Quotes / The Roman Republic

For Romans in Rome's quarrel spared neither land nor gold
Nor son nor wife nor limb nor life in the brave days of old
Then none was for a party; then all were for the state
Then the great man helped the poor, and the poor man loved the great
Then lands were fairly portioned and spoils were fairly sold
The Romans were like brothers in the brave days of old
Lays of Ancient Rome by Sir Thomas Macauley

"It's simple: the Praetor's like a mayor, quaestors are judges, and the censor does the census and bans smut..."
Larry Gonick (on the structure of Roman Republican government), The Cartoon History of the Universe

"I do not believe that the Roman lower classes deserve the vituperation they have recieved from Roman (and Greek) writers, especially Cicero, from whom so much of our historical tradition about Late Republican political life derives. If indeed they were to some extent demoralised and depraved, it was largely because the oligarchy had made it impossible for them to be anything else, and perhaps preferred them to be so, as our ancestors preferred to keep the English labouring classes ignorant and uneducated and without a voice in the government until well on in the nineteenth century. What chance did the humble Roman have of acquiring a sense of political responsibility? The unfortunate thing is that we can virtually never feel we are seeing things as they really were: our sources normally present us with a mere stock caricature."
G. E. M. de Ste. Croix, The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World.

The savage beasts in Italy have their particular dens, they have their places of repose and refuge; but the men who bear arms, and expose their lives for the safety of their country, enjoy in the meantime nothing more in it but the air and the light.They fought indeed and were slain, but it was to maintain the luxury and wealth of other men.They were styled the masters of the world, but in the meantime had not one foot of ground which they could call their own.
Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus

The Roman senate, who were so unjustly, so criminally proud as not to suffer the plebeians to share with them in anything, could find no other artifice to keep the latter out of the administration than by employing them in foreign wars. They considered the plebeians as a wild beast, whom it behoved them to let loose upon their neighbours, for fear they should devour their masters. Thus the greatest defect in the Government of the Romans raised them to be conquerors. By being unhappy at home, they triumphed over and possessed themselves of the world, till at last their divisions sunk them to slavery.
Voltaire, Letters on England