracchi, they supported the sovereignty of the Assembly against the authority of the Senate. They were inheritors of the centuries-old campaigners for the rights of the plebs. Then there were the optimates, the soi-disant “best people,” who distrusted democracy and spoke for the predominance of the great families that monopolized the offices of state. These groups were not disciplined political parties with agreed programs, as in today’s parliamentary democracies. Rather, they were fluctuating factions. Their methods varied; a popularis leader tended to be an individualist who sought power for himself, whereas the optimates defended a collective interest. Although the occasional novus homo, “new man,” such as Marius, was admitted via elections into the ruling class, the membership of both groups was drawn from the aristocracy. Ordinary citizens were allowed to vote, but otherwise their participation in politics did not extend much beyond watching and waiting, receiving bribes from candidates for public office, and, when they lost patience, rioting.