The Fall Of The Roman Empire


For men who had easily endured hardship, danger and difficult uncertainty, leisure and riches, though in some ways desirable, proved burdensome and a source of grief. The causes for the breakdown of the early Roman Republic cannot be attributed to a single event, trend or individual, rather it was due to a combination of all three in varying degrees. The principal and fundamental cause was the breakdown of the political checks and balances, particularly the Cursus Honorum from 133 BC onwards. This subversion occurred both accidentally and through the subversive behavior of individuals, unconsciously and consciously undermining the fabric of the republic in their quest for power and glory. ...

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any magistracy could be held, annual election and two years between consecutive offices. This system was designed to ensure that no individual could become too powerful by dividing jurisdiction between several groups and allowing for veto. The Gracchi brothers, Tiberius and Gaius are often blamed for causing divisions and antagonizing the aristocracy and particularly the senate by introducing laws and legislation that, although promoting egalitarianism for the poor, were catalysts to later breaches of the Cursus Honorum. Both Tiberius and Gaius had laws enacted without consulting the senate. This weakened the senate's power and started a trend of ignoring the senate that remained until the breakdown. These Graccian reforms included the implementation of a welfare system whereby Romans citizens would be given free corn and the Lex Agraria or land reforms that broke down the latafundia and increased the number of small-scale farms. The welfare corn system not only aroused violent ...

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allowing for the later development of armies that were loyal to individuals rather than to the state. Marius' contempt for the Cursus Honorum is illustrated by his standing in the consular elections while not in Rome, a post that he gained and held for six years. This action was in direct contradiction to the rule of one-year consulships in the Cursus Honorum and allowed Marius to establish a power base that he used for his own political designs. Both Marius and Sulla used violence openly as a political means. The first such incident was during the tribunal election where Marius killed Nonnius, a political opponent to his friend Saturnius. This was not the only example of violence from ...

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Added: 5/18/2005 05:34:04 AM
Category: World History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1281
Pages: 5

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