Politics in the Novel Imperium by Robert Harris

Better Essays
Imperium begins when Cicero as a young man from a middle class family. He leaves his small town behind and comes to Rome, looking to make a name for himself in politics. He begins as a lawyer and is immediately noticed for his outstanding oratory skills and daring composure . Gradually, he gains influence in the realm of the courts until he has achieved the title of "the second best advocate in Rome," only beaten by his bitter rival, Hortensius. His next triumph is to take on a daring case against the governor or Sicily, Verres, who has extorted his people for decades and wrongfully imprisoned hundreds of them. Though Cicero has a bounty of evidence of this corruption, he has other huge disadvantages. A huge majority of the court is biased against him because he is new blood, and is not yet a respected lawyer compared to Hortensius who has very good lineage. Verres is also an aristocrat, and is thus backed by nearly the entirety of the aristocracy of the Senate, who would be the jury in his case. However, Cicero won the favor of the jury with his charisma and his courageous and controversial courtroom maneuvers. Now that Cicero is on the political board, he marries into an affluent family so that he might advance his status. He then enters the senate by showing that he has the money to hold a seat and from that moment on he has branded himself as a politician, ever aspiring to up his position on the rungs of the Roman political ladder until he has achieved the power of life and death in politics, known to the Romans as imperium.

The idea behind this novel is that Rome had a very complex political system that can only be fully understood from an inside source such as this novel. This novel got extremely complicated, especially wi...

... middle of paper ...

...tic system of election such as America?s and how inefficient it is. Changes that Cicero himself put into play all that time ago have been incorporated into our system today simply by him speaking up in a session of the senate. It is awesome to consider how dedicated to the republic these ancient politicians were compared to todays politicians who abuse the system that has been set in place and have only popularity and selfishness. This novel reminds the reader of how great these people that we have heard about from ancient times are and it gives us proof that what they did really did make a difference. We cannot know if people from our century will influenced history forever because they have yet to stand the test of time, but significant Roman figures have and the evidence of that lies in the difference they left on Rome, and eventually all of western civilization.
Get Access