Episode 100 – The Consulship

We’ve reached a huge milestone! One hundred episodes is quite something and we’re super chuffed to have made it this far. To celebrate we’ve put together a very special episode for you on the consulship.

Episode 100 – The Consulship

While our narrative history of Rome is still very much in the early republic, the consul is a position that many aficionados of ancient Rome are familiar with. But how much do we know about the consul especially in the early years of the republic? We’re here to sift through the evidence!

After the Kings

After the expulsion of the Tarquins, Rome is left facing a crisis of governance. How best to restructure the state in the wake of the collapse of monarchy?

The Romans innovative solution was to divide the powers of the rex between two men, thereby saving the populace from the tyranny of a sole ruler. But to claim that the Romans came to this decision cleanly, and with a clarity of what this would really look like, is to miss the fascinating complexities of the way the role developed over time.

What Makes a Consul?

In this special episode we’ll trace the some of the key features of the consulship and explore what the position entailed in the early republic, the late republic, and the early empire. There’s plenty to enjoy here including:

  • a return to the relationship between magistracies and assemblies;
  • the role of consuls in war;
  • and the consuls’ relationship with the gods.

Alexandre Jacovleff ‘Ancient Roman Senators’ illustration for The General History Edited by Satyricon (1911)

Sources

Interested in learning more about the consulship? These are the major sources we consulted in preparation for this episode and we definitely recommend them for getting a handle on the subject!

Beck, H., Duplá, A., Jehne, M., & Pino Polo, F. 2011. ‘The republic and its highest office: some introductory remarks on the Roman consulate’ in Beck, H., Duplá, A., Jehne, M., Pina Polo, F. (eds) Consuls and Res Publica: Holding High Office in the Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press), 1-15.

‘Consul’ in Pauly’s Realencyclopadie der classischen Altumsumswissenschaft Band IV, 1, col. 1112-1138 (1900).

Eck, W. 2019. ‘Suffect consul‘ in Cancik, H., Schneider, H., Salazar, C. F. (eds) Brill’s New Pauly (Last accessed 29/9/2019)

Drogula, F. K. 2015. Commanders and Command in the Roman Republic and Early Empire (University of North Carolina Press)

Gizewski, C. 2019. ‘Consul(es)’ in Cancik, H., Schneider, H., Salazar, C. F. (eds) Brill’s New Pauly (Last accessed 29/9/2019)

Hölkeskamp, K. 2011. ‘The Roman republic as theatre of power: the consuls as leading actors’ in Beck, H., Duplá, A., Jehne, M., Pina Polo, F. (eds) Consuls and Res Publica: Holding High Office in the Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press), 161-181.

Hurlet, F. 2011. ‘Consulship and consuls under Augustus’ in Beck, H., Duplá, A., Jehne, M., Pina Polo, F. (eds) Consuls and Res Publica: Holding High Office in the Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press), 319-35.

Malik, S.; Davenport, C., ‘Mythbusting Ancient Rome – Caligula’s Horse’ (4/5/2017), The Conversation (Last accessed on 5/10/2019)

Scullard, H. H. 1982. From the Gracchi to Nero (Routledge, London)

Smith, C. 2011. ‘The magistrates of the early Republic’, in Beck, H., Duplá, A., Jehne, M., Pina Polo, F. (eds) Consuls and Res Publica: Holding High Office in the Roman Republic (Cambridge University Press), 19-40.

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Drs R and G laugh and spar their way through the ancient Roman world!

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