Roman Republican Government:


509 b.c.:  Tarquin the Proud driven out—last king (Etruscan).  Romans wanted no more kings—attitude affects Augustus, Julius Caesar.


Roman Citizens:  Could vote, have wills respected by Roman law.


Roman Allies:  Latin Allies:  Local self-government, could intermarry with Roman citizens.  If moved to Rome, could be fill citizens.  No foreign affairs power.  Italian allies:  many had local self-government, different treaties with different ones.  Made consequently made feel part of Rome:  700,000 infantry, 400,000 from allies; 70,000 cavalry, 44,000 from allies.


Plebians:  Lower class, couldn’t hold office or marry patricians, but could vote.  Made up about 95% of population.


Patricians:  two consuls (originally called Praetors) chosen from among them to have 1 year terms.  Fasces:  bundle of rods with an ax-head protruding form the top.  Had power of life and death, but within vicinity to Rome (city limits) could appeal their judgments to the assembly.


Dictator:  Had total power, but only for six months.


Senate:  300 Patricians, most powerful body.  Had power over finances foreign policy, had older, experienced men who had held elective offices earlier in their career.


Comita Curiata:  Limited to wills, adoptions mostly.


Comita Centuriata:  Assembly of centuries.  Elected consuls, could pass laws.  Plebians could vote in it.  193 centuries.  18 of knights, 80 of first property class.  Gave them control if united.  Each century had one vote, regardless of size of membership.

5 classes:  divided in half in numbers of centuries by age:  40, 20, 20, 20, 3—senior/junior.  Later increased to 373 centuries.


Like Greeks—no separate class of priests.


Comita Tributa—Assembly of Tribes:  Law passed and in force (originally) if assembly of centuries approved and Senate gave approval also.  Later, under Gracchi, showed could pass laws independently.  No discussion before votes, within each 35 tribes, each tribe cast votes.




12 tables law—451-50 b.c.  Trip to Athens helped produce it.

448 b.c.:  Now if Senate approved, C. Tributa’s laws in force. 

445 b.c.:  Patricians and Plebians could intermarry:  Benefits Knights, richer Plebians seeking prestige in marriage.

By c. 367 or 362 b.c.:  Consuls could be Plebians (one required). 


Slavery for debt abolished, interest taken from principal.  Law restricting land awards after wars fails


Supposed to hold offices for 1 year only:  Why?  No successive reelections—10 year gaps.


Tribunes:  2 or 4, originally, later 10, could veto laws.  But only had power in Rome, not in field.  471 b.c., office created after plebian revolt.


Veto (“I forbid”) power:  Any one of ten tribunes could veto laws in Senate or Assemblies.  Also true when two magistrates of same rank conflicted.


Punic Wars:  1st 264-241 b.c.:  Rome gains Sicily, learns to fight at sea, 3200 talent indemnity.  2nd 218-202 b.c.:  Hannibal—wins at Cannae, kills 70,000 Romans.  Siege problems.  Scipio Africanus at Zama wins vs. Hannibal.  Carthage made subject state, lost all overseas possessions, army.