Attempt to Think the Plebeian
The goals of the plebeians were simple: they wanted to be treated fairly by the patricians. This meant more rights and representation in the. patricians: A group of ruling class families in ancient Rome. plebeians: A general . The Curiate Assembly served only a symbolic purpose in the late Republic, though Describe the relationship between the government and the people in the. The Conflict of the Orders, also referred to as the Struggle of the Orders, was a political struggle A settlement was negotiated and the patricians agreed that the plebs be given the right to elect their own officials. . The senate realized the need to use Plebeian officials to accomplish desired goals, and so to win over the .
Plebeians were the farmers, craftsmen, laborers, and soldiers of Rome. In Early Rome In the early stages of Rome, the plebeians had few rights. All of the government and religious positions were held by patricians. The patricians made the laws, owned the lands, and were the generals over the army. Plebeians couldn't hold public office and were not even allowed to marry patricians. The Plebeians Revolt Starting around BC, the plebeians began to fight against the rule of the patricians.
This struggle is called the "Conflict of the Orders. They protested by going on strike. They would leave the city for a while, refuse to work, or even refuse to fight in the army.
Eventually, the plebeians gained a number of rights including the right to run for office and marry patricians. The Twelve Tables were laws that were posted in the public for all to see. They protected some basic rights of all Roman citizens regardless of their social class.
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Plebeian Officers Eventually the plebeians were allowed to elect their own government officials. Around the middle of the 4th century BC, however, the Plebeian Council enacted the " Ovinian Plebiscite " plebiscitum Ovinium which gave the power to appoint new senators to the Roman Censors.
It also codified a commonplace practice, which all but required the Censor to appoint any newly elected magistrate to the senate. It is not known what year this law was passed, although it was probably passed between the opening of the Censorship to Plebeians in BC and the first known lectio senatus by a Censor in BC.
Under the new system, newly elected magistrates were awarded with automatic membership in the senate, although it remained difficult for a Plebeian from an unknown family to enter the senate.
- Conflict of the Orders
- The Struggle of the Orders
- Attempt to Think the Plebeian
On the rare occasion that an individual of an unknown family ignobilis was elected to high office, it was usually due to the unusual character of that individual, as was the case for both Gaius Marius and Marcus Tullius Cicero.
Therefore, an individual usually had to be independently wealthy before seeking high office. It was the dominance of the long-standing Patrician nobility which ultimately forced the Plebeians to wage their long struggle for political power.
The new nobility, however, was fundamentally different from the old nobility. Now, however, the new nobility existed due to the organization of society, and as such, it could only be overthrown through a revolution. The lex Publilia, which had required the election of at least one Plebeian Censor every five years, contained another provision. Before this time, any bill passed by an assembly either by the Plebeian Council, the Tribal Assembly, or the Centuriate Assembly could only become a law after the Patrician senators gave their approval.
This approval came in the form of an auctoritas patrum "authority of the fathers" or "authority of the Patrician senators". The lex Publilia modified this process, requiring the auctoritas patrum to be passed before a law could be voted on by one of the assemblies, rather than after the law had already been voted on. The problem appears to have centered around widespread indebtedness,  and the Plebeians quickly demanded relief. The senators, most of whom belonged to the creditor class, refused to abide by the demands of the Plebeians, and the result was the final Plebeian secession.
The Plebeians seceded to the Janiculum hilland to end the secession, a Dictator named Quintus Hortensius was appointed. Hortensius, a Plebeian, passed a law called the "Hortensian Law" lex Hortensiawhich ended the requirement that an auctoritas patrum be passed before any bill could be considered by either the Plebeian Council or the Tribal Assembly.
The Hortensian Law also reaffirmed the principle that an act of the Plebeian Council have the full force of law over both Plebeians and Patricians, which it had originally acquired as early as BC. The result was that the ultimate control over the state fell, not onto the shoulders of democracy, but onto the shoulders of the new Patricio-Plebeian aristocracy. As Rome expanded its influence over more and more areas, its political institutions proved both resilient and adaptable, allowing it to incorporate diverse populations.
The Romans replaced the king with two consuls—rulers who had many of the same powers as the king but were elected to serve one-year terms. Each consul could veto, or reject, the actions of the other consul.
Roman political institutions reflected Roman society, which was divided into two classes: Initially, only the patricians were able to hold political office and make important decisions. For example, plebeians could not join the Roman Senate—an advisory body unable to create laws on its own but whose recommendations were taken seriously by the consuls.
To become a senator, a Roman had to have held a political office, and plebeians could not. Over time, however, the plebeians were able to gain more influence in the political system. Between the years and BCE, new political offices for plebeians were created and access to higher office, including the consulship, was opened to them. Voting assemblies and councils were established that gave plebeians more say in the politics of Rome.
In BCE, a law removed the last barrier to plebeian political participation by abolishing the requirement that proposed laws had to be approved by patrician senators before the Plebeian Council could consider them. The Plebeian Council had real power and influence in Roman politics and some plebeians gained power and wealth under these new arrangements, but many remained poor.
One reason that political rights did not lead to major changes was that the Comitia Centuriata—the main voting assembly that elected consuls and other important officials—was organized based on wealth. Each century—or voting group—had one vote, but the wealthy were split into smaller groups than the poor, giving the vote of a wealthy Roman more influence.
In what ways did the Romans limit the political power of any one man? How did Roman political structures limit the influence of the poor? Military Although the voting system might appear a deliberate strategy to empower the wealthy, it was actually a reflection of the Roman military structure. The Comitia Centuriata was named for the century—literally a group of soldiers, though in practice the division was never so exact—which was the standard Roman military unit under the kingdom and most of the republican era.
Ancient Rome: Plebeians and Patricians
Men were divided into classes based on their wealth because soldiers had to provide their own equipment. Only wealthy Romans could afford high-quality weapons and armor, which made them more effective soldiers. Men without property were not eligible for military service and these poorest Romans, though the largest class in numbers, were placed into the smallest number of centuries for voting. Part of the reason that the Romans saw no problem with allowing the wealthy to have greater political influence was because they believed that those who had the most wealth also had the most to lose from Roman defeat, so the wealthy had better motivation to be good soldiers and a better sense of what was good policy for Rome.
What was the reasoning behind dividing the military into units based on wealth?