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Who should have more say in the government:
A smaller population of wealthy people OR
a larger population of commoners?
Rome Becomes a
Etruscan Rule Ends
• Etruscans ruled Rome until about 509 BC
• Romans revolted, threw out last of kings, set up new type
of government
• Republic—elected officials governed state
Modern electronic voting machine
Voter casting ballot on a Roman denarius, 63 BCE
• In early days of republic, the heads of a few aristocratic families, called
patricians, elected officials
• Patrician families controlled all society—politics, religions, economics,
• Maintained power through patronage system
• From the beginning, the common people, plebeians, challenged patricians
for power
• Invaders threatened in 494 BCE; plebeians refused to fight until changes
• The patricians knew that they would have no army, so they expanded
plebeian rights
Plebeian Council
• After receiving new rights, plebeians formed their own assembly, the
Plebeian Council, to oversee affairs and protect their interest
• Gained the right to elect officials known as tribunes
• Tribunes’ job—protect against unjust treatment by
patrician officials
• Gained the right to veto (ban) laws that seemed
harmful or unjust
• veto=“I forbid”
• In 450 BCE, plebeians forced patricians to have all laws written down
• Laws displayed in the Roman Forum, the central square, on 12 large bronze
• Known as the “Twelve Tables”
• Because laws were posted, patrician judges could not make decisions based
on own opinions or secret laws
• One new law banned marriage between patricians and plebeians
• Based on the Documents A, B, and C, how democratic do you think the
Roman Republic was? Make sure to choose textual evidence that supports
your opinion, analyze the information, and organize your writing. (9 points)
Exit slip
• On a blank piece of
paper, put your name,
class, and date
• Draw a diagram of
the government of the
Roman Republic from
memory. Include the
relationships between
different parts of the
• "Gaius Terentilius Harsa was a tribune of the plebs that year. Thinking that the absence
of the consuls afforded a good opportunity for tribunitian agitation, he spent several days in
haranguing the plebeians on the overbearing arrogance of the patricians. In particular he
inveighed against the authority of the consuls as excessive and intolerable in a free
commonwealth, for whilst in name it was less invidious, in reality it was almost more harsh
and oppressive than that of the kings had been, for now, he said, they had two masters
instead of one, with uncontrolled, unlimited powers, who, with nothing to curb their licence,
directed all the threats and penalties of the laws against the plebeians."
Livy 3.9, Ab Urbe Condita Libri