C. Licinius Macer’s Advice To His People

I recently came across a passage from a speech appearing in Sallust’s Historiae (III.48).  The oration is put in the mouth of the popular tribune Caius Licinius Macer, who was battling the influence of the Roman patricians.  It purportedly was delivered in 73 B.C.; Macer’s intention was to rouse the common people to action against the venality and greed of the elites who controlled Rome and who refused to listen to the will of the people.  A continuous theme in the era of the late republic was the constant attempt by the elites to prevent economic reforms that might benefit the state as a whole, rather than just them.  We this same motif, of course, played out again in our own day.

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