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sēcessiō


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(‘secession’) is the Latin term for the withdrawal of the Roman plebs to a hill outside the sacred boundary (pomerium) of the city. It implies detachment from public life as well as emigration from Rome, and was an extreme form of civil disobedience, esp. as it entailed refusal of military service. The fact that the state was not immediately brought to its knees suggests that the plebs did not form a majority of the population, still less of the army. The first secession is said to have occurred in 494 bc, when the plebeians, oppressed by debt and arbitrary treatment, seceded to the Sacred Mount (Mons Sacer), a hill NE of Rome. The crisis, which was resolved by Agrippa Menenius Lanatus, produced the plebeian organization. See rome (history), 1.2. The second secession was to the Aventine, the last, to the Janiculum. The act of secession had an important place in the historical tradition of the plebs.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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