Informal diplomacy and Rome from the First Macedonian War to the assassination of Ti. Gracchus
This study examines the influence of Rome’s diplomatic management in channels apart from official ones and open contacts among states, on her expansion and Republic from the 200s to 133 BCE. In this thesis such involvement in foreign affairs is called informal diplomacy. This terminology was not used by the Romans directly but is useful in showing the following. In the period of Rome’s advance into the Greek world, she approached not only foreign states but also individuals, while individual Romans also increasingly participated in such contacts independently. These acts sometimes took place openly and/or while using formal diplomatic exchanges and sometimes informally and secretly. The aim of the Romans concerned was to win over the people approached and their fellow citizens, and international public opinion, and these approaches were developed in parallel to official negotiations among states. This diplomacy enabled Rome to manage foreign affairs flexibly and contributed to her increasing the dependence of foreign states and individuals on her, in particular those in the Greek world. This thesis also argues that informal diplomacy caused struggles among the Romans symbolised by the violence that occurred in the tribunate of Ti. Sempronius Gracchus. This situation originated from the ill-defined relationship between informal diplomacy, legality, and the collective leadership of the senators. As informal diplomacy became more common among the Romans, the users individually rose among the leading Romans. This tendency undermined the dignity of the Senate, but this organ had no method to control it. Consideration of legitimacy of using informal diplomacy had been tacitly avoided by the Romans because of its ad hoc utility, and the Senate had not necessarily been the sole decision-maker in the Republic. Its leadership could be legitimately denied by the users of informal diplomacy if they had some authority and were supported by the people in and beyond Rome. All the Senate could do in order to maintain its dignity was to attempt to control them with political tactics and violence. This was a foretaste of the conflict that was to occur in the final century of the Republic. Through demonstrating these advantages and disadvantages of informal diplomacy to Rome, I show this diplomatic concept is a valuable and fruitful one to employ in the study of Rome during the period of remarkable expansion and afterwards.