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Politics, policies and politicians at Carthage

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Chapter Summary

Carthage was the pre-eminent trading, financial and imperial state of the west, though already Rome was not far behind. For centuries now she had been a republic, even if a nominal king continued to hold office (another obscurity). A century earlier Aristotle the philosopher and political scientist judged the republic to be an aristocracy with tinges both oligarchic and democratic. Citizens met in an elective and legislative assembly convened by one or other or both of the sufetes, the annual chief magistrates. The assembly had real capacities, besides elections. If sufetes and senate could not agree on a given proposal, it had to be referred to the citizens for discussion and presumably a vote. Equally, the sufetes and senate could jointly decide that a topic ought to be so referred.

Keywords: Aristotle; Carthage; legislative assembly; Rome; sufetes



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