A report on Plebeians

Ruins of insulae
Plebes (first-year students) marching in front of Bancroft Hall, United States Naval Academy

In ancient Rome, the plebeians (also called plebs) were the general body of free Roman citizens who were not patricians, as determined by the census, or in other words "commoners".

- Plebeians
Ruins of insulae

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Romulus and his brother, Remus, with the she-wolf. Romulus is credited with creating the patrician class.

Patrician (ancient Rome)

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The patricians (from patricius) were originally a group of ruling class families in ancient Rome.

The patricians (from patricius) were originally a group of ruling class families in ancient Rome.

Romulus and his brother, Remus, with the she-wolf. Romulus is credited with creating the patrician class.

The social structure of Ancient Rome revolved around the distinction between the patricians and the plebeians.

Territories of the Roman civilization:

Ancient Rome

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In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman civilization from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. It encompasses the Roman Kingdom (753–509 BC), Roman Republic (509–27 BC) and Roman Empire (27 BC–476 AD) until the fall of the western empire.

In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman civilization from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. It encompasses the Roman Kingdom (753–509 BC), Roman Republic (509–27 BC) and Roman Empire (27 BC–476 AD) until the fall of the western empire.

Territories of the Roman civilization:
A fresco from Pompeii depicting the foundation of Rome. Sol riding in his chariot; Mars descending from the sky to Rhea Silvia lying in the grass; Mercury shows to Venus the she-wolf suckling the twins; in the lower corners of the picture: river-god Tiberinus and water-goddess Juturna. 35-45 CE
Territories of the Roman civilization:
According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, who were raised by a she-wolf
Etruscan painting; dancer and musicians, Tomb of the Leopards, in Tarquinia, Italy
This bust from the Capitoline Museums is traditionally identified as a portrait of Lucius Junius Brutus, Roman bronze sculpture, 4th to late 3rd centuries BC
Italy (as defined by today's borders) in 400 BC.
One of the most famous Roman sieges was that of the Celtiberian stronghold of Numantia in present north-central Spain by Scipio Aemilianus in 133 BC
Roman bronze bust of an unknown man, traditionally identified as Scipio Africanus the Elder from the Naples National Archaeological Museum (Inv. No. 5634), dated to mid 1st century BC Excavated from the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum by Karl Jakob Weber, 1750–65
Gaius Marius, a Roman general and politician who dramatically reformed the Roman military
Portrait bust formerly identified as Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Landing of the Romans in Kent, 55 BC: Caesar with 100 ships and two legions made an opposed landing, probably near Deal. After pressing a little way inland against fierce opposition and losing ships in a storm, he retired back across the English Channel to Gaul from what was a reconnaissance in force, only to return the following year for a more serious invasion.
The Battle of Actium, by Laureys a Castro, painted 1672, National Maritime Museum, London
The Augustus of Prima Porta, 1st century AD, depicting Augustus, the first Roman emperor
Extent of the Roman Empire under Augustus. The yellow legend represents the extent of the Republic in 31 BC, the shades of green represent gradually conquered territories under the reign of Augustus, and pink areas on the map represent client states; areas under Roman control shown here were subject to change even during Augustus' reign, especially in Germania.
Bust of Vespasian, founder of the Flavian dynasty
The Roman Empire reached its greatest extent under Trajan in AD 117
The Justice of Trajan (fragment) by Eugène Delacroix
Map showing the location of Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall in Scotland and Northern England
The Pantheon, Rome, built during the reign of Hadrian, which still contains the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the world
The Severan Tondo, c. 199, Severus, Julia Domna, Caracalla and Geta, whose face is erased
Bust of Caracalla from the Capitoline Museums, Rome
The Roman Empire suffered internal schisms, forming the Palmyrene Empire and the Gallic Empire
A Roman follis depicting the profile of Diocletian
The Aula Palatina of Trier, Germany (then part of the Roman province of Gallia Belgica), a Christian basilica built during the reign of Constantine I (r. 306–337 AD)
The Roman Forum, the political, economic, cultural, and religious center of the city during the Republic and later Empire
The Orator, c. 100 BC, an Etrusco-Roman bronze statue depicting Aule Metele (Latin: Aulus Metellus), an Etruscan man wearing a Roman toga while engaged in rhetoric; the statue features an inscription in the Etruscan language
Representation of a sitting of the Roman Senate: Cicero attacks Catilina, from a 19th-century fresco
Modern replica of lorica segmentata–type armor, worn in conjunction with the chainmail popular after the 1st century AD
Roman tower (reconstruction) at Limes – Taunus / Germany
Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus, c. 122 BC; the altar shows two Roman infantrymen equipped with long scuta and a cavalryman with his horse. All are shown wearing chain mail armour.
A Roman naval bireme depicted in a relief from the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia in Praeneste (Palastrina), which was built c. 120 BC; exhibited in the Pius-Clementine Museum (Museo Pio-Clementino) in the Vatican Museums.
Workers at a cloth-processing shop, in a painting from the fullonica of Veranius Hypsaeus in Pompeii
View of Trajan's Market, built by Apollodorus of Damascus
A gold glass portrait of a family from Roman Egypt. The Greek inscription on the medallion may indicate either the name of the artist or the pater familias who is absent in the portrait.
The seven hills of Rome
Punishment of Ixion: in the center is Mercury holding the caduceus and on the right Juno sits on her throne. Behind her Iris stands and gestures. On the left is Vulcan (blond figure) standing behind the wheel, manning it, with Ixion already tied to it. Nephele sits at Mercury's feet; a Roman fresco from the eastern wall of the triclinium in the House of the Vettii, Pompeii, Fourth Style (60–79 AD).
Frescoes from the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii, Italy, Roman artwork dated to the mid-1st century BC
Woman playing a kithara, from the Villa Boscoreale, 40–30 BC
A boy holding a platter of fruits and what may be a bucket of crabs, in a kitchen with fish and squid, on the June panel from a mosaic depicting the months (3rd century)
Mosaic of "Big Game" hunters, Sicily, 4th century AD
Gladiator combat was strictly a spectator sport. This mosaic shows combatants and referee, from the villa at Nennig, Germany, c. 2nd–3rd century AD.
The "bikini girls" mosaic, showing women playing sports, from the Villa Romana del Casale, Roman province of Sicilia (Sicily), 4th century AD
Pont du Gard in France is a Roman aqueduct built in c. 19 BC. It is a World Heritage Site.
The Appian Way (Via Appia), a road connecting the city of Rome to the southern parts of Italy, remains usable even today
A vomitorium at the Roman amphitheatre in Trier
Rome and Carthage possession changes during the Punic Wars
Carthaginian possessions
Roman possessions

The magistracies were originally restricted to patricians, but were later opened to common people, or plebeians.

The Secession of the People to the Mons Sacer, engraving by B. Barloccini, 1849.

Tribune of the plebs

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The Secession of the People to the Mons Sacer, engraving by B. Barloccini, 1849.

Tribune of the plebs, tribune of the people or plebeian tribune (tribunus plebis) was the first office of the Roman state that was open to the plebeians, and was, throughout the history of the Republic, the most important check on the power of the Roman Senate and magistrates.

First-century AD bust of Cicero in the Capitoline Museums, Rome

Cicero

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Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during the political crises that led to the establishment of the Roman Empire.

Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher, and academic skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during the political crises that led to the establishment of the Roman Empire.

First-century AD bust of Cicero in the Capitoline Museums, Rome
First-century AD bust of Cicero in the Capitoline Museums, Rome
The Young Cicero Reading by Vincenzo Foppa (fresco, 1464), now at the Wallace Collection
Arpino, Italy, birthplace of Cicero
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Cicero's death (France, 15th century)
The Vengeance of Fulvia by Francisco Maura y Montaner, 1888 depicting Fulvia inspecting the severed head of Cicero
Cicero about age 60, from a marble bust
Henry VIII's childhood copy of De Officiis, bearing the inscription in his hand, "Thys boke is myne Prynce Henry"
Marci Tullii Ciceronis Opera Omnia (1566)

Terentia's family was wealthy, probably the plebeian noble house of Terenti Varrones, thus meeting the needs of Cicero's political ambitions in both economic and social terms.

Chart showing the checks and balances of the Constitution of the Roman Republic.

Plebeian Council

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The principal assembly of the common people of the ancient Roman Republic.

The principal assembly of the common people of the ancient Roman Republic.

Chart showing the checks and balances of the Constitution of the Roman Republic.
Image depicting the engraving of the Twelve Tables

It functioned as a legislative/judicial assembly, through which the plebeians (commoners) could pass legislation (called plebiscites), elect plebeian tribunes and plebeian aediles, and try judicial cases.

Romulus and his twin brother Remus from a 15th-century frieze, Certosa di Pavia

Romulus

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The legendary founder and first king of Rome.

The legendary founder and first king of Rome.

Romulus and his twin brother Remus from a 15th-century frieze, Certosa di Pavia
Roman Denarius with Romulus as Quirinus
Romulus marking the city's boundaries with a plough
The Asylum (Inter duos Lucos)
The rape of the Sabine women
Romulus dedicating the temple to Jupiter Feretrius
The Battle of the Lacus Curtius
The death of Titus Tatius in Laurentium
Romulus appearing to Proculus Julius
The Pride of Romulus
Ratto delle Sabine "The Rape of the Sabines", Il Sodoma (1507)
L'Enlèvement des Sabines "The Abduction of the Sabines", Nicolas Poussin (1638)
The Rape of the Sabine Women, Peter Paul Rubens (1634–36)
Ratto delle Sabine "Rape of the Sabines", Giambologna (1583)
Ratto delle Sabine "The Rape of the Sabines", Jacopo Ligozzi (c.1565-1627)
L'Enlèvement des Sabines "The Abduction of the Sabines", Attributed to Theodoor van Thulden (17th c.)
"The Rape of the Sabine Women", Sebastiano Ricci (c. 1700)
Der Raub der Sabinerinnen "The Rape of the Sabine Women", Johann Heinrich Schönfeld (1640)
The Rape Of The Sabines – The Abduction, Charles Christian Nahl (1870)
The Rape Of The Sabines – The Captivity, Charles Christian Nahl (1871)
The Rape Of The Sabines – The Invasion, Charles Christian Nahl (1871)
The Vestal Virgin Tarpeia Beaten by Tatius’ soldiers Il Sodoma (16th c.)
Tarpeia's punishment, Pentelic marble fragment from the Frieze of the Basilica Aemilia (100 BC-100 AD
Reconstruction of Basilica Aemilia Frieze marble fragment
Tarpeia, Illustration from Pictura loquens "the Heroic Accounts of Hadrian Schoonebeeck" (1695) (14751427905)
Tarpeia conspires with Tatius in an illustration from The story of the Romans by Hélène Adeline Guerber (1896)
Print from Romolo ed Ersilia, final scene, Act 3, Artist;: Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Engraver: Francesco Bartolozzi (1781)
Hersilia from a detail of Les Sabines "The Intervention of the Sabine Women", Jacques-Louis David (1799)
Ersilia separa Romolo da Tazio "Hersilia Separating Romulus and Tatius, Guercino (1645)
Version by Étienne-Barthélémy Garnier, now in the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, Paris.
Version by Girodet, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Angers.
Version by Jacques Réattu, now in the Musée Réattu, Arles.
"Apparition of Romulus before Proculus", Rubens (17th c.)

The other class, known as the "plebs" or "plebeians", consisted of the servants, freedmen, fugitives who sought asylum at Rome, those captured in war, and others who were granted Roman citizenship over time.

Bust of Crassus, in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

Marcus Licinius Crassus

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Roman general and statesman who played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

Roman general and statesman who played a key role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

Bust of Crassus, in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
Bust of Crassus, in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen
A Roman marble head of the triumvir Marcus Licinius Crassus, mid-1st century BC, Grand Palais, Paris
A Roman bust of Pompey the Great made during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), a copy of an original bust from 70 to 60 BC, Venice National Archaeological Museum, Italy
From left to right: Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Pompey the Great
Denarius minted by Publius Licinius Crassus, son of the triumvir Marcus, as monetalis in 55 BC; on the obverse is a laureate bust of Venus, perhaps in honor of his commanding officer Julius Caesar; on the reverse is an unidentified female figure, perhaps representing Gaul
"The torture of Crassus," 1530s, Louvre

Marcus Licinius Crassus was a member of the gens Licinia, an old and highly respected plebeian family in Rome.

1st century AD bust of Pompey, after an original from 55–50 BC

Pompey

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Leading Roman general and statesman.

Leading Roman general and statesman.

1st century AD bust of Pompey, after an original from 55–50 BC
A view of Monte Conero in Marche, Italy (formerly Picenum), birthplace of Pompey
Roman statue putatively depicting Pompey, at the Villa Arconati a Castellazzo di Bollate (Milan, Italy), brought from Rome in 1627 by Galeazzo Arconati
Marble bust of Pompey at the Louvre, Paris
Modern bust of Pompey in the Residenz, Munich
A Roman portrait of Crassus, Pompey's political rival turned begrudging ally, in the Musée du Louvre, Paris
A denarius of Pompey minted in 49–48 BC
A tetradrachm of Tigranes II the Great of Armenia, minted at Antioch, 83–69 BC
Pompey in the Temple of Jerusalem, a miniature by Jean Fouquet, 15th century
The bust of Mithridates of Pontus in the Louvre, Paris
Judea (shown in blue) under Hyrcanus II in 63 BC, having been reduced to a small vassal as Pompey annexed the north for Rome (shown in red)
A modern bust of Pompey, restored in the 17th century with a black marble base, Vaux-le-Vicomte, France
18th-century depiction of the third triumph
From left to right: Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Pompey the Great
The Tusculum portrait, a bust of Julius Caesar in the Archaeological Museum of Turin, Italy
A Roman bust of Pompey the Great made during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD), a copy of an original bust from 70 to 60 BC, Venice National Archaeological Museum, Italy
The Flight of Pompey after Pharsalus, by Jean Fouquet
Roman bust of Cleopatra VII of Ptolemaic Egypt, mid-1st century BC, Altes Museum, Antikensammlung Berlin, showing Cleopatra with a "melon" hairstyle and Hellenistic royal diadem worn over the head
Theodotus shows Caesar the head of Pompey; etching, 1820
The head of Pompey on a denarius minted in 40 BC by his son Sextus Pompeius Magnus Pius

Plutarch's reference to Pompey's "devot[ing] himself more to the people than to the senate" was related to a measure regarding the plebeian tribunes, the representatives of the plebeians.

Lex Canuleia

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The lex Canuleia (‘Canuleian law’), or lex de conubio patrum et plebis, was a law of the Roman Republic, passed in the year 445 BC, restoring the right of conubium (marriage) between patricians and plebeians.

A 16th-century painting by Sandro Botticelli, depicting the rape of Lucretia and the subsequent uprising.

Overthrow of the Roman monarchy

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Event in ancient Rome that took place between the 6th and 5th centuries BC where a political revolution replaced the then-existing Roman monarchy under Lucius Tarquinius Superbus with a republic.

Event in ancient Rome that took place between the 6th and 5th centuries BC where a political revolution replaced the then-existing Roman monarchy under Lucius Tarquinius Superbus with a republic.

A 16th-century painting by Sandro Botticelli, depicting the rape of Lucretia and the subsequent uprising.
The Capitoline Brutus, an ancient Roman bust in the Capitoline Museums, is traditionally identified as a portrait of Lucius Junius Brutus.
A coin depicting Lucius Junius Brutus, minted by his descendant Marcus Junius Brutus during his term as triumvir monetalis in 54 BC.

The Roman noblemen, led by Lucius Junius Brutus, obtain the support of the Roman aristocracy and the people to expel the king and his family and create a republic.