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Social war

At this time there was a bitter jealousy between the Senate and the commercial class or Equites. From the earlier were elected the governors of the provinces, from the last came the tax-gatherers and the money-brokers. There were 300 Senators ant they held their position for life. When vacancies occurred from death, they were filled by the Censor who nominated anyone that had held one of the following offices: Dictator, Consul, Praetor, Curule Aedile, or, Quaestor. All people who had held these positions were permitted to join in disputation in the Senate, but not to vote. No Senator could engage in trade. Therefore he must be wealthy.

There was no enmity between the Senate and the Equites til, in 123, Gaius Gracchus accepted the Lex Judicaria, which ordered that the jurors should be elected from the Equites, and not the Senate. Since the jurors were elected from the Equites, it had influence of the courts, and regularly made an unprincipled use of its power. From the Equites, were chosen the tax-gatherers of the provinces, and they plundered the people at will. Another problem was endangering the state. The Italian allies of Rome did not possess the permit belonging to a Roman citizen. For almost 200 years they had had dangers and victories with the Romans, and now needed all their privileges.

In 91, a Tribune, named Marcus Livius Drusus attempted to reform, but his agrarian and corn laws made him many foes, and his effort to admit the Italians to the rights of Roman citizenship aroused great resistance. His laws were accepted, but he was denounced in Senate as a traitor, and was murdered by a killer.

After 8 nations created a coalition with Corfinium as their capital, and created a Federal Republic, called Italia. All Italians were to be citizens of Corfinium, and here was to be the place of council and the Senate-House. Rome, in the face of this threat, acted quickly and with resolution. Two Consuls took the field with each were 5 deputies, among whom were Marius and Sulla.


This war (90-88), called the Social War, in other words the war with the allies was at calamitous to Rome. The allies invaded Campania, defeated the Romans numerous times, and entered into dialogues with the Northern Italians, whose loyalty began to
hesitate. Therefore, Rome began to be turned in the direction of a more liberal statement.

It was decided to make concedings. The Romans carried several laws, but these laws resulted in disorganizing the revolt. The Samnites and Lucanians held out the longest, but were lastly defeated by Marius.


The end of the Social War brought no peace at Rome. The newly enfranchised Italians were not wholly satisfied. The Senate was torn asunder by violent personal rivalries. The treasury was empty, and many capitalists became bankrupt. War with Mithradetes, King of Pontus, had been announced.

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