Name: Kasthury
Block: Block G

Roman Laws and Rules were one of the most important things to the Romans. The laws and rules were considered guidelines for the Romans to live. They were made to control the people and made sure there was unity in the country. The Roman laws and rules existed since 753 BC. The main two grouping amongst the people of Rome were Plebeians and Patricians. The Plebeians were the slaves. They had no rights and someone else owned them. Usually aristocracies who owned various pieces of land and needed workers to work for them, owned them.

Slaves could not be part of a party or any groups. They could not own any property either. Slaves were not citizens and therefore being a citizen was like living in heaven compared to being a slave. Citizenship was important so you could vote, be respected and use private laws. If you were non-citizens, it meant you were a slave, inhabitant of Rome, or you were members of neighboring territories. Foreigners had no rights at all. One way of finding out if the person was a slave is to judge what they wore. Slaves did not wear togas and only citizens were allowed to wear a toga.

There were legislation laws, family laws, army laws, trading laws, assembly laws and laws to make other new laws. There were numerous laws that were created by different rulers at different time periods. Every time a new ruler came to control, new laws were made. They were made to suit the taste of the new rulers. For a law to be made, it needed to be discussed in two groups.

The first group would be the plebeians, the slaves. They discussed their problems and new laws made in an assembly called Plebiscita. The governor was present at both the Plebiscita and the assembly the patricians had. All the governors as well as the lawyers and other aristocracies discussed the conflicts that may rise if the law was made and if it was really necessary for the law to be made. The news was delivered to the ruler and he would declare if the new laws were made. In 31BC, the assemblies did not at once cease to function. Citizens went to the assemblies the Patricians held.

The most important legislation was the “12 tables” which was made in 451BC-450BC. Second type of written law was of the edicts, created in 367BC. This rule was created to control the expanding legal work including citizens. Third type of written law was the senate. This law was created to help the emperor when a lot of proposals were given to the emperor to examine. The forth type of written law was when the emperor comes up with a solution at that moment. The last types of written laws were answers to legal questions. Legal questions were questions that were asked by learned lawyers.

In AD527, emperor Justinian changed the laws and grouped them in a new way. He wasn’t happy with how the old laws were grouped. His opinion was that they were a great confusion to the people of Rome and himself. He added laws and removed certain laws.

He grouped them as old laws and new laws. The old laws consisted of all the old laws written before he came to rule. It also consisted of the writings of the jurists. The new laws consisted of the middle and later stages of the empire. There were many ways the rules and laws were grouped. In the earlier times rules were classified as written and unwritten laws. Written law is not religious beliefs and are rules created specially to control the people. The unwritten law is the group with laws made after religious beliefs.

After the new grouping, Justinian appointed ten commissioners who went through the laws and saw which law was really needed and which law wasn’t really needed. He ended the first process in 529AD. In 533AD he published all the laws in to a fifty book series, and chose sixteen lawyers to perform that specific task. Between 534AD and 565AD, Justinian made new laws called constitutions.

The Romans were a republic for almost 500 years (until 27B.C.). In total, Rome had over 100 emperors in all. The first emperor was Augustus. The highest position was the emperor or ruler position, after that the senate position and under that were the governors. Under all this people were the citizens. The higher positions were all taken over by the Patricians. When a new law was in the process of making, the first one to decide if the law passed was the ruler or emperor. The plebeians discussed their problems and new laws at an assembly held especially for them. Another type of assembly was held for the citizens and the patricians. All the discussions were brought to the assembly for the higher positioned people and the government to examine them.

Some of the well-known rulers were Julius Caesar and Octavian. To this day some of the Roman laws are still in use and in function in different countries around the world. Maybe now, the rules are a bit different and modified but still very effective. Laws and rules are still being made in the same way in the Untied States just like it was made in Ancient Rome.




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