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Lecture 9: The Creation of the Roman Republic. -- Origins of prehistory of Romans not clear but by 1500 BCE Indo-Europeans moved into Italian peninsula; by 1000 BCE inhabited by Greeks and Etruscans

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-- Origins of prehistory of Romans not clear but by 1500 BCE Indo-Europeans moved into Italian peninsula; by 1000 BCE inhabited by Greeks and Etruscans

-- According to legend, Rome founded by twins Romulus and Remus; father was the god Mars and mother a vestal virgin

-- In 753 BCE Romulus kills Remus and founds Rome on seven hills overlooking Tiber River

-- Rome evolved from group of Latin villages; conquered by Etruscans in 6th century; Tarquin dynasty established

-- Tarquins have armed assembly which elects king by acclamation but plays no political role

-- Tarquins encourage trade and create sewer system; build shrine to Jupiter on Capitoline Hill


-- Greeks land on Italian peninsula by 750 BCE near Bay of Naples, Brindisi and Sicily

-- Greeks introduce cultivation of olives and grapes for wine, alphabet and artistic and cultural models

-- Etruscans would most influence early Romans; Herodotus believed they came from Asia Minor because language and religion resembled Near Eastern cultures

-- Early Romans were pastoral, spoke Latin, adopted toga and short cloak of Etruscans, as well as Etruscan alphabet (Greek)

-- Etruscans constructed first roads for main street through Rome; drained area which would become the Roman Forum


-- Romans attributed end of Etruscan rule to myth

of rape of Lucretia; more likely that end of rule

resulted from revolt by Roman nobles who had

lost power when military changed from cavalry

to hoplite system of Etruscans

-- During early republican period, Rome surrounded

by enemies; joined league of Latin allies

according to historian Livy

-- Livy said Rome was also under siege by Celts


-- By 300’s BCE Latium League falls apart because

of resentment of Roman domination

-- By 264 BCE Rome conquers all of Italy except

extreme north

-- Roman success attributed to application of

consistent policies, good diplomacy and practice

of offering citizenship to conquered people


-- Roman government and society based on

pragmatism, not ideals, unlike Greeks

-- Romans believed in concept of “imperium” =

the right to command

-- Power of Roman magistrates only limited by

prospect of potential trial after their term ended

-- Leader of Romans was “consul/praetor”

-- Romans had two consuls chosen annually by

the senate; select counsel of 300 men who

served for life

-- By 3rd century BCE advice of senate had the

force of law

-- 366 BCE separate office of “praetor” created

who governed Rome and lead armies when

consuls were away

-- Popular assemblies: comitia centuriata (army);

represented the wealthy and could pass laws


-- “Concilium plebid” = plebeian assembly made

up of representatives of the common people

-- Roman society had two basic classes: patricians

(wealthy) and plebeians (lower class)

-- Patricians descended from original Roman

senators during the period of kings

-- Patricians controlled religious privileges which

allowed them to control politics

-- Patricians created the idea of “patronage” =

positions for friends and family

-- “Paterfamilia” = head of family; responsible for

their extended families and “clients” (those

without wealth or power who provided services

to paterfamilia

-- Roman system of client-patronage became

an hereditary institution


-- “Plebeians” did not descend from the original

monarchy but were often wealthier than


-- Wealthy Plebeians were either large land

owners or merchants

-- In 494 BCE Plebeians used their numerical

and military strength to force Romans to grant

them to hold political office and intermarry

with Patricians

-- Plebeian revolt accomplished by literally

seceding from Roman state, leaving Patricians

militarily vulnerable

-- By 287 BCE all Roman citizens were equal

under the law

-- After 287 BCE intermarriage of Plebeians

and Patricians creates new class: “nobiles”

which dominates political offices