New Philosopher

Bread and circuses

“The people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things: bread and circuses!” Juvenal

For nearly 500 years, the citizens of Rome elected their leaders. Structurally, Roman democracy was actually more patrician than populist – many of the highest elected offices were reserved for those from the aristocracy, who purported to trace their ancestry back to the founding of Rome itself. But in practice, the plebeians – the ordinary citizens – held, at least collectively, decisive power over the Roman Republic, especially at important historical moments. The power of the plebs was never more apparent than when they refused to fight for the patricians – after all, what was the

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