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Chapter 14
April 1, 2008
Background Information
 509 B.C. Romans overthrew Tarquin the
 Romans set up a republic, or a form of
government in which the people choose
their rulers
 Romans were divided into two social
classes: patricians (rich families) and
plebeians (poor, usually farmers and
 10% of population
 Performed religious rituals
 Could hold public office
 Citizens
 Paid taxes
 Served in army
 Could NOT marry patricians or
serve in the government
 Could be sold into slavery if in
The Government
 Consuls
 Heads of the Roman Republic
 Were chosen each year
 Administrators and military leaders
 Power of veto
 Both had to agree before law was
 300Senate
 Chosen for life
 Handled daily
problems of the
 Advised the consuls
 Proposed laws
 Approved public
contracts for building
roads and temples
Judges, Assemblies, and
 Protected the rights of plebeians
 All Roman citizens belonged to
 Could declare war
 Could agree to peace terms
The Twelve Tables
 450 B.C. Laws were carved on 12 bronze
Foundation for all Roman Law
Placed in the Forum
Applied to patricians and plebeians
Included wills, property rights, marriage
customs, punishment for crimes and court
Review Questions
 What were some restrictions placed on the
plebeians during the early years of the Roman
 Who belonged to the Roman Assemblies?
 Why do you think it was important for the
Romans to have laws written down?