To what extent do the sources suggest that Rome had become ungovernable by the 50s BC

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To what extent do the sources suggest that Rome had become ungovernable by the 50s BC?

        Many issues in the late Republic left Rome liable to instability and shifts in power – mainly due to the rise of ‘personal politics’ and the reiterated division of the factions; optimates and populares. Roman society at this time was therefore under a lot of pressure due to such happenings of the Catiline Conspiracy (63 BC) alongside the road to Caesar’s Civil Wars and Sallust’s notion of decreasing dignitas within the Roman system, where old traditional Roman virtues were being replaced for the pursuit of power and wealth – perhaps leading from the 146 BC turning point at the destruction of Carthage, in which Rome first began acquiring a taste or such wealth and luxuries.

        The first triumvirate of Caesar, Crassus and Pompey shows the individual determination for success, wealth and glory – and even being prepared to overrule the senate to do so. Cicero displays an early hatred of this alliance, as he places himself with the optimates politicians and seems to speak for the values of the old Republic – upholding the position of the senate. His letters show distain for such an occurrence, but this hatred may simply be due to the fear of one man (or indeed several potential men) becoming too powerful, suggesting much caution was in the senate at this time, and the inability to directly stop it – showing helplessness and therefore that perhaps society was uncontrollable; at least for the more conservative Romans. Cicero’s letters show his own personal contemporary insight to this alliance, and though obviously portraying his opinion perhaps also demonstrates the power of this unofficial bond (also shown in Plutarch’s Life of Caesar) – whist he is in a position to understand, and is a well-known politician of the time, whose opinions are seemingly valued. Plutarch further shows politics becoming increasingly to do with the personal ambition that the good of the Republic – although the triumvirate (as proved) could only last as long as the three characters balanced out – both rendering the short-term threat beatable (though more rise to challenge) and possibly reflecting the instability of Roman poetics; how clients and patrons, alliances and friendships are temperamental in this field. Plutarch is a biographer, and whist he may report some myths, he was writing far after this time so had access to a number of sources – and is perhaps as accurate as he could have been.

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        Rome was also known to be becoming increasingly violent – due to this increase in interest of personal gain. Pompey and Caesar’s relationship can be seen in their puppet acts of Milo and Claudius; to create a war of the tribunes. As tribunes were a key link to the people – and have such supreme powers as the veto, they were a prominent part of the political system. Whilst Caesar was away on campaign, he used his clients to ensure Pompey was watched – but from this physical violence erupted in the streets of Rome in 59 BC. The senate ...

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