SPQR

Senatus Populusque Romanus. The Senate and the Roman People. The Latin motto was meant to designate the symbiotic relationship between the Senate (or more broadly, the conservative aristocratic elite) and the Roman people—the dual sources of institutional power—working together toward the greater good of the Roman Republic. But in the final years of the Republic, this symbiotic relationship broke down into mutual antagonism. Following the failed efforts for land reform legislation of the brothers Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus (133-121 BC), the Republic became divided into two political factions—the optimates, who favored the senatorial aristocracy, and the populares, who favored the masses—that would ultimately lead its demise and transition into the Empire.

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