Ancient Tyranny by Sian Lewis

By Sian Lewis

Tyrants are greater than simply the antithesis of democracy or the mark of political failure: they come up in accordance with social and political pressures. amassing jointly writings through best historians, political theorists, and philosophers, this e-book is a comparative learn of the autocratic rulers and dynasties of classical Greece and Rome and the altering ideas of tyranny of their political suggestion and culture.

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26 There is some support for this view in the sources. For example, Cicero writes that when Superbus was banished, the title of king came to be as bitterly hated by the Romans as it had been desired after the death of Romulus (Rep. 52, cf. 6–9). However, Roman 24 Ancient Tyranny anti-monarchism may be interpreted in another way, as the wellknown cases of adfectatio regni suggest. Spurius Cassius was put to death in 486 bc after sponsoring an agrarian law. Spurius Maelius was killed in 439, following a grain distribution to the plebs during a famine.

7 However, the existence of an interrregnal procedure does not necessarily point to a powerful aristocracy with a controlling interest in the appointment of a king. Even if a new ruler did seek the approval of the local aristocracy, it need not mean that the patres (probably best seen at this stage as a kind of council of elders with religious authority) could freely chose a king. 11 Certainly, the interrex needed no such lex to be able to convoke the comitia, or to command the army. It may be better to date the introduction of the lex curiata to the early Republic.

Or was it merely a formality whereby the interest groups of the Roman state formally acknowledged the power of a new ruler? The literary sources portray the interregnum as the means by which the patres installed the man of their choice as the new king. Several factors, however, suggest that ancient writers fundamentally misunderstood the archaic reality. 21 All this probably indicates that kings often imposed themselves on Rome rather than being elected voluntarily by the Romans. Typically the kings of Rome are outsiders (perhaps conquerors) and never patricians.

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