The End of the Roman Republic Res publica amissa by Christian Meier Review by: E. W.

Gray The Classical Review, New Series, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Dec., 1969), pp. 325-330 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Classical Association Stable URL: . Accessed: 11/03/2013 18:48
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who would have comprised both actual patricians and a much larger body of non-patrician well-to-do. It is one of a number of studies which he has written recently on the subject and needs to be read in conjunction with his contribution to Studiin onore E.THE CLASSICAL REVIEW 325 classici. conduct is ordered for the whole population. and in many ways. OGILVIE THE END OF THE ROMAN CHRISTIAN MEIER: REPUBLIC Wiesbaden: Geschichte der spliten r6mischen Res publica amissa. Leg. as opposed to religious. Pp. formation of the phrase and its comwho have parable analogues suggeststhat it must be interpretedas 'thosepatres been conscripti' not 'patres and and conscripti'. Wieacker is among those who date the adoption of the hoplite phalanx to the middle of the century. on archaeological and historical grounds. nonphalanx) army is true. M. it must be remembered that it was a special mission whose purpose was to patrol and garrison the frontier. he accepts too readily the linguistic The analysis of the term patresconscripti. Momigliano's account neatly explains many things. THISis a thought-provokingand stimulating book. One point is questionable. but the detail of the three recinia (Cic. he shows. In the senate these latter two groups were separately recognized as patresand conscripti. The story of Cremera itself is such a cocoon of Greek tales that it is difficult to be confident about any of the military details. Volterra di and his earlier article in R. The importance of the legislation as a stage in the political history of Rome is seen as an assertion by an ideologically Greek-orientatedplebs (as Momigliano also suggests) of its right to equality before the law (laovolda). After demonstrating the fundamental authenticity of the Tables despite their having been 'edited' about 200 B. Eine Studie zu Verfassung und Republik. This. 1966. For such a mission the Fabii may well have preferredirregular formations. written on a generous scale. Doubtless many different sources in Magna Graecia were used in their compilation. The mid sixth century is a truer date. how their provisions. Steiner. paper is Wieacker's discussion of the Twelve Tables. such as the presenceof apparently plebeian names in the early Fasti: they would in fact be the names of nonwho patrician conscripti. 58.LD. Cloth. Cremera should not be used as evidence that such tactics were not in standard use until after 480 B. non-patricians enrolled as senators. 309-1o). The traditional struggle of the orders is thus an anachronism. had reached the highest magistracy.especially on funerary and sumptuarymatters. DM. can precisely be ascribed only to the mid fifth century (especially pp.C. 336). Historians will need however to apply Momigliano's thesis to the whole history of the period to see whether it does make convincing sense of the evidence. therefore.. There can be no question of direct imitation of Solonian Laws at Athens. Although the adoption of hoplite armour need not have led overnight to the adoption of hoplite tactics. after Cremera (p. Oxford R. the most substantial. although this does not refute or invalidate his thesis. i.A.But. viii+332. 11 Mar 2013 18:48:36 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . xxxiii (1956). but even if the tradition of the Fabii and their dependents acting as a self-contained (and. on internal grounds. 64) may be proof of indirect influence. For the first time civil. must be too late. It offers a fresh diagnosis of the sicknessof the Roman state in the last century This content downloaded on Mon.c. The longest. BalliolCollege. I5 ff.

not a theoretical basis'-are reasonable enough and weighty attacks have been made in recent years. I). 11 Mar 2013 18:48:36 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . no attempt made at a basic revision ? So Meier undertakes an historical study of the actual working. and amicitiae. and L. it is possible to attach too much importance.C. (App. Meier stresses the exceptional nature of the comitia of 50 B. (Cic. B. Again. 6o). Taylor. of the of der Grundbedingungen Verfassungswirklichkeit. who oversimplified Roman politics when they saw it largely as a conflict between Populares and Optimates. for example. the late Republican constitution. Private and public relationships are interlocked. Fam. Syme. 'Zur politischen Grammatik in der spaiten Republik'. cf. Surely a more misleading simplification than the Populares/Optimates dichotomy. The language is often abstract to the point of opacity. I74). indeed. vote for Caesar and Bibulus simultaneously.R. Also.) on this and on the danger of adhering too closely to the formulations of Sallust and others of his contemporaries. a title which sufficiently illustrates his approach to Roman politics (Caesar. 369 f. For all that. did the old constitution really function during those critical decades? Why was no alternative considered possible. i. In the later chapter Meier claims to have demolished the 'faction thesis' of Syme. more durability and range and significance than the evidence warrants. and a demonstration of their paramount importance in public life. of those elements in the state which enjoyed some degree of political initiative).) has relevance particularly to Scullard's Introduction to his Roman Politics. Badian. 107). that is. Why was the apparently obsolete community-state machinery left unreformed in spite of its increasing inadequacy in an expanding world empire ? Even in the late Republic it must have satisfied the fundamental needs and demands of the whole citizen body (rather. 187 f. How. merely remarked that Sulla was an infant in politics when he voluntarily surrendered his power). the framework of concepts and semantic interpretation laid over Roman political history by systematizing scholars. a useful analysis of the 'system' of necessitudines the politician and the basis of his political activity. iv. viii. Attacks on abuses of the prosopographical method'prosopography gives only connections. xxxiv. the general plan of the work involves him in an unnecessarily large amount of repetition. Meicer is concerned there not so much with the details of flesh-and-blood politics as with political concepts. it must be said. J. The earlier sections of it do not make easy reading. R. This is a sweeping and partly misdirected claim. 1966. The senate that voted 370-22 for the dis- This content downloaded on Mon. then.C. For Meier himself. to the background of faction out of which the Gracchi emerged and too little to their actual programmes and to the diverse social classes and groups which they were to appeal to and rouse to future political activity.C. 220-150 B. the list of Marians outlawed in 88 B. the senate ended up by becoming a mere party (p. for instance. the remarks of La Penna (Athen. one should say. the tools of First. Meier examines the paradox of the continued existence and vitality of the prisca forma rei publicae. Meier goes over this ground again in ch. merits exploitation by the prosopographer (cf.S. The tangled web of amicitia and other obligations continually produced situations in which the electorate of all classes must have it both ways. for example. Scullard. Some scholars have given to 'Gracchan' and 'Marian' factions. 14. The argument against use of the analogy from English i8th-century politics (pp.C. neutralizing any tendency to division along the lines of partium sensus until the final crisis of the Republic.THE CLASSICAL REVIEW 326 of the Republic.

They were in a position of strength as Sulla's allies when they challenged Chrysogonus. Meier's specimen analyses of alleged factions (pp. Servilius and Appius for Asia Minor and Macedonia. rejected Pompey's overtures. but cliques did exist and Meier tends to dismiss attested cases of factions at work as exceptions that in and sensus each case prove his 'rule'. C. R. Meier contends that Sulla took no notice of these consuls and that they even made a stand against him. Pompey was not a dutiful son of the Republic. was not behaving as a party. reacting against Pompey's renewed attempt to use a tribune for his own political ends. 20). I960. the nobles were evenly divided as between Caesar and Pompey. 18I f. just as they had in general taken a new direction when it became clear that Sulla was irresistiblein ceased to be opportunistand Italy. timidly in 66. Cicero's boldness was firmly grounded on the secure position of Metellus. But there were provinces still to be recovered or defended.) ? supportedby a faction of interrelatednobiles The consulshipsof 80 and the following years went to 'the core of the Sullan faction' (Syme. Syme. J.) are not altogether conclusive. I7).R. 'Factio' is a smear word in Roman politics. 22).Thereafterhe resorted to the popularis technique of using a tribune and the assembly to get the extraordinary commands he wanted. for example. in 67. lined up placidly with Metellus on his return from Spain (pace Sherwin-White. 1956.THE CLASSICAL REVIEW 327 banding of armies by both the dynasts in 50 B. 181. Shackleton Bailey. He did not disband his army until he had secured his election to the consulship. In general one can say that the politics of the Optimates changed in the direction of hostility to Pompey when he asserted himself so dangerously at the expense of the Sullan order.c. the military command in Spain (Plut. It was not so much against Sulla himself that such men supported Sex. but 'solid only to on outward show and at intervals' (Syme.R. Has Meier proved that Sulla was not after his return to Italy (pp. But a faction of nobiles worked steadily against Pompey's real or suspected aim of dominatio the sixties. Sallust. still less that necessitudo play a dominant role in the election politics of such families as the Metelli and their connections. Thus. in the Civil War. 182 ff. The sustained opposition This content downloaded on Mon. if we accept the anecdote in Plutarch. and M.). that necessitudines partium invariably crisscross until the very end (pp. earmarked for the prior consulship of 78. both passages where Cicero refers to it he is engaged in special pleading. only the consulares showing a decided preference for the cause of Pompey (cf. Roscius in 80. 186). R. Sulla had gone to the heart of things by securing Rome and Italy. colleague of Sulla in that year. in whichever direction ceased to they considered their immediate interest lay.S. 11 Mar 2013 18:48:36 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . if Sallust is to be believed. 185) complete the list of nobles scheduled for consular office after Sulla and Metellus launched the new regime in 80. It was Pompey who first made a mockery of Sulla's new order when in 77 he secured. securing them consulships and the plums of provincial government that the 'system' automatically brought them.). 5 f. Is this correct? They went off to the military provinceswhere most danger lay for the state. Metellus set off for Spain. The Optimates the other hand were 'a faction or gang'. This did not mean that individual Optimates did not take sides on occasion with or against Pompey.Q. Aemilius Lepidus (surely Sulla's choice. when Cato. more boldly in in 65 (the line-up against Cornelius) and most conspicuously from 61I onwards. Cicero's rhetoric and In Philippus' jest have obscured the truth about that ddmarche. 253 if. Catulus. cf. staking all his resources on the venture. Pomp.R. by the threat of armed force.

Now Meier discusses the developing role of the Equester Ordo. the leaders of the Caesarian party. 11 Mar 2013 18:48:36 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . It was the expansion of the empire that was the reason for the absence of any change in the constitutional structure. The solidarity of nobility and populace had its roots in a shared interest in the unfolding power of the state. but by reference to the nature of the potentia exercised by its opponents. Meier sums up his main conclusions in the brief chapter v. Pompey and Caesar (see below). Attempts to solve or circumvent new problems of government by reform merely led to the destruction of equilibrium in a state where it was to everyone's interest. the expansion of the clientela of the new nobility step by step with the expansion of the empire. As the old machine ticked over without actually working. to be made use of by the survivors in the last round of the struggle for power. 201-5). Expansion led to an intensification of the control by the aristocratic senate. Its consistency in politics over a long period of time can be better understood. to maintain the existing system. After the isolated attempt of C. concerned themselves merely with the defence of their own vested interests. New clientela relationships were exploited. As a result the new influential bourgeoisie remained indifferent to politics. Gracchus to broaden the basis of the governing class the knights came to terms with the senate. The new nobility took on the responsibilities of government. the rural and urban plebs and the new armies in the expanded state. The main cause of the long-continued absence of a fundamental disharmony in the community had been found in that expansion. no alternative solution was or could be envisaged. popularis leaders included. One cannot summarize here the lengthy concluding historical narrative of This content downloaded on Mon. not in terms of the personality and authority of four of its members (p. it was the persistent enmity of the Optimatesto Pompey that kept the alliance in being for nearly a decade. Meier contends that it was a rare chance that these men were linked together by family connections. 186). 'Krise ohne Alternativ' (pp. 'Die iibermassige Extensivierung der Res Publica' (pp. loosening the structure of the Staatsordnung. that it was exceptional that in their case partium sensus and necessitudo coincided for a long term. Meier's most valuable and longest chapter. The other social groups mentioned above never possessed sufficient political initiative to change the order of the day and remained passive centres of smouldering discontent. and became thereby a disruptive force in political life. The core of this opposition consisted of a small group of interrelated nobiles of whom Cato was the most pertinacious and intransigent. We may agree that Cato's personality gave a measure of consistency and extra firmness to the opposition to Pompey. Pompey's alliance with Caesar in 60/59 may have looked like a mere ephemeral election alliance to contemporaries. without accepting his attempt to explain away the Catonian group and its politics as an exception that proves his 'Regel'. 64-161). Energies were directed away from the urge to make changes into wider fields of opportunity. making the necessity of reform more urgent but taking no initiative themselves in the direction of amelioration.THE CLASSICAL REVIEW 328 of the core of the Optimates to Pompey throughout the following decade is blurred over by Cicero's rhetoric and wishful thinking. and later to Caesar. There was an extension of personal controls as a substitute for new machinery of government. leaving rule to the nobles. A new egotism developed amongst the new nobility. follows his discussion of the earlier phases of the as development of Das Bindungswesen a feature of the aristocratically dominated state.

THE CLASSICAL REVIEW 329 the phases of disintegration from 95 to 50 B. This content downloaded on Mon. The protective devices of the old republic were stretched until their colouring changed slowly from blue to red. the principles of magisterial collegiality and annual limitation of tenure. 11 Mar 2013 18:48:36 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 76 C. were crucial for themselves.g. Pompey and Caesar in turn or Meier puts it) and laid the foundations of his future potentia. ap. to quote two instances. over a quinquennium or longer. for the consolidation of their long-term commands. Power was being organized outside Rome. Is Meier's diagnosis completely satisfying ? Does it take into account all the phenomena ? Are the mechanics of consular elections what matters most in this period? Was the republican constitution a piece of machinery that remained in essence unchanged throughout. his treatment of the period of Cinna's dominance and of Sulla's. or list points of disagreement in detail. subordinated their clientela networks to something more comprehensive and compelling. applied to members of the nobility itself. No less significant is the development of the imperiumto the point where the primitive. The rhythm in the development of the potentialities of the transcendent imperia extra ordinemwas more leisurely than the rhythm of annual consular elections. There is room for disagreement on questions of interpretation and emphasis. The significant elections in this period are those for the consulships of 70. More and more of the nobilesswung gradually into position as satellites of the major dynasts. These commands gave Pompey and Caesar a position of power and authority which they could exploit at leisure. In 59 Caesar dealt a crushing blow to the auctoritasof the senate ('made a decisive change in the political Grammatik'. After Sulla holders of long-term imperia. The vital interests of the dynasts were not necessarily deeply involved in the latter. Meier has much of value and interest to say about the politics and programmes of the period. Ascon.c. 59. Meier's work reflects the new interest in studies of societies as complex wholes and displays great virtuosity in the use of new techniques of interpretation in the fields of political semantics and sociology. One need not dwell on the significance of the elections for 55. the process of material expansion of the empire? Or would it be better to say that the old constitution was itself continually adapted and stretched to meet the expanding needs of empire until it burst.). e. And this power gave the dynasts opportunities of patronage which. the dynasts with their long-term imperiaand armies and massive clientelae could see to it that the only consular elections that had any long-term significance for the state were those that. p. and 55 and they were seen to be so at the time. were turned upside down and replaced by the antithetical principles of hierarchy of command and indefinite tenure of imperiumextra ordinem. but the fact still remains a phenomenon that should be taken into account. Pro Cornel. built-in safeguards of the oligarchic constitution. were in a position to undermine the resistance of the nobility by means of the power and patronage at their disposal. and because of. In 70 the consuls restored the tribunes' initiative and made possible for Pompey his great commands in 67 and 66 (for the reaction of the nobles to this cf. One could argue that it was to a considerable extent the flexibility and adaptability of the constitution that had deferred for so long a time the moment when an impasse was reached. Cic. The expansion of the clientelaeof the nobility and the splintering (Individualisierung) interests in the community of are certainly important extra-constitutional features of the developing republic. This has been said before. at long intervals.

the only pre-Julian calendar to survive. W. Meier discusses the development of the musculature and nervous system but allows for none in the skeleton. In the first part of her book Mrs. with the Kalends being announced each month. In the second part she works back from the first century B. 'Rome could be conquered.. 203). His view of the Roman constitution remains that of a Polybius. or support for a reformer ? So he attributes little significance or continuity to efforts at 'reform' in the period after I22 and devotes much attention to four attempts by supporters of the old regime (in 95. 50 ff. together with an original and disturbing investigation of its origin.C. 6). until 451/0 B. Saturninus. Cicero was to witness the indifference of the Equestrian Order and the Italian communities to the fate of the armies of Pompey and the Republicans. It was the support of the new social groups aroused to political consciousness in different ways by the Gracchi. These problems were not to be solved within the narrow circle of domestic politics in Rome. but not won over. especially pp.: University CALENDAR Press (London: Oxford University AGNES KIRSOPP The Calendar theRoman MICHELS: of Republic. Pompey. when Caesar recruited the Transpadani into his legions and fulfilled his promises to them. although she would admit that business and religion are not divorced and that predominantly religious motives should not be ruled out. Michels discusses the meaning of the different symbols. Sulla launched his new order side by side with Metellus and a faction of the Optimates. So it is all the more gratifying to find a short. and Caesar. with special reference to the fragments of Fasti Antiates Maiores. which some Roman Solon or Cleisthenes might be expected to overhaul when the cogs begin to grind instead of catching smoothly (p. and p. N. xvi + Press). Briefly her theory is that the Romans used a truly lunar calendar. Cloth. 205). when the Decem- This content downloaded on Mon.) to get round the problems presented by the claims of the Equester Ordo and the Italians. clear account of what the Roman Calendar contained and how it worked. with the legions alone' (p.Pp. 91.J. none more so than the Roman Calendar. 88. Oxford THE ROMAN 227.THE CLASSICAL REVIEW 330 To use the not altogether satisfying analogy of the Roman state as a developing organism. Princeton. trying to explain the phenomena in terms of the needs of the people (cf. When Pompey pacified Spain and organized peace and security in the East for the immediate benefit of the knights and of the Italici spread over Asia Minor and the ('Pw•lao-) Levant. that eventually determined the triumph of Caesarism and the building of a new order in which some at least of their aspirations were satisfied. to the creation of the distinctive lunisolar calendar which survived for so long at Rome. GRAY Christ Church. and 82 B. 6d.C. E.C. Why was there no cry for. 7Is. those dynasts were going to the heart of the matter in a different way (more effectively in the long term) from Sulla's concentration on the metropolis and Italy in 83/2 B.c. She approaches her subject from a refreshingly practical standpoint. net. are CALENDARS notoriously confusing. a Greek picture of the equilibrium (cdpCLovia) of a well-organized piece of clockwork.installed at what he saw as the centre of power. 11 Mar 2013 18:48:36 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 1967.