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Democracy

Volume XIII, Number 4 | fall 2020

Miscellany

The contentious relationship of the two Roman consuls of 59 bc, Julius Caesar and Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus, culminated in the former arranging to have the latter attacked in the Forum in order to prevent him from voting against an agrarian law Caesar supported. The next day Bibulus tried to censure Caesar formally but found no support among the senators. “From that time until the end of his term,” wrote Suetonius, Bibulus “did not leave his house, but merely issued proclamations announcing adverse omens.”

I have often been convinced that a democracy is incapable of empire.

—Thucydides, c. 404 BC

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