Legislative assemblies of the Roman Republic
The legislative assemblies of the Roman Republic were political institutions in the ancient Roman Republic. According to the contemporary historian Polybius, it was the people who had the final say regarding the election of magistrates, the enactment of Roman laws, the carrying out of capital punishment, the declaration of war and peace, the creation of alliances. Under the Constitution of the Roman Republic, the people held the ultimate source of sovereignty. Since the Romans used a form of direct democracy and not elected representatives, voted before each assembly; as such, the citizen-electors had no power, other than to cast a vote. Each assembly was presided over by a single Roman Magistrate, as such, it was the presiding magistrate who made all decisions on matters of procedure and legality; the presiding magistrate's power over the assembly was nearly absolute. The only check on that power came in the form of vetoes handed down by other magistrates. In the Roman system of direct democracy, two primary types of gatherings were used to vote on legislative and judicial matters.
The first was the Assembly, a gathering, deemed to represent the entire Roman people if it did not contain all of the Roman citizens or, like the comitia curiata, excluded a particular class of Roman citizens. The second was the Council, a gathering of citizens of a specific class. In contrast, the Convention was an unofficial forum for communication. Conventions were forums where Romans met for specific unofficial purposes, such as, for example, to hear a political speech. Voters always assembled first into Conventions to hear debates and conduct other business before voting, into Assemblies or Councils to vote. There were no set dates to hold assemblies, but notice had to be given beforehand if the assembly was to be considered formal. Elections had to be announced 17 days. 17 days had to pass between the proposal of legislation and its enactment by an assembly. In addition to the presiding magistrate, several additional magistrates were present to act as assistants. There were religious officials known as augurs either in attendance or on-call, who would be available to help interpret any signs from the gods.
On several known occasions, presiding magistrates used the claim of unfavorable omens as an excuse to suspend a session, not going the way they wanted. Any decision made by a presiding magistrate could be vetoed by a magistrate known as a Plebeian Tribune. In addition, decisions made by presiding magistrates could be vetoed by higher-ranking magistrates. On the day of the vote, the electors first assembled into their conventions for debate and campaigning. In the Conventions, the electors were not sorted into their respective units. Speeches from private citizens were only heard if the issue to be voted upon was a legislative or judicial matter. If the purpose of the ultimate vote was for an election, no speeches from private citizens were heard, instead, the candidates for office used the Convention to campaign. During the Convention, the bill to be voted upon was read to the assembly by an officer known as a "Herald". If the assembly was composed of Tribes, the order of the vote had to be determined.
A Plebeian Tribune could use his veto against pending legislation until the point when the order of the vote was determined. The electors were told to break up the Convention and assemble into the formal Assembly or Council; the electors voted by placing a pebble or written ballot into an appropriate jar. The baskets that held the votes were watched by specific officers, who counted the ballots, reported the results to the presiding magistrate; the majority of votes in any Curia, Tribe, or Century decided how that Curia, Tribe, or Century voted. Each Curia, Tribe, or Century received one vote, regardless of how many electors each Tribe or Century held. Once a majority of Curiae, Tribes, or Centuries voted in the same way on a given measure, the voting ended, the matter was decided. If a law was passed in violation of proper procedures, the Senate could declare the law nonbinding; the Curiate Assembly was the principal assembly during the first two decades of the Roman Republic. The Curiate Assembly was organized as an Assembly, not as a Council though only patricians were members.
During these first decades, the People of Rome were organized into thirty units called Curiae. The Curiae were ethnic in nature, thus were organized on the basis of the early Roman family, or, more on the basis of the thirty original Patrician clans; the Curiae assembled into the Curiate Assembly, for legislative and judicial purposes. The Curiate Assembly passed laws, elected Consuls, tried judicial cases. Consuls always presided over the assembly. Shortly after the founding of the republic, most of the powers of the Curiate Assembly were transferred to the Centuriate Assembly and the Tribal Assembly. While it fell into disuse, it did retain some theoretical powers, most the power to ratify elections of the top-ranking Roman Magistrates by passing the statute that gave them their legal command authority, the lex curiata de imperio. In practice, they received this authority from the Centuriate Assembly, as such, this functioned as nothing more than a reminder of Rome's regal heritage. Other acts that the Curiate Assembly voted on were mo
The Etruscan civilization is the modern name given to a powerful and wealthy civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding to Tuscany, south of the Arno river, western Umbria and central Lazio, with offshoots to the north in the Po Valley, in the current Emilia-Romagna, south-eastern Lombardy and southern Veneto, to the south, in some areas of Campania. As distinguished by its unique language, this civilization endured from before the time of the earliest Etruscan inscriptions until its assimilation into the Roman Republic, beginning in the late 4th century BC with the Roman–Etruscan Wars. Culture, identifiably Etruscan developed in Italy after about 900 BC with the Iron Age Villanovan culture, regarded as the oldest phase of Etruscan civilization; the latter gave way in the 7th century BCE to a culture, influenced by Ancient Greek culture, during the Archaic and the Hellenistic period. At its maximum extent, during the foundational period of Rome and the Roman Kingdom, Etruscan civilization flourished in three confederacies of cities: of Etruria, of the Po Valley with the eastern Alps, of Campania.
The league in northern Italy is mentioned in Livy. The decline was gradual, but by 500 BCE the political destiny of Italy had passed out of Etruscan hands; the last Etruscan cities were formally absorbed by Rome around 100 BCE. Although the Etruscans developed a system of writing, the Etruscan language remains only understood, only a handful of texts of any length survive, making modern understanding of their society and culture dependent on much and disapproving Roman and Greek sources. Politics was based on the small city and the family unit. In their heyday, the Etruscan elite grew rich through trade with the Celtic world to the north and the Greeks to the south and filled their large family tombs with imported luxuries. Archaic Greece had a huge influence on their art and architecture, Greek mythology was evidently familiar to them; the Etruscans called themselves Rasenna, syncopated to Rasna or Raśna, while the ancient Romans referred to the Etruscans as the Tuscī or Etruscī. Their Roman name is the origin of the terms "Toscana", which refers to their heartland, "Etruria", which can refer to their wider region.
In Attic Greek, the Etruscans were known as Tyrrhenians, from which the Romans derived the names Tyrrhēnī, Tyrrhēnia, Mare Tyrrhēnum, prompting some to associate them with the Teresh. The origins of the Etruscans are lost in prehistory, although Greek historians as early as the 5th century BC associated the Tyrrhenians with Pelasgians, which could both be broad descriptive terms. Strabo and the Homeric Hymn to Dionysus make mention of the Tyrrhenians as pirates. Thucydides and Strabo all denote Lemnos as settled by Pelasgians, whom Thucydides identifies as "belonging to the Tyrrhenians". Although both Strabo and Herodotus agree that Tyrrhenus / Tyrsenos, son of Atys, king of Lydia, led the migration, Strabo specifies that it was the Pelasgians of Lemnos and Imbros who followed Tyrrhenus to the Italian Peninsula. A link between Lemnos and the Tyrrhenians was further manifested by the discovery of the Lemnos Stele, whose inscriptions were written in a language which shows strong structural resemblances to the language of the Etruscans.
This has led to the suggestion of a "Tyrrhenian language group" comprising Etruscan and the Raetic spoken in the Alps. Hellanicus of Lesbos records a Pelasgian migration from Thessaly to the Italian peninsula, noting that "the Pelasgi made themselves masters of some of the lands belonging to the Umbri". By contrast, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a Greek writer living in Rome, dismisses many of the ancient theories of the other Greek historians and postulates that the Etruscans were indigenous people who had always lived in Etruria. For this reason, therefore, I am persuaded that the Pelasgians are a different people from the Tyrrhenians, and I do not believe, that the Tyrrhenians were a colony of the Lydians. For they neither worship the same gods as the Lydians nor make use of similar laws or institutions, but in these respects they differ more from the Lydians than from the Pelasgians. Indeed, those come nearest to the truth who declare that the nation migrated from nowhere else, but was native to the country, since it is found to be a ancient nation and to agree with no other either in its language or in its manner of living.
Furthermore, Dionysius of Halicarnassus is the first ancient writer who reports the endonym of the Etruscans: Rasenna. The Romans, give them other names: from the country they once inhabited, named Etruria, they call them Etruscans, from their knowledge of the ceremonies relating to divine worship, in which they excel others, they now call them, rather inaccurately, but with the same accuracy as the Greeks, they called them Thyoscoï, their own name for themselves, however, is the same as that of one of Rasenna. Livy in his Ab Urbe Condita Libri says the Rhaetians were Etruscans driven into the mountains by the invading Gauls, asserts that the inhabitants of Raetia were of Etruscan origin; the Alpine tribes have no doubt, the same origin the Raetians.
In the Archaic phase of ancient Greek art, the Orientalizing period is the cultural and art historical period which started during the part of the 8th century BC, when there was a heavy influence from the more advanced art of the Eastern Mediterranean and Ancient Near East. The main sources were Syria and Assyria, to a lesser extent Phoenicia and Egypt; the period gave ancient Greek art ornamental motifs and an interest in animals and monsters that continued to be used for centuries, were spread to Roman and Etruscan art. Monumental and figurative sculpture in this style may be called Daedelic, after Daedalus, according to legend the founder of Greek sculpture; the period is characterized by a shift from the prevailing Geometric style to a different style with Eastern-inspired motifs. The new style reflected a period of increased cultural interchange in the Aegean world, the intensity of, sometimes compared to that of the Late Bronze Age; the emergence of Orientalizing motifs in Greek pottery begins to be attested at the end of the Late Geometric Period, though two schools of thought exist regarding the question of whether or not Geometric art itself was indebted to eastern models.
In Attic pottery, the distinctive Orientalizing style known as "proto-Attic" was marked by floral and animal motifs. The bodies of men and animals were depicted in silhouette. At the other important center of this period, the orientalizing influence started earlier, though the tendency there was to produce smaller detailed vases in the "proto-Corinthian" style that prefigured the black-figure technique. From the mid-sixth century, the growth of Achaemenid power in the eastern end of the Aegean and in Asia Minor, reduced the quantity of eastern goods found in Greek sites, as the Persians began to conquer Greek cities in Ionia, along the coast of Asia Minor. During this period, the Assyrians advanced along the Mediterranean coast, accompanied by Greek and Carian mercenaries, who were active in the armies of Psamtik I in Egypt; the new groups started to compete with established Mediterranean merchants. In other parts of the Aegean world similar population moves occurred. Phoenicians settled in Cyprus and in western regions of Greece, while Greeks established trading colonies at Al Mina, in Ischia off the Tyrrhenian coast of Campania in southern Italy.
These interchanges led to a period of intensive borrowing in which the Greeks adapted cultural features from the East into their art. The period from 750 to 580 BC saw a comparable Orientalizing phase of Etruscan art, as a rising economy encouraged Etruscan families to acquire foreign luxury products incorporating Eastern-derived motifs. Areas of Italy—such as Magna Grecia, the Picenum, Latium vetus, Ager Faliscus, the Venetic region, the Nuragic civilization in Sardinia—also experienced an Orientalizing phase at this time. There is an Orientalizing period in the Iberian peninsula, in particular in the city-state of Tartessos. Massive imports of raw materials, including metals, a new mobility among foreign craftsmen caused new craft skills to be introduced in Greece. Walter Burkert described the new movement in Greek art as a revolution: "With bronze reliefs, textiles and other products, a whole world of eastern images was opened up which the Greeks were only too eager to adopt and adapt in the course of an'orientalizing revolution'".
Among surviving artefacts, the main effects are seen in painted pottery and metalwork, as well as engraved gems. Monumental and figurative sculpture was less affected, there the new style is called Daedelic. A new type of face is seen on Crete, with "heavy, overlarge features in a U- or V-shaped face with horizontal brow". Pottery provides much the greatest number of examples. There were three types of new motifs: animal and abstract. Much of the vegetable repertoire tended to be stylised. Vegetable motifs such as the palmette and tendril volute were to remain characteristic of Greek decoration, through it were transmitted to most of Eurasia. Exotic animals and monsters, in particular the lion and sphinxes were added to the griffin found at Knossos. In bronze and terracotta figurines, the introduction from the east of the mould led to a great increase in production, of figures made as votive offerings. Cultural predominance of the East, identified archaeologically by pottery and metalwork of eastern origin found in Hellenic sites, soon gave way to thorough Hellenization of imported features in the Archaic Period that followed.
Many Greek myths originated in attempts to interpret and integrate foreign icons in terms of Greek cult and practice. Some Greek myths reflect Mesopotamian literary classics. Walter Burkert has argued that it was migrating seers and healers who transmitted their skills in divination and purification ritual along with elements of their mythological wisdom. M. L. West has documented massive overlaps in early Greek mythological themes and Near Eastern literature, the influences extend to considerable lexical flows from Semitic languages into early Greek; this overlap covers a notable range of topical and thematic parallels between Greek epic and the Tanakh. The intense encounter during the orientalizing period accompanied the invention of the Greek alphabet and the Carian alphabet, based on the earlier phonetic but unpronounceable Levantine writing, which caused a spectacular leap in literacy
Plutarch named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, was a Greek biographer and essayist, known for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were intended for both Greek and Roman readers. Plutarch was born to a prominent family in the small town of Chaeronea, about 80 kilometres east of Delphi, in the Greek region of Boeotia, his family was wealthy. The name of Plutarch's father has not been preserved, but based on the common Greek custom of repeating a name in alternate generations, it was Nikarchus; the name of Plutarch's grandfather was Lamprias, as he attested in Moralia and in his Life of Antony. His brothers and Lamprias, are mentioned in his essays and dialogues, which speak of Timon in particular in the most affectionate terms. Rualdus, in his 1624 work Life of Plutarchus, recovered the name of Plutarch's wife, from internal evidence afforded by his writings. A letter is still extant, addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not to grieve too much at the death of their two-year-old daughter, named Timoxena after her mother.
He hinted at a belief in reincarnation in that letter of consolation. The exact number of his sons is not certain, although two of them and the second Plutarch, are mentioned. Plutarch's treatise De animae procreatione in Timaeo is dedicated to them, the marriage of his son Autobulus is the occasion of one of the dinner parties recorded in the "Table Talk". Another person, Soklarus, is spoken of in terms which seem to imply that he was Plutarch's son, but this is nowhere stated, his treatise on marriage questions, addressed to Eurydice and Pollianus, seems to speak of the latter as having been an inmate of his house, but without any clear evidence on whether she was his daughter or not. Plutarch studied mathematics and philosophy at the Academy of Athens under Ammonius from 66 to 67. At some point, Plutarch received Roman citizenship; as evidenced by his new name, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, his sponsor for citizenship was Lucius Mestrius Florus, a Roman of consular status whom Plutarch used as a historical source for his Life of Otho.
He lived most of his life at Chaeronea, was initiated into the mysteries of the Greek god Apollo. For many years Plutarch served as one of the two priests at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the site of the famous Delphic Oracle, twenty miles from his home. By his writings and lectures Plutarch became a celebrity in the Roman Empire, yet he continued to reside where he was born, participated in local affairs serving as mayor. At his country estate, guests from all over the empire congregated for serious conversation, presided over by Plutarch in his marble chair. Many of these dialogues were recorded and published, the 78 essays and other works which have survived are now known collectively as the Moralia. In addition to his duties as a priest of the Delphic temple, Plutarch was a magistrate at Chaeronea and he represented his home town on various missions to foreign countries during his early adult years. Plutarch held the office of archon in his native municipality only an annual one which he served more than once.
He undertook the humblest of duties. The Suda, a medieval Greek encyclopedia, states that Emperor Trajan made Plutarch procurator of Illyria. However, most historians consider this unlikely, since Illyria was not a procuratorial province, Plutarch did not speak Illyrian. According to the 8th/9th-century historian George Syncellus, late in Plutarch's life, Emperor Hadrian appointed him nominal procurator of Achaea – which entitled him to wear the vestments and ornaments of a consul. Plutarch spent the last thirty years of his life serving as a priest in Delphi, he thus connected part of his literary work with the sanctuary of Apollo, the processes of oracle-giving and the personalities who lived or traveled there. One of his most important works is the "Why Pythia does not give oracles in verse". More important is the dialogue "On the E in Delphi", which features Ammonius, a Platonic philosopher and teacher of Plutarch, Lambrias, Plutarch's brother. According to Ammonius, the letter E written on the temple of Apollo in Delphi originated from the following fact: the wise men of antiquity, whose maxims were written on the walls of the vestibule of the temple, were not seven but five: Chilon, Thales and Pittakos.
However, the tyrants Cleobulos and Periandros used their political power in order to be incorporated in the list. Thus, the E, which corresponds to number 5, constituted an acknowledgment that the Delphic maxims originated from the five real wise men; the portrait of a philosopher exhibited at the exit of the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, dating to the 2nd century AD, had been in the past identified with Plutarch. The man, although bearded, is depicted at a young age, his hair and beard are rendered in thin incisions. The gaze is due to the heavy eyelids and the incised pupils; the portrait is no longer thought to represent Plutarch. But a fragmentary hermaic stele next to the portrait did once bear a portrait of Plutarch, since it is inscribed, "The Delphians along with the Chaeroneans dedicated this to Plutarch, following the precepts of the Amphictyony". Plutarc
Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman statesman, orator and philosopher, who served as consul in the year 63 BC. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the Roman equestrian order, is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists, his influence on the Latin language was so immense that the subsequent history of prose, not only in Latin but in European languages up to the 19th century, was said to be either a reaction against or a return to his style. Cicero introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary distinguishing himself as a translator and philosopher. Though he was an accomplished orator and successful lawyer, Cicero believed his political career was his most important achievement, it was during his consulship that the second Catilinarian conspiracy attempted to overthrow the government through an attack on the city by outside forces, Cicero suppressed the revolt by summarily and controversially executing five conspirators.
During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government. Following Julius Caesar's death, Cicero became an enemy of Mark Antony in the ensuing power struggle, attacking him in a series of speeches, he was proscribed as an enemy of the state by the Second Triumvirate and executed by soldiers operating on their behalf in 43 BC after having been intercepted during an attempted flight from the Italian peninsula. His severed hands and head were as a final revenge of Mark Antony, displayed on The Rostra. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance in public affairs and classical Roman culture. According to Polish historian Tadeusz Zieliński, "the Renaissance was above all things a revival of Cicero, only after him and through him of the rest of Classical antiquity." The peak of Cicero's authority and prestige came during the 18th-century Enlightenment, his impact on leading Enlightenment thinkers and political theorists such as John Locke, David Hume and Edmund Burke was substantial.
His works rank among the most influential in European culture, today still constitute one of the most important bodies of primary material for the writing and revision of Roman history the last days of the Roman Republic. Cicero was born in 106 BC in a hill town 100 kilometers southeast of Rome, he belonged to the tribus Cornelia. His father possessed good connections in Rome. However, being a semi-invalid, he studied extensively to compensate. Although little is known about Cicero's mother, Helvia, it was common for the wives of important Roman citizens to be responsible for the management of the household. Cicero's brother Quintus wrote in a letter. Cicero's cognomen, or personal surname, comes from the Latin for cicer. Plutarch explains that the name was given to one of Cicero's ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. However, it is more that Cicero's ancestors prospered through the cultivation and sale of chickpeas. Romans chose down-to-earth personal surnames.
The famous family names of Fabius and Piso come from the Latin names of beans and peas, respectively. Plutarch writes that Cicero was urged to change this deprecatory name when he entered politics, but refused, saying that he would make Cicero more glorious than Scaurus and Catulus. During this period in Roman history, "cultured" meant being able to speak both Greek. Cicero was therefore educated in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosophers and historians. Cicero used his knowledge of Greek to translate many of the theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin, thus translating Greek philosophical works for a larger audience, it was his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite. Cicero's interest in philosophy figured in his career and led to him providing a comprehensive account of Greek philosophy for a Roman audience, including creating a philosophical vocabulary in Latin. In 87 BC, Philo of Larissa, the head of the Academy, founded by Plato in Athens about 300 years earlier, arrived in Rome.
Cicero, "inspired by an extraordinary zeal for philosophy", sat enthusiastically at his feet and absorbed Plato's philosophy. Cicero said of Plato's Dialogues. According to Plutarch, Cicero was an talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome, affording him the opportunity to study Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero's fellow students were Gaius Marius Minor, Servius Sulpicius Rufus, Titus Pomponius; the latter two became Cicero's friends for life, Pomponius would become, in Cicero's own words, "as a second brother", with both maintaining a lifelong correspondence. In 79 BC, Cicero left for Asia Minor and Rhodes; this was to avoid the potential wrath of Sulla, as Plutarch claims, though Cicero himself says it was to hone his skills and improve his p