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III. The Religion of Republic and Empire

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 February 2016

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The Republic is the name we use to describe the characteristic political system of the Romans from the fall of the monarchy until the establishment of the new, though disguised, monarchy of Augustus and his successors. It is a system that we know quite well from its last century or so, because the writings of Cicero, Caesar, and Sallust as well as those of many others survive from that period. From the earlier years of the Republic we have only the historical tradition preserved by Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, both of whom wrote in the period of Augustus; their tradition is in fact dependent on earlier writers, but even these only take us back to the middle of the second century BC at the earliest. There is therefore a great gap between the creation of the system in the late sixth century BC and the recording of it at least three centuries later. For the most part what follows describes the situation in the second and first centuries; how far the picture can safely be projected backwards into earlier centuries is, as we have seen, very much an open question. Given the Romans’ reluctance to make basic changes in their institutions, it would not be surprising if the evolution from the monarchic system of archaic Rome to the developed Republican system we know took some generations to achieve.

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Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 2000

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References

1 Rawson (1976); Cornell (1995), 1–30; Miles (1995).

2 So, Polybius, book 6; Cicero, Republic 1.

3 Hopkins and Burton, in Hopkins (1983); Millar (1984).

4 Jugurthine War 63.6-7.

5 For the facts, Szemler (1972); RoR i .99-108.

6 For the pontifex maximus: RoR i.55-8; 107–8; 186–9.

7 On the Laws – Rawson (1973b).

8 Linderski (1986), esp 2180–4.

9 For example, when in 56 BC an oracle affected who should restore the king of Egypt: Dio Cassius 29.15.1-16; Cicero, To his Friends 1.7.4 = 18.4 (Shackleton Bailey).

10 North (1990); RoR i. 103–4. There is a small number of exceptions, not surprisingly considering that these were conventions not fixed rules, until the legislation of the late Republic.

11 See above Table 1.

12 Cicero, On the Agrarian Law of Rullus 2.16 and 18.

13 Cicero, Laelius 96; MRR i.470.

14 MRR i.559-60; Rawson (1974); North (1990); RoR i.135-7.

15 MRR ii.75.

16 Dio Cassius 37.1-2. MRR ii. 167–8.

17 Cicero, Letters to Atticus 4.2 = 74 (Shackleton Bailey).

18 For this argument see especially Beard (1990).

19 The decision over Clodius illustrates the point: Clodius’ dedication was ruled invalid precisely because he was not specifically authorized by a popular vote. For other examples RoR i. 105–8.

20 So, Taylor (1961), 76–97; Szemler (1972).

21 North (1976).

22 On which see Linderski (1986).

23 RoR i.26-9.

24 Polybius 6.56.6-14 = RoR ii.13.

25 Cicero, On his House and On the Response of the Haruspices, provide much discussion of the issues, though entirely from Cicero’s point of view. On the cult of Libertas, Weinstock (1971), 133–45.

26 Above n. 17.

27 Though Epicurean philosophers did come close to this position; for Epicureanism in Rome, see Sedley (1998).

28 Gros (1976); Zanker (1988), 104–14; RoR i.121-5.

29 The Res Gestae (left to be published after his death) unapologetically lists all his seven priesthoods at ch. 7.3. His version of the delay in becoming pontifex maximus and his eventual popular election in 12 BC, at 10.2.

30 Zanker (1988), 120–5; RoR ii.4.3.

31 as at Tacitus Annals 3.58-9; 71.

32 Texts RoR ii.5.7b.

33 Res Gestae 19–21; 20.4 (the restorations).

34 For another view, Bowersock (1990).

35 Scheid (1990), 690–732; RoR ii.4.5.

36 Apollo and Vesta: Zanker (1988), 194–205; 210–15; RoR i.189-91; 199–201; RoR ii.4.2.

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