Category Archives: Rome

Legislation Abounded

“Hence arose demagogues like the Gracchi and Lucius Appuleius Saturnis – and the senate’s partisans such as Marcus Livius Drusus with their equally comprehensive offers.  By these, Italian hopes were raised, only to be dashed by the tribunes’ vetoes.  Even … Continue reading

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Slavish Obedience

“He seduced the army with bonuses, and his cheap food policy was successful bait for civilians.  Indeed, he attracted everybody’s goodwill by the enjoyable gift of peace.  Then he gradually pushed ahead and absorbed the functions of the senate, the … Continue reading

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History As a Good or Bad Medicine

“In the same way political history is also made up of three parts.  The first consists of the industrious study and collation of documents; the second is topographical and includes the survey of cities, places, rivers, harbours, and in general … Continue reading

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The Special Function of History

“Now the special function of history, particularly in relation to speeches, is first of all to discover the words actually used, whatever they were, and next to establish the reason why a particular action or argument failed or succeeded.  The … Continue reading

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Fortune Grows Cruel

“Fortune began to grow cruel and confuse everything.  Men who had easily endured hard work, dangers, uncertainty and adversity found that leisure and wealth, things desirable at other times, were a burden and the cause of misery.  And so, at … Continue reading

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Rewarding Merit and Confronting Evil

“The only proposals in the senate that I have seen fit to mention are particularly praiseworthy or particularly scandalous ones.  It seems to me a historian’s foremost duty to ensure that merit is recorded, and to confront evil deeds and … Continue reading

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Fighting for the Luxury and Wealth of Others

 “‘Those savage beasts,’ said he, ‘in Italy, have their particular dens, they have their places of repose and refuge; but the men who bear arms, and expose their lives for the safety of their country, enjoy in the meantime nothing … Continue reading

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The Assassination of Julius Caesar

But when, after taking his seat, Caesar continued to repulse their petitions, and, as they pressed upon him with greater importunity, began to show anger towards one and another of them, Tullius seized his toga with both hands and pulled … Continue reading

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Plutarch on the Ides of March

But destiny, it would seem, is not so much unexpected as it is unavoidable, since they say that amazing signs and apparitions were seen. Now, as for lights in the heavens, crashing sounds borne all about by night, and birds of … Continue reading

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Playing the Tyrant

“The nobles had played the tyrant often enough in the past; but now the proletariat was on top and showed itself as arrogant as they had been.” Sallust, Chap. 5 in The Jugurthine War, trans. S. A. Handford (London: Penguin, 1963), … Continue reading

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