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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 July 2021

Res Publica Salva

Res Publica Salva

(p.61) 3 Res Publica Salva
Res Publica and the Roman Republic

Louise Hodgson

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 examines concerns about the long-term well-being of the res publica as the structured political sphere, from the general fear of moral decline to the specific fear that the res publica was endangered by the activities of individuals. The first clearly historical such incident seems to be P. Scipio Nasica’s murder of Tiberius Gracchus in the interests of maintaining the res publica salva, which was followed a decade later by the formalization of this concern in the senatus consultum ultimum, first issued against Tiberius’s brother Gaius. Sulla’s res publica constituta shows what happens when sporadic violence is not sufficient to prevent outright civil war: having contributed to the implosion of the traditional res publica, he used his victory to rebuild a political system that bore a superficial resemblance to the previous version. This was an uneasy situation, as the rhetoric Cicero develops in response to Sulla’s power indicates.

Keywords:   res publica, Scipio Nasica, Tiberius Gracchus, Gaius Gracchus, senatus consultum ultimum, Sulla, Cicero, political sphere

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