Roman Republic
Home Up Julius and Augustus


Part One: History of the
Julio-Claudian Emperors

Story written by Rick Archer
November 2009

THE TALE OF SIX CAESARS (and one near miss)

1 Julius Caesar - The Man Who Ended the Republic

2 Augustus Caesar - The Man Who Was First King

3 Tiberius - The Man Who Did Not Want to be King

4 Sejanus - The Man Who Barely Missed becoming King

5 Caligula - The Man Who Should not Have been King

6 Claudius - The Man Who was too Stupid to be King

7 Nero - The Monster Who Ended the Julio-Claudian Line


You have all heard of ambition gone mad, corruption, and dirty politics.  You have all heard of political assassination. You have all heard of sexual perversion, cruelty, and debauchery.  This story has it all.  So where do you want me to start?

American politics can be pretty rough sometimes, but we cannot even begin to hold a candle to the Romans.  There is no way to explain how stunning some of these stories are. I could barely comprehend or believe some of the stories I read while researching for this article. 

Now I am going to share them with you. If there is one word that could describe this era, it would be "excess."  The Romans did everything to excess.  Too much killing.  Too much sex. 

And too much cruelty.  Endless cruelty.

Look no farther than the savage blood sport recreation of the Romans - watching slaves bash their comrade's brains in during gladiatorial contests, watching defenseless Christians slaughtered by fierce animals, torturing criminals in public for amusement, watching helpless animals abused in all sorts of hideous ways, laughing and jeering at the suffering - and you begin to comprehend this was a horrible, violent society. 

Why they call it the "Roman Civilization" is a mystery.  These people were NOT civilized.

These events occurred two thousand years ago.  Therefore I cannot promise that everything I have written is the truth since I had no choice but to rely on the accounts of others before me.

You can assume, however, that everything I write was faithfully copied from research I did on the Internet.  My main source, of course, was the amazingly helpful Wikipedia. 

What I mean to say is that no matter how outrageous the story is, you have my absolute promise I did not make it up.  I read it, gasped in amazement, then looked at several more sources to see what they had to say.  I found there is strong consensus on even the most outrageous of tales.  And now I am passing it on to you. 

This is a long tale.  Let me assure you of one thing - once you start reading it, you won't want to stop.   RA

This story is told in four parts.

1- The Roman Republic 2- Julius and Augustus Caesar
3- Tiberius 4- Caligula, Claudius, and Nero

Augustus Caesar, the Greatest of them All


The Julio-Claudian Dynasty

The term Julio-Claudian Dynasty refers to the series of the first five Roman Emperors. These men ruled the Roman Empire from 27 BC to AD 68, when the last of the line, Nero, committed suicide.  The dynasty is so named from the family names of its first two emperors: Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Augustus) and Tiberius Claudius Nero (Tiberius).  The ruling line was founded upon an alliance between these two families.

The 5 Emperors of the Dynasty:
1.Augustus ( 27 BC– AD 14)
2.Tiberius (14– 37)
3.Caligula (37– 41)
4.Claudius (41– 54
5.Nero (54– 68)

1 Julius Caesar - The Man Who Ended the Roman Republic

"Sic Semper Tyrannus!"  -  Death to all Tyrants

The story of the Julio-Claudian Line begins with Julius Caesar.

Gaius Julius Caesar was one of history's most prolific conquerors, battling through Spain, Gaul, Germany, Britannia, and Egypt.  More than any other leader, he was responsible for the creation of the remarkable Roman Empire.  Yet for his efforts, he was assassinated on the Ides of March in 44 B.C. 

Caesar wasn't just murdered, he was brutally pummeled in an incredible act of passion by a huge mob of men. 60 men known as the Liberators participated.  After all, a single knife in the right place would have done the trick, but Caesar received 23 stabs wounds from the Conspirators before succumbing.  This was as clear a case of "overkill" as you will ever find. 

  Most school books will tell you that he was murdered due to his brutal policies, his despotic leadership, and the desire to become the supreme ruler for life. Headed by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus, the Liberators firmly believed they were doing Rome a favor. Afterwards, Brutus and his companions  marched to the Capitol while crying out to their beloved city:  "People of Rome, we are once again free!"

You would have assumed that Caesar would have had higher approval ratings.  After all, by most accounts, he was doing a pretty job of transforming Rome into something good.  In truth, Caesar was one of Rome's greatest leaders, passing a number of historic reforms that saved society from total collapse. His employment reforms ended the economic stagnation caused by the influx of slaves.  By changing the amount of power creditors had over the citizens, people were able to pay off their debts.  Thanks to Caesar, things were steadily improving for Rome.  Employment in the city was up, security and confidence were up, people were entertained by the gladiator games, and the economy was stimulated with import and export.  People were generally simply happy with the way life was going. 

So why did they assassinate Caesar?  It all goes back to the founding of Rome in 753 BC.


First Came the Etruscans

Caesar was assassinated because he was the man who dared to change Rome from a Republic to an Empire.   In so doing, Caesar hit a deep nerve.  Many Romans were deeply paranoid about giving too much power to one man.  They had good reason.  To understand Rome, you have to go back 750 years to the hated Etruscan kings who ruled Rome during its infancy. 

According to tradition, Rome was founded in 753 BC by the twins Romulus and Remus.  These men were the leaders of an invading tribe known as the Etruscans. 

Prior to the Etruscans, this area on the Tiber River had been a small, inconspicuous town.  Then in 753 BC, out of nowhere, a powerful tribe known as the Etruscans moved into town and took over.  About a hundred years earlier, the Etruscans had migrated from Asia Minor over to Southern Italy.  Gradually expanding northward from the Bay of Naples, the Etruscans organized the backward Italic peoples into a loose confederation of Etruscan-dominated city-states.  Rome had become just the latest victim in the shadow of Etruscan expansion.  Before they were free.  Now they had rulers.

From the very start, Rome was bathed in violence.  During an argument, Romulus killed his brother.  No one knows what the argument was about, but I suspect they couldn't agree on what to call their new city.  Remus' death solved that problem nicely.  Romulus decided to name the city after himself.

Now that he was in charge, Romulus didn't waste any time.  This town lacked fortifications, so it was vulnerable to attack.  Romulus put the conquered people of Rome to work in a massive building project. 

In short order, Rome had grown from a village to a city.  It was now the largest city in the area.

Just like a modern boomtown, people from around the countryside flocked to the area in search of work and adventure.  There was one problem - almost all the newcomers were nomadic single men. 

This problem led to the incident with the Sabine women.  Rome's population growth was stagnating because there weren't enough women.  Romulus petitioned the surrounding tribes for rights to intermarry. Despite his efforts, the Roman requests were all met with stern declination.  Leave our women alone.

Romulus decided that if the neighboring towns would not share their women, Rome would take them. The Romans hid their dismay and pretended to be friends with their stingy neighbors. Then they resorted to trickery.

Romulus sent out word that they would hold the grandest festival and greatest games in a celebration to honor 'Equestrian Neptune'.  He made sure the spectacle was thoroughly announced to the neighboring peoples. He gave the event great publicity by the most lavish means possible in those days.

Excited at the prospect of such a festival and curious to get a glimpse of the new city, the surrounding tribes flocked to Rome.

The visitors were received with hospitality in the houses.  After having seen the position of the city, its walls, and the large number of buildings, they marveled that Rome had grown so fast.

The Sabine people came in the greatest number, bringing their wives and children. All were hypnotized by the great city; the men ready to compete against its builders in the games, the women and children anxious to watch.

When the games began and all were distracted, the signal was given. Suddenly the Roman men stopped whatever they were doing and rushed after the young maidens, mostly the women of the Sabine.  They swept them up and carried them off in all directions to their homes. Startled at the sudden violence, most of the visitors fled, leaving their women at the mercy of the Romans.

You have to assume the most barbaric of the Roman men won the initial mating privileges because their offspring would go on to carry the 'vicious gene' through many generations.  The Destiny of Rome would be one of brutality and blood lust for many centuries to come.


Rule of the Hated Etruscan Kings

Romulus was the first of seven Etruscan Kings that would rule Rome.  One of the most important features of the Etruscan dynasty was the increase of the kingly power. All the Etruscan kings were powerful, ruthless rulers.  

Although everyone wishes to be free, you can't help but note that without the Etruscan influence, Rome would never had amounted to anything.  The massive building project begun by Romulus turned Rome from a village into a city which in turn led to a rapid population growth. 

Furthermore, the Italic people were more or less peaceful, but the Etruscans changed that attitude quickly.  They gave to Rome a certain kind of strength and influence which it did not have before.  Mostly the kings mistreated the citizens so badly that over time they began to grow a backbone.  Resentment has a way of doing that.

The great power of the Etruscan kings was at first used for the good of the people, but unchecked power corrupts.  Etruscan Rule became a tyranny which was oppressive and hateful.  For 250 years, the Roman people chafed under the rule of these outsiders.  Finally, in 509 BC, the last Etruscan king was expelled

This moment marked the birth of the Roman Republic. The ejection of the Etruscan kings brought about the establishment of a Republican government in Rome that allowed all citizens to participate.  Once the monarchy was abolished, a decree was passed that there would be no more kings in Rome.

Their next step was to establish a constitution.  Roman Law became a way the citizens could find protection from complete domination by the elite.  Then they elected Senators to oversee Roman Law.

At the time of the Etruscan overthrow, the Senate had already been a part of Roman life for some time.  The Senate had been formed under the Etruscan kings as an advisory council with no real power.  Now the Roman people looked to their Senate for leadership.   The Senate appointed two consuls, patrician men who would rule Rome like a king, but only for one year.  This limited rule was a wise idea.  The two consuls ruled carefully and not as a tyrant, for they knew that otherwise they could be punished by the next consul once his year was up.

The word 'Republic' itself comes from the Latin (the language of the Romans) words 'res publica' which mean 'public matters' or 'matters of state'.  This new 'Republic' experiment turned out to be pretty successful.  It lasted from 510 BC until 23 BC - almost 500 years. By comparison, the government of the  United States of America has only existed since 1776 - less than 250 years!

Cicero denounces Cataline in the Senate (painting by Maccari)

Era of the Roman Republic - A Brief History
510 BC until 23 BC.  These 500 years marked the Era of the Roman Republic, the time when Rome was ruled by its citizens.  This was the period that witnessed the great expansion of Roman power and civilization

The Roman Empire was an accident, so to speak.  The seeds of the Roman Empire were formed during the Era of the Roman Republic as the city became fanatical in its pursuit of security. 

The history of the Republic involved continuous warfare.  All of the historical events which shape the tradition of Roman valor date from this tumultuous period of constant defense and invasion.  

Only in the later stages of the Republic did building the Roman Empire become a deliberate objective.  In the beginning, Roman Power started as a defensive strategy.  As Nietzsche once said, "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  Having been conquered once, the Roman people were determined not to see it happen again.  250 years of domination had left a large collective chip on their shoulder.  Fortunately, that infusion of angry Etruscan blood had turned the Romans into warriors themselves.  Immediately the Romans built up their armies to fend off any threat of further Etruscan invasion. 

Originally, the wars which the Republic fought were largely defensive wars; the expulsion of the hated kings provoked many counter-attacks by the Etruscans and their allies. Soon, however, the Romans were moving to gain control over neighboring territory in order to further neutralize the threat of attack. Their logic was that control over these territories would obviate any potential attack from the people occupying those territories and at the same time provide a buffer region between themselves and potential attackers. Roman conquest, then, was pursued largely for Roman security; the end result of this process would be, first, the conquest of the entire Italian peninsula, and then the conquest of the world.

After the Etruscan overthrow, it took the Romans about 100 years to conquer Italy.  After the Romans had essentially annexed all of Italy, they found further expansion would be much more difficult.  Their progress in the north was checked by the Gauls, a fierce, warlike people of Celtic descent.  The Gauls dominated the area we now know as France, Switzerland, and Northern Italy.  The Gauls didn't appreciate being attacked by the Romans.  They decided to retaliate.  In 387 BC, the Gauls roared across the Alps into Italy, soundly defeated the Roman army, and then captured and burned Rome to the ground.  It took Rome 50 years to recover any semblance of its former might.  

Beaten once by the Etruscans, beaten a second time by the Gauls, the Romans reformed as a powerful military state.  They immediately went about reconquering Italy.  They took out all remaining Etruscans plus any Gauls that had lingered in their territory.  By 265 BC, Rome was now in control of the Italian Peninsula.   Twenty years later, Rome turned its attention to its enemy in the south - Carthage, a powerful adversary from across the sea (modern day Tunisia).

The Punic Wars with Carthage

The Roman fight with Carthage began over the control of Sicily, a large island off the coast of southern Italy. Carthage owned it; Rome wanted it.  In 241 BC, Rome eventually prevailed in a prolonged battle known as The First Punic Wars

Twenty years later, a brilliant Carthaginian commander known as Hannibal nearly put an end to the budding Roman Empire.  In September of 218, he crossed the Alps with his army and entered Italy on a war of invasion. Although his army was tired from the long trip, he literally smashed the Roman armies he encountered in northern Italy using a most unusual weapon - elephants!  

Hannibal's victory over Rome, as he saw it, would be guaranteed by convincing Roman allies and subject cities to join Carthage.  After all, everyone loves to kick a bully when he is down.  These spectacular victories brought a horde of Gauls from the north to help Hannibal, 50,000 or more.  Hannibal couldn't be stopped!  Terror gripped Rome.

Desperate, they asked Quintus Fabius Maximus to become absolute dictator of Rome. The Romans weren't sure that they could beat Hannibal in open warfare. Therefore Fabius was determined to avoid open warfare at any cost.  His strategy was to simply harass the Carthaginian army until they were weak enough to be engaged with openly.  However, when Hannibal marched into Cannae and started decimating the countryside in 216 BC, Fabius sent an army of eighty thousand soldiers against him. This army was completely wiped out, the largest defeat Rome ever suffered. Roman allies in the south of Italy literally ran to Hannibal's side; the whole of Sicily allied itself with the Carthaginians. In addition, the king of Macedon, Philip V, who controlled most of the mainland of Greece, allied himself with Hannibal and began his own war against Roman possessions in 215 BC.  This was Rome's darkest day.

The situation seemed nearly hopeless for the Romans.  Fabius had been so chastened by his bitter defeat that he absolutely refused to go against Hannibal again.  Hannibal's army moved around the Italian countryside absolutely unopposed. Hannibal, however, couldn't find a way to put a stake through Rome's heart.  Once the Gauls had their victory and their plunder, they returned to the north.  Hannibal had indeed wreaked great havoc on Italy, but was so far isolated from his supply lines that his army lacked a finishing kick.  His army was far too weak in numbers and in equipment to conquer an entire country singlehandedly. Hannibal couldn't be beaten, but at the same time he didn't have enough soldiers to lay siege to cities such as Rome nor did he have the men or equipment to storm those cities by force.  All he could do was roam the countryside and lay waste to it.   This kept his men well fed, but basically spinning their wheels in the process.

The Romans had lived to fight another day.  They knew they couldn't beat Hannibal face to face.  However, Hannibal's failure to attack their city gave them time to regroup.  Once they began to understand why he couldn't attack Rome, they decided to fight the war through the back door.  Hannibal was dependent on Spain for future supplies and men, but he had left the defense of Spain in the hands of inferior generals.  A young, strategically brilliant man known as Scipio was put in charge of the Roman army.  Scipio soon conquered all of Spain, leaving Hannibal high and dry in Italy.

Scipio then crossed into Africa in 204 BC and took the war to the walls of Carthage itself. This forced the Carthaginians to sue for peace with Rome; part of the treaty demanded that Hannibal leave the Italian peninsula. Hannibal was one of the great strategic generals in history; during his war with Rome he never once lost a battle. Now, however, he was forced to retreat to save his home country.  Although Hannibal had won every battle he fought against Rome, Carthage had ultimately lost the war.

When Hannibal returned to Carthage, the Carthaginians took heart and rose up against Rome in one last desperate roll of the dice.  In 202 BC, at Zama in northern Africa, Hannibal fought against Scipio and his army.  Now Hannibal met his first defeat.  Afterwards, t
he terms Carthage acceded to were so punishing that it was never able to challenge Rome for supremacy of the Mediterranean again.  Rome controlled the whole of the western Mediterranean as well as northern Africa.

World Domination

This was the defining historical experience of the Romans. They had faced certain defeat with toughness and determination and had won against overwhelming odds. For the rest of Roman history, the character of being Roman would be rooted in the histories of this desperate war against Carthage. The Second Punic War turned Rome from a regional power into an international empire: it had gained much of northern Africa, Spain, and the major islands in the western Mediterranean. 

In addition, Rome had a new score to settle.  Because Philip V of Macedon had allied himself with Hannibal and started his own war of conquest, after the Second Punic War, Rome turned east in wars of conquest against first Philip and then other Greek kingdoms.

The end result of the Second Punic War marked the beginning of the domination of the known world by Rome.

Ancient history has shown that it is enormously difficult to hang onto conquered territories.  The Romans, however, seemed to have figured out how to peacefully hold onto conquered territory with both liberal and militaristic policies. First, Rome didn't destroy conquered cities, but granted them certain rights. Some cities were allowed full Roman citizenship, particularly those near to Rome. Others were allowed certain Roman rights. Some were allowed complete autonomy. Some were allowed to become allies without war, Egypt for example.

All, however, were required to send Rome taxes and troops. In addition, Rome settled soldiers on the captured lands as payment for their service. Some of these land grants were especially lucrative. The soldiers got land wealth, and the Romans got permanent military settlers in the conquered lands. In this way, Rome was able to maintain a permanent military settlement in every conquered land. In order to reinforce these settlements, the Romans began an ambitious road-building project. Their roads were of the highest quality and went in straight lines—right straight over mountains in fact—so that soldiers and supplies could be quickly moved into rebellious territories.

The response to any revolt was swift and harsh. So the combination of granting conquered territories rights and citizenship (or the promise of future rights and citizenship) and the surety of a swift, harsh response to rebellion gave a compelling reason to simply "accept" Roman Rule.  This produced a lasting, peaceful empire throughout their vast territories.

It took Caesar ten years to conquer Gaul (France), but once he succeeded, the Roman Empire had reached the pinnacle of its power.  It was an amazing accomplishment.



Now the political structure of Rome at this crossroad in time centered on the conflict between Republic and Empire.  For 250 years, Rome had been dominated by the tyrannical rule of the Etruscan Kings.  For 500 years, Rome had achieved remarkable success as a Republic.  By placing power in the hands of the people, via the Senate, all citizens were allowed to participate in government

However the presence of Julius Caesar threatened to put an end to the Republic.  Caesar's E
mpire would have all governmental power vested in a single talented ruler.The power elite wished to preserve the Republic.
Julius Caesar was assassinated because he had become so powerful that his political enemies feared what he would do next.  Maybe they had best stop him while they still could.

As Americans raised on the principles of democracy, I suppose our sentiments would naturally tend towards the Republic as the ideal.  However, the ideal is not always what it seems to be.  In reality, Rome had grown too big for lots of people to handle its vast affairs any longer by committee.  People had become so greedy and so ambitious that their constant power struggles had made governing this vast enterprise nearly impossible without central authority.

The Empire had grown so large that in the final days of the Republic, Rome had become a state of constant civil war and chaos for 100 years!   Placing all power in the hands of one talented person was Rome's best bet to get people to cooperate again and be able to maintain its dominance over the world

An Emperor of Rome, i.e. the rule of one man, though problematic, would put an end to the constant civil wars and provide stability and prosperity to all Roman territory.   The superiority of the rule of Emperor was proven not once, but twice.  Acting as dictator, Julius Caesar had singlehandedly gotten Rome's economy working again. 

Furthermore, Julius Caesar's successor, Augustus Caesar, instituted reforms that firmly established Rome as the world's leader.  Thanks to his largely benevolent rule, Augustus established a period of peace known as Pax Romana that lasted for two hundred years (27 BC to 180 AD).

2 Augustus Caesar - The Man Who Was First King

Augustus Caesar was a remarkable ruler.  He brought social stability to a region plagued by constant warfare. Although Roman leaders were forced to extinguish occasional rebellions during this period (for example the Great Jewish Revolt of 68 AD), the interior of the Empire was left completely untouched by civil war or attack by invaders from the perimeter. 

To create 200 years of peace in this brutal age was a remarkable accomplishment!  Although much attention has been given to the tyrannical and often vicious leaders like the Emperors Caligula and Nero, most of the Roman emperors ruled sensibly and competently for the next 200 years.

The Republic system of government had helped Rome grow, but once it became too big, it was the re-introduction of one-man rule that took Rome to its zenith of power.  Thanks first to the groundwork of Julius Caesar and then to political prowess of his talented nephew, The Augustan Age became a time of lasting prosperity throughout the Mediterranean. 

A Brief Rant - Democracy versus Autocracy

Rick Archer's Note: I am about to share a couple of my own thoughts on politics.  If these ideas offend anyone, please forgive. 

I happen to prefer the American system of Democracy.  I don't want to be ruled by a King any more than the next person.  I want to have a choice in who my leaders are.  Even if my vote is just one in 200 million or so, I am also reassured that I can help throw the bum out if we pick the wrong person for a job.

However, at the same time, it is pretty obvious that Democracy has serious shortcomings.  My biggest criticism of Democracy is that it requires constant compromise to make it work. 

Compromise makes a good umbrella, but a poor roof; it is a temporary expedient, often wise in party politics, almost sure to be unwise in statesmanship.  James Russell Lowell

If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.  
Margaret Thatcher

A compromise is basically a concession where no one wins, no one is happy, but you can live with it.   A compromise does allow improvements to be made, but only in bits and pieces.  If something is seriously wrong with no clear solution - health care for example -  a type of stalemate kicks in.  Little progress is made. Thanks to our system of checks and balances, no one has enough authority to make needed changes swiftly.  Instead, slowly but surely a "consensus" must be built.  The end result is usually some lukewarm solution that pleases very few.  Deep down, everyone suspects the same problem will have to be debated again down the road. 

Furthermore, thanks to the endless rounds of committees and debates, the speed of needed changes is often "glacial" at best.  The patient bleeds to death while the doctors argue over the best course of action.  Democracy does have its drawbacks.

The best example of the weakness of compromise is "Slavery". 

Thomas Jefferson got it right when he said all men are created equal, but the Southern States refused to sign the Constitution unless their slave rights were guaranteed. 

To get the Declaration of Independence signed, the Northern States were forced to give in.  The consequence of this particular "compromise" is known as the Civil War. 

You might say that if Thomas Jefferson had been Emperor at the time, a lot of suffering could have been avoided.  But at the same time, wasn't the American Revolution about getting rid of Kings to begin with?

Another example where "compromise" was definitely not in our best interests was the onset of World War II.  During Nazi Expansion, many American leaders were strongly opposed to American intervention in that "European Squabble" way overseas. 

"It's not our war!" cried the leaders who preferred to stay neutral.  These leaders made sure that Franklin Roosevelt's hands were tied.  Meanwhile, Great Britain was getting hammered by the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain.  Great Britain was the only European country still left to stand in the way of Hitler's war machine, but the country was just barely hanging on.  Following Dunkirk, Britain was under threat of invasion. The Royal Air Force was badly outnumbered by the German Luftwaffe, but somehow managed to hold off the superior forces long enough for America to join the fight.

The correct action was to join the war immediately before it was too late, but FDR found he did not have the political consensus necessary to take America into the fight.  Instead, FDR was forced to deceive Congress in order to do the right thing.  He used the devious trick of "loaning" vital supplies to his friend Churchill and Great Britain.  Thank goodness!  Without American help, Great Britain would surely have fallen.  Fortunately, the Japanese mistake of bombing of Pearl Harbor brought our nation to its senses.  American joined the fight and turned the tide.  Otherwise, you and I would be speaking German now.  Or maybe Japanese.  So much for "compromise".

Never was so much owed by so many to so few

If a nation is fortunate to have someone as gifted as Augustus Caesar running its affairs, then definitely a benevolent dictatorship is the strongest form of government.  However, the dark side of Autocracy is what happens when you give this kind of power to the wrong people.  You see, after the death of Augustus Caesar, for the next 50 years the Romans lined up one monster after another to take the throne.  The four men who succeeded Augustus were so pathetic that no one in their right mind would ever approve of an Autocratic system given the choice.

The story of the Julio-Claudian Line of Emperors will forever serve as testimony to why our American Founding Fathers got it right. 

They could easily have established George Washington as the First American King (and many people wanted to).  However, thanks to the lessons learned from the results of the "Roman Emperor System", they chose Democracy - with all its inherent weaknesses - instead.  Thank goodness. 

Our American Democracy isn't always pretty and it definitely isn't perfect, but it is definitely better than the alternative.

Autocracy is simply too big of a gamble.  When we do occasionally get it wrong - Richard Nixon for example - at least we aren't stuck with the mistake for life like the Romans were with their Emperors. 

Although brilliant politicians like Augustus Caesar do come along once in a millennium, people like Tiberius, Caligula and Nero come along much more frequently.  The stories of these monsters in human form serve as the main reason why Democracy is clearly the better path to take.

SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ