Sulla And His Reforms

About Sulla and his reforms - significane and aims.

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  • Created by: Abby
  • Created on: 21-12-12 17:07

Sulla - card one

Sulla's actions were very contraversial, He showed the constitutions could be meddled with and influenced the future Roman leaders - The only way Pompey entered Circus Honorum so quickly and at such a young age was because Sulla that threatened to march on Rome and it was believed Pompey would also.

Sulla made significant changed to the Circus Honorum - prevented anyone under age of 30 to climb political ladder.

Number of quaestorships and praetorships increased = so did competition.

Stricter, harder progress to higher positions of office. People had to be older and the new route wasn't easy. However it gave Cicero the advantage of being more mature which probably helped him.

The senate was largely controlled by Sulla, through loyalty or fear.

Sulla made sure the Tribunes had their power restricted dramatically. Sulla put patricians back under control and the plebs no longer had any say.

Sulla reintroduced Mos Maicrum (Tradional Way). He believed in 'old Rome' and wanted to restore to former glory.

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Sulla - card two

Sulla was first to use army to further political position by threatening to march on Rome. He wasn't the last as it left a lasting influence in the senate.

Legions became loyal to their General rather than to Rome, this made it easier to manipulate the senate through threat of war as the soldiers would follow their General.

Sulla's introduction of perscriptions and enforcement made him a terrifying character.

Used death lists to wipe out competition. Octavian, Lepidus and Antony also used this tactic.

The terror of battle forever influenced Rome. The Battle of Colline Gate was a complete bloodbath. Something no Roman wanted a repeat of.

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Aims of Legislative Measures Introduced by Sulla

Sulla introduced many legislative measures during his dicatorships. For each one there were many aims:

  • To reorganise court and jury.
  • To strengthen the senate.
  • To restrict power of the Tribunes - recruited from the plebs.
  • To curn the independance of regular magistrates.
  • To avoid dangers from proconsuls in provinces.
  • To increase number of magistrates available for administrations and jurisdiction
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Sulla's Reforms - card one

The senate:

  • Decided  provincial commands.
  • Immediatly enlarged by 300 new members - mainly equit famillies.
  • Sulla provided future automatic recruitment from ex-quaestors.
  • Senate's approval necessary before legislation was presented to the people.


  • Could not propse legislation to the people unless measures sanctioned by the senate.
  • Right of veto limited.
  • Deprived of judical powers.
  • Anyone holding office of Tribune was barred from further political office.


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Sulla's Reforms - card two

Other magistrates:

  • Redrafted Lex Villia Annalis - Circus Honorum to be strictly enforced - set minimum age for positions.
  • Man could not hold same office twice within ten year period.
  • Sulla was suspicous of censors so deprived them of their most important job - drawing up list of those eligible for senate.
  • Number of quaestors increased to 20 and number of praetors increased to 8.

Proconsuls in provinces:

  • Consular imperium remained superior.
  • Lex de Maiestate passed so governors couldn't leave provinces or make war without permission.
  • Commands to be annual.
  • Regulated method of appointing governors.
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Sulla's Reforms - card three

Courts (quaestiones)

  • Number of standing courts increased to 7 - covered all major crimes from treason to forgery.
  • Procedures for treating each crime was fixed - no appeal against verdicts.
  • Penalties for electorial bribery increased.
  • Juries recruited from senate not Equites.

Corn Distrabutors:

  • Sulla abolished cheap grain distrabutions.
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Effects And Significane Of The Reforms - card one

Effects on the senate:

  • Increase in number of senators provided an adequate supply of jourors for law courts.
  • New recruits were from equestrian class, might have wanted to bring classes together, would avoid future opposition from commercial class.
  • Prevented interferrence from censors when he introduced method of automatic recruitment from ex-quaestors.
  • Since quaestors were voted for by the people, senate was filled indirectly by the people's choice.
  • Sulla failed to realise potential of new blood in the senate from those around Italy. The government needed to represent a larger section of Roman society.
  • Sulla strengthened senate but did not see that needs were changing.
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Effects And Significance Of The Reforms - card two

Effect on the tribunes:

  • Virtually destroyed tribunate by ********* away all of their powers which could undermine authority.
  • Left the tribunate a shadow without substance.
  • Did not last long, by year 70BC powers were restored.

Other Magistrates:

  • Hoped to prevent ambitious young men from getting to the top too quickly - redrafted Lex Villa Annalis.
  • Failed this as he was the one who granted Pompey a triumph.

Proconsuls in provinces:

  • Tried to minimise dangers from proconsuls by limiting their office to a one year period and having ex-consuls becoming governors.
  • Sulla failed to take precautions against those like Pompey who recived extraordinary commands and abused the imperium.
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Effects And Significance Of Reforms - card three

Effects on the courts:

  • Most lasting reform was in organisation of the quaestiones which continued to function into principate of Augustus.

Effects on corn distrabution:

  • Change was not long lasting
  • Later leaders would use offer of free grain distrabution to gain support from urban mob.
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