Roman Government


Western Civilization is forever indebted to the people of ancient Greece and Rome. Among the numerous contributions these societies made are in the fields of art, literature and philosophy; however, perhaps their greatest gift to future generations was the modern perception of government. The contemporary idea of democracy, while borne out of the political struggles in the city of Athens, came to fruition in the Roman Republic, surviving, despite the constant interference of the emperor, through the Roman Empire. Although the present definition of democracy has changed considerably, one must still recognize its early evolution in that eternal city, Rome.

More about: Roman Government


  • 753 BCE
    The legendary founding date of Rome.
  • 750 BCE - 510 BCE
    The (semi-mythological) seven kings of Rome: Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tulus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.
  • 509 BCE
    Foundation of the Roman Republic.
  • 494 BCE
    Traditional date the office of the tribuni plebis is created in Rome.
  • 450 BCE
    The number of Roman quaestors is increased to four and made open to plebians.
  • 450 BCE
    The laws of the 'Twelve Tables', the basis of Roman law, are compiled.
  • 449 BCE
    The Valerio-Horatian Laws establishes the tribal assemblies in Rome.
  • 443 BCE
    The position of censor is created in Rome.
  • c. 440 BCE
    Roman quaestors are chosen by the assembly rather than the consuls.
  • 367 BCE
    Law passed enabling Roman plebians to become consuls.
  • 367 BCE
    Position of aedile curule added for the patricians of Rome.
  • 367 BCE
    The Licino-Sextian rogations establish the office a third praetor; the original two are renamed consuls.
  • 366 BCE
    First Roman plebian consul named.
  • 339 BCE
    The leges Publilae decrees that one of Rome's two censors must be a plebeian.
  • c. 287 BCE
    The Lex Hotensia states that laws passed in Rome by the Concilium Plebis are binding to all people, even patricians.
  • 180 BCE
    The Lex Villia Annalis sets the minimum age of each magistracy in the Roman government.
  • 131 BCE
    Two plebeians hold the two positions of censor for the first time in Rome.
  • 106 BCE
    Roman statesman and orator Cicero is born.
  • 12 Jul 100 BCE - 15 Mar 44 BCE
    Life of Gaius Julius Caesar, founder of the Roman Empire.
  • 81 BCE
    Sulla significantly curbs the powers of the Roman tribuni plebis.
  • 70 BCE
    Pompey and Crassus are made consuls.
  • 70 BCE
    The powers of the tribuni plebis in Rome are reinstated.
  • 65 BCE
    Julius Caesar becomes aedile curule in Rome.
  • 60 BCE - 53 BCE
    First Triumvirate' between Caesar, Pompey and Crassus.
  • 55 BCE
    Marcus Licinius Crassus is made consul for the second time and departs on campaign in Parthia.
  • 44 BCE
    Caesar becomes dictator for life. On the 'Ides of March' (15th) he is killed by conspirators including Brutus and Cassius. Octavian, son of Caesars niece Atia, is posthumously adopted as his heir.
  • 43 BCE - 36 BCE
    Second Triumvirate: Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus (official approval by the Roman Senate). Mass proscriptions including Cicero.
  • 43 BCE
    Roman statesman and orator Cicero dies.
  • 42 BCE
    Octavian and Antony defeat Republicans under Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi (Greece).
  • 27 BCE
    Octavian is given extraordinary powers and the name Augustus by the Roman Senate.
  • c. 23 BCE
    Augustus takes over most of the powers of the tribuni plebis.
  • 22 BCE
    The last censor is elected in Rome.
  • 68 CE - 69 CE
    Year of the Four Emperors: Civil war in Rome.
  • 212 CE
    Roman citizenship granted to all inhabitants of the empire.
  • 285 CE
    The Roman empire is split into the Western and Eastern Roman empires.