Name: Date:______ The Twelve Tables (450 BCE) How did the

The Twelve Tables (450 BCE)
How did the roman republic change in an effort to address
Part I. Homework Due Friday 1/9
Read and annotate “The Struggle of the Orders” and then answer the focus
questions in the boxes.
Focus: What problems existed in the Roman Republic?
How did the Republic change to address the problems?
The Struggle of the Orders
From: McKay et al. A History of World Societies: To 1715. Vol 1. 6th Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.
Another important aspect of early Roman history was a great social conflict, usually
known as the Struggle of the Orders, which developed between patricians and plebeians.
What the plebeians wanted was real political representation and safeguards against
patrician domination. The plebeians’ efforts to obtain recognition of their rights are the crux
of the Struggle of the Orders.
Rome’s early wars gave the plebeians the leverage they needed: Rome’s survival
depended on the army, and the army needed the plebeians. The first showdown between
plebeians and patricians came, according to tradition, in 494 BCE. To force the patricians to
grant concessions, the plebeians seceded from the state; they literally walked out of Rome
and refused to serve in the army. The plebeians’ general strike worked. Because of it the
patricians made important concessions. One of these was social. In 445 BCE the patricians
passed a law, the lex Canuleia, that for the first time allowed patricians and plebeians to
marry each other. Furthermore, the patricians recognized the right of plebeians to elect
their own officials, the tribunes. The tribunes in turn had the right to protect the plebeians
from the arbitrary conduct of patrician magistrates. The tribunes brought plebeian
grievances to the senate for resolution. The plebeians were not bent on undermining the
state. Rather, they used their gains only to win full equality under the law.
The law itself was the plebeians’ next target. Only the patricians knew what the law was,
and only they could argue cases in court. All too often they had used the law for their own
benefit. The plebeians wanted the law codified and published. The result of their agitation
was the Law of the Twelve Tables.
Existing Problems in the Republic
Attempt to Address the Problem
Part II Will be Completed in Class on Friday
Step 2 Directions: Read and annotate the Table(s) that you’ve been assigned.
Focus: What problems existed in the Roman Republic?
What can you infer about Roman ideas regarding gender and
social class?
How did Roman laws try to promote civic virtue?
Why do you think the plebeians wanted these laws in writing?
Not all of these questions will be answered for your assigned sections…just
answer what is addressed in your section & be prepared to share w/the class.
What can the laws tell us about problems facing the Republic?
Roman ideas about gender?
Roman ideas about social
What is the significance of the Twelve Tables?
How did Roman law promote
civic virtue?