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RES PUBLICA AND THE ROMAN REPUBLIC

'WITHOUT BODY OR FORM'


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Sinopse

Res Publica and the Roman Republic explores the political crisis at the end of the Roman Republic through the changing perceptions of the political sphere itself, the res publica. Partisan clashes over the political sphere, thus conceived, formed an important part of this crisis, though have received relatively little attention to date, partly because of the difficulty of precisely defining the concept. Nevertheless, from Scipio Nasica's efforts to keep it safe in 133 to Sulla's restored res publica in 82-81 and Caesar's sarcasm about its very existence (Suet. Jul. 77), the perceived condition and needs of the res publica were a source of concern, controversy, and self-justification throughout this period. This volume seeks to show how the rhetoric surrounding res publica mirrors the changes in the Roman political landscape towards the end of the Republic. It begins by advancing a definition before proceeding to outline its relationships with various constitutional elements, in particular the Republican magistrates, as well as how these various elements benefited from this relationship, how competing elements challenged it, and how the conviction that the res publica was in danger spurred divisive action. These themes coalesce in an examination of how Cicero exploited his consular relationship to the res publica throughout 63, both before and during the Catilinarian crisis, and how he was then obliged to renegotiate how he related to it after his exile. Finally, private action on behalf of the res publica is considered in detail, a euphemism for illegal behaviour later trumpeted by Augustus in the Res Gestae, before the conclusion outlines how Augustus adopted the position of a patron to the dependent res publica, but was seen by contemporaries as embodying it, it being by now little more than a playground for the Princeps.

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