Roman Government

Reviewing the book “Cicero in Letters: Epistolary Relations of the Late Republic” for the LRB, Denis Feeney describes the Roman government:

Without anything like a professional bureaucracy, and with no elected official holding office for more than a year, an empire of 50 million people was overseen by the personal relations of about a hundred men and their hangers-on; the constant exchange of letters, with their reaffirmations of devotion and loyalty, their imparting of information and their maneuvering for position, were an indispensable element in keeping the show, such as it was, on the road. When one considers in addition the lack of any official postal service and the resulting uncertainties of delivery – all lucidly evoked by White – the fact that the Roman Republic succeeded in running the known world for as long as it did comes to seem almost miraculous.

3 thoughts on “Roman Government”

  1. “overseen by the personal relations of about a hundred men and their hangers-on; the constant exchange of letters, with their reaffirmations of devotion and loyalty, their imparting of information and their maneuvering for position, were an indispensable element in keeping the show, such as it was, on the road.”

    This could double as a description of a certain non-denominational denomination of churches which is “loosely affiliated!”

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