Who wants to read some Roman history?
Of course you do.
Roman Republican Constitutional History?
I first started writing this piece in the summer of 2006. It was, once upon a time, my masters thesis, an analsis. Then, after my PhD was done, I spent some time turning it into an article that then got smashaaaayed in the process of peer review. Which was a fairly unjoyous experience and left me with two pieces of work that I loathed, because I wasn’t feeling a lot of post-viva love for my thesis at the same time.
However, fortunately for the future of the piece, I’d already had a paper accepted for a conference which was intended to adapt it by pushing it through a sieve of the approach to the constitution that I took in my PhD. So I just had to sit in a room and rip it apart and put it back together again – which did it some good, even though it did make me not want to get up in the morning for a while.
To shorten the story, I went to the conference, I gave the paper, the paper went well, the paper went through another batch of peer review for acceptance in the collected papers from the conference. And that was over two years ago… Since then, in between getting a job that I didn’t hate and the attempt to get something academic published mostly being superseded by the attempt to build a different kind of career, I’ve basically been waiting for it to be published so that I could go to work on tidying up my thesis for publication – because one of the things this article does is to allow me to ditch at least 5000 words of the opening methodology and replace it with a reference that says, ‘Hey, see this thing that tells you about it and shows it working. TA-DAH!’ Which is good, because it means I can start messing around with the constitutional mess of 44 BC much more quickly – which is the point of the work.
Anyway, I was, finally ready to get around to chasing up on this piece to see when it was going to be published, as I’d not heard of it, and so I started by googling the journal I knew was supposed to be publishing it as a supplement, and whaddaya know, it was published last year. Thanks for telling me, Mr Editor Man.
So here it is. The theme of the conference was ‘Integrity and Corruption in Antiquity’ – and I was looking at that in relation to constitutional change in the late Roman Republic, specifically two laws passed in the 60s BC that gave Pompey control of most of Rome’s eastern empire and which have a reputation for being (together) one of ‘those’ point at which the Republic got a little bit more nailed into its coffin. It’s about what the ideas of integrity and corruption actually mean when you’re talking about an unwritten – or uncodified (to be more accurate) – constitution, and what these laws did to the constitution of the Republic. And because I’m bad at snappy titles, it doesn’t have one of those – but, allowing for standard level twitchiness at seeing your words in print (I phrased it how, there?) I’m generally fairly proud of it.
‘The Corruption of the Constitution: The Lex Gabinia and Lex Manilia and the changing res publica‘ published in Corruption and integrity in Ancient Greece and Rome: Acta Classica Supplementum IV (Pretoria, 2012) ed. Philip Bosman.