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The Republic. Plebeian Reforms. 509 BC. Romans drive out last king Leading families take power Rule as the Senate Model for our Senate. Consuls. Two senators were chosen as consuls 1 year term, each could veto the other Could not declare war by themselves

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The Republic

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The republic

The Republic

Plebeian Reforms

509 bc

509 BC

  • Romans drive out last king

  • Leading families take power

  • Rule as the Senate

  • Model for our Senate



  • Two senators were chosen as consuls

  • 1 year term, each could veto the other

  • Could not declare war by themselves

  • Responsible for public finances, justice and city administration



  • Horsemen

  • Cavalry

  • Claim leadership over other Romans



  • Change in fighting techniques added plebeian infantrymen

  • “common man” in combat became very important

  • Small-farmer, plebeian soldiers win the right to be elected military tribunes

Debt slavery

Debt Slavery

  • If a plebeian owed money, the patricians could demand that a plebeian work off his debts

  • Plebeians rebel and peasant soldiers used force to protest this form of punishment

Plebeian reforms

Plebeian Reforms

  • Go on strike (farms shut down, stores close)

  • Demand more land

  • Demand abolition of debt

Military tribunes

Military Tribunes

  • Could veto laws

  • Could initiate legislation

  • Share authority with consuls when in battle

Comitia plebus 471 bc

Comitia Plebus (471 BC)

  • Name of law that created plebeian assembly

  • Could meet and express their opinions to military tribunes

  • Assemblies met to vote, but not to initiate action

Comitia centuriata 450

Comitia Centuriata (450)

  • Military assembly of Patricians and Plebeians

  • Met to elect consuls

  • Vote on legislation

  • Decide if Rome should go to war



  • Two censors

  • Took the census

  • Collect taxes and organize military duties



  • Censors determined how much property people had

  • This determined what kind of equipment they had to have for war

  • Class of plebeians who could afford to own a horse and equipment

Three branches of gov t

Three branches of gov’t

  • Executive (Consuls)

  • Legislative branch (Senate and Assemblies)

  • Judiciary (Praetor and jurors)



  • In charge of judiciary branch of gov’t

  • Elected by military assembly

  • Jurors were expected to be honorable in their judgements

Twelve tables 451 450

Twelve Tables (451-450)

  • Before this, laws were not written down

  • Laws connected to religious lore

  • Patricians interpreted the laws

  • Plebeians demanded laws be written down

Twelve tables

Twelve Tables

  • Written on twelve bronze tablets

  • Open to legislative changes

  • 442 - intermarriage between plebeians and patricians



  • Q: Who could be a juror in ancient Rome?

  • A: Only aristocrats, as they had the leisure time

The republic


  • Q: Why were the laws written down?

  • A: Plebeians did not like how arbitrary the laws were

Criminal transgressions

Criminal Transgressions

  • Q: How were you punished if you broke the laws?

  • Often punished by exile rather than death

  • Vestals and those who consorted with the enemy were killed

Roman law

Roman Law

  • Recognized supremacy of the father

  • Sell children into slavery

  • Tell them who to marry and divorce



  • What are exemplary examples of vice or virtue?

  • When moderation is observed, all is well in Rome

  • If not, disaster abounds

Problems in the republic

Problems in the Republic

  • Ambition of individuals

  • Patricians vs. Plebeians

  • Threat of outsiders

Moderation is the key

Moderation is the key

  • Cincinnatus (Moderatio)

  • Quinctius Capitolinus (Moderatio)

  • Appius Claudius (Immoderatio)



  • From plow to dictatorship

  • Trial of son, Caeso

  • Forced to live in a hovel

  • Not afraid to tell senators that limited power of individuals is what Rome needs

Speech of cincinnatus

Speech of Cincinnatus

  • “Sunk as you are in a morass of impiety and crime, yet you continue to assert that you will get the law through before the year is out”

  • Courage, constancy, all the virtues which in civil or military life, were the true glory of manhood, had followed his son Caeso into banishment

Caeso son of cincinnatus

Caeso, son of Cincinnatus

  • Plea for tribunes to have the power to legislate what the consuls can do by Terentillus

  • Caeso “Anyone who dared cross him soon found himself the worse for wear, or with his clothes stripped from his back”

  • Capitol charge and trial

Caeso s trial

Caeso’s Trial

  • Bail is set and Caeso is free until trial

  • Goes into exile

  • Father is forced to sell everything he owns and move across the river to live “like a banished man”

Appius claudius

Appius Claudius

  • Abused his power as decemvir

  • Trial of Verginia

  • Father kills her to preserve her honor

  • Causes destruction of Verginia and himself

The decemvirs 451 bc

The Decemvirs (451 BC)

  • 10 men appointed to codify the laws

  • At first all patricians

  • Began to behave like tyrants

No less dreadful than rape of lucretia

No less dreadful than rape of Lucretia

  • Appius Claudius attempted to seduce Verginia and declared her his slave

  • If people suffer inside the walls of Rome the worst horrors of a captured town, then why fight to protect the city?

  • Let the master through, to take possession of his slave

Quinctius capitolinus

Quinctius Capitolinus

  • Challenges Romans to live up to their ancestors

  • Scolds patricians (who want excessive power)

  • Scolds plebeians (who want unchecked liberty)



  • “Only tell me that you are sick at last of this state of affairs, that you are willing to go back to your old ways, like your fathers before you”

  • “I should like to please you, but I much prefer to save you”

Results of speeches of cincinnatus and q capitolinus

Results of Speeches of Cincinnatus and Q. Capitolinus

  • Romans want to serve their country again

  • Each acts not for selfish reasons, but for good of his people

  • Sacrifice personal convenience for higher good

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