Rome began as a small city-state in about 758 B.C. As it developed into an strong power, the customs that had been the laws were finally written down. There were three "castes" of Roman citizens.
1. Nobiles - those who held a curule office. mostly consuls, praetors, dictators, and curule aediles, and the descendants of those holding those offices. These were the rich ones. It was hard to get here from one of the other classes, because those offices were mostly bought using the heinous crime of bribery.
2. Equites - the middle class.
mostly merchants and bankers (the word equites, meaning cavalry,
refers to the past time when only people who could afford to purchase a
horse could be considered in this class..
3. Plebians - they were the po' folk. Not many rights. However, they had a Plebian Tribune with the power to veto, and it was hard to overcome his veto. He helped to keep largely unfair laws from being passed that would hurt the Plebians and help the Nobiles, and maybe the Equites.
4. Slaves- they had no rights. They were considered property. Provided you could pay for his cost, you could kill another man's slave whenever you felt like it.
In the early days, the Roman government was ruled by an oligarchy. As time progressed, the equites made little "Do this we'll give you a dollar" deals with the nobiles, so that their views would be represented. Then the Plebs felt left out, poor poor plebs, so they fought for representation, and the right to hold office, resulting in the war between Caesar and Pompeii, and the creation of the monarchy of Augustus.
The governing body was a 300-600 member Senate. All member were either Romans. Period. They were prejudiced against foreign folk. They also had to have been a former magistrate or a descendant of someone who was. They were the patres conscripti, because they were the "fathers" who wrote the laws. They were kind of like a Jedi, but no where close to as cool. The Conscript Fathers almost always had military training and had held many other offices.
There was a government ladder of offices, called the cursus honorum.
1. Quaestor- There were twenty total, they had to be 31 years old, and you served in the treasury.
2. Aedile- There were four total, they had
to be 37 years old, and you were in charge of public entertainment, required
a lot of YOUR
3. Praetor-There were eight total, they had to be 40 years old, and there job was to be a judge in a cilvil court.
4. Consul- There were two total, they had to be 43 years old, and they presided over the senate, close to a co-dictator.
There were two censors, usually ex consuls, that served as advisors for the consuls during the first year and a half of their five year terms.
In Rome, the rich people could do whatever they wanted for the most
part, and since they controlled everything, if you were poor you couldn't
do much. They had nothing against cruel and unusual punishment, and
thought it was cool to watch people die. The Gladitorial games helped
to please the Romans' bloodlust. They could punish you for almost
anything. Example: If you were a member of the Nobiles and
you killed a Pleb, no one cared at all, and if you could pay the officials,
nothing happened to you. If you were a pleb and you killed a member
of the Nobiles, you died. An exception to this was Catiline. He was
a member of the Nobiles. He formed a conspiracy to burn Rome and
kill everyone. What a nice guy. But he was caught and he got
ruined in the Senate by Cicero, who Catiline wanted to kill especially.
But, he didn't succeed, because he wasn't a smooth criminal.
Suggested Listening: They Might be Giants-Istanbul (Not Constaninople)
Catch 22-Keasby Nights
Suggested other things that you are not going to do:
1. Use this AOL buddy icon:
2. Use AOL Instant Messenger to IM me and tell me that I am smart, which is a lie. IM ME!
3. Take at least 3 days a week off from school,
go to your local Altar of tha Gods© , and praise Zeus and his brothas
up on the Mount.
Latin for Americans, Third Book
Cicero Image came from : http://www.skidmore.edu/academics/classics/courses/1999spring/cl201/cl201hom/cl201hom.html
The senator image came from : http://www.richmond.edu/academics/a&s/education/projects/webquests/rome/august1.gif
All of the other things on this page were made by me. Use them
if you get my permission, etc. etc., and if you don't, maybe the Roman
god will hurt you or something.