Political Violence in the Late Roman Republic

dc.contributorNeumann, Kristina M.
dc.contributorRainbow, David
dc.contributorArmstrong, Richard
dc.contributor.authorO'Connell, Jack T.
dc.description.abstractThis thesis tackles the role of political violence in the Late Roman Republic. It begins with a discussion over the careers of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, with an emphasis on the social issue of land redistribution. The focus is on the failure of traditional institutions to pass legislation, and how violence was first employed by Tiberius Gracchus as a last resort response to this crisis. Assassination on the part of Nasica was also the most effective means to overcome the power Tiberius had gained from his own violent tactics. The further instrumentalization and escalation of violence occurred with Marius, Saturninus, and Glaucia. These three perfected the implementation of mob violence to further political ambitions and also started the process of beginning the legislative process with violence at the ready. This transferred political violence from an emergency response to a standard means of political expression. The trio also developed an alliance which overpowered the republic’s government. From here, the thesis moves to discuss the Social War. The particular point of interest is the juxtaposition between failed decades of nonviolent political reform, and the efficacy of a violent uprising. Furthermore, the Social War sheds light on the potency of political violence once it is intermingled with the mechanisms of war. Sulla is emblematic of the perfection of political violence’s techniques in the Roman Republic. Sulla fully brought civil war to Rome, slaughtered all opposition, and reforged the Roman Republic to fit his ideal image. With Sulla come the creation of the Proscriptions The power of unleashed political violence was on full display for all Romans to see. The next five decades would see repeats of these forms of violence until the Roman citizens chose to shed its violent, republican government in favor of autocracy. These conflicts demonstrate the struggle between Rome’s city-state government, and the burdens of empire. No longer could the institutions of Republican Rome, designed specifically to manage a city-state, handle the radical shifts in power brought upon by the Imperial Republic. Political violence managed the demands of Rome’s empire and provided solutions to the failures of the republican government.
dc.description.departmentHistory, Department of
dc.description.departmentHonors College
dc.relation.ispartofSenior Honors Theses
dc.rightsThe author of this work is the copyright owner. UH Libraries and the Texas Digital Library have their permission to store and provide access to this work. Further transmission, reproduction, or presentation of this work is prohibited except with permission of the author(s).
dc.subjectpolitical violence
dc.titlePolitical Violence in the Late Roman Republic
dc.typeHonors Thesis
thesis.degree.collegeCollege of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
thesis.degree.nameBachelor of Arts


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