Why did the aristocracy of the Roman Republic destroy the system of government which was its basis? The answers given by ancient authorities are moral corruption and personal ambition. The modern student finds only too inevitable the causal nexus of political conflict, violence, militaryinsurrection and authoritarian government. Yet before the era of intense violence Rome had an apparently stable constitution with a long history. In this revised edition of his classic book, for which he has written a new introduction, Andrew Lintott examines the roots of violence in Republican lawand society and the growth of violence in city war and the power of armies. It suggests in conclusion that this disaster was more the outcome of folly in the choice of political means than depravity in the choice of ends.