n Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa - The corruption of the constitution : the lex Gabinia and lex Manilia and the changing res publica
|Article Title||The corruption of the constitution : the lex Gabinia and lex Manilia and the changing res publica|
|© Publisher:||Classical Association of South Africa (CASA)|
|Journal||Acta Classica : Proceedings of the Classical Association of South Africa|
|Affiliations||1 University of South Africa|
|Publication Date||Jan 2012|
|Pages||101 - 121|
Pompeius' commands against the Mediterranean pirates and Mithridates in the 60s BC have long been considered together. They are often seen as an important, possibly an 'extraordinary' moment in the decline of the Roman Republic, when one man's popularity gained him unrivalled power, a moment that was important in the ongoing destabilisation of the Republican political system. This article will discuss the way in which the statutes that established these commands - the lex Gabinia and lex Manilia - were part of a long-running process by which the constitution evolved over time and through which Rome changed from Republic to Principate. It will also argue that it is valid to think in terms of Rome as having a constitution, without having to refer to it in 'scare quotes'. An examination of the statutes shows that the Romans interpreted and argued about the nature of their constitution as they responded to the challenges facing their city. These laws were, fundamentally, an ad hoc solution to long-running problems; at the same time, the nature of the solution altered the Roman understanding of what was possible and permissible in their res publica.
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