Essay Political Roman Social Thematic Thought
At that time, Rome was really just in control of Rome and over time, especially during the republic period, it starts to expand and eventually have hegemony or dominant power over the Mediterranean or parts of the Middle East, I should say, and in southern Europe. And what I'm about to draw actually stays true through most of Roman civilization.
If this white circle are the people who lived under Roman rule, only a subset were citizens. These were male landowners, citizens right over here.
They had a lot of power, all the power resided in them, they were the executive, the legislative, they were the judicial, they even had religious power.
But it's interesting to think of the idea of elected kings. Several of them were dynastic but it is an interesting idea.
And under the king, the king had most of the power, but once the Roman republic gets established, it's actually the Senate where most of the power resides.
Now, this right over here, is a depiction, that came much later, of the Roman Senate.
So one interesting thing is that when we typically think of kings, we think of it as being dynastic, that if I am king, then my oldest son, or maybe in certain cultures, my oldest daughter might become king or queen.
They might have been people who at least the authorities thought they committed a crime of some kind. So you had a large segment of the population that had no rights, that were considered slaves.
And so, whenever you have something this long lasting, you could imagine the social and the political structures evolved over time.
But let's begin with the period when it was a kingdom, because even then there were some things that were noteworthy and some social and political structures that continued into the republic period and even when it was an empire.
And, as we'll see, over the patricians held most of the power and most of the wealth for a significant amount of time.
But as we go through the republic period, the plebians start to gain more and more and more power and many plebians also start to accrue wealth and some patrician families do end up poor.