Senate Of The Roman Republic Essay

1144 words - 5 pages

The senate of the Roman Republic in 186 BC found it necessary to write a decree, the Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus, to prohibit all involvement in the Bacchanalia, which was a festival in honor of the Roman god Bacchus [1]. It was to be followed not only by roman citizens, but also by the Latin League, and Rome’s allies, with the exception of getting special permission from no less then one hundred senators [2]. If this decree was not followed, strict punishment would undoubtedly be inflicted on those found in contravention. It seems strange that Rome included their allies in this decree even though they most likely had no legal right to interfere [3]. This marked the beginning of a ...view middle of the document...

After the investigation the Senate passed resolutions abolishing or seriously curtailing the worship of such groups [7].Because the members of Bacchanalia were held to be a threat to the security of the state, legal actions were put in place and the Senate began the official containment of the cult throughout Italy [6]. The senate’s decree prohibited every aspect of the Bacchanalia. The decree forbid anyone possessing a place where festivals are celebrated and forbid anyone from being a Bacchantian. In line 24 of the decree the senate wrote, “if there are any who have acted contrary to what was written above, they have decided that a proceeding for a capital offense should be instituted against them” [2]. Many participants in Bacchanalia committed suicide to avoid indictment. The penalty for leadership was capital and imprisonment was rarely used as a form of punishment. It was stated by Livy that there were more executions than imprisonments [7]. Despite the senate’s severe consequences, the Bacchanalia survived in Southern Italy until long past the repression [6].
This decree was put into use and was enforced without mercy. Even more importantly, it showed a new kind of control over Rome’s allies [2]. The allies were included in the Roman Senate’s decree even though they were not citizens of Rome. Because the allies let this happen, it’s plausible that Rome’s power and control over foreign relations were unquestionable [3]. Rome’s relationship with their allies started changing and the inclusion of them in the decree is a perfect example. Up to this point, Rome typically did not interfere with their allies’ internal affairs. It most likely started to change because Rome was becoming a more important ecological center. Therefore, Rome began to transform political and legal regulations with allies by starting to extend its authority over their internal affairs. The allies did not resist Rome’s involvement. They did not seem to mind because their own security was at stake [9].
Another possibility would be that the allies were afraid to say “no” because they feared Roman retribution [9]. Rome had become openly aggressive, and imperialistic in the sense that they waged wars of conquest for only profits and glory. They also fought for control of the Western Mediterranean. During the First Punic war, Rome gained control of Sicily, which became Rome's first overseas territory. In the Second Punic War, Rome...

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