Discussed in this dissertation is the participation of the people’s tribunes in public life and the role
played by the institution represented by them in the Roman Republic in the period 78—70 BC.
The purpose here is to indicate the falsity of the thesis propounded in the literature that after the
death of L. Cornelius Sulla, as a result of the limitations imposed by him on the people’s tribunate
embodied in the reforms implemented at the end of the eighties, this institution up to 70 BC ceased to
count as a political factor in Rome.
The author demonstrates that those from among these plebeian functionaries who associated
themselves with the populäres, despite limited authority and formal bans, as the years passed began
to participate in the public life of Rome to an increasing degree and exerted an influence on the
transformations taking place in this public life during the seventies. At that time they also decided the
political stance of the people’s tribunate and its place in the political arena.
By promoting the renascence of the populäres groups — after the defeat suffered by their leader,
M. Emilius Lepidus, in the early years of the seventies — these tribunes reconstituted the political
opposition in Rome and as from 76 BC they took up once more the fight against the Sullan system he
had commenced. Particularly noticeable successes were gained in the latter half of the seventies when,
as the recognised leaders of the opposition they brought about a development in the populäres
movement, gained new allies and caused growing isolation of the optimates. The ultimate success in
confrontations with them was governed by the pact agreed between these people’s tribunes and
Pompey in 71 BC, which changed the system of political power in Rome in favour of the populäres
and made it possible for Pompey and Crassus in 70 BC to introduce radical changes in the state. In
this was, allied with the populäres, the people’s tribunes led up to, and to a very large degree
implemented the overthrow of the Sullan political system in Rome.
This process is presented, starting from the role taken by the people’s tribunate in Rome in the
years 78—77 BC, next discussing the rebuilding of the populäres groups and the return of the people’s
tribunes to political activity in the years 76— 75 BC, and further described is the development of this
activity and the restoring of the populäres’ movement in the years 74—73 BC. Special stress is laid on
an exhaustive presentation of the deciding phase in the confrontation between populäres and
optimates in 71—70 BC and the consequences of the success of the populäres and the reforms carried
through in 70 BC by Pompey and Crassus.