Challenges of The Roman Constitution from Polybius Analysis –

Humanities –

Challenges of The Roman Constitution from Polybius Analysis –

I need an original post that is at least 200 words responding to Part A. Then I need three student responses to post, at least 100 words, that can be found in Part B. Please respond to student response like you are talking to them directly. Do not say “ I agree with this student….this student’s use of …..etc…” Chicago Style Format


Scholars assert that the Gracchi played a pivotal at Rome because they exposed the weakness of the Roman constitution. Does this challenge what you know about the Roman constitution from Polybius? What weaknesses did the Gracchi reveal and how did they choose to use the common people to exploit those weaknesses? To answer these questions you will need to re-read Polybius’ analysis of the Roman constitution (Week Three Content) and Barry Strauss’ article, “Populares and Populists.”



Gracchi’s reforms were certainly jaw dropping in a sense, but the groundwork for them had been laid long before in the constitution. One of Gracchi’s biggest reforms that earned him a lot of support from the people surrounded the issue of land ownership. In order to be in the army, a person had to own land. While this may have been easy to support in the early Republic as there was enough land and minimal debt, several wars with Carthage and other opponents left many families without the ability to afford to own lands. This caused those citizens to be homeless or required them to accumulate a lot of debt. Senators and other patricians did violate the law about the maximum amount of land that could be owned, but since they controlled a lot of aspects of the government, it would be hard to challenge. Rome enacted the strongest form of counter to the power of the Senate in the position of Tribune, but according to Strauss, they would choose to not execute that veto power as they had their own aspirations for further offices. If any weakness to the constitution would be found, it would be in that power of the tribune. I don’t think that it challenges much of what Polybius wrote about the constitution as that power was there early on. Perhaps there was more of a gentleman’s agreement by the tribunes to more carefully apply this power as it could allow the tribune to gain the connections necessary for higher office. However, Gracchi, as a powerful orator, was able to get the will of the people aroused in this topic and Gracchi was able to maintain it long enough to get some of the reforms through. So long as the tribune could maintain the popular support, they could control the discussion about what should be done. That ability to maintain the support of the populace was rare, but by tapping into the fears and problems while showing success with those challenges to the status quo, Gracchi was able to keep that momentum of popular support going.


Polybius. “Fragments of Book VI.” Polybius • Histories – Book 6. Accessed April 23, 2019.*.html.

Strauss, Barry. “Populism: II Populares & Populists.” Accessed April 23, 2019. Populares and populists.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=sFUEI1bR5IxB7J3tmlB3Z3oXW”


Does this challenge what you know about the Roman constitution from Polybius?

This does challenge what I know about the Roman constitution from Polybius, in his time Rome relied on the policy of incorporation in order to grow as a super-power. As the Roman Empire grew and expanded, they also acquired slaves in their conquests but they were not incorporated into Roman society, they also did not take care of their citizen soldiers that were at war and allowed debtors to take away their lands making them ineligible for military service. This divide did not keep in the spirit of the Roman constitution from the time of Polybius but instead created a new class of citizens.

What weaknesses did the Gracchi reveal and how did they choose to use the common people to exploit those weaknesses?

The weakness that Gaius Gracchus revealed that used the people to exploit was the “Corn Law” which was a law that was intended to feed impoverished Roman citizens by providing grain at a reduced cost, instead of reducing poverty it did the opposite and people would journey to Rome in order to take advantage of the situation.”

“According to what we have learned about Gracchi, Gracchi exposed the weakness of the lack of plebeian representation in the Roman government. I feel like this does challenge Polybius account of the constitution. Polybius explains that the Roman constitution was diverse. He was a firm believer that the strength of the state reflected the strength of the constitution. Polybius believed that the 3 types of government: Monarchy, Aristocracy, and democracy were combined to make the strongest constitution. He also believed that only the strongest me rose to positions of power and the weaker people wanted to be led.

Gracchi revealed that the Roman state had a large number of lower class citizens and that those citizens were not popularly represented in their government. Gracchi used the plebeians by suggesting they strike. Plebeians were the farmers, the shop owners, and the black smiths, by striking the plebeians had a the upper hand over the higher class. The upper class needed food, equipment, and supplies, by taking those things away forced the upper class to come up with a solution to end the strike. That solution was slowly incorporating the lower class into Roman society.

Polybius on the Roman Constitution,