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History of Ancient Rome in the VII – VI Centuries B.C.

In ancient times, roman relations were preserved in Rome. The head of the clan, like the Greeks, was the father, the relatives had one name, which was produced on behalf of the ancestor. Aurelia, Valeria, Claudia, Cornelia, Fabia, Julia, Emilia and others are known from the most ancient clans. Members of the clan together owned the land and had a common burial place.

The population consisted of 300 clans. Each of the three tribes was a separate tribe. Only those who belonged to one of the clans could become members of the Roman people. An elder was chosen by all members of the clan, the council of elders ( senate ) was in charge of the community affairs. Subsequently, representatives of only one family of each clan began to be elected as elders, which led to the emergence of clan aristocracy and “patrician” families. On the contrary, poorer families represented a layer of slaves and people who were in different types of dependence, often similar to patriarchal slavery. The process of destruction of the clan organization was aggravated by the fact that in the territory of Rome that had expanded as a result of the conquests, Rome found itself with a new population from conquered, mostly Latin, and from outsiders who voluntarily settled in the city. These settlers, whose number grew, were called plebs – that is, many.

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The institute of clienteles, which arose in the same period, assumed the granting of patronage by noble people to outsiders who were not part of the Roman clans, or to representatives of impoverished families. Notable people became their patrons. The patron took the client into his own clan, gave him his name, allocated a part of the land, and defended him in court; the client ( faithful, obedient ) in all obeyed the patron, was obliged to participate with his family in the war. The institution of clienteles was distributed before the emergence of a formal government.

Successful raids on neighboring nations and large military booty contributed to the isolation of the military aristocracy, whose representatives constituted the Senate and elected the king. This national assembly, which gathered in curia, in which only male warriors had the right to take part, was called the curate comitia. They discussed, and then passed or rejected new bills, as well as elected senior officials, including the king. It was the highest judicial body in matters of imposing a death sentence on a Roman citizen, and its function also included a declaration of war. The royal kings combined the functions of a military leader and supreme judge. Being elected tribal leaders, they were not similar to the autocrats of the ancient Eastern despotisms.

The growth of the population of Rome led to the fact that the tribes ceased to record new members, and the newcomers became plebeians, who received land allotments from the Romans, but did not have the right to participate in the political life of the state. The plebeians were free, they achieved the right to private ownership of land, were engaged in trade and craft. In the process of mixing with the Roman clans and through the institute, the clienteles plebeians gradually joined the clan organization with limited rights. The rise of slavery, which has not yet received significant development, belongs to this period of Roman history. Slaves, used primarily in the household, were recruited from among the prisoners of war. So begins the class separation within the Roman community and its decomposition.

Reforms of Servius Tullius

The Epoch of Anka Marcia (6th century B.C.) was marked by the increasing influence of Etruscan culture on Rome. All subsequent kings were of Etruscan origin. Many Etruscan customs and beliefs are introduced into everyday life. Perhaps the Etruscans seized power in Rome. Soon after this, the struggle of the people against the clan aristocracy escalates, the cause of which could be the contradictions between the plebeians and the indigenous population of Rome.

During this period, the aristocracy by birth is replaced by the aristocracy of wealth (reforms of Servius Tullius). Introduced a new device of the Roman community (territorial and property principle). As a result, the territory of Rome was divided into 4 tribes, now representing the usual territorial districts, instead of the old tribal significance. It should be noted the inclusion of the plebeians in the political life of society and the weakening of the power of the Senate. The composition of the new tribes included the entire civilian population living in this territory, from among both the patricians and the plebeians (landowners of the district). Patricians and plebeians were divided into 5 classes on the basis of property. Military duties were assigned to each of the classes to set up a certain number of centurions – hundreds (infantrymen or horsemen); the distinction also concerned the quality of weapons. The political result of the reform was the ousting of comics -a meeting on the centuria, the majority in which belonged to the representatives of the upper classes.

The poor were not in any of the classes. They were named proletarians. This emphasized that all their property is only in the offspring.

In modern historical science, opinions are expressed that Servius was attributed to many establishments of a later period. In particular, it is pointed out that the conduct of a centuriate reform and the merging of patricians and plebeians into one people could take place no earlier than the 5th — 4th centuries B.C.

The fall of royal power

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The new social structure has led to the weakening of the power of the patrimonial patrician nobility and the collapse of the old order, in the place of which the bodies of state power arise. The inclusion of the plebeians in the community and the struggle against Etruscan domination strengthened the resistance of the kings. Discontent with the tyranny of the last Roman king Tarquinius Proud led to his overthrow and the formation of a republic. The expulsion of the king obviously symbolizes the liberation of Rome from Etruscan rule.


Momigliano A. The origins of Rome // The Cambridge Ancient History. Vol.7, part. 2. The Rise of Rome to 220 BC
Badak A.N., Voynich I.Ye., Volchek N.M. and others. “Ancient Rome”
by ed. A. G. Bokchanov and V. I. Kuzishchina. “The History of Ancient Rome”
L. Kofanov. 2001: The character of royal power in Rome of the VIII — VI centuries. BC

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