Thursday, September 15, 2022

In Ancient Rome

 From Big Think:

True to his name, the dictator was the most powerful person in the Roman Republic. His decisions could not be vetoed or appealed by the other branches of government, leaving him free to conscript soldiers, plan military campaigns, or persecute enemies of the state. Crucially, dictators could not be held accountable for their actions after their six-month term expired.

Between 501 BC and 202 BC, Rome saw approximately 85 dictatorships. Dictators were the only magistrates in Rome who were appointed rather than elected. Candidates were typically picked by consuls in collaboration with the Senate, though there also have been cases in which dictators were appointed by the Comitia Centuriata instead.

There were many reasons for appointing a dictator. Some, like Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus (the namesake of the American city Cincinnati) and Marcus Furius Camillus, were appointed when the Republic was at war with foreign powers. Others, including Quintus Hortensius, entered office to control domestic conflicts between the patricians and plebeians. (Read more.)


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