Roman monarchy


The Roman monarchy was the first governmental organization that Rome had, from its founding in 753 BC until the end of the monarchy in 509 BC when its last king, Tarquin the Proud, was overthrown. Then the republic of Rome emerged. Very little is known about this period in the history of Rome, since no type of written document of that time is preserved. The stories that have been told about her were written during the Republic of Rome and the Roman Empire.

What is known of the Roman monarchy has been based basically on the stories of Virgil and Livy. Below are the most outstanding characteristics of it:

  • During this period Rome was ruled by seven kings, who were members of the two most important dynasties of Rome: the Etruscan and the Latin.
  • The Latin dynasty was made up of the kings: Romulus, Tulio Hostilio, Numa Pompilio and Anco Marcio. The Etruscan dynasty was made up of: Tarquin the Ancient, Servius Tulio and Tarquin the Superb.
  • The first king of Rome was Romulus since he was the one who founded it, the other kings that followed were chosen by the people to rule for life. None of these kings could use force to obtain the throne. This is why historians reiterate that kings were chosen for their virtues and not for succession.

Regarding its political organization, the monarchy was based on three elements:

  • The king, who was the maximum ruler, assuming at the same time, the positions of military chief, supreme priest and judge. The senate was responsible for choosing, by popular assembly, the future king.
  • The popular assembly: which was composed of all citizens, was requested by the king, for the approval or rejection of laws, by absolute approval.
  • The Senate: this was made up of elderly patricians, heads of families. His job was to give advice to the king and announce the aspirants to the throne. This did represent a lifetime charge.

Socially the monarchy, presented four social classes:

1. The patricians: these were the aristocrats of the time and enjoyed all rights. They had many pretenses since they considered themselves descendants of the founders of Rome.

2. The commoners: it was the largest class, here were the freedmen, foreigners, vagrants and in general all those who inhabited the dominated cities. The commoners were engaged in commerce, agriculture and industry, for which they were obliged to cancel taxes.

3. The clients: they were those who were under the protection of a family head, who offered them a place to live and a piece of land to grow their food, since they were very poor.

4. Slaves: this social class was made up of individuals bought in the markets or by prisoners of war, they were treated as animals or objects, they were assigned the most inhumane tasks.

The economy was based on agriculture, commerce and livestock.