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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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Rem Publicam Administrare

Rem Publicam Administrare

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 Rem Publicam Administrare
Source:
Res Publica and the Roman Republic
Author(s):

Louise Hodgson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198777380.003.0002

Chapter 2 examines the res publica as civic business, with a particular focus on the role of the magistrates, who enjoyed an intimate relationship with the res publica. Since an individual’s dignitas rested on his public office and achievements, ways naturally developed in which such dignitas could be challenged. In general, rivals were more likely to attack the achievement on which an individual’s claim to dignitas rested than to challenge the link between public achievement and private dignitas. All the same, there were ways to subvert this principle: firstly the elder Cato’s, which shifted attention from great achievements to impeccable behaviour, and secondly the popularis paradigm shift that tried to subsume the magistrate to his office by assigning responsibility and credit for the administration of the res publica to the electoral body, the populus.

Keywords:   res publica, dignitas, magistrates, popularis, Cato the Elder, politics, populus

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