Reforms of Sulla

Notes on the reforms of Sulla

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Reforms of Sulla- aims

- Strengthen the Senate.

-Restrict power of the tribunes.

-Curb independence of regular magistracies.

-Reduce the threat of over-powerful proconsuls in the provinces.

-Increase number of administrative and judicial magistracies.

-Reorganise juries and courts (shift power back to the Senate).

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Reforms of Sulla- Senate

- Enlarged it with 300 new members (swelled now to circa 600 people).

- Mainly of good equestrian origin.

-Future recruitment from all ex-quaestors ensured.

-Senate must approve all legislation before it was put to the people ( restriction of the tribunes power).

-Senate to continue to decide all provincial commands.

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Reforms of Sulla- tribunes

-No longer able to propose legislation to the people.

-Right of veto limited.

-Judicial powers removed.

-Tribunes prevented from holding any further political office.

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Reforms of Sulla- other magistracies

- Lex Villia Annalis - minimum age limits set for ALL cursus honorum offices.

-Forbid anyone to hold the same office twice within a ten year period.

- Censors stripped of power to decide eligibility for senatorial status.

-Increased the number of quaestors and praetors (20 and 8).

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Reforms of Sulla- proconsuls in the provinces

-Regulated method of appointing provinces.

-Senate still decided who was proconsul in each of the ten provinces.

- Provincial commands are now annual.

-Treason law passed- prevented governors from leaving their provinces during their terms and couldn't declare war without senatorial permission.

-Consular imperium now superior to provincial governors' powers.

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Reforms of Sulla- courts and corn distributions


- Seven standing courts were created which was an increase on before.

-Fixed penalites established for certain crimes.

-Penalties for electoral bribery increased.

-Juries recruited from senators, not equites.

Corn Distributions

- Gaius Gracchus' cheap grain distributions abolished

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Reforms of Sulla- effects and significance

- Increased the number of Senators which therefore mean't an increased pool for selection of jurors.

- New senators owed their new status to Sulla so therefore Sulla could count on their support.

- Sulla ignored the potential to put the new blood of the new citizens from the Italian community into the Senate.

-Tribunate and its power vitually destroyed.

-Sulla prevented young 'upstarts' from getting power too quickly (BUT Sulla himself granted a triumph to Pompey, aged 24, well below the required age to hold a quaestorship, undermining his own ruling by granting him an honour associated with those of the highest political status).

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Reforms of Sulla- effects and significance

- Attempting to limit the dangers posed by overambitious proconsuls by limiting their term to one year, and using ex-praetors/ consuls as governors; failed to recognise the threat posed by men granted extraordinary powers to deal with emergency situations,or men exploiting discharged veterans.

- Organisation of the courts remained unchanged into Augustus' reign. Composition of juries remained a continous issue.

-Corn distribution abolition didn't last- popular leaders (e.g. Clodius) reinstated them for support.

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