Summary Of The Empire Created The Emperors By Mary Beard

718 Words3 Pages

How can we see, both in Cicero and SPQR, evidence of Mary Beard's conclusion that "the Empire created the Emperors”, not the other way around? Beard begins by narrating Cicero’s prosecution of Verres, setting the stage for the question of what Rome had become. It was still a Republic, but one that was very unwieldy to govern due to its size and Rome’s political structure. Beard argues that the difficulties Rome had in governing and policing such a large territory led to the rise of the Emperors and the ruin of the Republic. The vast expanse of the empire led to virtual autonomy on the part of generals and governors; autonomy that was often abused as Cicero’s prosecution demonstrates. Even a conscientious governor like Cicero had to deal with “endemic, chronic, low-level …show more content…

To combat corruption, the Romans passed sophisticated laws to allow for redress and prosecution; Cicero’s prosecution occurred under laws passed by Gaius Gracchus. Another Gracchian reform dealt with Senate misconduct; the equites were originally empowered to be the jury for senators, but this led to additional problems and conflicts of interest. Despite anti-corruption laws, unscrupulousness was still common as there were extremely few administrators or civil service officials. The lack of competent administrators was especially evident in Cicilia; Caelis chided Cicero for expecting help: “‘a man holding public office is expected to cope with any emergency, as though every item in complete preparedness had been put at his disposal’” (Cicero, 193). With no civil service, most functions (like tax collection) were contracted out with little to no oversight and Roman officials saw provincial appointments

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