The Power of Virtue in Ancient Rome

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In ancient roman culture, being a man entailed much more than a difference in genitalia. In many ancient civilizations, a patriarchy was the main way to govern its citizens. Men were responsible for earning money, making decisions that could affect their household and/or their community, and fighting in battles that would inevitably change roman history. Ones reputation within their community would either make or break their ability to achieve certain goals in life. Whether it was to become a new merchant in the market, or to lead troops on their next expedition, a mans virtue controlled his fate. Many writers, such as Cicero, Augustus, and Virgil, found themselves defining virtue through their use of words and descriptions of their characters. Virtue played an important role in ancient roman society due to the powerful influence the beholder had over others.
One of the most important features a man wanted to have was virtue because of the innate fight for dominance. Although virtue represents manliness, it also entails many other significant traits. Prudence, justice, self-control, and courage were looked at as the four most important virtues any person could have. In ancient Rome, the governing body was a male controlled senate. The problem with the senate was the consul had too much power; he could choose who voted, what topics would be discussed, and stack the senate in his favor. It was vital to elect someone to the role of the consul that was described virtuous to ensure that they would make decisions that would benefit the Roman citizens rather than just himself. In Selected Works, Cicero attacked Marc Antony’s leadership capabilities and his morality; “I [Cicero] am obligated to record that, for twenty years past, our cou...

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... right at that time. One of the main deciding factors that altered the politics of the civilization was a mans reputation and virtue. If a man had a good reputation and virtue, he found himself in power and trusted among the Roman people. On the other hand, if a man had a bad reputation and lacked virtue, he not always found himself with power and not liked by the Romans. In ancient Rome, virtue was an important characteristic to embody because of the powerful influence associated with it.

Works Cited
Augustus, P. A. Brunt, J. M. Moore, Augustus, and Augustus. Res Gestae Divi Augusti: The Achievements of the Divine Augustus. London: Oxford U.P., 1967. Print.
Cicero, Marcus Tullius., and Michael Grant. Selected Works. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1971. Print.
Virgil, and Allen Mandelbaum. The Aeneid of Virgil. Berkeley: U of California, 1971. Print.

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