Chapter 1 defines res publica as a term that can mean both the civic property/affairs of a given political community (civitas) and the communal political spaces within which those who administer the property and affairs of the civitas move. While referring to a generic res publica does not connote any particular political organization, talking about the res publica that belonged to the Roman civitas at any given historical moment certainly did. Roman political structures were as subject to change and development as those of any other polity, so to appeal to ‘the res publica’ in the late Roman Republic was to invoke an inherently fluid concept in a condition of flux, both because political turbulence impacted on the organization of ‘the Roman res publica’ and also because quarrelling public figures exploited, appealed to, or aimed to create diverging perspectives on what that system of organization was or should be.
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