Essay on Politics in the Novel Imperium by Robert Harris

1402 Words 6 Pages
Imperium begins when Cicero as a young man from a middle class family. He leaves his small town behind and comes to Rome, looking to make a name for himself in politics. He begins as a lawyer and is immediately noticed for his outstanding oratory skills and daring composure . Gradually, he gains influence in the realm of the courts until he has achieved the title of "the second best advocate in Rome," only beaten by his bitter rival, Hortensius. His next triumph is to take on a daring case against the governor or Sicily, Verres, who has extorted his people for decades and wrongfully imprisoned hundreds of them. Though Cicero has a bounty of evidence of this corruption, he has other huge disadvantages. A huge majority of the court is biased …show more content…
While reading the novel I felt completely immersed in it because it explains the entire spectrum of Roman society, its darker side of corruption, the division of its people, and betrayal that cannot be explained through anything but an inside source. It is so difficult to understand because of its complexities, the plethora of unwritten rules and clichés that defined everything official that the Romans did. After reading this book, the reader will have glimpsed only a small fraction of the customs, though this will not prevent them from grasping the fundamentals of their political system as a whole. It is surprising how interestingly different they are from ourseven though our society is rooted so deeply into their foundations. Bribery for one was a very interesting topic of this book. It was a predominant part of the way their politics worked. When considering who would win elections, bribery was a major factor and its existence was even acknowledged by the state. Individuals such as Crassus, who had exorbitant amounts of money, relied heavily on bribes not to get votes for himself (he was popular enough not to need them), but for officials in lesser positions who had sided with him. In this way he achieved a huge control of every level of government and it wasn't until Cicero and a few other politicians following in his footsteps, put an end to this corruption through an even more complicated series of laws and risky…