Consuls to Ceasar

If one approaches Ancient Roman History with Livy; his 45 surviving books, each 50-100 paperback pages, starts with the mythological beginning of Mars raping a vestal virgin who then had twins Regulus and Romulus, who sent down the Tiber river in a basket, were found and raised by Shepherd who lived very humbly near the river with his wife. The twins went on to found Rome; had to divide it into two sides between themselves, and then Romulus killed Regulus when Regulas trespassed, and Romulus ruled Rome for 80 years and Rome expanded.
Then the Romans went and found the wisest guy they could find, an astronomer living in a cave, Numa, who made every other day a holiday, and had not wars and ruled another 80 years. There were three more good kings after that; and that benefit produced the more liberal spirit of being ruled by Consuls and Senators. There were two Consuls to be elected by the Senate, to serve for one year. Sacred rods, called Fasces, existed, the holder of who, would rule as he held the Sacred Rods.

The advantage of this more representative system of Senators allowed most of the senators, who by law had to be related to one of the original 100 senators, to become chief executive over the decades, as many years they had more then 2 consuls.

Eventually the army went on strike to protest the foolishness in consistent warring patterns, until they gained the office of Tribunes, who could prosecute and punish any official suspected or known of foolishness or corruption.

So merry Rome went on, from 800bc, to 175bc, when the ancient Romans are fight Hannibal all over Spain, Italy, and eventually Northern Africa. Numidians are defecting, Hannibal has a vast array of allies, Rome has some allegiances from most Italian areas. Oh and then there is a quick little war to take over Macedonia, Livy cites with some jealousy the greek historian Polybius who was there at the time.

But when one picks up Rome from Suetonia’s 12 Caesars, well the first Ceasar is Julius, we’ve all heard and wondered about him, Julius came about in the BC, dying at 55 still several decades before A.D. Rome had been in bloody civil war for generations. Rome had become so big, the commanders leading armies in the far off provinces rallied their own armie to take over Rome for themselves; and eventually Julius made swift mincement of this situation and became emperor, till he was stabbed to death in the Senate, which by then was very obsequius.

Then August becomes Caesar as a step son chosen by Julius before he dies. Where as Caesar is your classical uberproverbial warrior writer statesman wit fascist mobster democrat, in that he stole and plundered to pay for his leadership, which then did lead to reform and greater peace; there was lots of bribing voters back then. Often everyone was left 3 gold pieces in wills of leaders. For some reason the people here in latter Rome, preferred the monarch and bribing voters thrived as a practice; and people were required to reproduce, so the army spread vast can be manned.

Augustus, was more like the quiet guy on a greyhound bus with a chainsaw; not that bad; can keep order and stability well, for 65 years in fact.

This time of Caesars, around the birth of Jesus, is where gladiator cames came from and roman circus shows; the early romans only had big long parties for victorious armies upon return.

After Augustus it got ten times worse. Tiberius ruled 24 years most unjustly and ridiculously; then Caligua was even worse, lasting not four years and dying young at 29, executing cruelly all the time, I don’t see why he wasn’t poisoned sooner. And then Claudius, the succession never being direct, slightly mentally infirmed and crazy, was a step up being less violent but still crossing the line by a long ways, he ruled 14 years.

I don’t know how these emperors survived. Except Caesar, and Augustus. The others survived, in an age of great use of poison, through killing, bribing, being feared, providing greater reform then the Senate, because they were loved by the people and the Senate obsequious and unable to assert its ability to do good what with all good having to come from the emperor or Caesar. Is such the control of the storyteller upon the people; is that the rigid hold of history??

   The bad emperors had an exquisite taste for law, sitting around making snap judgements, listening to pleaders; They also liked incredible shows.

        See Julius, and to a lesser extent, Augustus, never severely prosecuted plots against him. Julius felt fine merely publically mentioning that he was aware of such and such a plot, and that usually stopped it. He was also able to be teased, loved by his men, and far more popular with the people than the Senate; a stark departure from the consular system of early Rome.

     In Rome as there was The Senate, after a while the plebian or lower party, established a house, initially called an assembly, which met outside, near the Senate. Later I guess when it established itself an indoor venue, it called itself The House. But while The Senate is frequently mentioned, The House, rarely is. This is another parallel to current times; The focus by media on power, the president not the senate; in Ancient Rome, the Senate, not House or Assembly.

Until we  focus on our senators, to a degree where they feel comfortable enough to act properly and rule as the people want; they will be essentially impotent or negative.


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