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Post by thelivyjr » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:40 p

As to Publius Cornelius Lentulus, byname Sura (Latin: “Calf of the Leg”), (died Dec. 5, 63 bc, Rome), he was a leading figure in Catiline’s conspiracy (63 bc) to seize control of the Roman government.

In 81 Lentulus was quaestor to Lucius Cornelius Sulla.

In the Roman Republic, a Quaestor, (Latin: “investigator”) was the lowest-ranking regular magistrate in ancient Rome, whose traditional responsibility was the treasury.

With the advent of the republic in the year 509 bce, each of the two consuls, who at first were called praetors, appointed a quaestor to be the custodian of the public treasury.

After 447 bce the two quaestors were elected each year by the tribal assembly.

The quaestorship became the first magistracy sought by an ambitious young man.

Later in the century it was decreed that plebeians could hold the office, and the number of quaestors was increased to four.

Two served as quartermasters to the two consuls when they were in the field, and the other two stayed in Rome to supervise the financial affairs of the treasury.

As Rome proceeded with its conquest of Italy, four more were added and given responsibility for raising taxes and securing recruits from the conquered territories.

Each provincial governor had his own quaestor as quartermaster and tax collector.

In the provinces the quaestors sometimes performed military functions as well.

In the 2nd century bce the minimum age for quaestors was 28.

After their term expired, they usually entered the Senate, where they would be senators for life.

After Sulla became dictator in 82 bce, the minimum age was raised to 30, the quaestors’ entrance into the Senate was made automatic, and the number of quaestors was raised to 20.

In 45 bce Julius Caesar increased the number to 40, but the emperor Augustus returned it to 20 and weakened the powers and responsibilities of the office.

The quaestors’ financial responsibilities were eventually assumed by imperial officers.

By the 4th century ce the quaestorship was purely honorary and was held usually by men of wealth for social status.

Getting back to Lentulus, when Sulla later accused him of having squandered public funds, Lentulus scornfully held out the calf of his leg, a gesture normally used by ball-playing boys inviting punishment for an error.

He was praetor in 74 and consul in 71.

Although expelled from the Senate for immorality in 70, he was elected to a second praetorship in 63.

It was while serving in this office that he joined Catiline.

When Catiline fled from Rome after Cicero’s speech In Catilinam, Lentulus assumed leadership of the remaining conspirators.

He planned to murder Cicero and set fire to Rome, but the plot failed because of his indiscretion in communicating it to the ambassadors of the Allobroges, then in Rome, in the hope of securing armed assistance from them.

As to the Allobroges, they were a Gallic tribe of ancient Gaul, located between the Rhône River and Lake Geneva in what later became Savoy, Dauphiné, and Vivarais.

In 123 BC, the Allobroges gave shelter to King Tutomotulus (or Teutomalius), of the tribe of the Salluvii which Rome had conquered, and refused to hand Tutomotulus over.

Rome declared war and moved against the Allobroges.

On August 8, 121 BC the legions of Quintus Fabius Maximus defeated them and forced them to submit; Maximus earned the cognomen Allobrogicus for this feat.

And as this recital of history tells us, the Allobroges additionally played a rather important part in deciding to foil the second Catilinarian Conspiracy of 63 BC, an attempt to foment civil war throughout Italy and simultaneously burn down Rome.

The Catilinerian Conspiracy, as stated above, was a plot by ostracized high political Roman elites and allied plebeian military connected to their cause.

Leading up to the death of Lentulus, which caused the exile of Cicero, which leads directly to the downfall of the Roman Republic in the flames of civil war, the Catilinerian conspirators made the mistake of attempting to recruit the Allobroges via their ambassadors' delegation, who happened to be in Rome during the planning of the conspiracy.

Since the Allobrogian delegation was in Rome seeking relief from the oppression of their Roman governor, one of the Catiline conspirators, Lentulus Sura instructed Publius Umbrenus, a businessman with dealings in Gaul, to offer to free them of their miseries to throw off the heavy yoke of their governor — if they would join the Catiline conspiracy against Rome.

The Allobroges diplomatic envoys, however, informed Cicero as consul, the equivalent of president, and Cicero instructed the Allobroges' envoys to get tangible proof of the conspiracy.

Thinking they were gaining allies, five of the leading conspirators wrote letters to the Allobroges so that the envoys could show their people that there was hope in a real conspiracy.

However, Cicero had the letters intercepted as the envoys left Rome and read them before the Senate the following day, in the third of his Catiline Orations.

With the plot exposed, the ringleaders were rounded up or sacrificed themselves, mostly in unprepared pitched battles around Rome.

However, as these things go, the Allobroges rebelled on their own shortly thereafter.

In 61 BC chief Catugnatus revolted but Gaius Pomptinus defeated them at Solonium.

Next, loyal once more, Allobrogian warriors joined Julius Caesar during his conquest of Gaul.

These included two brothers, Roucillus and Egus, the sons of Adbucillus who had been chieftain of the Allobroges for many years.

In The Civil War Caesar explains that these were men of "outstanding courage" and had been availed of their excellent and stalwart service in all his campaigns in Gaul.

Consequently, they had been greatly honoured by Caesar who had assigned to them the highest magistracies among their own people.

Regrettably Caesar records that these privileges allowed the Allobroges to become "carried away by stupid, barbarian vanity" and "to look down on their own people, to cheat the cavalry of their pay, and to appropriate all the plunder for themselves."

A generation later, Emperor Augustus placed the Allobroges in the region of Gallia Narbonensis and later Gallia Viennensis.

Under the Roman Empire, Vienne, the capital of the Allobroges, grew and in 100 AD Tacitus described it as "historic and imposing."

Archaeological excavations have revealed extensive warehouses.

They collected tolls from traffic passing up Via Agrippa and various other Roman roads.

And such is history!

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:40 p

As to an understanding of the role the forum in the ancient city of Rome played in the civic life of those times, the Ancient History Encyclopedia in an article by writer873
published on 18 January 2012 tells us that a Forum was the main center of a Roman city, and usually located near the physical center of a Roman town, it served as a public area in which commercial, religious, economic, political, legal, and social activities occurred.

Fora were common in all Roman cities, but none were as grand as the fora of Rome itself.

A forum is not unlike a Greek Agora in concept and even design somewhat.

It is likely that there was some Greek influence on the concept of a public gathering place for the Romans, and in fact, a Roman forum often included certain physical aspects of a Greek agora, such as the use of porticoes.

However, where an agora was maintained as an open public place in a Greek city, Roman fora developed into much more, with greater purpose and use.

They were filled with shops, porticoes, temples, offices, and triumphal arches; and they were where important civic and political announcements were made, as well as where the less tasteful aspects of Roman life occurred, such as prostitution.

As the years of Roman history passed, the fora of Rome became quite enclosed, and probably very crowded and chaotic.

The main forum of the city of Rome was the Forum Romanum.

Its placement in the central part of the city dates back to the time of the Tarquin kings, and it was seen fit to build a sewer, the Cloaca Maxima, to provide proper drainage of the marshy land between the Esquiline, Capitoline, and Palatine Hills down to the Tiber River.

With the land properly drained and dry, this area naturally became a central gathering location for the Etruscan inhabitants.

When the Roman Republic came to be in 509 B.C., this area retained its public use, and was where processions and elections took place, and eventually where the Roman Senate gathered.

While the Forum Romanum was the main forum of Rome, there were several other fora located throughout the city.

Each of these fora had a specific purpose unto themselves.

These included the Forum Boarium (the cattle market), and several Imperial Fora.

Roman Emperors such as Augustus and trajan built the Imperial Fora, usually with the spoils of war, in order to celebrate themselves and their victories.

So there we have the setting for the political violence which is to come, that will end the Roman Republic, forever.

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:40 p

In an article on the BBC History page entitled The Fall of the Roman Republic by Mary Beard updated 2011-03-29, we are told that the middle years of the first century BC were marked by violence in the city of Rome, and fighting between gangs supporting rival politicians and political programmes, which sounds very much like where we are heading for in this country right now, actually.

In that case, the two protagonists were Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus ('Pompey the Great', as he was called, after Alexander the Great) and Julius Caesar.

Originally allies, they became bitter enemies.

Both had conquered vast tracts of territory: Pompey in what is now Turkey, Caesar in France.

Caesar promoted radical policies in the spirit of Tiberius Gracchus; Pompey had the support of the traditionalists.

Historians in both the ancient and modern world have devoted enormous energy to tracking the precise stages by which these two men came head-to-head in civil war.

For much of this period we can actually follow the daily course of events thanks to the surviving letters of a contemporary politician, Marcus Tullius Cicero.

But the fact is that, given the power each had accrued and their entrenched opposition, war between them was almost inevitable.

It broke out in 49 BC.

By the end of 48 BC, Pompey was dead (beheaded as he tried to land in Egypt) and Caesar was left - to all intents and purposes - as the first emperor of Rome.

But not in name.

Using the old title of 'dictator', he notoriously received the kind of honours that were usually reserved for the gods.

He also embarked on another programme of reform including such radical measures as the cancellation of debts and the settlement of landless veteran soldiers.

He did not, however, have long to effect change (perhaps his most lasting innovation was his reform of the calendar and the introduction of the system of 'leap years' that we still use today).

For in 44 BC he too was murdered by a posse of senators, in the name of 'liberty'.

Not much 'liberty' was to follow.

Instead there was another decade of civil war as Caesar's supporters first of all battled it out with his assassins, and when they had been finished off, fought among themselves.

There was no other major player left when in 31 BC Octavian (Caesar's nephew and adopted son) defeated Antony at a naval battle near Actium in northern Greece.

And thus the stage is set for what must follow!

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:40 p

So, it's back to 58 B.C. we go, having set the stage as well as we can by way of background as to how and why Cicero was exiled from Rome, and how after his return from exile in Dyrrachium (modern Albania), his house was destroyed by the gangs of Clodius in a time when political violence in Rome was common, intertwined as it was with the street politics of Rome, back to the story as told in CHAPTER VIII of Cicero And The Fall Of The Roman Republic by James Leigh Strachan-Davidson, entitled CICERO'S EXILE AND RETURN - 58-56 B.C., where we have Cicero facing exile for ordering the killing of Publius Cornelius Lentulus, a leading figure in Catiline’s conspiracy (63 bc) to seize control of the Roman government, to wit:

Cicero was afterwards of opinion that he committed a fatal blunder in not expressing his approval of the decree of Clodius Pulcher "that any one who had put citizens to death without trial should be outlawed," and taking his stand absolutely on the ground that Lentulus was not a citizen but an enemy.

At the moment, however, he publicly recognised Clodius' proposal as directed against himself.

He and his friends put on mourning and commended themselves to the people.

The Roman Knights, always friendly to Cicero, stood by him on this occasion, and the Senate proclaimed its sympathies by a decree enjoining every member to lay aside the dress of his order as in times of public calamity.

The consuls nullified this proceeding by an edict forbidding any senator to appear except in his proper robes.

In the prevailing violence and disorder the tribunician protection, the proper remedy in such a case, was not available and the senators were obliged to submit.

The Roman Knights were roughly handled by Clodius' mobs, and were insulted by the consul Gabinius, who further arbitrarily ordered out of the city one of their number, Ælius Lamia, because he had made himself conspicuous among Cicero's defenders.

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As the ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA tells us, the consul Aulus Gabinius who insulted the Roman knights and arbitrarily ordered Ælius Lamia, a supporter of Cicero, out of Rome was a Roman politician and a supporter of Pompey the Great, a political enemy of Cicero in the way that the Democrats in America today are the political enemies of Donald Trump.

Gabinius started his political career as a military tribune under Lucius Cornelius Sulla and was later sent as Sulla’s envoy to Mithradates VI Eupator, the king of Pontus.

As tribune of the plebs in 67 he worked to help Pompey solve Rome’s major foreign policy problems: the infestations of pirates around the Mediterranean and the long war with Mithradates.

He may have delayed Mithradates’ defeat by transferring the command of the province of Bithynia-Pontus from Lucius Licinius Lucullus to the consul Manius Acilius Glabrio, along with part of Lucullus’s army.

As Wikipedia then tells us, Lucius Licinius Lucullus (118 BC – 57/56 BC) was an optimate politician of the late Roman Republic, closely connected with Lucius Cornelius Sulla.

In the culmination of over twenty years of almost continuous military and government service, he became the conqueror of the eastern kingdoms in the course of the Third Mithridatic War, exhibiting extraordinary generalship in diverse situations, most famously during the Siege of Cyzicus, 73–72 BC, and at the Battle of Tigranocerta in Armenian Arzanene, 69 BC.

His command style received unusually favourable attention from ancient military experts, and his campaigns appear to have been studied as examples of skillful generalship.

Lucullus returned to Rome from the east with so much captured booty that the whole could not be fully accounted, and poured enormous sums into private building, husbandry and even aquaculture projects which shocked and amazed his contemporaries by their magnitude.

He also patronized the arts and sciences lavishly, transforming his hereditary estate in the highlands of Tusculum into a hotel-and-library complex for scholars and philosophers.

He built the horti Lucullani, the famous Gardens of Lucullus, on the Pincian Hill in Rome, and in general became a cultural innovator in the deployment of imperial wealth.

He died during the winter of 57-56 BC. and was buried at the family estate near Tusculum.

As to Manius Acilius Glabrio, in 67 he was consul together with Gaius Calpurnius Piso, and in the same year Manius Acilius was appointed to replace Lucius Licinius Lucullus, who was unable to control his soldiers, as proconsul of Cilicia and the command of the Third Mithridatic War against Mithradates VI of Pontus and Tigranes the Great of Armenia.

While he was on his way to Pontus Mithridates won back almost all his kingdom and caused havoc in Cappadocia, which was allied with Rome and which had been left undefended.

Manius Acilius did not march on Cappadocia nor Pontus but delayed in Bithynia.

The 'lex Manilia' proposed by the plebeian tribune Gaius Manilius then gave the command of the war to Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, who replaced Acilius.

Little else is known of Manius Acilius except that he declared in favor of capital punishment for the Catilinarian conspirators.

So there we have some more of the players entering the scene here.

Getting back to the consul Aulus Gabinius who insulted the Roman knights and arbitrarily ordered Ælius Lamia, a supporter of Cicero, out of Rome was a Roman politician and a supporter of Pompey the Great, he then set up a command with wide powers intended to be used by Pompey against the pirates.

The province was the entire coast of the Mediterranean and all the land within 50 miles (80 km) of the coast.

(When his fellow tribune Trebellius vetoed the motion, Gabinius initiated a process of deposition against him, in imitation of a similar motion carried out by Tiberius Gracchus in 133.)

Pompey went on to eliminate the pirates, and he defeated Mithradates, who committed suicide.

He then organized most of the Middle East in Rome’s interest and his own, with Gabinius serving under him.

When Pompey worked with Julius Caesar and Marcus Crassus to control the Roman state in a secret combination (an unofficial triumvirate), they secured the election of Gabinius as consul for 58 with Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus.

They worked with Publius Clodius Pulcher to undermine the authority of the Senate by driving Cicero into exile.

Gabinius was rewarded with the proconsulship of Syria, which he governed from 57 to 54.

In Syria he tried to stop the depredations of the Roman knights — who were in charge of collecting taxes — by taking over the tax collecting himself, and profiting thereby.

He intervened in Judaea to the advantage of Antipater by restoring John Hyrcanus II as high priest; he also rebuilt towns and introduced administrative reforms.

Under Pompey’s instructions, but without the consent of the Senate, he restored Ptolemy XII Auletes to the throne in Egypt — in return, it is said, for a payment of 10,000 talents.

He left Roman troops to protect Ptolemy and then had to restore order in Judaea when revolts broke out there.

The knights were hostile to him because of his actions in Syria, and he had made other influential enemies as well.

An attempt to convict him of treason was unsuccessful, but he was finally convicted of extortion and went into exile in 54, although Pompey had compelled his enemy Cicero to speak on his behalf.

He was recalled from exile by Julius Caesar in 49 and fought for him in Illyria (48–47); he died of illness at Salonae, near present-day Split.

And that is how history is made - by real people doing real things, just as they are doing again in our troubled times here in the United States of America!

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:40 p

There was a time in America when the name of Julius Caesar was well known, as was his fate, and I am talking about children, not adults, this in a time when character still mattered, before it became about someone's skin color and sexual preferences.

I knew about Julius Caesar before I knew about George Washington, actually.

When I was young, as I say, character still mattered, which is why we studied this period of the history of Rome when young, and the people like Clodius Pulcher and Cicero and Caesar, who inhabited that city at that time.

As to Clodius Pulcher, who was to die as a result of the political violence he was an instigator of, the YourDictionary site tells us as follows about the man, whose infamous name has come down to us through history, as follows:

The Roman politician Publius Clodius Pulcher (died 52 B.C.) was one of the leading demagogues in the 1st century B.C.

As tribune, he wielded nearly as much power as Julius Caesar or Pompey.

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A demagogue, of course, is a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument, which is exactly what we today see going on around us in our own times, where demagogues rhetorically exploit an issue for political purposes in a way calculated to appeal to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people, as in "they seem more interested in demagoguing the issue in media interviews than in dialogue."

As to his being a tribune, that is a political office we do not have the like of in the form of government we have in the United States today, so it is hard for us to understand the power being a tribune gave to Clodius, who was able to use his power to get Cicero exiled from Rome.

The simplest explanation is that tribunes provided a balance between the power of the Senate and the needs of the people.

The Ancient History Encyclopedia tells us that tribuni plebis like Clodius Pulcher wielded great political power as they effectively ran the popular assembly of Rome, proposing bills to vote on and able to personally veto senatorial legislation.

According to tradition the first tribunes of the plebs were created in 494 BCE in order to serve the comitia plebis tributa, Rome's assembly of the plebs, those being the ordinary citizens who were not members of the aristocratic patrician class, and were the tribal leaders of those plebs.

The tribunes, who had to be plebs themselves, were the officers of the popular assembly.

In this capacity, they assembled the plebs (ius agendi cum plebe), proposed bills to be voted upon, and passed binding resolutions (plebiscites), at first on the plebs only and then, from 287 BCE with the lex Hortensia, on all Roman citizens.

Besides passing legislation necessary for the state to function and reflecting the will of the Senate, tribunes could also propose their own bills.

Another function was to conduct public prosecutions before the assembly (iudicia populi).

These could be against individuals accused of such crimes as bribery (ambitus) or treason (perduellio).

Penalties decided by the tribunes ranged from fines to execution.

Tribunes protected the plebs from any abuses by magistrates.

In return, the plebs swore an oath (lex sacrata) which gave the tribunes a sacred inviolability (sacrosanctitas) and a guarantee that the plebs would protect them with their own lives.

Further powers were awarded to the tribunes and these included:

•coercitio - the right to impose his will on and redress an insult from any individual through the use of fines, imprisonment, corporal punishment, or the death penalty.

•intercessio – to block or veto any legislation, decrees, or actions by the Senate or from any magistrate and fellow tribune he considered contrary to the interests of the plebs.

•ius auxilii - the protection of plebs from arbitrary punishment unlawfully threatened by a magistrate.

From the mid-2nd century BCE, a tribune, after holding office, was entitled to join the Senate.

The powers of the tribunes to sway legislation became so great, especially following their practice of forming a partnership with generals in the Roman army, that Sulla reduced their ability to propose new bills, block the Senate's proposals, and qualify themselves for the Senate in 81 BCE.

However, popular and sustained unrest in protest at these measures led to the tribune's full powers being reinstated in 70 BCE.

The tribunes had consistently fought against the upper classes in the 2nd and 1st century BCE and gained a reputation for being revolutionaries inside the state apparatus.

As the contemporary historian, Polybius, stated, "they are bound to do what the people resolve and chiefly to focus upon their wishes" (Hornblower, 1505).

Defending public accountability and the interests of the ordinary people, it is no surprise then that, in the Imperial period, the tribunes were finally reduced to a negligible political role by Augustus, who took on most of their powers himself, the tribunicia potestas.

And there is where we will let the story rest for the moment, with that background prepared.

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Post by thelivyjr » Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:40 p

Now, to understand the end of the Roman Republic, which fell in the flames of a civil war, it is important to understand that like the United States of America today, the Roman Republic began with the downfall of a king, as we can see from the Wikipedia article "Overthrow of the Roman monarchy," where we have the following history to consider, to wit:

The overthrow of the Roman monarchy, a political revolution in ancient Rome, took place around 509 BC and resulted in the expulsion of the last king of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, and the establishment of the Roman Republic.

As to Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (died 495 BC), Wikipedia tells us he was the legendary seventh and final king of Rome, reigning from 535 BC until the popular uprising in 509 BC that led to the establishment of the Roman Republic.

He is commonly known as Tarquin the Proud, from his cognomen Superbus (Latin for "proud, arrogant, lofty").

Ancient accounts of the regal period mingle history and legend.

Tarquin was said to have been the son or grandson of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome, and to have gained the throne through the murders of both his wife and his elder brother, followed by the assassination of his predecessor, Servius Tullius.

His reign is described as a tyranny that justified the abolition of the monarchy.

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Politics, people - there is how the game of power is played, and in our own times, we would be fools to forget that reality that politics and violence are often found in the same bed together, intertwined as lovers.

Getting back to the overthrow of Superbus, the last Roman king, Tarquin was said to be the son or grandson of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome, and Tanaquil.

Tanaquil had engineered her husband's succession to the Roman kingdom on the death of Ancus Marcius.

When the sons of Marcius subsequently arranged the elder Tarquin's assassination in 579 BC, Tanaquil placed Servius Tullius on the throne, in preference to her own sons.

According to an Etruscan tradition, the hero Macstarna, usually equated with Servius Tullius, defeated and killed a Roman named Gnaeus Tarquinius, and rescued the brothers Caelius and Aulus Vibenna from captivity.

This may recollect an otherwise forgotten attempt by the sons of Tarquin the elder to reclaim the throne.

To forestall further dynastic strife, Servius married his daughters, known to history as Tullia Major and Tullia Minor, to Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the future king, and his brother Arruns.

Tarquin's sister, Tarquinia, married Marcus Junius Brutus, and was the mother of Lucius Junius Brutus, one of the men who would later lead the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom.

The elder sister, Tullia Major, was of mild disposition, yet married the ambitious Tarquin.

Her younger sister, Tullia Minor, was of fiercer temperament, but her husband Arruns was not.

She came to despise him, and conspired with Tarquin to bring about the deaths of Tullia Major and Arruns.

After the murder of their spouses, Tarquin and Tullia were married.

Together, they had three sons: Titus, Arruns, and Sextus, and a daughter, Tarquinia, who married Octavius Mamilius, the prince of Tusculum.

As the story then goes, Tullia encouraged her husband to advance his own position, ultimately persuading him to usurp Servius.

Tarquin solicited the support of the patrician senators, especially those from families who had received their senatorial rank under Tarquin the Elder.

He bestowed presents upon them, and spread criticism of Servius the king. which sounds very much like our national politics in this country today.

In time, Tarquin felt ready to seize the throne.

He went to the senate-house with a group of armed men, sat himself on the throne, and summoned the senators to attend upon King Tarquin.

He then spoke to the senators, denigrating Servius as a slave born of a slave; for failing to be elected by the senate and the people during an interregnum, as had been the tradition for the election of kings of Rome; for having become king through the machinations of a woman; for favouring the lower classes of Rome over the wealthy, and for taking the land of the upper classes for distribution to the poor; and for instituting the census so that the wealth of the upper classes might be exposed in order to excite popular envy.

When word of this brazen deed reached Servius, he hurried to the curia to confront Tarquin, who leveled the same accusations against his father-in-law, and then in his youth and vigor carried the king outside and flung him down the steps of the senate-house and into the street.

The king's retainers fled, and as he made his way, dazed and unattended, toward the palace, the aged Servius was set upon and murdered by Tarquin's assassins, perhaps on the advice of his own daughter.

Tullia, meanwhile, drove in her chariot to the senate-house, where she was the first to hail her husband as king.

But Tarquin bade her return home, concerned that the crowd might do her violence.

As she drove toward the Urbian Hill, her driver stopped suddenly, horrified at the sight of the king's body, lying in the street.

But in a frenzy, Tullia herself seized the reins, and drove the wheels of her chariot over her father's corpse.

The king's blood spattered against the chariot and stained Tullia's clothes, so that she brought a gruesome relic of the murder back to her house.

The street where Tullia disgraced the dead king afterward became known as the Vicus Sceleratus, the Street of Crime.

And there is where we will leave to story for the moment, as we consider if that could take place in our own times …

And so ...

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Post by thelivyjr » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:40 p

"Perfection is not the lot of humanity."

"Instead of censuring the small faults of the (United States) constitution, I am astonished that so many clashing interests have been reconciled — and so many sacrifices made to the general interest!"

"The mutual concessions made by the gentlemen of the (1787 Constitutional) convention, reflect the highest honor on their candor and liberality; at the same time, they prove that their minds were deeply impressed with a conviction, the such mutual sacrifices are essential to our union."

"They must be made sooner or later by every state; or jealousies, local interests and prejudices will unsheathe the sword, and some Caesar or Cromwell will avail himself of our divisions, and wade to a throne through streams of blood."

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Those words were written two hundred thirty-two (232) years ago on October 17, 1787 by an American by the name of Noah Webster, a strong supporter of the American Revolution and the ratification of the United States Constitution, and who also believed that American nationalism was superior to Europe because American values were superior, in the political essay "A Citizen of America: An Examination Into the Leading Principles of America," and the Caesar mentioned therein is the same Julius Caesar who died in Rome one thousand eight hundred thirty-one (1831) years earlier, which is how powerful that story of the rise and fall of Julius Caesar was in the minds of the early Americans who intended our United States Constitution to be a shield to protect us from the rise of another Caesar, which takes us to "Atticus I," an American political essay by Atticus in the Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser of Boston on August 09, 1787, as follows:

Liberty, when considered as a power, is the unrestrained power of acting reasonably: As a privilege, it is the security which a man feels in acting rightly and enjoying the fruit of his own labor.

When either of these are wanting, the people are not free, although their government may be called a democracy.

When these exist, the people are free, although the government may be stiled an absolute monarchy.

For an absolute, and arbitrary government, are very different things.

If a government shall contain a good system of laws, then it is a good one, if these laws can be executed, and guarded from abuse.

The form of government is then such as it ought to be; and the evils of such a government are either only accidental, or such as no form can remedy.

If false opinions prevail among the people, let common-sense have fair play; and matters will come right again.

If the temper and principles of the nation be wholly corrupt, their ruin is certain in the nature of things.

They must of necessity be slaves.

In vain did Brutus think to make the Romans free by killing Caesar.

The spirit of Romans had so totally forsaken them, that any man, who could assemble an army of desperadoes, might be a Caesar if he pleased.

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These are the now-forgotten voices of our own forefathers speaking to us from across the gulf of time to inform us as to what is was they had set in motion, and why, and that raises the question of whether the spirit of Americans have so totally forsaken them that any man or woman who could assemble an army of desperadoes might be a Caesar in our times if he or she pleased, which takes us to FEDERALIST No. 21, Other Defects of the Present Confederation, by Alexander Hamilton for the Independent Journal to the People of the State of New York circa 1787, as follows:

HAVING in the three last numbers taken a summary review of the principal circumstances and events which have depicted the genius and fate of other confederate governments, I shall now proceed in the enumeration of the most important of those defects which have hitherto disappointed our hopes from the system established among ourselves.

To form a safe and satisfactory judgment of the proper remedy, it is absolutely necessary that we should be well acquainted with the extent and malignity of the disease.

The next most palpable defect of the subsisting Confederation, is the total want of a SANCTION to its laws.

The United States, as now composed, have no powers to exact obedience, or punish disobedience to their resolutions, either by pecuniary mulcts, by a suspension or divestiture of privileges, or by any other constitutional mode.

There is no express delegation of authority to them to use force against delinquent members; and if such a right should be ascribed to the federal head, as resulting from the nature of the social compact between the States, it must be by inference and construction, in the face of that part of the second article, by which it is declared, “that each State "shall retain every power, jurisdiction, and right, not EXPRESSLY delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.''

There is, doubtless, a striking absurdity in supposing that a right of this kind does not exist, but we are reduced to the dilemma either of embracing that supposition, preposterous as it may seem, or of contravening or explaining away a provision, which has been of late a repeated theme of the eulogies of those who oppose the new Constitution; and the want of which, in that plan, has been the subject of much plausible animadversion, and severe criticism.

If we are unwilling to impair the force of this applauded provision, we shall be obliged to conclude, that the United States afford the extraordinary spectacle of a government destitute even of the shadow of constitutional power to enforce the execution of its own laws.

It will appear, from the specimens which have been cited, that the American Confederacy, in this particular, stands discriminated from every other institution of a similar kind, and exhibits a new and unexampled phenomenon in the political world.

The want of a mutual guaranty of the State governments is another capital imperfection in the federal plan.

There is nothing of this kind declared in the articles that compose it; and to imply a tacit guaranty from considerations of utility, would be a still more flagrant departure from the clause which has been mentioned, than to imply a tacit power of coercion from the like considerations.

The want of a guaranty, though it might in its consequences endanger the Union, does not so immediately attack its existence as the want of a constitutional sanction to its laws.

Without a guaranty the assistance to be derived from the Union in repelling those domestic dangers which may sometimes threaten the existence of the State constitutions, must be renounced.

Usurpation may rear its crest in each State, and trample upon the liberties of the people, while the national government could legally do nothing more than behold its encroachments with indignation and regret.

A successful faction may erect a tyranny on the ruins of order and law, while no succor could constitutionally be afforded by the Union to the friends and supporters of the government.

The tempestuous situation from which Massachusetts has scarcely emerged, evinces that dangers of this kind are not merely speculative.

Who can determine what might have been the issue of her late convulsions, if the malcontents had been headed by a Caesar or by a Cromwell?

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Yes, indeed, people, what if that had been the case?

And what if it happened here tomarrow?

What then?

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Post by thelivyjr » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:40 p

Much is being made today concerning exactly what the government of the United States of America actually is, and for what purposes it was created.

And the answer was to give us a stable government that could stand the test of time to protect our property and our liberty.

Consider, for example, Noah Webster in the political essay A Citizen of America: An Examination Into the Leading Principles of America on October 17, 1787, as follows:

It is worth our while to institute a brief comparison between our American forms of government, and the two best constitutions that ever existed in Europe, the Roman and the British.

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So, there we can see ourselves again taken back in time to Rome, so that the government we might end up with, so it was hoped at that time, would prevent us from having a downfall like the Romans did after the murder of Caesar in 44 B.C., which takes us back to Noah Webster, as follows:

In ancient Rome, the king was elective, and so were the consuls, who were the executive officers in the republic.

But they were elected by the body of the people, in their public assemblies; and this circumstance paved the way for such excessive bribery and corruption as are wholly unknown in modern times.

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So, the founding fathers, contrary to the uninformed opinions of political opportunistic demagogues, did not intend to hand us a bundle of "rights" to include free everything with a large-screen TV thrown in to boot - rather, they intended to protect us from the political maladies like bribery and corruption that tainted Roman politics, as if such a thing could possibly be possible, given that human nature does not change, but seems eternal.

Getting back to Noah Webster:

The crown of England is hereditary — the consuls of Rome were chosen annually — both these extremes are guarded against in our proposed constitution.

The president is not dismissed from his office, as soon as he is acquainted with business — he continues four years, and is re-eligible, if the people approve his conduct.

The age requisite to qualify for this office is thirty-five years.

The age requisite for admittance to the Roman consulship was forty-three years.

For this difference, good reasons may be assigned — the improvements in science, and particularly in government, render it practicable for a man to qualify himself for an important office, much earlier in life, than he could among the Romans; especially in the early part of their commonwealth, when the office was instituted.

Besides it is very questionable whether any inconvenience would have attended admission to the consulship at an earlier age.

The powers vested in the president resemble the powers of the supreme magistrates in Rome.

They are not so extensive as those of the British king; but in one instance, the president, with concurrence of the senate, has powers exceeding those of the Roman consuls; I mean in the appointment of judges and other subordinate executive officers.

The praetors or judges in Rome were chosen annually by the people.

This was a defect in the Roman government.

One half the evils in a state arise from a lax execution of the laws; and it is impossible that an executive officer can act with vigor and impartiality, when his office depends on the popular voice.

An annual popular election of executive officers is the sure source of a negligent, partial and corrupt administration.

In this point therefore I conceive the plan proposed in America to be an improvement on the Roman constitution.

In all free governments, that is, in all countries, where laws govern, and not men, the supreme magistrate should have it in his power to execute any law, however unpopular, without hazarding his person or office.

The laws are the sole guardians of right, and when the magistrate dares not act, every person is insecure.

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Which seems to be a statement reflecting where we are today in this country with rule of law dying, if not dead, so that the law in this country is no longer the sole guardian of right.

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Post by thelivyjr » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:40 p

We again come across references to the Roman form of government with respect to the form of government the so-called "founding fathers" originally intended for this nation in FEDERALIST No. 70, The Executive Department Further Considered, by Alexander Hamilton to the People of the State of New York from the New York Packet on Tuesday, March 18, 1788, as follows:

THERE is an idea, which is not without its advocates, that a vigorous Executive is inconsistent with the genius of republican government.

The enlightened well-wishers to this species of government must at least hope that the supposition is destitute of foundation; since they can never admit its truth, without at the same time admitting the condemnation of their own principles.

Energy in the Executive is a leading character in the definition of good government.

It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property against those irregular and high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy.

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Now, in the plain-spoken but obviously forgotten words of one of our leading founders, there is what our federal Constitution was intended to provide us with, to wit: energy in the Executive essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks as well as to the steady administration of the laws and to the protection of property against those irregular and high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice, and to the security of our liberty as a people against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy, which is exactly what we are seeing today in America in our times - assaults of ambition and faction on our liberty, which takes us back to Federalist No. 70, as follows:

Every man the least conversant in Roman story, knows how often that republic was obliged to take refuge in the absolute power of a single man, under the formidable title of Dictator, as well against the intrigues of ambitious individuals who aspired to the tyranny, and the seditions of whole classes of the community whose conduct threatened the existence of all government, as against the invasions of external enemies who menaced the conquest and destruction of Rome.

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As I say, there was a time in America when the "Roman story" was well-known, especially by children like myself who learned much about people and their actions and their character from that story, and it is sad that in America today, the story is no longer known, as America comes to look more and more like Rome in its final days, which again takes us back to Federalist No. 70, as follows:

A feeble Executive implies a feeble execution of the government.

A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.

Taking it for granted, therefore, that all men of sense will agree in the necessity of an energetic Executive, it will only remain to inquire, what are the ingredients which constitute this energy?

How far can they be combined with those other ingredients which constitute safety in the republican sense?

And how far does this combination characterize the plan which has been reported by the convention?

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Those were the existential questions being considered at this nation's beginning - not how much free stuff the government really does owe us, as is the case today.

Getting back to Federalist No. 70:

The ingredients which constitute energy in the Executive are, first, unity; secondly, duration; thirdly, an adequate provision for its support; fourthly, competent powers.

The ingredients which constitute safety in the republican sense are, first, a due dependence on the people, secondly, a due responsibility.

Those politicians and statesmen who have been the most celebrated for the soundness of their principles and for the justice of their views, have declared in favor of a single Executive and a numerous legislature.

They have with great propriety, considered energy as the most necessary qualification of the former, and have regarded this as most applicable to power in a single hand, while they have, with equal propriety, considered the latter as best adapted to deliberation and wisdom, and best calculated to conciliate the confidence of the people and to secure their privileges and interests.

That unity is conducive to energy will not be disputed.

Decision, activity, secrecy, and despatch will generally characterize the proceedings of one man in a much more eminent degree than the proceedings of any greater number; and in proportion as the number is increased, these qualities will be diminished.

This unity may be destroyed in two ways: either by vesting the power in two or more magistrates of equal dignity and authority; or by vesting it ostensibly in one man, subject, in whole or in part, to the control and co-operation of others, in the capacity of counsellors to him.

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That, of course, is what we are seeing today, as Congressman Jerrold Nadler of the House of Representatives is trying to insinuate himself into an oversight role of the president, which would make Jerrold Nadler, a mere Congressman, of equal dignity and authority as the president, or it make the president subject to the control of Congressman Jerrold Nadler, which concept makes a mockery of our Constitutional frame of government, and that takes us back to Federalist No. 70. as follows:

Of the first, the two Consuls of Rome may serve as an example; of the last, we shall find examples in the constitutions of several of the States.

The experience of other nations will afford little instruction on this head.

As far, however, as it teaches any thing, it teaches us not to be enamoured of plurality in the Executive.

We have seen that the Achaeans, on an experiment of two Praetors, were induced to abolish one.

The Roman history records many instances of mischiefs to the republic from the dissensions between the Consuls, and between the military Tribunes, who were at times substituted for the Consuls.

But it gives us no specimens of any peculiar advantages derived to the state from the circumstance of the plurality of those magistrates.

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Which takes us back to today in this country and the power struggle now going on to determine exactly who it is that is in charge of the office of the executive in America today - is it the person elected to that office, or is it really Jerrold Nadler, a Congressman from New York City?

Which again takes us back to Federalist No. 70, as follows:

But quitting the dim light of historical research, attaching ourselves purely to the dictates of reason and good sense, we shall discover much greater cause to reject than to approve the idea of plurality in the Executive, under any modification whatever.

Wherever two or more persons are engaged in any common enterprise or pursuit, there is always danger of difference of opinion.

If it be a public trust or office, in which they are clothed with equal dignity and authority, there is peculiar danger of personal emulation and even animosity.

From either, and especially from all these causes, the most bitter dissensions are apt to spring.

Whenever these happen, they lessen the respectability, weaken the authority, and distract the plans and operation of those whom they divide.

If they should unfortunately assail the supreme executive magistracy of a country, consisting of a plurality of persons, they might impede or frustrate the most important measures of the government, in the most critical emergencies of the state.

And what is still worse, they might split the community into the most violent and irreconcilable factions, adhering differently to the different individuals who composed the magistracy.

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And that again brings us forward in time to our times today, as we see this nation being split and riven into the most violent and irreconcilable factions adhering differently to the different individuals who are vying for control of the magistracy, which is the office of the president, which again takes us back to Federalist No. 70, as follows:

It must be confessed that these observations apply with principal weight to the first case supposed that is, to a plurality of magistrates of equal dignity and authority a scheme, the advocates for which are not likely to form a numerous sect; but they apply, though not with equal, yet with considerable weight to the project of a council, whose concurrence is made constitutionally necessary to the operations of the ostensible Executive.

An artful cabal in that council would be able to distract and to enervate the whole system of administration.

If no such cabal should exist, the mere diversity of views and opinions would alone be sufficient to tincture the exercise of the executive authority with a spirit of habitual feebleness and dilatoriness.

But one of the weightiest objections to a plurality in the Executive, and which lies as much against the last as the first plan, is, that it tends to conceal faults and destroy responsibility.

Responsibility is of two kinds to censure and to punishment.

The first is the more important of the two, especially in an elective office.

Man, in public trust, will much oftener act in such a manner as to render him unworthy of being any longer trusted, than in such a manner as to make him obnoxious to legal punishment.

But the multiplication of the Executive adds to the difficulty of detection in either case.

It often becomes impossible, amidst mutual accusations, to determine on whom the blame or the punishment of a pernicious measure, or series of pernicious measures, ought really to fall.

It is shifted from one to another with so much dexterity, and under such plausible appearances, that the public opinion is left in suspense about the real author.

The circumstances which may have led to any national miscarriage or misfortune are sometimes so complicated that, where there are a number of actors who may have had different degrees and kinds of agency, though we may clearly see upon the whole that there has been mismanagement, yet it may be impracticable to pronounce to whose account the evil which may have been incurred is truly chargeable.

“I was overruled by my council."

"The council were so divided in their opinions that it was impossible to obtain any better resolution on the point.''

These and similar pretexts are constantly at hand, whether true or false.

And who is there that will either take the trouble or incur the odium, of a strict scrunity into the secret springs of the transaction?

Should there be found a citizen zealous enough to undertake the unpromising task, if there happen to be collusion between the parties concerned, how easy it is to clothe the circumstances with so much ambiguity, as to render it uncertain what was the precise conduct of any of those parties?

It is evident from these considerations, that the plurality of the Executive tends to deprive the people of the two greatest securities they can have for the faithful exercise of any delegated power, first, the restraints of public opinion, which lose their efficacy, as well on account of the division of the censure attendant on bad measures among a number, as on account of the uncertainty on whom it ought to fall; and, secondly, the opportunity of discovering with facility and clearness the misconduct of the persons they trust, in order either to their removal from office or to their actual punishment in cases which admit of it.

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Post by thelivyjr » Thu Aug 22, 2019 1:40 p

And while we are on the subject of the political violence in Rome that our federal Constitution was supposed to protect us from, and getting back to Milo, who was tried in Rome for killing Clodius Pulcher, and unsuccessfully defended by Cicero, whose defense for Milo was that Clodius deserved to be killed, which didn't fly all that well with the jury, with the result that Milo was banished from Rome, a fairly light sentence for killing a political rival when you think about it, although for a politician like Milo, a heavy sentence, indeed, he comes back into the story inThe Civil War, a contemporary history of those times by Julius Caesar, one of the combatants, and the eventual victor who would later be murdered by Senators of Rome who thought Caesar was setting himself up to be king, a forbidden title in the Roman Republic, as follows:

During the same period (the Civil War is on, and Caesar has just left Italy to pursue Pompey in Greece), the praetor (ancient Roman magistrates ranking below consul who served as the judges of the Roman Republic) Marcus Caelius Rufus, at the start of his term of office, took up the cause of the debters.

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At this time in Rome's history, as is the case here in the United States of America in our times, the people, the plebs, or common folks, were highly in debt to the money lenders, who because of the civil war, weren't lending more money, while at the same time, calling in debts.

In those times, Caelius would have been termed a "populare."

In our times today, he would be a progressive Democrat or Democratic Socialist.

As Wikipedia tells us, the Populares ("favoring the people") were a political faction in the late Roman Republic who favoured the cause of the plebeians (the commoners).

The Populares emerged as a political group with the reforms of the Gracchi brothers, who were tribunes of the plebs between 133 and 121 BC.

Although the Gracchi belonged to the highest Roman aristocracy, being the grandsons of Scipio Africanus, they were concerned for the urban poor, whose dire condition increased the risk of a social crisis at Rome.

They tried to implement a vast social program comprising a grain dole, new colonies, and a redistribution of the Ager publicus in order to alleviate their situation.

They also drafted laws to grant Roman citizenship to Italian allies, and reform the judicial system to tackle corruption.

Both brothers were nevertheless murdered by their opponents, the Optimates — the conservative faction representing the interests of the landed aristocracy, who dominated the Senate.

Several tribunes of the plebs later tried to pass the Gracchi's program by using plebiscites (in order to bypass senatorial opposition), but Saturninus and Clodius Pulcher suffered the same fate as the Gracchi.

Furthermore, many politicians of the late Republic postured as Populares to enhance their popularity among the plebs, notably Julius Caesar and Octavian (later Augustus), who finally enacted most of the Populares' platform during their rule.

The Populares counted a number of patricians — the most ancient Roman aristocrats — such as Appius Claudius Pulcher, Lucius Cornelius Cinna, or Julius Caesar.

They were allied to politicians of lesser status, especially "new men" like Gaius Marius, or Gaius Norbanus (who might have even been a new Roman citizen).

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Getting back to Caelius, who in turn leads us back to Milo, we have:

He set up his official dais next to the seat of Gaius Trebonius, the urban praetor (the praetor urbanus presided in civil cases between citizens), and promised his help, if anyone should appeal against the evaluation of property (to be confiscated to pay debts) and the payments decided on by arbitration, according to the procedure established by Caesar during his stay in Rome.

However, Caesar's decree was equitable, and Trebonius was administering it humanely, holding the view that in the present times judgment should be given with clemency and moderation; the result was that no one could be found to initiate an appeal.

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So we have there a clear example of a grasping politician using his political office for personal gain for himself.

Getting back to the narrative:

For someone of even average audacity might plead poverty as an excuse, or complain of misfortune, either his own in particular or the badness of the times in general, and dilate mon the difficulties of auctioning goods; but among confessed debters, who would have the brazen effrontery to try to keep his property intact?

So no one was found to make this demand, and Caelius turned out to be more exacting than the interested parties themselves.

After this start, so as not to appear to have embarked in vain on a discreditable crusade, Caelius proposed a bill to the effect that payment of debts could be deferred for six years, free of interest.

The consul Servilius and the other magistrates against him, and Caelius was not getting the results that he had hoped for.

In an attempt to whip up popular enthusiasm (the mob), he abandoned the earlier proposal and introduced two bills, one remitting a year's rent on dwellings to tenants, the other proposing cancellation of existing debts.

Trebonius was mobbed by a crowd (democracy in action) and driven from his dais; several persons were wounded.

The consul Servilius raised the matter in the Senate, and they voted that Caelius should be debarred from political life.

In accordance with this decree the consul banned him from the Senate and made him leave the rostrum when he attempted to address an assembly.

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And there we will leave the story hanging for the moment, but only a moment …

And so ...

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