I hope this forum is the correct medium for resolving confusion over the information presented in the lectures. Please correct me if this is not the case.
The explanation for why the Roman Equites were barred from holding high office (Lecture #18) was very difficult for me to follow. What’s all this about “bidding on government contracts”? What contracts, and why were those given to the Equites so overpowering that none of them could be trusted in office? I wish I could better understand the details of this issue. Any response from any knowledgeable person would be much appreciated.
James, sorry for the slow reply. The key point in the discussion is that senatorial families were restricted from various forms of commercial activity in the late Republic. This included contracts to provide the Roman state with various goods and provisions. Since they were shut out, non-senatorial families (members of the equites class) moved into the gap, and many became very wealthy. This was what I meant in that portion of the lecture you’re asking about.