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This collection of essays examines various aspects of the Roman Republic and its constituent groups of citizens, and discusses the nature and significance of the revolution that converted it into a monarchy. Professor Brunt's view is that the Republic was not a mere oligarchy, and that popular elements and conceptions of freedom were more important than is commonly supposed. Rival politicians could not rely primarily on coteries of their fellow aristocrats and loyal dependents: they appealed in the name of the public good to the interests and sentiments of sections of the population - the Italians, men of property in general, peasants and soldiers, and the urban plebs. Increasingly violent conflicts, however, eventually made almost everyone willing to accept monarchy for the sake of peace and order. The revolution itself is shown to have resulted partly from the interplay of individual personalities and other contingent factors which elude full historical explanation, partly from political, social, and economic conditions, and partly from prevalent ideas. In succeeding chapters some of these factors are examined more closely.
They include five rewritten or much revised versions of previously published articles concerned with the Italian allies, the Equites, the courts, the army, and amicitia. In addition there are three new essays on libertas, clientship, and factions.