The Roman Republic Essay

The Roman Republic Essay

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When one thinks of the Roman Republic one usually thinks of the Senate and possibly the positions of consul and dictator but Rome contained many different offices and assemblies with different functions and powers.
The Senate was supposedly created by Romulus who was the mythical first king of Rome who may or may not have existed. (notes) At this point the Senate had very little power and was simply an advisory body of 300 senators. (notes) The senators were referred to as patres (fathers) and made up the patrician class. (notes) In 509 bc the last king of Rome was overthrown by the Senate. The Senate then took responsibility for defending Rome. As a result the senators saw themselves as the true representatives of the Roman people and the defenders of Roman liberty. (notes) The members of the Senate were seen as the true representatives of the Roman people until the breakdown of the census. (notes) In 121 the Senate passed the senatus consultum ultitum. which means 'the final decree of the Senate '. The scu gave "license to crush political and social disturbances without consideration for the traditional rights and protections owed to citizens." In 123 the scu was made illegal by tribune Gaius Gracchus but that didn 't stop the Senate from declaring one against him two years later. (notes)
The Curiate Assembly was formed to represent the three tribes. (notes) The tribes were "the Ramnes, Tities, and Lucres. In addition the three tribes were further divided into ten units each which were called curiae. It possessed a number of responsibilities. It had the power to approve or disapprove legislation from the king. (notes) However, it couldn 't create new legislation. (notes) The Curiate also had religious functions. Before a ...


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...he was a private citizen again. This meant that if a dictator abused his power then his victims could take revenge afterwards which served as a strong deterrent. (notes) While the position of dictator could be seen as a great honor it was not part of the cursus honorum. (notes) The ideal dictator was Cincinnatus who was supposedly made dictator in the 5th century bc. He is believed to have raised an army and defeated the hostile Aequi in less than a month before giving up the dictatorship and going home. Although the position of dictator was only meant to be used in times of great crisis, later Roman generals like Sulla and Caesar used the position to justify their power over the Roman state.
The Roman Republic contained many different offices and assemblies. However, after Augustus became emperor the assemblies and several of the offices lost much of their power.

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