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Res Publica and the Roman Republic'Without Body or Form'$
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Louise Hodgson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198777380

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777380.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 September 2021

Rem Publicam Administrare

Rem Publicam Administrare

(p.21) 2 Rem Publicam Administrare
Res Publica and the Roman Republic

Louise Hodgson

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 examines the res publica as civic business, with a particular focus on the role of the magistrates, who enjoyed an intimate relationship with the res publica. Since an individual’s dignitas rested on his public office and achievements, ways naturally developed in which such dignitas could be challenged. In general, rivals were more likely to attack the achievement on which an individual’s claim to dignitas rested than to challenge the link between public achievement and private dignitas. All the same, there were ways to subvert this principle: firstly the elder Cato’s, which shifted attention from great achievements to impeccable behaviour, and secondly the popularis paradigm shift that tried to subsume the magistrate to his office by assigning responsibility and credit for the administration of the res publica to the electoral body, the populus.

Keywords:   res publica, dignitas, magistrates, popularis, Cato the Elder, politics, populus

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