If you controlled a country and only had 3
laws, what 3 laws must your country
Challenges Facing the
Early Roman Republic
Challenges within Rome
The Struggle of the
The Society was divided
into 2 groups.
Plebeians = Commoners
Patricians = Nobles/ Rich
The Plebeians wanted a
change in the
They wanted more say.
The Patricians held all the
power in the Republic and
were the only ones allowed
to hold office.
Struggle of the Orders
In 494 B.C. the Plebeians
revolt and form their
own council & elected
This frightened many of
the Patricians because
they thought Rome would
fall apart if the 2 groups
couldn’t work together.
Patricians knew if people
stayed unhappy, they
might rise up and
overthrow the whole
Changes in the Government
To calm the angry
Plebeians, the Patricians
made some changes in the
The law of debt had been
revoked and anyone
imprisoned was released.
Most important effect was
the creation of a new office,
Tribunes = Protect
Plebeians rights.
Only could be held by a
Had the power to veto.
Twelve Tables
Before the 12 tables the
laws were not written
down, laws were
interpreted by the
 How would this have
been a disadvantage for
450 B.C. ten officials began
writing down Rome’s laws.
Became a basis for Roman
Developed the idea that all
free citizens had a right to
the protection of the law.
How could the 12 tables
benefit the Plebeians?
494 BCE: traditional date of the First Secession of
the Plebs, during which they established their own
assembly and elected their own magistrates and the
450 BCE: traditional date of the Law of the
Twelve Tables, the first codification of Roman law
445 BCE: patricians and plebeians were permitted to
367 BCE: plebeians became eligible for the
342 BCE: law passed making it mandatory that one
of the two Consuls must be a plebeian
****Over time the distinction between Pleb & Pat
disappeared but it took a very long time. ****
Challenges Outside of Rome
Shortly after Rome becomes
a Republic, war breaks out.
Over 200 years of fighting.
In 387 the Gauls attack
Rome and takes over the
Romans pay them a huge
amount of money to leave.
After this other neighbors try
the same thing.
Rome won most of the wars
but it took a toll on the
Many places were
destroyed and many people
As the republic grew so did trade.
To pay for goods the Romans made coins out of copper,
silver, and other metals.
Roman coins began to appear throughout the
Roman coins displayed various images and words
Some coins honored victories
Some reflected what was going on in Rome
When times were bad you could see it from the coin
The coin had less precious metal & weighed less than in
good times.
A Dictator is Chosen.
During difficult wars,
the Romans chose a
dictator to replace
the 2 consuls.
A dictator is a ruler
with absolute power.
The dictator lead the
city, but could only be
in power for 6 months.
Why do you think during tough
wars did Rome have a dictator?
Cincinnatus was one of
early Rome’s most famous
Cincinnatus was originally a
farmer, but was asked to
defend the city against a
powerful enemy.
Once he won the war, he
immediately resigned as
dictator and returned to his
farm. Even before his 6
month term ended.
Fighting did not end with
Cincinnatus. Rome
continued to fight with their
neighbors for many years.
What are some reasons that
Cincinnatus would be honored
so highly in Rome?
Cincinnatus 519 B.C. - ?
Cincinnatus is the most famous
dictator from the early Roman
Republic. Because he wasn’t eager
to hold on to his power, the Romans
considered Cincinnatus an ideal
leader. They admired his abilities
and his loyalty to the republic. The
early citizens of the United States
admired the same qualities in their
leaders. In fact, some people called
George Washington the “American
Cincinnatus” when he refused to run
for a third term as president. The
people of the state of Ohio also
honored Cincinnatus by naming one
of their major cities, Cincinnati, after