History Of The Roman Republic History Essay
The Fall of the Roman of Republic gives the reader a glimpse into what was the direct cause to Rome’s demise. Plutarch gave six different biographies on men who had a hand in Rome’s fall. These six men’s lives intertwined to a major degree. They married each others wives, daughters, and sisters and this gave us a glimpse as to exactly how they were linked.
Plutarch chose to write his book on six of the most prominent figures in Rome’s History. These figures consisted of Marius, Sulla, Crassus, Pompey, Julius Caesar, and Cicero. Plutarch may have chosen these men to write about because they had a connection with one another either through marriage or through political favors. Some are subtle and difficult to pick up on and some remain after death.
One of the most notable things about Plutarch’s work is that he compared some of these men to former leaders. He chose to compare Lysander with Sulla because they had created their own greatness. He goes on to give the reader more in depth comparison of the two by showing them how the two men pursued riches and power. One sought it in benefits for a commander while the other pursued it more through a tyrant’s point.
When Plutarch turned to Nicias and Crassus he took a different direction of comparison. He began mainly with how their riches and wealth was aquired. Both were quite wealthy but obtained it through different means. Nicias received his through what Plutarch called blameless means. This could mean he did it legaly and not through illegal or immoral ways. He later compared their political careers saying in his writing “The Parallel Lives”,
“...Crassus was violent and tyrannical in these matters, Nicias went to the other extreme. His timidity and cowardice in the public service, and his subservience to the basest men, deserve the severest censure.”
Plutarch claimed though that because Nicias focused more on peace and justice. Plutarch went on to say that it was because of his focus on peace that Crassus could not come anywhere close to being compared with Nicias.
Pompey and Agesilaus however had a different take on their success. Pompey achieved his kingdom through legal means by focusing on fairness. He was just and did all of his gains through his very own hard work. But Agesilaus on the other hand however offended gods, showed no respect for men who served under him. Agesilaus was dishonest and had no respect for anyone he worked with. An example of this was after Pompey was betrayed and killed by the Egyptians Agesilsaus aided them and then attacked the men he had taken with him to Egypt to assist him.
Lastly, Plutarch gives a comparison on Cicero and Demosthenes. The two men had exceptional persuasion on the government. This made great for other commanders and military units in need of their assistance at mostly all times. Though, their differences can be found in their banishment from the city. Plutarch said that, “Demosthenes's banishment was infamous, upon conviction for bribery, but Cicero's very honourable, for ridding his country of a set of villains.” When Demosthenes was banished he went on to continue assisting the greek city states, while Cicero waited for the senate to change their ways. The senate waited for him to return and refused to act on anything until he did so.
Plutarch wrote this book to give the readers moral lessons. All six men had a need for connections. Caesar however had the greatest need for these connections because he knew in order to rise to power in Rome he was going to have to rely on the support of either Crassus or Pompey. He also knew that if he was to gain the support of one the other would end up turning against him because the two were ends with one another. So to solve that issue Caesar attempted to gain the support of both individually.
Another moral Plutarch focused on was all six men had a quest of some form for power that eventually was the end of the Roman Republic. Marius focused on his military actions focusing on making himself into a great leader doing what needs to be done no matter what. Cicero on the other hand lived very simply and shared all of the fortunes that came his way with the people and earned himself their support. But, Sulla gained his power and then began to rid himself of the opposition. Declaring Marius as an exile and making him flee the city in fear of being killed. Ultimately the quest for power is selfish and when one encounters someone who stands in their way they tend to attempt to rid them of opposition by killing them.
I think the editors named the book The Fall of the Roman Republic because of the effects each man had on Rome. The men were linked almost like a fishing net marrying one anothers wives, sisters, or daughters and ultimately pushing the envelope to possibly considering them part family almost. Plutarch’s book was a first hand account on the events that lead to its fall. The corruption that took place between the six men and the greed of that corruption ultimately being power.
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