Monday, January 6, 2020


Via dei Cestari/Via del Gesù

26 BC. Giant square of 310 x 120 m (1,017 x 394 feet)

Designed by Julius Caesar (100/44 BC) but finished by his son-in-law Agrippa (about 63/12 BC) and dedicated to the memory of the dictator

It was the place for the elections with the south appendix, DIRIBITORIUM, used for counting. It was divided by wooden partitions to facilitate the electoral process

Here ended the arches of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct

On the long sides of the square, two porticos were named from the works of art kept in them:
To the west (side of the Pantheon, corresponding to Via dei Cestari) the PORTICO OF THE ARGONAUTS
To the east (side of the Temple of Isis, corresponding to Via del Gesù) the PORTICO OF MELEAGER

Roman citizens were divided into groups and the majority was figured out not per heads but per groups which could be small groups if consisting of rich people and very large groups if consisting of poor people

For the COMIZI TRIBUTI which elected the tribunes of the people, and promulgated almost all laws, citizens were divided into 35 groups called tribes, 4 inside and 31 outside of Rome

For the COMIZI CENTURIATI which elected the magistrates, decide on matters of war and peace and of death sentences, the citizens were divided into 193 groups called centurias from five different classes differentiated by wealth

80 centurias belonged to the first class and 20 centurias to the second class representing together the absolute majority (at least 97), making useless the vote of the other three classes that often then didn’t even bother to vote, as the first class was the first to cast its vote, followed by the second and so on

Therefore the Roman Republic, as well as Sparta and Athens and the Greek cities, rather than being a democracy was a TIMOCRACY, which is a republic formally participatory, but where the political class became such in virtue of the wealth of its members. The situation is actually not much different to the majority of so-called Western “democracies” today

“Military service was exclusively for the richest, who also obtained the largest political rights; (...) The vote was no longer per head, as had been established by Romulus; rather the differences were established so that no one seemed to have been excluded from the vote, but also so that all authority resided in wealthier citizens” (Livy)
From August onwards the Saepta Iulia were only a monumental square, which was used primarily as a place for shows or as a market for antiques and works of art

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