Roman Government: Monarchy, Principate and Empire

Roman Government: Monarchy, Principate and Empire

Rome’s system of government changed several times over the course of it’s rise and fall as a major power. In it’s early days Rome had kings. This system was replaced to stop tyrants taking control and replaced with a system known as the Principate. Later, at the height of Rome’s power, individuals rose to prominence and the system reverted to one of a royal, or imperial, family.

From 753 to 509BC, Rome was ruled by Kings. It then became a Republic because the people of Rome didn’t like the way that King Tarquinius had ruled: they said he was a TYRANT (Nasty and greedy man).

The REPUBLIC (a country without a King or Emperor) was set up to make sure that there weren’t any more Tyrants in charge of Rome. In the Republic there were different parts of the Government. The Three main parts of the government were the Senate, the consuls and the Assemblies.

The Senate was a bit like our parliament. People were elected by citizens and they had a discussion then voted to decide what should and should not happen. The Senators (people in the senate) elected two consuls to act as leaders. These men decided what would be discussed and had a lot of extra powers. The people though had a lot of power as they could vote to say yes or no to decisions at an Assembly.

An Assembly was a gathering of Roman citizens. At these gatherings the citizens discussed new Laws and voted on them to decide whether or not they should become Law. The citizens also elected new senators and consuls at these meetings. The rich had more votes than the other citizens so power was not shared equally. Rich citizens had more political power. Those without vote- women, slaves and those people born in the provinces- had the least power.

The Roman Republic lasted for more than 450 years until Octavian became Emperor (he later changed his name to Augustus).

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