HISTORICAL NOTES

2-4-99
*DEMORACY AND DICTATORSHIP IN ANCIENT ROME
IN 509 B.C. , THE ROMANS THREW OUT THEIR KING. AT THE TIME , ROME ALREADY HAD A CITIZEN ASSEMBLY. TO REPLACE THE KING , THE ASSEMBLY ELECTED TWO MEN CALLED
C O N S U L S WHO WOULD GOVERN TOGETHER FOR ONE YEAR. BOTH CONSULS HAD TO COOPERATE IN ORDER FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO ACT.
IT WAS MAINLY THE P A T R I C I A N S , THE WEALTHY LANDOWNING NOBLES , WHO GOT TO VOTE. AS A RESULT , THE CONSULS IN THE EARLY YEARS OF THE REPUBLIC WERE ALWAYS PATRICIANS. LATER , HOWEVER , AT LEAST ONE CONSUL HAD TO COME FROM THE
P L E B E I A N CLASS THE COMMONERS.
BEFORE THE REPUBLIC , THE KING HAD BEEN ADVISED BY A SENATE. ONCE THE MONARCHY WAS GONE , THE SENATE TOOK ON MORE POWER AND RULED ROME ALONGSIDE THE TWO CONSULS. ON THE SURFACE , THE CONSULS SEEMED TO HOLD MORE POWER THAN SENATORS , BUT THEY HELD OFFICE FOR ONLY A YEAR WHILE SENATORS SERVED FFOR LIFE.
**DICTATORSHIP**
THE FOUNDERS OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC , LIKE THE AMERICAN FOUNDING FATHERS , PLACED CHECKS ANS BALANCES ON THE POWER OF THEIR LEADERS. THE ROMANS , HOWEVER , CAME UP WITH A WAY TO SIDE STEP THESE CHECKS AND BALANCES WHEN STRONG LEADERSHIP WAS NEEDED , SUCH AS A TIME OF CRISIS (FOREIGN INVASION OR SLAVE UPRISING). THE SENATE COULD VOTE TO GRANT ABSOLUTE POWER TO ONE MAN , CALLED A DICTATOR , FFOR A TEMPORARY PERIOD.
2-17-99
(DICTATORSHIP CONTINUED)
- DURING THE FIRST 300 YEARS OF THE REPUBLIC , DICTATORS WERE OFTEN CALLED ON WHEN ROME FACED AN INVASION OR SOME INTERVAL DANGER UNLIKE THE DICTATORS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY - SUCH AS HITLER , MUSSOLINI , FRANCO , PINOCHET ,CASTRO , DUVALIAR , MAO , STALIN , PERON , IDI AMIN - THE DICTATORSHIP WAS LIMITED TO SIX MONTHS , OR EVEN LESS IF THE CRISIS PASSED. IF A DICTATOR REFUSED TO STEP DOWN , HE COULD BE FORCIBLY REMOVED.
- THE ROMAN DICTATOR'S POWER WAS ABSOLUTE. HE COULD RULE BY DECREE. HE COULD EVEN ORDER EXECUTIONS WITHOUT TRIAL. FOR CENTURIES , ROMAN DICTATORS SERVED WHEN DUTY CALLED AND GAVE UP POWER WHEN THEIR TERMS ENDED.







- BUT IN 82 B.C. , A GENERAL NAMED CORNELIUS SULLA SEIZED CONTROL OF ROME. SULLA'S DICTATORSHIP WAS NOT LIKE THOSE OF THE PAST. HE BY PASSED THE SENATE , WHICH WAS FILLED WITH NO ENEMIES , AND CONVINCED THE CITIZENS' ASSEMBLY TO MAKE HIM A PERMANENT DICTATOR. SULLA THEN BANISHED OR KILLED HUNDREDS OF HIS OPPONENTS.
- SULLA BECAME WHAT THE ANCIENT GREEKS CALLED A TYRANT , A MAN WHO SEIZES PERSONAL CONTROL WITH MILITARY POWER. WHEN HE TRAVELED IN PUBLIC , SULLA WAS ALWAYS PRECEDED BY 24 GUARDS. EACH GAURD CARRIED AN AX BOUND BY A BUNDLE OF RODS CALLED FASCES. THIS WORD GIVES US FASCISM - THE WORD THE ITALIAN DICTATOR BENITO MUSSOLINI USED TO DESCRIBE HIS POLITICAL MOVEMENT IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURARY.
2-18-99
HIST. NOTES - (CONT.)
- AFTER THREE YEARS OF TYRANNY , SULLA SUDDENLY RESIGNED. FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS , THE RO. REP. STREMBLLLED ALONG , SOMETIMES IN NEAR ANARCHY. SPARTACUS LED A MASSIVE SLAVE REVOLT THAT ALMOST BROUGHT DOWN THE REPUBLIC. DURING THIS TURMOIL , NEW FEUDS AND FACTIONS EMERGED. THIS WOULD BE THE LAST GENERATION OF THE RO. REP.

THE DICTATORSHIP OF JULIUS CAESAR
- BY 53 B.C. , FACTIONS IN THE SENATE HAD PARALIZED THE ROMAN GOVERNMENT. THE ANNUAL CONSUL ELECTION HAD DEGENERATED INTO A CONTEST OF WHO COULD BRIBE THE MOST VOTERS. STREET RIOTS HAD ERUPTED. IN A DESPERATE MOVE TO RESTORE ORDER , THE ASSEMBLY ELECTED GENERAL GN'AEUS POMPEY TO SERVE AS SOLE CONSUL FOR ONE YEAR. INFORMALLY , POMPEY SHARED POWER WITH TWO OTHER POWERFUL GENERALS - J.C. AND MARCUS CRASSUS. CRASSUS WAS THE GENERAL WHO HAD FINALLY DEFEATED SPARTACUS. AND CAESAR WAS THE GOVERNOR AND MILITARY CONQUEROR OF GAUL (WROTE POPULAR BOOK COMMENTARY ON THE GALLIC WAR). THIS MILITARY COMMITTEE BECAME KNOWN AS THE FIRST TRIUMVIRATE.
2-24-99
J.C. HIST. NOTES (CONT.)
- CAESAR USED HHIS MONEY AND INFLUENCE TO PUT SUPPORTERS LIKE MARK ANTONY INTO KEY POSITIONS. CAESAR'S MANY ENEMIES IN ROME SPREAD RUMORS THAAT HE PLANNED TO TAKE