Ex rege dominus, ex optimatibus factio, ex populo turba. On the constitutional cycles in Cicero’s De re publica





constitutional cycle, mixed government, simple forms of government, constitutiona changes.


Background: The article analyzes the concept of constitutional cycles in Cicero’s De re publica. The first part presents five constitutional cycles. Next, attention was drawn to the relationship between the described concept and the concept of res publica, and thus to the importance of freedom, moderation and the tyrannical nature of all degenerate forms. In the second part, the author deals with the problems of the relations between the constitutional cycles and the Roman mixed constitution, as well as with the issue of its possible degeneration. In the end, an attempt was made to evaluate Cicero’s concept from the theoretical and strictly political side.

Research purpose: Analysis of Cicero’s concept of constitutional cycles and demonstration of its originality.

Methods: The article uses the historical – legal method and the comparative method.

Conclusions: The structure of Cicero’s constitutional cycles is, in contrast to the “rigid” structure of Polybius’ cycle, more flexible. There is no permanent and rigid systematic pattern of change, and a systemic change (cursus mutationum) is not a foregone conclusion but rather is possible at best. The utilitas rei publicae, which is the essence of republican political thought, makes Cicero constantly tests theory with practice in his political reflection, the pragmatism of which makes the theory of constitutional cycles more “useful” for the Roman political community.


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How to Cite

Banach, T. (2021). Ex rege dominus, ex optimatibus factio, ex populo turba. On the constitutional cycles in Cicero’s De re publica. Studia Prawno-Ekonomiczne, 120, 11–33. https://doi.org/10.26485/SPE/2021/120/1