The Senate and the people of Rome
Laww, order, and administration
in A writer’s guide to Ancient Rome
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The legal system or government covered in the Roman era is twofold: the Republic in the earlier period (509–27 BCE) and the Principate or Empire in the later (27 BCE – 235 CE). The first section of this chapter discusses the set-up of Republican government – the main magistrates, Senate, assembly and their roles and functions. Key players exemplify significant moments in Republican history (for example, the Gracchi Brothers, Pompey, Julius Caesar). The civils wars and transition to the Empire will be discussed briefly with the conflict between Antony and Octavian. Octavian/Augustus’s transformation of the Republic into single-man rule are discussed as he re-created Roman political institutions – the magistrates, Senate, and assembly remained, but there were no more elections; the role of the mob in politics in both eras is discussed here. The main dynasties or imperial divisions and their characteristics are discussed. Roman law is discussed in brief, including foreign policy and treatment of allies and conquered states.

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