Romans, Allies, and the Struggle for the Roman Citizenship: by Seth Kendall

By Seth Kendall

Among ninety one and seventy seven BCE a chain of wars have been fought in Italy which left the Roman commonwealth in shambles and eventually caused its cave in. characteristically, reviews of those conflicts and their leaders have tended to target occasions and members individually, even supposing there's a thread which binds all of them jointly: all of those wars in a roundabout way concerned efforts at the a part of Rome s non-citizen Italian Allies first to acquire the rights of Roman citizenship, after which to augment and protect these rights as soon as obtained. via re-examining the turbulent decade of the 80s BCE from the viewpoint of the Italians, their fight for the citizenship, and the Roman response to it, there emerges a better realizing of a interval which in a different way seems to be a disjointed selection of random, violent episodes.

This quantity makes an attempt to supply any such survey. It first investigates the character of the matter by means of ascertaining why it's the Italian Allies sought after the citizenship. subsequent, it narrates how Rome s reluctance to offer it resulted in a conflict so devastating that Rome prolonged a sort of partial citizenship to safe peace. The Allies weren't content material with this concession for lengthy, besides the fact that, and their dissatisfaction was once utilized by Roman politicians to additional their very own ends. Such use is usually tested, as is the violence which resulted from it. ultimately, it's going to discover how this violence culminated in a full-fledged civil struggle, one on whose battlefields the Italians performed a wide half and which shook and at last shook aside the principles of the Roman Republic.

Front disguise: Roman ruins in what was the traditional urban of Corfinium (modern Corfinio), used because the base of operations by means of the Italians through the Allied battle from ninety one to 88 BCE.

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Among ninety one and seventy seven BCE a sequence of wars have been fought in Italy which left the Roman commonwealth in shambles and eventually led to its cave in. routinely, stories of those conflicts and their leaders have tended to target occasions and participants individually, even though there's a thread which binds all of them jointly: all of those wars in a roundabout way concerned efforts at the a part of Rome s non-citizen Italian Allies first to procure the rights of Roman citizenship, after which to augment and defend these rights as soon as obtained.

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Such an assumption, which is common to most modern scholarly works on the period, seems to preclude another possibility, which is that the Allied War was never actually spurred on by the desire for the citizenship at all, but rather from a wish amongst the Italians to separate from and overthrow the Romans. 28 Nevertheless, but the possibility inherent in this argument has recently been the subject of a study in great detail by Henrik Mouritsen, which has been briefly described above. Mouritsen, like the other scholars with whose propositions he disagrees, argues that the Allies elected to go to war in response to discontent with their association with the Romans.

Yet the accounts of later authors which used Sulla as a source do not contain the interpretation Sulla would have favored, but all alike ascribe the war to a need for citizenship. This strongly implies that Sulla recorded the same thing, even if ultimately he would have been better served to have his contemporaries and posterity believe he quite literally spearheaded an effort to wipe out those Allies who attempted to break free from, then destroy, Rome. 26 ROMANS, ALLIES, AND THE STRUGGLE BCE.

That he had been able to lead an army at all was due to his experience fighting against those very Allies in the war they had launched to get the citizenship, in which the success he had won as a subordinate commander had persuaded the people to deem him worthy of his own major command as consul. His term in office coincided with the ending of that war, one brought about in part by Rome’s extension of a defective version of the citizenship to the beaten Allies in the hope that it would persuade their former socii to accept defeat and not keep in arms until their annihilation.

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