Plebs and Politics in the Late Roman Republic by Professor Henrik Mouritsen

By Professor Henrik Mouritsen

This publication offers with renowned political participation in republican Rome. It contributes to an ongoing debate in regards to the function of the folk within the working of the Roman nation, asking whether or not they had any actual say or were marginalized through the elite. It techniques the problem from a realistic standpoint, taking a look at the way in which political conferences and assemblies functioned and on the crowds that took half. The ebook hence places the present dialogue approximately Roman "democracy" on a brand new footing, and areas it in a social context.

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Most often a majority would have been found before all tribes had voted. Assuming that only two thirds or half the tribus were called upon, an assembly of 10,000 citizens would have lasted nine and a half hours and seven and a half hours, respectively, excluding the preceding contio. These calculations, hypothetical as they are, merely serve to bring out the extremely time-consuming nature of Roman voting; they suggest that the voting facilities on the Temple of Castor could accommodate many fewer voters than the open space in front of it.

In an era without loudspeakers an orator's ability to address a mass audience was obviously limited. 25 In practice no commander could address an entire army lined up with their equipment. 26 None of them were quiet secluded spaces. The Forum in particular would have been quite noisy and unruly, making it even more dif®cult for a speaker to make himself heard, cf. Asc. 41C. The Circus Flaminius was also used for contiones in the late republic. This was probably not, however, as the name might suggest, a built-up structure similar to the Circus Maximus.

Coarelli (1997) 155±61 has shown that the orientation and overall scale of the Saepta cannot have changed substantially since the third century. But that does not mean that a minor expansion, for example to the north, may not have been possible in Caesar's time. Last-minute electioneering and political manoeuvring may also have taken place while people were waiting, which would also have been dif®cult in a tightly packed crowd, Val. Max. 3, Cic. ap. Asc. 85C, cf. Hall (1964) 289±90. `. . hora secunda comitiis quaestoriis institutis .

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