The Key To Roman Law: The Twelve Tables

1433 Words6 Pages
One of the reasons Rome was so powerful, is that they took other people’s accomplishments and used them for their own. Roman laws were mostly comprised of assimilated rules and regulations from other cultures.The Twelve Tables allowed the republic to expand and be a model for future cultures. They were the best attempt at all-encompassing laws and rights, that were binding to every person in the republic, not just Roman citizens. As such, it broke down the barriers between the classes and rights of every individual, creating equality. The key to Roman law was The Twelve Tables, as they united Romans and allowed Rome to progress past the time of the Etruscan dictators.
To begin with: as Garfield Newman explains, “The Roman Republic was a result
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However with the introduction of the Twelve Tables the laws became ‘public’, they were the first written laws, written on either stone or brass. Public laws, “also had the benefit for the lawmakers and law-enforcers of ruling out a lawbreaker 's protestation that he or she didn’t know that what he or she was doing was against the law. If a law was made public, then it was everyone 's responsibility to know and obey.” This is one reason why the Twelve Tables were so successful, however the main reason the Twelve Tables succeeded, was because the Romans took the time to study other cultures laws, and determine what works and what doesn’t. As with the Athenians, Romans were looking for the best, or the perfect law. Around the year 450 BCE, the Roman Senate appointed a commission of ten men to visit the greek cities in Italy, and observe the Greek law. The Romans were always looking for better ways of doing things, so they saw the great government that the Greeks had, and improved on it. The same concept worked later on, when Julius Caesar would befriend his enemies, and take their good ideas and battle tactics to make sure his army was always advancing. This way of taking other people’s ideas and polishing them to make them…show more content…
“the division of Patricians and Plebeians remained a division between rich and poor”, the Patricians could hold more power, and join the senate. It was also only the Patricians who could hold higher offices like consulship. The Plebeians however, were the common people, or lower class, and could not hold any office except for the Assembly. Going back to the first point, The success of the Republic is based on the equality put in place by the Twelve Tables. The consul has overseeing rule, however the Assembly was in charge of choosing the consul, and the Plebeian tribunes could veto the consul. The introduction of these Plebeian tribunes in the senate allowed Plebians to gain power, and they grew on each other, meaning Plebeians could gain even more power. The balancing of the classes, by the Twelve Tables allowed the Patricians to view the Plebeians closer to equals, and in 367 BCE, Plebeians were allowed to stand for consulship. This also opened up Plebeians to censorship and dictatorship. Another thing the Twelve Tables did was it changed what it meant to be Roman. Citizenship in the Roman Republic gave people a wide assortment of perks and benefits. For example, a citizen is safe from the death penalty, and had the right to vote, right to make contracts, and right to legal marriage. The way to get citizenship was questionable, however the result was a success.
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