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A deeper look into the Roman society

Struggle of the orders
The Romans society was deeply divided into 3 orders:

Bit by bit the plebeians would "conquer" the offices. I write conquer because these could be sometimes very vicious and violant actions (from both sides). In time there would arise plebeian nobles, who would hold offices like the patricians.

Elected Roman magistrates

Roman senatorDuring the republican era the Roman society was governed by elected magistrates.

Most of the magistrates who governed Rome were elected every year. Most of these functions were doubled: a direct consequence of the Roman aversion to kings and the fear of the return of a kingdom.

From the early republic on the priesthood was firmly in the hands of the patricians (Patres). Since the Roman people were very willing to listen to the will of the gods, all of the Roman society was "under control" of the patricians.
 For example: When a consul was elected, his appointment needed approval of the gods by means of an augury.
see for instance Livius (22.33) or Livius (23.31)

At the eve of the battle of lake Trasimeno elected consul Gaius Flaminius left Rome  to take command of his legions in Arretium, before the auguries had been held.
This was seen as a very bad prodigy  and the senate was furious.


Struggle of the orders
In the late republic some of these priesthoods became also accessible for plebeians..

Roman families
Roman society was very paternalistic. The pater familias was more than just the head of his family.  The female members of this family were thought to be far less important and competent than the males. If a family wasn't totally poor it would have at leat one slave.

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