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Roman Republic
• When Tarquinius Superbus was kicked out in 509
B.C.E., Romans were sick and tired of being ruled
by kings.
• At the time of the end of the monarchy, Roman
society was divided into two classes.
• Patricians were first recognized by the early kings
and supposed to be descended from the original
settlers of Rome. They were the upper class of
• Plebeians were everyone else, regardless of wealth.
• As you know, a republic is a form of government
wherein everyone gets to vote for their leaders.
• Although both patricians and plebeians could vote,
originally, only patricians could hold office.
• The government was divided essentially into three
separate branches much like our own: executive,
legislative, judicial.
• The Consuls were the executives. There were two
of them and they were elected for a period of one
• The Senate was the first legislative body. It
consisted of 300 patricians elected for life.
• Laws were finally written down and placed in the
forum for all to see. These laws were known as the
Twelve Tables.
• Those in the patrician class climbed the political
ladder, hopefully all the way to Consul, following
what was known as the Cursus Honorum or “path
of offices.”
• Eventually, the plebeians demanded representation
and were given their own legislative body. This
body is much like our House of Representatives.
• The Tribune, elected by the plebeians, had the
power to veto any legislation passed by the Senate.
Our President has this power today.
• In time, more classes of citizens developed other
than just patricians and plebeians in order to
distribute power to more than the patricians.
• Nobiles were drawn from the upper class whose
family had been elected for office for three straight
generations. They were expected to engage in civic
duty and could only earn money from owning land.
• Equites made up the Roman business class. As
such, they were quite wealthy and powerful.
• Although the army was originally made up
exclusively of citizens, as Rome expanded its
borders, more soldiers were needed. Eventually, a
professional army was started.
• The Pontifex Maximus was the religious leader of
Ancient Rome.
For the most part, the republic worked for almost 500
years. During that time Rome expanded its
boundaries far and wide, increased its wealth, and
made itself the world power.
Then came Julius Caesar and Rome would never be
the same.