By the time Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, the Roman political system was in a state of near-total collapse, and it fell to Caesar’s adopted son Octavian (more commonly known as Augustus) to create a new system on the ruins of the old one, as I discussed in a previous post.
By the time Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, the Roman political system was in a state of near-total collapse, and it fell to Caesar’s adopted son Octavian (more commonly known as Augustus) to create a new system on the ruins of the old one, as I discussed in a previous post.In Augustus’ day, there were still many people who longed for a revival of the traditional Republican system, and for that reason, Augustus had to be careful to cover his absolute rule with a fig-leaf of Republicanism.Tags: English Essay Exam QuestionsExamples Of How To Start An Essay10 Dollar Per Page Research PapersHow To Solve Energy ProblemsEssay Mba FinanceProblem Solving Strategy Draw A PictureAmerican Artifact Culture Essay In Material
So in other words, imagine the city council of Chicago trying to run the entire United States government, and constantly appointing former mayors to help do so. The whole system became riddled with political corruption, profiteering, overweening political ambition, and civil war.
Eventually, by the time Julius Caesar came along, the whole system was simply stretched past its breaking point, and Caesar was the guy who finally snapped it.
While Marcus Aurelius could have been an idealistic dreamer who fantasized about restoring the Republic (although there’s little evidence of that), there is no way it could possibly have accomplished, any more than Barack Obama could plausibly expect the United States to revert to the Articles of Confederation.
So the idea that a serious conspiracy could be hatched to accomplish this pipe dream is pretty silly.
Even at the height of the Republic, it was the tribunes who represented the lower classes, not the Senate (which is part of the reason the Senate was afraid of Tiberius Gracchus).
Again, this will make a little more sense if we assume that Gracchus is either deluded or simply looking to justify his jealousy of Commodus’ power. It claims to be a plot by various people to overthrow the emperor and restore the Republic, but this is so unrealistic as to be implausible.As the Roman state conquered new territory, instead of revising the system to keep up with new demands of running a large state (for example by adding more levels of elected officials), the conservative Romans just kept jury-rigging this city government.For example, they decided that conquered provinces would be administered by former consuls appointed by the Senate.So while the memorable part of the film is the conflict between Commodus and Maximus, the actual plot of the film is an attempt to end the entire system of the Principate (as modern scholars term the rule of the emperors in this period) and re-establish the system of the Republic. This period, termed the Late Republic, is generally taken to have begun with the disputed election of 133 BC, during which the supporters of the populist tribune Tiberius Gracchus (note his (high priest), rioted and massacred Tiberius and around 300 of his supporters in the street.This combination of political violence and disregard for the electoral processes became one of the chief characteristics of the Late Republic, as politics increasingly became a matter of force.So the idea that the Republic could be restored in 41 AD was little more than a transient fantasy.If the Republic was moldering in its grave by 41 AD, the corpse had long since been reduced to nothing by 180 AD. Ridley Scott), Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) tells Maximus (Russell Crowe) that he wants to “return Rome to the people” and re-establish the Roman Republic.He feels that Maximus has the moral qualities that will enable him to accomplish this feat, while Commodus lacks those virtues, and thus Marcus makes the choice to declare Maximus his successor, although Commodus murders him before he can announce the decision.The Senate briefly supported the cause of a revived Republic, but their support evaporated when the Praetorian Guard declared Caligula’s uncle Claudius the new emperor.Perhaps, had events played out differently, it might have been possible to revive the Republic in 41 AD, but it’s doubtful.