CLST 101 Chapter Notes -Roman Triumph, Res Publica, Imperium

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Chapter Three: Power and Imperator
February-03-13
4:11 PM
The roans not only secured a world empire but controlled it from the early 2nd C. BCE to the
5th C. AD more then 600 years
The basis to Rome's rise to power is by in the peculiar constitutional arrangements
Ruled by an individual (monarchy), by small group (oligarchy) and by the mass of the people
(democracy)
The expulsion of the kings in 510/509 BCE ad their replacement by two consuls who had held
the same power (imperium)
The consuls (and al major office holders) were magistrates ie. Men which had been elected
and who had held office for only 12 months
The imperium was seen as the power by which the res publica got things done
o Res publica means the activity of the roman people
The word imperium seems to originate not in an abstract notion of power but in the ability
issue orders
The major magistrates who held the imperium should also be in a position to consult the gods
(auspicium) about what should be done
Roman triumph, this was a prize rewarded to a successful roman general and by the 2nd C.
BCE had become the highest award
Since the main task of most holders of imperium was to command the armies of the roman
people, it is easy to see why it acquired such importance and prestige for the ruling class
When a holder of imperium left the city to take up the command of an army he had to
o Perform certain religious rites
Confirmations that he would be allowed to consult the gods while away from
Rome
The making of promise to Jupiter that if there was a successful outcome he would
return to the temple of Jupiter in Rome to give thanks
Reason for this was that carrying arms and the presence of soldiers were normally not
allowed with in the Pomerium for fear of violation the sacred area of the city itself
The power that the general used to command outside the city walls was called imperium
militia and was distinguished from that used by magistrates
The importance to Augustus of the tradition of imperium and the triumph can bee seen at its
clearest, however in the way in which he used it in the great architectural remodeling of the
center of Rome. This led to his making the claim that he had found Rome built in brick and
left it built in marble
The two consuls were at first drawn from the partisans, men who had been nobles during the
regal period
Change so at least on consul a year should come from plebeian class
This conservatism was partly rooted in a conviction that patricians had through their links
with ancient cults a closer connection with the gods
It was consuls who gave their names to the year
They consulted and presided over the senate which was the main policy making body
Consuls acted as heads of state, preceded by 12 head of attendants
Preatorship responsible for handling legal cases
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