The Marian Reforms Responsible For The Fall Of The Roman Republic Essay

The Marian Reforms Responsible For The Fall Of The Roman Republic Essay

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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 thereby was responsible for the fall of the Roman republic. Marius was a strong military leader, and as consul he made changes to the way Rome was governed, especially in regards to the army. In 107BC he removed the land requirement for joining the army. This meant that poorer people could join, and allowed the army to grow an incredible amount. On top of allowing more people to join the army, Marius created an incentive for the plebs with the introduction of of pensions. After completing their term in the army each soldier received a pension from their general, and a plot of land from the newly conquered territory to settle in. Another motive for people to join the army was the gift of citizenship to the Italian allies following their service in the army. As well as giving the army more soldiers and more motivation, Marius strengthened the individual soldiers by making each person carry their own supplies. This made the men physically stronger and more disciplined and allowed them to be even ...

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...ointed consul five consecutive times. Usually within the republic people were only allowed to serve more than one consulship after 10 years had passed, but Marius was given this rank on several occasions to deal with crises such as the invasion of a native army and the war with Jugurtha. Not only did the senate give him the role for five years straight, he was also elected in absentia, when he was fighting near Marseille. In absentia elections weren’t unheard of in Rome at this time, but they were incredibly unusual. While he is responsible for standing for the consulship, the senate were under no real obligation to give it to him. Successfully fighting to save Rome was something that warranted being granted a Triumph, not an excessive time in office, thus the fact that he was granted it shows the senate lapsed in obedience to the rules of the Republic.


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