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Government and Empire

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 1 month ago

The Government in Rome



Before Julius Caesar took control in 48 B.C., the Roman Empire was not ruled by the Emperor, but by two consuls who were elected by the citizens of Rome. The consuls were administrators and military leaders. Each consul could veto, or say no to, the actions of the other person on the consul. Each consul had to agree before any policy could be made. Rome was then known as a Republic. Next, in importance to the consuls was the Senate. The Senate was made up of 300 men called 'senators' who were chosen for life. The senators handled the daily problems fo the government, it advised the consuls, it debated foreign policy, proposed laws, and approved public contracts for building roads and temples. Then the Republic People were divided into different classes. There were Patricians, Plebians and Slaves. In Ancient Rome, before the republic, they had a monarchy.


Twleve Tablets

Twelve Tablets after the expulsion of the last king, Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud), the monarchy was abolished in Rome. In it's place were two annually elected magistrates, or consuls, who served throughout the Republic, except when there was a military tribune with consular powers or a decemvirate. The Twelve Tables were written by the Decemviri Consulari Imperio Legibus Scribundis. The ten consul were given unprecedented powers to draft the laws so they made one law for one consul and two more.


Came From Upper Class

The magistrates, judges and priests of the new republic all came from the patrician class, or the upper class. The plebeians may have suffered under this early republican structure more than they had under monarchy, since they now had, in effect, many rulers.


Latins Overthrew

After the Latin’s overthrew the Etruscans in 500 B.C. They wanted to create a system that would prevent one person from dominating the Government. Voice in 494 B.C., the plebeians demanded a voice in the government. They created their own assembly and tribunes, and they forced the patricians to accept them.


Roman Laws

Until around 450 B.C. the Roman laws were not written down. The Patricians told the Plebians what the laws were, however, the Plebians did not trust the Patricians and resented having them explain the laws of Rome. Around the same time Roman laws were written on 12 bronze tablets known as the "Twelve Tablets." Then, the tablets were placed in the Forum so that all of the people were able to see them and know their laws and duties. Roman laws delt with such things as wills, property rights, court actions, and the behavior of citizens in the public. They were based on religious beliefs and were interpreted or changed by priests. This created many problems, because people often did not know about the laws that they were accused of breaking. Under the Roman law many crimes including murder, rape, robbery, tomb robbing, kidnaping and adultery were punishable by death.

Roman Politcs

The Romans believed in making their sons fine soilders so after he became a Roman citizen he was enlisted on his first military campaign. On his return from military service the son of a patrician almost always entered into politics, and the sons of equites sometimes did the same. A young man first stood for election as an aedile, or city councillor. The aediles looked after the corn supply and public amusements. The next office was that of the quaestor, or a secretary of the treasury. The next step was to be elected praetor, or judge. After that, if he were lucky, a man might be offered a province to govern ( in the days of the Empire ) or stand for consulship. Under the republic the consuls were magistrates who had the greatest power in Rome. At any time a patrician could stand for election as a tribune, or political leader, generally one who championed the rights of the common people against the Senate. A tribuneship was a dangerous post because its holder was often in conflict with powerful nobles, but for an ambitious man it was the quickest way to success.

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