Thousands of People Were Being Killed Each Day by War and Proscription in the Late Roman Republic

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Jacob Scioscia History, English
4/7/12Research Paper

Thousands of people were being killed each day by war and proscription in the late Roman Republic; this calamity occurred during the downfall of the Roman Republic. This collapse occurred for many reasons, and threw Rome into chaos, but the main reason that the republic fell was due to the unwillingness of the Roman senators to compromise, rather than the rebellious forces of the plebeians. In the beginning of the Republic, the senators would compromise with the people because Rome had no idealized state of government. There was a power struggle for centuries, and, at one point, the plebeians left Rome in order to have their requests granted. The senators and patricians, unable to defend Rome, agreed and granted their wishes, compromising to keep the plebeians happy, because they were the backbone of Rome. Both classes needed each other; “The patricians needed the plebeians to defend Rome, and the plebeians needed the experience and guidance of the patricians.” (E. The Struggle of the Orders. Paragraph 4, Line 4) In 471, the Senate passed the Lex Publilia Voleronis de Tribunis Plebis, which stated that the plebeians were allowed to pick the tribunes rather than the patricians. In 454 BC, the senators passed the Lex Aeterna Tarpeia, which prevented a consul from placing a fine over the set limit on the plebeians. (A) In the beginning the plebeians were rebellious, however the senators soon would stop compromising with them and Rome would fall. The senators, however, passed a law that prohibited intermarriage between plebeians and patricians, but opposition soon led to the Lex Canuleia de Conubio Patrum et Plebis which repealed the law in 445 BC, showing that the senators were more than willing to compromise. They even allowed one of the plebeians to be a consul, and when the rights of the plebeians were respected and their requests were heard, Rome saw peace and its army was at its height. (B) Because the plebeians were granted these rights, they willingly joined Rome’s army, and protected the city. The senators even created the office of tribune, which was strictly for the welfare of the plebeians and which protected the plebeian’s interests, and also opened religious offices to the plebeians when they demanded it. (A) In the beginning of Rome, the senators did not consume all the wealth that was flowing into Rome, as they did in later in the republic, and the Senate was willing to make sacrifices and compromise to protect Rome, its people, and the welfare of its people. (E) In 450 BC, the plebeians demanded knowledge of the law, the senators consented, and the Twelve Tables were published, which were the laws that pertained to the rights of the plebeians. The Roman Senate protected its citizens by passing laws that forbade Roman citizens from being flogged or executed who were not enrolled in the army, and in the early Republic, the senators did not just compromise with Roman citizens, they compromised with all people. They divided the states they had conquered into three categories; each with a different level of Roman citizenship, where you could move up until you reached full citizenship. (E) They set the system up so that they would be able to compromise with these states in the later years to come if they needed to. Compromising was at its height in the Roman Republic when the senators created the Twelve Tables, laws that were binding on the plebeians, which consuls had to enforce. (J) In 366 BC, the Senate created a legislative body named Comita Tributa, in which both plebeians and patricians voted as equals, and with the Lex Maenia in 293 BC, when the senators allowed the plebeian magistrates to have imperium, “The supreme executive power in the Roman state, involving both military and judicial authority.” (P. Imperium. Paragraph 1, Line 1) In 342, the Senate made the Leges Genuciae, which stated that...
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