There is no other published book in English studying the constitution of the Roman Republic as a whole. Yet the Greek historian Polybius believed that the constitution was a fundamental cause of the exponential growth of Rome's empire. He regarded the Republic as unusual in two respects: first, because it functioned so well despite being a mix of monarchy, oligarchy and democracy; secondly, because the constitution was the product of natural evolution rather than the
ideals of a lawgiver. Even if historians now seek more widely for the causes of Rome's rise to power, the importance and influence of her political institutions remains. The reasons for Rome's power are both complex, on account of the mix of elements, and flexible, inasmuch as they were not founded
on written statutes but on unwritten traditions reinterpreted by successive generations. Knowledge of Rome's political institutions is essential both for ancient historians and for those who study the contribution of Rome to the republican tradition of political thought from the Middle Ages to the revolutions inspired by the Enlightenment.
Andrew Lintott is Professor of Roman History at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Worcester College
I. Introduction ; II. A Roman Political Year ; III. Polybius and the Constitution ; IV. The Story of the Origin of the Constitution ; V. The Assemblies ; VI. The Senate ; VII. The Higher Magistrates and the Pro-Magistrates ; VIII. Tribunes, Aediles, and Minor Magistrates ; IX. Criminal Justice ; X. The Influence of Society and Religion ; XI. The Balance of the Constitution ; XII. The Mixed Constitution and Republican Ideology ; XIII. The Republic Remembered