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I dont believe that these pages should merge, because if a page has a lot of writing on it, then most people will not read it all, while if it has a little then people will most likely read the entire thing. These two pages (Optimates and Populares) have just the right amount of info to read quickly and not forget what you're looking for.

I don't think this page should use the word "aristocratic" in the first line. Either that or it should differentiate between Nobiles and Patricians. I would suggest changing it to "ruling class." Aristocratic implies patrician or at least Nobiles, but both of these are correct (eg Gaius Marius who was a Novus Homo (therefore his family were not Nobiles before him) and not a patrician, but he still used the Populares form of politics even before becoming consul) 8:11 4 March 2008 user:Imperator101 —Preceding comment was added at 11:11, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Agreed about the difficulty of terminology, and good point about Marius, but "aristocratic" is used often (if sloppily) by scholars and does make clear that political figures who employed popularist tactics were from the same social rank as optimates. And while not all nobiles were patricians, as you correctly suggest, all patricians were nobiles (I think; just who constituted the nobiles vexes the scholarship). "Ruling class" is not a solution, because in the Republic, one did not rule (that's what a king, or rex, did, and the verb might be regno); one governed. One contemporary, I forget who, insulted Cicero by referring to his consulship as his regnum. "Governing" might therefore be better than "ruling," but "class" is still not right. The populares were of senatorial rank too. I wonder whether "governing elite" would do. I do think it's helpful in a general encyclopedia not to pepper an entry with too many Latin terms. I also agree that it would serve no purpose to merge "Optimates" and "Populares'" -- though I think that people who take an interest in factional politics in the Roman Republic are unlikely to be daunted by a page with a lot of writing on it. Cynwolfe (talk) 13:46, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

"The Populares wanted to help the people and they were for the people." Unsubstantiated, tendentious, superficial and meaningless. Worse than useless, as is most if not all of this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:36, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, numerically designated person. I find myself frequently linking to this article, because it would be digressive to stop and explain popularist politics in Rome every time I want to make a factional designation when writing about a particular figure. I'll put it on my to-do list. Something cursory, but with a couple of sources, is better than nothing, or than naive and sentimental assertions of caring for the people. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:26, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I have taken the temporary (and unsatisfactory) measure of providing a block quote from an historian of the Late Republic. This is not the best or last word on the subject, and such a lengthy quote is not a good Wiki tactic in an article of this length. It's just a placeholder, legitimate as a piece of scholarship, until the article can be developed. Cynwolfe (talk) 16:03, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Populism and Popularism[edit]

We need an explanation of the difference between populism and popularism. (talk) 08:19, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Good point. I have this article on my to-do list. Off the cuff, I would say that "populism" is (well, obviously) a general term with a dictionary definiton. The populares in Rome operate with tactics that in general fit with our sense of "populism," but within distinctly Roman social and political structures. In part the article should be about how usage of the term developed in Roman political discourse (primarily Cicero) and how it is used in modern scholarship. The populares have also to be considered in relation to the traditional Conflict of the Orders in ancient Rome. Cynwolfe (talk) 17:41, 14 November 2009 (UTC)


The current definition of populares as politicians "who relied on the people's assemblies and tribunate to acquire political power" might fit for the Gracchi and Rullus, but what about senators like Cæsar, Crassus and others who followed a more conventional career? Lily Ross Taylor defines optimates and populares as respectively “a division between upholders of the authority of the senate and proponents of the people’s rights” (Lily Ross Taylor (1949), Party Politics in the Age of Caesar, p. 12 [quoted in Catherine Tracy (2008-9), The People's Consul: The Significance of Cicero's Use of the Term "Popularis", Illinois Classical Studies p. 185]), which seems a more basic formula, and also one with greater flexibility (since you could uphold the Senate's authority with one vote and defend the people's rights with the next). Q·L·1968 23:16, 11 December 2014 (UTC)