By Nathan Rosenstein, Robert Morstein-Marx
This Companion presents an authoritative and updated evaluation of Roman Republican background because it is at the moment practiced.
- Highlights fresh advancements, together with archaeological discoveries, clean ways to textual resources, and the outlet up of recent parts of old study
- Retains the drama of the Republic’s upward thrust and fall
- Emphasizes not only the proof of texts and actual continues to be, but additionally the types and assumptions that students carry to those artefacts
- Looks on the position performed by way of the actual geography and surroundings of Italy
- Offers a compact yet distinct narrative of army and political advancements from the beginning of the Roman Republic via to the dying of Julius Caesar
- Discusses present controversies within the field
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Additional info for A companion to the Roman Republic
Gelzer was Swiss, and his experience with the political conditions of small communities certainly helped him to develop a new perspective, as did also his outsider’s stance with regard to the thought of the great Mommsen, a perspective he could more easily adopt than his German colleagues. But the core of his new approach, which was more widely accepted only some years later, lay in a clear emphasis upon the idea that the content of politics as well as the effectiveness of political action was essentially dependant on personal connections within upper-class families and between these and their clients – that is, citizens lower down in the social hierarchy who were tied to them by patronage.
Indeed, according to Meier the Republic fell into the ‘‘crisis without alternative’’ precisely because the potentially powerful group of the equites could safeguard their vital interests without changing the system and the ordinary people could not really attain power despite – or because of – their partial integration into the state by means of the popular assemblies. It was partly only a natural reaction that after long years of the dominance of the political aspect as well as of research into the upper class, interest grew in the 1960s in social history, and particularly in the lower classes.
However, it is not easy to prove that Roman demography should be modeled on one type of development rather than another, and the variations are not irrelevant. In the meantime less pessimistic approaches have been advocated that do attribute some validity to the ancient evidence, at least to the extent that clues may be gleaned from it as to which pre-modern type of demographic development the Roman Empire seems to resemble most closely. 40 While Hopkins’s use of the Model Life Tables to formulate hypotheses about Roman demography was focused on the Imperial period, his approach always had significance for the Republic since there is no reason to suppose that the relevant parameters of demographic development had fundamentally changed.