Saturday, October 15, 2016

Democracy vs. Tyranny

Cicero's letter to his son Marcus is also an important piece in detailing the transition in Greek culture from democracy to a period of tyranny. First and foremost, a tyrant isn't a dictator that oppressed the people, but instead is one person that the people support who rules mostly by himself. Cicero idealizes the past in which public officials didn't take bribes and were less corrupt. This past with less political corruption was held in check by the power of the people in places such as Athens. Here, we see the difference in Roman society from Greek society and also the transition from democracy to tyranny. Tyranny by itself isn't bad, but it is an easier system to take advantage of and obtain too much power.


Rickeia Coleman said...

I think it can be argued that Cicero and Julius Caesar both cared about Rome and did what they thought was best for society. Cicero thought a republic was the best option because he thought that the people got more say. On the other hand, Julius Carsar wanted a tyrannical rule because he felt like he knew what was best for Rome and he felt like a republic didn't allow him to accomplish all that he wanted. As a result, the tyrannical rule came about an Julius Caesar actually had supporters so it's not clear as to which one is better per se. They both did things with their high political positions that they thought was best for Rome and as we saw many people often didn't like Cicero's actions such as killing people without a trial for the Catalina conspiracy. There's no way to say which one is right because they both had supporters along with backlash

Brooke Williamson said...

I think the contrast between the Roman tyrannical rule and the Greek Athenian democracy is significant. Both forms of government support the people, however, they go about doing things for their citizens in different ways. For example, the council of of 500 was used for the Athenian citizens to vote. In Roman culture, political leaders took on this role in selecting the best officials for the citizens to be represented well. For example, Cicero was seen as the best orator because he worked hard to defend the Roman people justly in court.

Julia Scofield said...

I think one of the most important details is Cicero idealizing the past. He claims that in the past, the republic was better. This reminds me of older generations today. Use of the phrase "back in my day" is incredibly common, and is usually followed by a remark which implies that the past was better. But everyone remembers that past better than it was. As time goes on, people seek new solutions to old problems and society evolves. These changes aren't bad just because they're new. These innovations help to keep society working if only you get used to it.