The had the right to trade, acquire

 The following extract is said by Polybius in
his Book VI. In his books he gives a vast description of the rise of Rome to
power and it’s constitution. The Roman era can be categorized into three major
divisions, the monarchy, the Republic, and the Empire.  Rome during the monarchic years created and
developed institutions and trends of great importance for the future life of
the Roman people.Few civilizations have had the type of impact on the world
that the Romans did, though not perfect they contributed several things that
helped shape the Western world. In short Roman history is, a history of the
world and by studying Roman history, we can help identify problems, and come up
with solutions, that will make a better future. 
The exact history of the Roman transition from kinship to Republic is kind of
hazy. According to ancient tradition, the Romans overthrew Tarquin the proud
because of his tyrannical government and his son’s rape of a noble man’s
daughter. Her death, is said to have set off a violent revolution which
resulted in the expulsion of the Tarquins, and the abolition of the monarchy,
which led to the establishment of the Republic with fully developed
institutions of government. In this system two annually elected consuls, with
equal executive powers and the right to veto his colleague’s acts, assumed the
command of the King. This division and limitation of executive power was
designed to guard against tyranny. However in times of crisis one of the
consuls could, with the approval of the Senate, nominate a dictator, who then
would appoint a Master of the horse as his chief assistant, and together would
assume the power of both consuls. However the dictator would only be able to
rule for six months, after which he would return power to the consuls. (Starr,
The Emergence of Rome)
The early history of the Republic was dominated by the struggle between two
distinct social and political classes, the patricians and the plebeians. The
patricians simply put, were the nobles, while the plebeians on the other hand
were the mass of common Freeman and immigrants. Both classes enjoyed rights of
citizenship, but differed from each other in social and political privileges.
The Patricians monopolized all the early Senate and filled the priestly
colleges and other offices. (McDonald) Plebeians had the right to trade,
acquire property, and defend themselves in court. Also plebeians had the right
to vote, but it meant little in the actual government of the state. As the
years passed however, the plebeians influence in government affairs grew
substantially. The main reason for this was the military situation, which the
patricians clearly saw, could not be met without plebeian’s goodwill and
cooperation. (McDonald) The plebeians made most of the Roman army, and if the
partitions continued to suppress the plebeians, they would not fight, and
without an Army you don’t have any real power. As a social classes began work
together the Senate started to become more powerful. In earlier years the
Senate was merely advisory Council for the King, but as the Republic began to
take shape and the Constitution was developed, the Senate had higher influence
on internal policies. (Dudley)
As Rome put her own household in order it was better equipped to face the
problem of uniting the peninsula, and so began the conquest of Italy. During
the years 500 to 265 BC the Roman state extended its control to all of
peninsular Italy. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome) At this same time it became a
democracy, and it is around this time that the social barrier began to crumble.
The expansion abroad required general cooperation and unity at home, which
could not happen if the two classes did not work together. Shortly after 400
Rome captured and destroyed the nearest Etruscan city, Veii, only to fall
victim itself in 387 to an irruption of wild Gaul’s from North Italy.
(McDonald) With the Roman army defeated, Rome was sacked and burned, and the
Gaul’s left only after the payment of an indemnity. A defeat like this could
crumble many but the people of Rome remained and by 350 BC Rome regained its
lost prestige and power. (McDonald) With its base reestablished Rome preceded
over the next 85 years to conquer all Italy south of the Po Valley in a series
of stubborn wars. The Romans won by dividing the enemies politically and
geographically. In these wars the Roman armies were greatly improved by a
reorganization which made the basic infantry unit, the Legion, and articulated
group of small units which could fight in the mountains as well as the plains.
Rome was able to maintain alliances with conquered enemies by yielding control
of local affairs to each region. Rome showed remarkable liberality in granting
citizenship to subject states after they had proved their loyalty. (Starr, The
Emergence of Rome) In turn, Rome gained men for the Army. This sensible, and
practical characteristic goes far in explaining not only the initial conquest
but also the relatively easy acceptance of Roman rule. With Rome in control of
its immediate territory, the next step to expansion would be the Punic wars
with the great African empire, Carthage. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome)
Following the conquest of the greater part of Italy, Rome made her appearance
on the larger stage of the Mediterranean and world affairs. (Starr, The
Emergence of Rome) Considering her size, strength and military capability she
was already a great power, but she had not yet actually moved into the mainstream
of Hellenistic civilization, which dominated life from the Himalayas in the
East to the Atlantic sea in the West. Of all the great empires to come before
her, such as Egypt, Syria, or even Macedonia, it was Carthage that compelled
Rome to emerge from isolation. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome) Carthage had been
founded hundreds of years earlier by people from Phoenicia, which is why the
term Punic was sometimes used to describe the people of Carthage. The
Carthaginians were very good merchants and sailors. Their merchant ships traded
all over the Western Mediterranean and even beyond. They had war galleys sweep
the Mediterranean Sea and drive anyone else who tried to trade there. The
Romans on the other hand were farmers, and not merchants. They were soldiers,
not sailors. With these big differences there was no reason why the Romans and
the Carthaginians should quarrel, because they wanted entirely different
things. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome) The Mediterranean was simply not large
enough for both the Roman Republic, and the Carthaginian Empire. Which is why
the Punic wars occurred. And it is because of these wars that Rome became a
great empire, but not before these wars nearly saw the end of Rome.
Over the next 200 years or so, Rome would clash with Carthage, in a series of
three wars known as the Punic wars. The first Punic war was over the rights to
Sicily. Both wanted the island for commercial purposes. Carthage, because of
its grand Navy, was initially successful in the first Punic war. However Rome
eventually one and as a result Rome annexed Sicily to the Republic. The second
Punic war started because Carthage attacked a Rome ally in Spain. This war was
notable because of the general named Hannibal. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome)
Hannibal crossed the Italian Alps with elephants, and defeated Roman armies in
several major battles. But this war took the twist when Scorpio attacked the
Carthaginian homeland, and Hannibal was forced to retreat. By the end of the
second Punic war Carthaginian supremacy had ended and the rise of Rome truly
began. The third Punic war was, literally pointless. By now Carthage was
economically damaged and militarily weak. (McDonald) Rome still felt threatened
however, so Rome sent an army, and crushed the city of Carthage led by Scorpio.
Carthage would never recover from this devastation, and Rome remained
unchallenged and undisputed as leader of the Mediterranean.
With the Western Mediterranean firmly in control, the Roman Republic turned its
focus to the eastern Mediterranean. And after some battles with Macedonia and
other monarchies, the Empire began to grow steadily and with so much territory,
governing became hectic. Provinces began to rebel, the Senate was becoming
corrupt and even some Romans felt uneasy with the way things were being ran. A
new form of rule was on the horizon, something that many feared, and fought
against for many years. Rome was heading towards a dictatorship, and the new
age of the Emperor. This made people uneasy, especially the Senate. Many Romans
thought that people could not be free if a king were to exist. The word King
itself, reminded Romans of the Tarquins, and of Kings that they had defeated in
Africa and Asia. (Starr, The Ancient Romans)
After much debate, and the murder of Julius Caesar, the great nephew of Caesar
rose to power. (Encyclopedia) Octavian is usually thought to have been the
first Roman Emperor. Octavian, later to be known as Augustus Caesar was not a
great general, he was however very clever at politics, and at persuading other
people to do as he wanted. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome) Octavian knew that
the first thing the ruler of Rome had to do was to make sure that he commanded
the army, and he had to make sure that the army remained loyal by treating the
soldiers well. Unlike some of his predecessors Octavian did not make the
mistake of thinking this was enough. He wanted his control over the army to be
legal. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome) And he knew that the best way to do this
was to get the Senate to help him. So instead of trying to get rid of the
Senate, he did the opposite. He did everything in his power to be polite to the
Senate and to see that the senators were given dignified and well-paid jobs.
Because Octavian was ready to make things easy for the Senate, the Senate
cooperated and made things easy for Octavian. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome) He
did the same with the assembly of the Roman people in the form. In return
Octavian was given the powers and privileges of the Tribune and also legally
earn command of the Army. Octavian in many ways kept the old republic intact,
at least it would seem that way, he did however have control of the Army and
could have done as he pleased at any moment. But this is not his style of
leadership which is why he was so successful. (Starr, The Emergence of Rome)
Struggle for political power is a narrow thing, justified by the scope that it
may allow for broader government and social development. (McDonald) The Romans
of the Republic had conquered other people’s and then turn their strength in
words on the state, as Rome expanded in size and complexity at home as abroad
except no compromise, no defeat, and so the issue of power was fought to the
bitter end. Yet all the time that practical genius was training experience into
method, which could be applied to defense, administration, and territorial
growth. Octavian took control the hard Roman way, The Way, Caesar would have,
but he adapted Pompey’s precedents for high command, and he accepted what he
was taught about the quality of Italian support. (McDonald) Octavian can be
credited with bringing the first peace that the Romans had felt in a long
Just as there is a lot of achievements in Roman history, there are also a lot
of failures. Through trial and error Rome contributed to the world many systems
and ideas that are still used today. Had the Romans not first experienced these
things, who knows where we would be today? Even though the major history of
Rome can be considered tyrannical, the glory years as historians call them, highlight
checks and balances and education. These two influences our major foundation in
United States society. 
The Roman Republic left a form of government similar to the democracy of
Greece, however the Roman way was able to govern large bodies of people. Rome
used a representation method, where senators representing groups of people
allowing for a democracy encompassing a very large population. (Dudley) This
type of government was meant to prevent the development of a monarchy and it
succeeded in doing so up until the rise of Augustus Caesar. It contained checks
and balances that ensured that power was not too highly concentrated, sort of
like the government the in the United States of America. Unfortunately Rome
became too large for its own good, and at that point in time and Empire was
needed to see through the success of the nation. Had the Roman Republic had the
technology we have today, there is a great possibility that it would’ve
remained a Republic. Nonetheless it left behind a form of government, which
would be mimicked by several nations that followed. The gift of a good
democracy was a priceless gift to the Western world, it allowed large
populations to have a say in political issues, and have a sense of nationality.


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