THE RISE OF THE ROMAN REPUBLIC SS.6.W.3.8&10 and SS.6.C.1.2 ROME UNDER ETRUSCAN RULE Between 616 and 509 B.C.E., the Etruscans ruled Rome. During this time, Roman society was divided into 2 classes. Patricians: upper-class, usually wealthy landowners Plebeians: lower-class, mostly peasants, laborers, craftspeople, and shopkeepers The word plebeians comes from the plebs, which means many. Plebeians made up about 95% of Rome’s population. THE PATRICIANS CREATE A REPUBLIC Over time, the patricians came to resent Etruscan rule, and in 509 B.C.E., they revolted and drove out the last Etruscan king. They created a republic where elected officials work for the interests of the people. Most of the power was in the hands of the Senate, an elected body of 300 patricians who served for life. 2 elected leaders, called consuls, shared command of the army. THE PLEBEIANS REBEL In the early republic, patricians held all the power, and because laws were not written down, they often changed or interpreted them to benefit themselves. Angry over their lack of power, in 494 B.C.E., the plebeians marched out of Rome and camped on a nearby hill refusing to come back until their demands were met. Without the plebeians, the patricians feared that the army would be helpless if an enemy struck Rome, so they compromised, THE PLEBEIANS GAIN EQUALITY The patricians agreed to let the plebeians elect officials called Tribunes of the Plebs. Other rights came to the plebeians slowly. In 451 B.C.E., the plebeians demanded that laws be written down so the patricians could not change them at will. In 367 B.C.E., a law was passed saying that 1 of the 2 Roman consuls had to be a plebeian. Finally, in 287 B.C.E., the plebeians gained the right to pass laws for all Roman citizens.