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...