Roman Government Essay, Research Paper
Rome was once a world power. The Roman empire lasted from 23B. C. To About 476 A. D.. In all there were 57 emperors of Rome. Behind Rome’s great military and leaders was the brilliant political system, senators, and, laws of Rome. Ancient Rome had the best political system for that time. Rome’s political system was harsh early on but be came greater as timed pasted, also Rome’s leaders and laws were the best too.
Rome’s political system was very much like ours today with some changes. Rome had things like today as, senators, laws, and rich and the wealth making all the decisions. The Senate was made up people voted into office once a year. The political structure was as follows, first step was a part as a aedile, a city councilor, which looked after corn supply and public amusements. Then came a quaestor, a secretary of the treasury,. The next step was as a praetor, judge,. Then you were asked to govern a province, when there was an emperor, or consulship. Under the Republic of Rome the consuls were magistrates who had the greatest power in all of Rome. When there was a Emperor of Rome there was still Senate but it had little power. During an Emperor the patrician, rich and wealthy people of ancient Rome, families still led public opinion even thought the Senate was kind of forgotten. In Rome when it was a Republic was better to live because the Senate was for the people not for the rich and the high land owners. The Emperors were good too because they were the ones that expanded the Roman Empire and moved forward.
In Rome the leaders were very spoiled. Once becoming a leader of some kind in Rome you were given a family farm, a number of villas in pleasant spots of latium, and a great house in Rome. There 57 emperors of Rome and each had many government officials. In the Republic there were two consols and the Senate. The 57 emperors were as follows, 23 B. C. Augustus, 14 A. D. Tiberius, 37 Gaius Caligula, 41 Claudius, 54 Nero, 68-69 Galba, 69 Otho and Vitellius, 69 Vespasian, 79 Titus, 81 Domitian, 96 Nerva, 97 Trajan, 117 Hadrian, 138 Antoninus Pius, 161-180 Marcus Aurelius, 176-192 Commodus, 193 Pertinax, 193-211 Septimus Severus, 198-217 Caracella, 217 Macrius, 218 Elagabalus, 222 Severus/Alexander, 235 Maximin/Thrax, 238 Gordian I, II, III, 244 Philip, and others, 249 Decius and others, 253 Gallienus and others, 268 Claudius II, 269 Aurelian and others, 275 Tacitus, 276 Probus, 282 Carus, 283 Carinus and Numerian, 284-305 Diocletian, 286-305 Maximian, 293-296 Constantius Chlorus, 293-311 Galerius, 293-311 Galerius, 308-324 Licinus, 306-337 Constantine I, 337-350 Constans, 337-361 Constantius II,361-363 Julian, 363-364 Jovian,364-375 Valentinian, 364-375 Valens, 367-383 Gratian,375-393 Valentinian II,379-395 Theodosius I,385-388 Maximus, 392-394 Eugenius,395-423 Honorius, 425-455 Valentinian III,457-474 Leo I,475-476 Romulus Augustulus. As emperor it was your duty to control the military, approve or veto new laws, also keep citizens happy, and rule all of Rome in its entirety. Being an emperor took a lot from someone.
The laws of Rome are like some of our laws today and others are very different. There were twelve tables. The men who wrote the laws were the ten Consuls. They wrote them when the Republic was very young. The twelve tables were written in 450– 451 B. C. The twelve tables were, table one procedure for courts and trails ; table two was trials continued; table three was debt: table four was rights of fathers over the family; table five was legal guardianship and inheritance laws: table six was about acquisition and possession; then table seven was about land rights; table eight was laws of injury; table nine public law; table ten was scared law; table eleven was supplement I; table twelve was supplement II. These laws were the earliest attempt by the Romans to create laws that could be found. Table one, procedure for courts and trails, read ( 1 )” if the plaintiff summon the defendant into court, he shall go. If he doesn’t go, the plaintiff shall call a witness. Then only he shall take him by force. If he refuses or flee, the plaintiff shall lay hands on him. If disease or age is an impediment, he shall grant him a team of oxen. He shall not spread with cushions the covered carriage if he does not wish to.” The second table, trials continued, says ( 1 )” whoever is in need of evidence, he shall go on every third day to call out loud before the door ay of the witness.” The next table number two, debt, says that ( 1 )” when a debt has been acknowledged or a judgment has been pronounced in court, 30 days must be the legitimate grace period. Thereafter, arrest of the detour may be made by the laying of hands. Bring him into court. If he does not satisfy the judgment the creditor may take the debtor with him. He may bind him either in stocks of fetters, with a weight of no less then 15 lb.. after 60 days in the custody, the case is returned to court, and if the debt is not then paid, the debtor can be sold abroad as a slave , or put to death.” They were a little harsh on the defendant but they weren’t in modern times. The next table number four, rights of fathers over families, has two parts first ( 1 )” a dreadfully deformed chilled shall be killed.” Then (1)” if a father surrenders his son for sale three times, the son shall be free.” The fifth table, legal guardianship and inheritance laws, has three parts they are (1) “Our ancestors saw fit that “females, by reason of levity of disposition, shall remain in guardianship, even when they have attained their majority.” Then (1) “The inheritance of a Roman citizen-freedman is made over to his patron, if the freedman has died intestate and has no natural successor.” Last (1)” A spendthrift is forbidden to exercise administration over his own goods.” The next table six, acquisition and possession, says that (1) “When a party shall make bond or conveyance, what he has named by word-of-mouth that shall hold good.” Also (1) “Marriage by usage’: If a man and woman live together continuously for a year, they are considered to be married; the woman legally is treated as the man’s daughter.” Then table seven says that (1) ” Let them keep the road in order. If they have not paved it, a man may drive his team where he likes.” And (2)” Should a tree on a neighbor’s farm be bend crooked by the wind and lean over your farm, you may take legal action for removal of that tree.” Finally (2)” A man might gather up fruit that was falling down onto another man’s farm.” Then the eighth table, laws of injury, says (2) ” If one has maimed a limb and does not compromise with the injured person, let there be retaliation. If one has broken a bone of a freeman with his hand or with a cudgel, let him pay a penalty of three hundred coins If he has broken the bone of a slave, let him have one hundred and fifty coins. If one is guilty of insult, the penalty shall be twenty-five coins.” Also it says that (2) ” Any person who destroys by burning any building or heap of corn deposited alongside a house shall be bound, scourged, and put to death by burning at the stake provided that he has committed the said misdeed with malice aforethought; but if he shall have committed it by accident, that is, by negligence, it is ordained that he repair the damage or, if he be too poor to be competent for such punishment, he shall receive a lighter punishment.” This is very harsh (2) ” A person who had been found guilty of giving false witness shall be hurled down from the Tarpeian Rock.” Also (2)” No person shall hold meetings by night in the city.” The next table ,nine or public law, ( 2 )” The penalty shall be capital for a judge or arbiter legally appointed who has been found guilty of receiving a bribe for giving a decision.” Then it also says that (2) ” Treason: he who shall have roused up a public enemy or handed over a citizen to a public enemy must suffer capital punishment.” Finally is says that (2)” Putting to death of any man, whosoever he might be un-convicted is forbidden.” Then tenth table or the sacred law says that (2)” None is to bury or burn a corpse in the city. The women shall not tear their faces nor wail on account of the funeral. If one obtains a crown himself, or if his chattel does so because of his honor and valor, if it is placed on his head, or the head of his parents, it shall be no crime.” Then the second to last table, eleventh or supplement one, which was added with the twelfth table in 450 BC says (2) “Marriages should not take place between plebeians and patricians.” That means no one should marry from the rich and the poor. Then Finally the last table supplement two says (2)” If a slave shall have committed theft or done damage with his master’s knowledge, the action for damages is in the slave’s name.” Also it states that (1)” Whatever the people had last ordained should be held as binding by law.” These laws were actually very different from ours today, but the is a few things like some of the ideas about debt. Also some ideas about the court proceeding. There were eight different kinds of punishments a fine, fetters, flogging, retaliation in kind, cicil disgrace, banishment, slavery, and death. Those were listed form lightest to greatest. At first the laws were in the favor of the rich until they added the last two tables a year later. The originals that were created before 387, but they were probably destroyed when the Gallus invaded and burned down Rome in the invasion of 387 BC. So that is why they had to commission ten new people to write the new tables in 450 BC.
As we look back to Ancient Rome we see that there political system was the most advanced to any other. Thought the Brizintine empire also had a strong Brucrattacy almost as strong as Rome’s. If the Gallus hadn’t invaded Rome their political system and laws would have been stronger. Also Rome probably would have fallen later then 470 AD. It was for the better that they invaded Rome or Rome would have been even stronger and would have conquered even more. I think the politics caused Rome to fall. In all the roman Politics affected the world and Rome some how.
Foot notes: (1) http://www.csun.edu/ hcfll004/12tables.html