Kevin Paltoo EUH 1000 Mr. Rogers 04/10/2010 The Lex Oppia was a law established in ancient Rome in 215 BC, at the height of the Second Punic War during the days of national catastrophe after the Battle of Cannae. This law was designed to limit the rights of women. The law was also passed to tap into wealthy women fortunes by the state in order to pay for the costs of the war. This law basically stripped the rights of women. Marcus Porcius Cato also known as the censor is one of the statesmen that supported the Lex Oppia law. Marcus Porcius Cato was one of the statesmen who reject repealing the Lex Oppia law.

Cato stated “ If each of us, citizens, had determined to assert his rights and dignity as a husband with respect to his own spouse, we should have less trouble with the sex as a whole; as it is, our liberty, destroyed at home by female violence, even here in the Forum is crushed and trodden underfoot, and because we have not kept them individually under control, we dread them collectively. (Par. 2) Cato is saying in his statement that he object in repealing against the Oppian Law because he believe that women were needed to be contained within this law.

He believed in order for the husbands to keep control of their spouses properly, they need to be restrained under the Oppian Law. Cato believes that the Oppian Law allowed men to say dominant over women regardless whether some women were wealthier then some men. The main bases of his objections were on the fact of women not becoming superior to men. This was one of his fears of women during the Punic War. He felt that women were getting to be equal to men slowly as time went on and he wanted to prevent this. However Cato had someone that opposed his views about the Oppian Law. This man was Lucius Valerius.

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Lucius Valerius was a Republican Politian and was a good friend of Marcus Porcius Cato. Valerius counters Cato by saying “Laws passed in time of peace, war frequently annuls, and peace those passed in times of war, just as in handing a ship some means are useful in fair weather and others in a storm. Since they are so distinguished by nature, to which class, I ask, does the law which we are trying to repel seem to belong? Well? Is it an ancient regal law, born with the city itself, or, what is next to that, one inscribed on the twelve tables by decimvirs appointed to codify law? . . Since for so many years our matrons lived virtuous lives without it, what danger is there that when it is repealed they will rush into riotous luxury? (Par. 8) Valerius basically is saying that the Oppian Law is based on ancient laws and tradition and is basically a bunch of garbage. These laws are just an excuse to strip away the women rights. Women barely had rights to begin within the Roman republic. Valerius also says that what is the point of these laws? The women of Rome were living virtuous lives without these laws in place anyways. So basically he is saying that we do not need to establish these laws.

These laws were just a scam in order to get money from wealthy women in order to pay for the war. Marcus Tullius Cicero was an orator, lawyer, politician, and philosopher. Marcus Tullius Cicero had many political and social values that were essential to leading a good life on earth and gaining eternal life in the hereafter or so he believed. As has been said, Cicero subordinated philosophy to politics, so it should not surprise us to discover that his philosophy had a political purpose: the defense, and if possible the improvement, of the Roman Republic.

The politicians of his time, he believed, were corrupt and no longer possessed the virtuous character that had been the main attribute of Romans in the earlier days of Roman history. This loss of virtue was, he believed, the cause of the Republic’s difficulties. He hoped that the leaders of Rome, especially in the Senate, would listen to his pleas to renew the Republic. Cicero, therefore, tried to use philosophy to bring about his political goals. Like most intellectual endeavors in Cicero’s time, philosophy was an activity in which Greece still held the lead.

The Romans were more interested in practical matters of law, governance, and military strategy than they were in philosophy and art. But for Cicero to really use philosophy effectively, he needed to make it accessible to a Roman audience. He did this in part by translating Greek works into Latin, including inventing Latin words where none seemed suitable for Greek concepts (including the Latin words which give us the English words morals, property, individual, science, image, and appetite), and in part by drawing on and idealizing Roman history to provide examples of ppropriate conduct and to illustrate the arguments of philosophy. He also summarized in Latin many of the beliefs of the primary Greek philosophical schools of the time. Cicero grew up in a time of civil unrest and war. Sulla’s victory in the first of many civil wars led to a new constitutional framework that undermined liberty which was the fundamental value of the Roman Republic. Nonetheless, Sulla’s reforms strengthened the position of the equestrian class, contributing to that class’s growing political power.

Cicero undermined his efforts in preserving the Roman constitution as which he felt was being contaminated by optimates. The consequence of this was that Cicero was exile from Rome because of these actions. Tiberius Gracchus was a Roman politician. As a plebeian tribune, his reforms of agrarian legislation caused political turmoil in the Republic. These reforms threatened the holdings of rich landowners in Italy. He was murdered along with many of his supporters. Tiberius says “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 mean time nothing more in it but the air and light; and having no houses or settlement of their own, are constrained to wander from place to place with their wives and children” (Par. 3) According to Plutarch, Tiberius took action in the peoples favor. He did this because he felt that the rich was controlling too much of the land and the citizens who defend the country cannot even get a piece of land to live on because the rich control the land.

The poor citizens do not have a place to settle on and are forced to move from place to place. Tiberius was the voice for the common people. The common people supported him for this and respected him. The rich however and the statesmen felt threatened by him and murdered him and whoever supported him. Tiberius characterized his opponents in his address to the crowd. He called his opponents savage beasts as stated in the quote above. He also stated their houses that these beasts stay in as particular dens. Tiberius was basically slapping his opponents in the face with these characterizations.

He did this because he wanted to show on behalf of the poor that he did not fear the rich or should I say these savage beasts. Julius Caesar was a Roman military and political leader. During the battle of Alesia, he had some new technology that gave him the leverage in winning this war. He was outnumbered and still was able to pull it off. Some of these technologies are still used in modern warfare. One of these technologies was fortifications. With this technology, although being out numbered, he was still able to be victorious. They dug ditches and built six foot walls.

They were also able to mount weapons on these fortifications. The Romans oppose anyone who was non-Roman. According to Julius Caesar portrait of Vercingtorix, the Roman soldiers killed most of the Gauls and would of wiped out the whole army. Due to exhaustion, the Romans let some of them escape. They wanted to wipe out the Gauls army. Julius Caesar wrote the Gallic War to describe his own deeds. He wrote it in a third person way by writing himself as he instead of I. I believe he made this decision in writing this in third person way because it made it much easier to picture what was going on during the war.

It was much easier to see his military strategy. He was also able to describe the technology used in the war and how this gave him the advantage during these battles. By writing it like this, people were able to believe him because usually when writers write in a first person way, they stretch the truth a sometimes. But when you write it in a third person way, it’s more believable and draws the attention of the reader more. He also wrote this to shape his public image. By doing this he was trying to give himself a respectable image. This gave him the image of being this great military general.

Then it also gave him this powerful military emperor look also. He did this because he wanted to show the citizens of Rome that he is a great leader and military expert. He also did this for popularity. Citizens from other countries respected him and also feared him. This was a good thing for Caesar because this made him feel like he was invincible and no one dared to revolt against him. The Roman Republic was not like a democracy like how democracy is today. However citizens were still an important part of the political force. Women revolted against the Oppian Law.

This influenced statesmen such as Valerius to support the women who oppose these laws. The citizens are represented by these statesmen kind of like how senators do today in our political system. Another example of the citizens being an important part of the political force was with Tiberius. Tiberius supported and was the voice for the poor citizens of Rome. These poor people influence the way Tiberius thought and carried out his actions as a statesman. These documents in this chapter lend support to the argument that the importance of law was a basic Roman value.

This is true because Roman citizens opposed some laws and support some laws. Women oppose The Oppian Law while some support this law. Tiberius was defending the rights of the poor citizens by trying to have laws to support them by taking from the rich and giving to the poor. He payed the ultimate price by doing this. He was murdered by the rich citizens and some of the statesmen. It was so important to Tiberius that he gave his life up for these laws. The rich citizen wanted to stop these laws and even committed murder for these laws. With Caesar, he went to war to protect the laws and government from foreign invaders.

He risked his life and others to protect the Roman Republic which was basically the laws. Both Plutarch and Caesar revealed the ways in which war shaped Roman society and politics. Julius Caesar does this by becoming this excellent general for the Roman army. By doing this he became more and more popular by the citizens of Rome. He then had many military victories which made him feared by other countries who try to invade Rome. By becoming this great general, he became emperor of Rome and shaped Rome into a powerful military empire which became one of the most powerful empires known to man.

Plutarch does this by writing a book called Lives of the Roman Emperors. Reading this material has thought me new things about the Roman Empire. I learned that Romans were all about their politics and military excellences. I understand that Roman citizens took their politics very seriously and would go far as murdering someone over politics. I learned that Julius Caesar developed new technology of fortification which we still use in modern warfare today. I also learned what the Oppian Law was and why women revolted against it. My view for has slightly changed due to the political view of things.

I feel that the most important thing about life in Rome was their politics. Word Definitions 1. Abrogation- to end an agreement or contract formally and publicly. 2. Matron- a woman, especially a married woman of middle age or later, who has had children and is thought of as being mature, sensible, and of good social standing. 3. Vehement- expressed with or showing conviction or intense feeling. 4. Reconnoiter- an exploration of an area in order to gather information. 5. Parapet- a bank of soil, rubble, or sandbags piled up along the edge of a military trench for protection from enemy fire.


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