Dictators and Democracies

Bust of Julius Caesar
Read time: 12 minutes

The Romans were in trouble. The small nation, still confined to only a small patch of land in western central Italy, was being threatened by its neighbours. War was looming. Less than a decade before, the Romans had abolished the monarchy and banished their king, vowing never to be ruled by a tyrant again. They instituted a republic. With the new system of governance came many freedoms. But the decision making machine sometimes moved slowly. Now was a time for action. They decided to elect a man called Titus Lartius as dictator. For a limited time, he was given absolute authority over the Romans. By doing this, the Romans had a man who could make quick decisions and take the swift action necessary to steer them through the crisis. War passed without casualty as Lartius worked to strengthen Rome's position, making their enemies less eager to attack. Before his six month term as dictator expired, Lartius stepped down from the position, and life returned to normal in the Republic. Read more …