Wish I'd said that - December 27, 2018

“The Roman republic did not fall before external foes. It had not been permanently crippled or weakened by long wars against powerful neighbours. What, then, were the faults and weaknesses that brought it to disaster? Were they due to defects in Roman political life or to a faulty machinery of government? Where they the result of an unsound economic system which discouraged the production and upset the distribution among all the people of the good things of this world? Was Roman law unjust, producing social discontent and resentment? Or did the trouble spring from some deeper cause, traceable perhaps to some fundamental change in men’s attitude towards life? If so, was it a matter of altered social relationships between one class and another, between rich and poor, between the old families and fashionable society on the one hand and the unknown ‘common man’ on the other, between the free and the slaves or between the Romans and the Italians or the Romans and foreigners? Beyond all these possible sources of weakness was there a failure of old religious and moral beliefs and a decay of old habits that had in the last resort been the true source of the vitality of the State? Such seem to be the main questions that arise as we read about Cicero…”

Introduction in F.R. Cowell Cicero and the Roman Republic