1. Education

Party Politics in the Age of Caesar - by Lily Ross Taylor

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The Bottom Line

Lily Ross Taylor's classic writing on the political life at the end of the Republic (Age of Caesar) shows the way Roman politics evolved over the centuries to meet changing needs.
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  • Packed with detail - Short but thorough
  • Written clearly
  • Explains many Roman political oddities


  • Not for beginners


  • Party Politics in the Age of Caesar is essential for anyone interested in Roman Republican politics.
  • Lily Ross Taylor notes that her later work confirmed the conclusions of this 1948 publication.
  • This 255 page book contains 72 pages of notes and 8 lectures as chapters.
  • Personal popularity, good character and family connections were important in winning elections.
  • Shows that bribing voters went on, but at a distance.
  • Shows that religion was manipulated to help individual office holders/seekers.
  • States that campaign promises were not allowed.
  • Shows that factions were usually not ideological.
  • Roman Liberals: The Populares "were usually attempting to establish personal supremacy."
  • Roman Conservatives: The Optimates "were working for the maintenance of an oligarchy."

Guide Review - Party Politics in the Age of Caesar - by Lily Ross Taylor

Living in the city meant easy access to the vote, but it also meant your tribe was so large your one vote didn't count much. Bills could not be enacted within 24 days of an election for fear of swaying voters. Instead of election speeches, candidates might go straight to court to prosecute opponents. Bribery, violence or the threat thereof, and deals between candidates were among the shadier means of winning office. As a last resort, the state priests could be persuaded to declare it an inauspicious time to hold an election.

While it might sound corrupt, the Roman political system Lily Ross Taylor describes lacks the platitudes, personal immorality, and impersonality of modern big governments.

Fascinating details in every chapter.

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