The transition of Rome to an empire was characterised by many battles and constant struggles. The civilization was majorly established around the dictatorship forms of governance as well as the big defensive holdings around the Mediterranean and European territories. The imperial Roman Republic was marred by civil wars which had weakened the governance system prior to the transition to a roman empire. Thucydides writes on the historical accounts of an Athenian general regarding the war that had been experienced about 2000 years ago and dwells on the aspects of human nature. As the foregoing shows, both the Rome’s transition to empire and the prior experiences of Athens were characterised by conflict undertones. However, what stood out in the two periods as will be herein discussed was the political internal strife and misfortunes.
Prior to the transition from a republic to an empire, Rome’s politics were marred by constant conflicts due to invasions and power struggles resulting in dictatorial regimes. For instance, the pretensions of Cesar and the Roman army’s invasion of Italy led to provocation of politicians as a consequence of which he was assassinated. The pretentions of Cesar were similar to the Pericles speech on his policies and programs on how the Athenians could best fight. Just like the Athenians the Rome’s army under the command of Cesar depicted some initial success. In the second speech by Thucydides, Pericles who like Cesar had persuaded the Athenian and Sparta armies to go to war was later on killed and upon death of many Athenian soldiers at the hands of Sparta, the Athenians began to blame Pericles and held him responsible for the deaths having persuaded them to go the war (Ritchie, 2009).
The use of force to gain more territory also stands out as the main aim in both the decade long war in the roman regime before its transformation to empire as was the case in the Athenian war. This is elucidated by the Melian dialogue where it is stated by the Athenians that, ‘justice depends on the equality of power to compel and that the strong do act according to what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.’
Further, the transition of the Roman Republic to an empire was according to Cicero hastened by the power struggles and corruption which led to the collapse of the republic. As an orator he led in the banishment of the Roman Republic on matters relating to conspiracies and corruption. His unwillingness to compromise though, can ably be equated to Pericles who like Cicero also had great oratory skills which were provocative and was also an uncompromising character.
Consequently, the wars began on great promises from the leaders but failed in their quests. Diodorus looks into this aspect thus, in the Athenian war, Mindurus who was an admiral of the Spartan army and who was in charge of the Peloponnesian fleet, had promised the Spartans that they would be victorious since they would get support from the Phoenicians who were under his command. However, no such support was forthcoming and the result was that the Spartans experienced a series of defeats and the admiral was subsequently captured and killed and the Peloponnesians were captured and destroyed. The promise of glory was also witnessed in the Roman war where Cesar had had a short lived glory which turned tragic when he was assassinated and his army defeated (Finley, 2008).
In the wake of defeat, the Athenians blamed Pericles for leading them to war and especially for the loss of lives as a result of the defeat. This shows people were concerned about the value of life and it depicts that even in the ancient time, humanism was valued. The mention of justice in the speeches was further a reflection that the ideologies of justice were valued.
The fore going characteristics and consequences of war led to the transition of the roman Republic to an emperor which also marked the end of dictatorial regimes to more democratic approaches in governance. There was also the establishment of relevant institutions to support the newly found way of governance and conflict solving endeavours. The above discussed aspects put into perspective the ancient theories on leadership which was mainly taken from the perspective of dictatorship.
The paper further aims at clearing the myths surrounding the famous wars of the Athenian and the Roman regime. Subsequently, it takes into consideration how the ancient modes of governance inform the modern governance especially those revolving around democracies. A proper understanding is achieved by making comparisons between two or more theories and this has been taken into consideration by comparing the activities that led to war in the ancient time.
Finley, M. Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian war. Chicago. University of Chicago Press.
Penguin books, 2008. Print.
Ritchie, S. Political Myth and Action in Pericles’ Funeral Oration. Department of Political
Science University of Calgary, 2009. Print.