Roman Society

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 12th gradeA+, October 1996

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The changes in the Roman government affected the social classes and rights

gradually became more equal among the people of Rome. New laws and new leaders

tried to make society become closer in equality through reforms. It was a long and

difficult process to be freed or to become a citizen of Rome and not many

accomplished it. Plebeians and woman were thought of as worthless citizens in society,

but through time they gained more rights. To show that this is true, I will be

addressing four topics: plebeians versus. patricians, women, merchants and artisans,

and slaves and non-citizens.

When Rome established a republic in 509 B.C., two major classes developed.

The patricians controlled the government with a Senate, made up of 300 elected

officials. The senate chose two consuls to administer the laws of Rome. The only

power that plebeians had in the government was with a popular assembly, which

approved the choice of consuls.

Plebeians could not hold public office or marry into a

patrician family. During the time of the Republic to the time of the empire, plebeians,

who fought in many wars to help Rome gain power, demanded more rights. The

government slowly began to change to appeal to plebeians who out-numbered everyone

else in population.

Around 494 B.C., an Assembly of Centuries and an Assembly of Tribes

rly of Centuries and an Assembly of Tribes

replaced the popular assembly. The Assembly of Centuries represented the Roman

Army and all the classes that were included in it and they elected the consuls. The

Assembly of Tribes was made up of ten elected plebeians and spoke for the plebeians

interests, but had little influence on the government.

In 445 B.C, plebeians won the right to marry patricians. The Assembly of

Tribes gained the right to...