Ms. Roberts' Early Republic Notes

Roman Republic Before Punic Wars:
1) Brief Overview of Founding and Period of the Kings
a. 753BCE Romulus & Remus
b. Numa Pompilius (added January and February to the calendar, set
religious custom) Tullus Hostilius (lots of wars – with sabines and Alba
Longa), Ancus Marcius (peace & religion, built wooden bridge across the
Tiber), Lucius Tarquinius Priscus (very successful in war, constructed
circus maximus & temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus), Servius Tullius
(originally a slave – probably not true, flame on his head – king, temples
to Diana and Fortuna), Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud,
completes temple to Jupiter and Cloaca Maxima, bloodshed, violence &
c. Lucretia & End of Monarchy 509BCE
2) Cursus Honorum – Government of the Republic
a. Ten years of duty in the military – usually end up as Military Tribune
i. Supposed to be mandatory to qualify for office – sometimes
b. Quaestor – at least 30 years old (20)
i. Treasury & Financial Administration
c. Aedile – at least 36 years old (OPTIONAL) (2 per year)
i. Plebeian and Patrician Aediles
ii. Organize Games & Maintain Public Buildings (esp. temples)
iii. Managed city’s food and water supplies
d. Praetor – at least 39 years old (6-8)
i. Judge and Commander of Army
e. Consul – had to be at least 40 (2)
i. Most Prestigious
ii. Chairman of the Senate
iii. Commander in Chief of Army
iv. Limited only by decrees of Senate and People’s Assembly
f. Then, had to serve a term as governor of a province
g. Censor – serve for 18 months, elected every 5 years
i. Took census & created voting classes
ii. Kept membership roll of the senate, oversaw taxation and public
h. Tribune of Plebs (Outside Cursus)
i. Head of Plebeian Council – meant to protect rights of common
ii. Could veto other magistrates’ decisions, convene senate & make
proposals, could rescue any plebeian from the hands of a patrician
magistrate & could arrest magistrates
3) Population Under the Republic
a. Men – Free, property owning men = full citizens with voting rights
b. Women – Could never vote or run for office. At points, could own land. In
general, passed between men. Father’s control to husband’s control
c. Slaves – No rights at all, property, could be killed if a master wished.
d. Freedmen – Freed slave, given a form of citizenship. After three
generations could stand for public office.
e. Patricians & Plebeians – Hereditary Classes, early on this group held all
offices and most money. Over time, becomes more about social status than
actual wealth. By late Republic, difference largely religious
4) History of Republic up to Punic Wars
a. Conflict between Patricians and Plebeians
i. Secession of Plebs: Initially all power had been in the hands of a
few wealthy families. Even the decisions of the comitia centuriata
(people’s assembly) needed patrician approval. Plebeians organize
and spark the “Conflict of the Orders”
1. 494BCE – Plebeians withdraw to a hill three miles from
Rome. Tribunes created to protect rights of Plebs, stop
blatant excesses of Patrician Power
2. 471BCE – Rights defined legally - # of tribunes up to 10,
council of the Plebs created [450BCE Twelve Tables
Created after demand for written laws]
3. 287BCE – Lex Hortensia the Council of Plebeians’ Votes
get force of law (have to be followed by Plebs AND
Patricians). Plebeians have effectively won the conflict of
the orders
b. Colonization and Expansion through Italy
i. Varied Conflicts –
1. Aequī: 458BCE Cincinnatus becomes dictator and
conquers Aequī in 16 days then returns to his farm
2. Veiī: 396BCE Romans capture Etruscan city of Veii
3. Three Samnite Wars:
a. 1) 343-341BCE – brief, Rome wins – then moves
on to conflict with the Latin League.
b. 2) 327-304BCE – Rome struggles in first half –
321BCE @ Caudine Forks Rome is defeated in a
mountain pass and forced to pass “under the yoke”
– they then rebound and Samnites sue for peace on
harsh terms in 304.
c. 3)298-290BCE – Rome is successful against united
enemies, it now dominates all Italy except Greek
south and Gaulish Po Valley
ii. Latin League – Coalition of Italian City-States, did not want to
recognize Rome’s dominance. In 496 Roman forces fought with
the Latin forces that had helped defeat Lars Porsenna only ten
years earlier. In 493 the sides sign a treaty, with Rome claiming
victory. Dissolved for good in 338 and largely absorbed into
Rome’s sphere of influence
iii. 390BCE Roman Legions defeated and city sacked by Brennus and
Cisalpine Gauls – stories of barbarians massacring a silent,
dignified senate – vae victis. Had to pay a huge ransom so city
wouldn’t be destroyed.
iv. 283BCE Romans come to aid of Greek allies fighting Tarentum
(Greek Colony) – Pyrrhus of Epirus comes to help fight the
Romans. Pyrrhus won 3 battles, but still couldn’t defeat Rome
because he took great losses. Eventually he withdrew to Sicily and
Greece – this is where we get the term Pyrrhic Victory
c. Advantages in War
i. Tons of Manpower and Determination - They could just keep
building more and more legions. Refuses to stay beaten
ii. Treatment of Conquered People – Brought under protection of
Rome, given a form of citizenship and had certain rights protected.
Had to provide troops for legions. Conquered nations competed
with others to get better protections and rights from the Romans
instead of trying to get rid of Romans altogether. Could improve
their rights within Roman law.
By 264 BC the Romans controlled just about all of Italy through a network of allies,
conquered city-states, colonies, and strategic garrisons. At that time Rome started to look
beyond Italy, towards the islands and the rich trade of the Mediterranean Sea.