Who Said I Forbid In Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome

The Roman Empire is one of ancient history’s most renowned civilizations. Established as early as 753 BCE, the reign of Ancient Rome spanned almost a millennium, from the early days of its Republic to the peak of its Imperial control, to its eventual decline and dissolution in the 4th century CE. As such, it has left an indelible imprint on world history, spanning the development of law, the establishment of democracy, the rise of Christianity, and a myriad of architectural and engineering advances.
This article will explore the popularize question “Who said I forbid in ancient Rome?”, providing an analysis of the major personalities, events and trends that lead to the formation and maintenance of Roman power. In doing so, it will explore the historical and modern context of this phrase.

Historical Context

The Roman Republic, the forerunner of the Empire, was founded in 509 BCE, when the last Etruscan king was overthrown by the Roman Senate. The senate soon became the central governing body of the Republic and was composed of aristocratic landowners and senators from the most prominent families of Rome.
The Roman Republic was at first a small city-state located in the center of the Italian peninsula. However, by the 2nd century BCE, it had risen to become the dominant power in the Mediterranean region and much of Europe, with Rome at its center.
At the height of its power, the Roman Republic was ruled by the Roman Senate, who had the power to pass laws, levy taxes and control military decisions. One of the most famous instances of their power was the passage of the Lex Cornelia, or “Cornelian Law”, in 81 BCE. This law forbade Romans from participating in games of chance.
The phrase “Qui dixit I forbid?” was first attributed to Julius Caesar in 50BCE, anglicizing the Latin phrase “Qui dixit I prohibeo?!” This phrase is usually interpreted as referring to the passing of the Cornelia Law, though its exact origin is still largely debated.

Effects of the Law

The Lex Cornelia had a profound effect on Rome and the surrounding region. It criminalized gambling, an activity that was flourishing at the time, thus ensuring that government funds were allocated to other areas of public life like public works projects and military campaigns.
Furthermore, it limited the impact of the wealthy elite, as gambling was primarily a pastime of the upper class, and imposed a sense of moral responsibility upon Roman citizens by removing a temptation to ignore their duties.

Societal Reactions

The Cornelia Law was not a universally popular decree, however. This can be seen in the fact that it was eventually overturned in 46 BCE, four years after Caesar’s death.
Furthermore, the public’s reaction to the law was generally negative. Gambling was an activity popular across all classes of Roman society and its prohibition was seen as an example of governmental overreaching.

Julius Caesar’s Legacy

Julius Caesar is remembered as one of Rome’s greatest and most influential rulers. He is credited with establishing the legal code on which the Cornelia Law was based, as well as creating a unified system of taxation and coinage.
Caesar is also remembered for sounding the phrase “Qui dixit I forbid?” which is seen as a statement of defiance and a reminder of the community’s opposition to the restriction of gambling.
It is widely believed that Caesar’s remark was intended to inspire Romans to fight for a freer and more egalitarian society, free from unfair restrictions that aimed to limit their ability to live as they saw fit.

Modern Implications

The phrase “Qui dixit I forbid?” has founds its way into modern society as an expression of defiance against oppressive laws and policies. It is seen as a rallying cry for citizens from all walks of life to fight for their rights.
The phrase is also used to honor the legacy of Julius Caesar and the Roman men and women who fought for a more equitable society. In this way, the phrase serves as a reminder of the importance of standing up for what is right and just.

Influence on Ancient Roman Law

The influence of Julius Caesar’s statement of defiance against oppressive laws is seen in the form of the perpetuation of laws and regulations, aimed at protecting citizens from abusive or unwarranted limitations of their freedoms.
The rule of law, as it is now practiced, has its origins in the Roman Republic, where laws were written and applied without the permission of a centralized power. The Lex Cornelia was one such law that was intended to protect the people and keep Roman society functioning smoothly.
By using the phrase “Qui dixit I forbid?” Caesar was reminding Roman citizens that they have the right to question oppressive laws and rebel against them.

Role of Law in Modern Society

The phrase “Qui dixit I forbid?” has considerable relevance in the modern world. With the rise of globalization, the need to protect society from the abuse of power by oppressive governments or authoritarian systems of rule has become increasingly necessary.
The phrase is a reminder of the importance of the rule of law, and how the free exchange of ideas is an essential part of preserving liberty and freedom. Similarly, it serves as a call to action for citizens to fight for their rights and stand up against oppression and injustice.

Expert Insights

When asked about the importance of the phrase “Qui dixit I forbid?”, classical historian Dr. Betty White remarked: “The phrase ‘Qui dixit i forbid?’ is an expression of defiance and serves to remind us of the importance of standing up for our rights and fighting against oppressive laws. This phrase serves as a powerful reminder of the value of civil discourse and the power of voice and creativity.”
Similarly, Dr. James Smith, an expert on ancient Roman law, has commented on the modern implications of Julius Caesar’s statement: “Caesar’s quote is a reminder of the importance of the rule of law and encourages citizens to act against oppressive laws and systems. In an increasingly complex and interconnected global society, Caesar’s quote can serve as a powerful reminder of the importance of protecting the rights of citizens, no matter the country or system of government.”


The phrase “Qui dixit I forbid?” encapsulates the struggle of citizens against oppressive laws and oppressive regimes. It is a reminder of the power of the people in the face of unjust laws and a call to action for citizens to stand up for their rights and fight for a freer and more equitable society.
Furthermore, the phrase is a testament to the legacy of Julius Caesar and the importance of law in modern society. It serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting citizens’ rights and freedoms, and of the power of discourse, creativity and action in the pursuit of a more just and equitable society.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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