Why Rome Was Never A True Republic
In Chapter 21 of Book XIX of "The City of God, "St. Augustine writes:"... if we are to accept the definition laid down by Scipio in Cicero's De Republica, there never was a Roman republic; for he briefly defines a republic as the weal of the people. And if this definition be true, there never was a Roman republic for the people's weal was never attained among the Romans. For the people, according to his definition, is an assemblage associated by a common acknowledgment of right and by a community of interests. And what he means by a common acknowledgment of right he explains at large, showing that a republic cannot be administered without justice. Where, therefore, there is no true justice there can be no right... justice is tha tvirtue which gives every one his due. Where, then, is the justice of man, when he deserts the true God and yields himself to impure demons? A few paragraphs later, he writes:"He must be an uncommonly stupid, or a shamelessly contentious person, who has read through the foregoing books to this point, and cna yet question whether the Romans served widked and impure demons. But, not to speak of their character, it is written in the law of the true God, 'He that sacrificeth unto any god save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.' [Ex. 22:20] He, therefore, who uttered so menacing a commandment decreed that no worship should be given either to good or bad gods. Rome was not a true republic because it was not a political authority ordered to the welfare of its people. It was not ordered to the welfare of its people because it had no common acknowledgment of the right. And without a common acknowledgement of the right it lacked justice. It lacked justice because of idolatry - it worshipped ursurping demons instead of the True God. Therefore, it was under the judgment of God. And it fell. The point is: Why should anyone be surprised?