Roman Elections in the Age of Cicero
Society, Government, and Voting
Routledge – 2012 – 184 pages
Great debate exists amongst classical historians on the nature of Roman republican government. Some contend that the Roman Republic was governed by a small group of aristocratic families that entrenched their rule by means of long-standing alliances and an intricate network of loyal clients from the lower echelons of society. Others contest the definition of the republican government as oligarchic, maintaining that the Roman elite did not operate in a political vacuum and that Polybius’ judgment, which concedes a democratic element in the Roman constitution as embodied in the powers of the popular assemblies, cannot be simply swept aside. This debate has found its way into various scholarly works, but, until now, no single volume has been dedicated specifically to elections and electioneering, a sphere where the people—according to these interpretations—played a central if not a crucial role. Roman Elections in the Age of Cicero provides new and intriguing insights into the nature of Roman republican government and the people’s actual powers, but also addresses questions relevant to elections in our own societies today.
"Feig Vishnia has written a very useful book that will be consulted frequently by all students of Roman republican history…there is much of value here, and this book will doubtless (and rightly) find a permanent place in university reading lists for courses in ancient history." - Jeff Tatum (University of Wellington, New Zealand), The Classical Journal
"Suited to graduate students and scholars from other fields who want to know about Rome's elections and can digest complicated information fast. The book is filled with information for this kind of reader and that is a worth contribution. As a guide to 'the nuts and bolts of Roman elections' for those outside the field, it does an excellent job." - James Tan, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
1. Historical Survey 2. Roman Society 3. Principles and Structure of Republican Government 4. Elections Epilogue: Between Oligarchy and Democracy Notes Bibliography Index
Rachel Feig Vishnia is Associate Professor in Ancient History at Tel Aviv University, Israel, and author of State, Society, and Popular Leaders in mid-Republican Rome, 241-167 B.C. (Routledge, 1996).