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Were The Marian Reforms Responsible For The Fall Of The Roman Republic Case Study

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To what extent were the Marian reforms responsible for the fall of the Roman republic? During the last century of the Roman republic, the system of government was drastically changed and eventually fell apart, not only because of Marius and his military reforms, but also because of the dictatorship and proscriptions of Sulla, seven consulships of Marius, political alliances of the first and second triumvirates and the growing corruption and ineptitude of the senate. By allowing more people into the army, giving them a personal reason to join, and forcing them to grow stronger, Marius made the military considerably more effective, which naturally lead to the swift gaining of territory and the transition of Rome from republic to empire, and…show more content…
Originally, it is thought, there was a law that prevented second consulships, and another that prevented holding another consulship until ten years had passed from the end of the prior. Marius bypassed both of these rules, maintaining the title of consul for five terms (104-99BC). Plutarch, the historical biographer, writes that “the people would tolerate no opposition” [to Marius’s second consulship], which shows us that Marius gained his power through support of the masses rather than support of the senate, which is what would be expected. Plutarch gives more evidence that Marius won his power by gaining the affection of the military and the plebeians, rather than the aristocracy whom he offended with his “violent speeches, full of contempt and arrogance” . From this we learn that Marius was not only supported by the people, but he was opposed by the higher class, and more important figures in Roman society.. The picture that Plutarch paints gives the impression that Marius gained his consulship in ways that were unconventional, much like the nature of the consulship itself. Breaking the mold like this paved the way for more fortunate ambitious men, like Sulla and Caesar, as he was showing that great power could be achieved without necessarily adhering to the preference of the…show more content…
His first contribution to Rome’s downfall came in the form of the formation of the First Triumvirate, which enabled him to illegally take Gaul, and further undermine the senate. Caesar made his way to power by gaining important alliances. Unlike Marius, he was born into a fairly important high class family in Rome. The First Triumvirate, formed in 60BC was composed of himself, Crassus and Pompey. Crassus was the wealthiest man in Rome at the time, and Pompey had just been awarded his third Triumph. The mere existence of such a group undermined the ideals of the senate, as it worked on the basis that no one man could have enough power to do anything without the support of the senators. The Triumvirs worked to achieve their own individual goals, whilst simultaneously supporting one another. Caesar was consul in 59BC, with Marcus Bibulus, and made the sheer influence of the three men public with the introduction of his land redistribution law. Crassus and Pompey supported this proposal, and Pompey filled Rome with his soldiers. Bibulus tried to void the law but Caesar’s armed supporters drove him out of the senate and forced him into house arrest. This meant that Caesar essentially had a sole consulship and gained enough power and support to overturn his proposed governorship and allowed himself
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