Examining Roman elections

Tim Smith’s Master of Arts research confirms our modern political systems owe a lot to events that occurred in Roman times.

Tim Smith, Master of Arts students

My research in Classics focused on elections during a particularly turbulent period of Rome’s history. It investigated the robustness of this crucial Roman institution during the 80s B.C., a decade marred by several catastrophic wars in Italy and abroad.

Despite several irregularities, it would seem elections were still held, and these elections served to solidify and legitimise the power of a small clique of men. My research tried to find a deeper understanding of the role of the Roman people within a political system that left a profound impact on modern constitutions.

Excellent support

Victoria University of Wellington provided an excellent platform for me to investigate these issues, despite the significant distance between New Zealand and Italy. The University’s library services, in particular, were always helpful in providing resources from other libraries overseas to aid my research. But, above all else, it was the expert teaching staff who helped me reach my research goals.

Great flexibility

The University's academic environment also allows its researchers great flexibility. In 2016, prior to my thesis on Roman elections, I completed a Master of Arts in Literary Translation Studies (specialising in Italian). This thesis culminated in a collaborative publication with my supervisor, Dr Marco Sonzogni.

Inspiring staff

I could not have done any of this research without the inestimable help and expertise of the University’s academic staff, especially in the Italian and Classics programmes. I had barely encountered Roman politics during my undergraduate years, but it was their infectious enthusiasm for the subject that inspired me to conduct a research degree at Victoria University of Wellington.