Faculty Seminar Advisor

Alaric Trousdale

Department

History

Type (DCMI Terms)

Text

Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

2011

Abstract

Gaius Marius’ military reforms caused more problems for the Roman Republic than any enemy of Rome ever could. Marius’s reforms were created to strengthen the Republic by professionalizing Rome’s military, but instead the political impact of the reforms had long term consequences that helped contribute to the decline of the late Roman Republic. In this paper the decline of the Roman Republic refers to the weakening of the Senate’s authority over Rome’s military and generals. The reform with the biggest impact was the opening up of the military to the capite censi or landless poor. In passing this reform Marius opened up the military to Rome’s largest class, but it created problems for the Republic, in the form of what to do with the men once they retired from active duty. Marius believed that he solved the issue of what to do with the retired men, when he made a deal with the Senate to give his troops plots of land on retirement. Instead of fixing the problem, Marius opened the door for other generals to use the giving of land to manipulate their troops into supporting their political ambitions.

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