The Romans' Struggle Of Orders

The Romans' Struggle Of Orders

The clash between the social classes in Rome erupted into a historical divide.

The Struggle of Orders was a social conflict between the Roman aristocracy (patricians) and the Roman commoners (plebeians). The clash between social classes began due to the plebeians' desire to have greater political representation in government and protection from avaricious aristocrats. The problem stemmed from economic troubles the commoners faced as wheat farmers. Wheat farming on the same land every year led to the depletion of soil nutrients, and thus, the farmers had to move to new land to replant the crops in fresh soil until eventually, the soil worsened over time. The farmers' income sharply declined over a short period of time whereas Rome as a whole was still experiencing a population boom — hence the disparity in population size and lack of resources threw the plebeians into a panic. Over time, the farmers borrowed money from the patricians to continue producing enough food to last until the next planting season, but the dying nature of farm work prevented the commoners from paying back their debts. The result was that nearly all the farmers of Rome were in debt to the Roman aristocracy.

The patricians chose to regain their wealth by condemning the plebeians into “nexum” — debt slavery.

Commoners were appalled by the punishment they’d have to pay for their debts, so they gave careful thought to the circumstances Rome was in before making their next move. In the midst of the Struggle of Orders, Rome was also preoccupied in a conflict of sorts with their neighbors, the Etruscans. The patricians required the protection of the commoners who not only labored as farmers but also served as the backbone of the Roman army. The plebeian foot soldiers realized the physical power they held in their hands and chose to walk away from the problem — literally. The foot soldiers marched outside of Rome, refused to shield the aristocrats and demanded political and economic reformation in exchange for Rome’s protection. The strike terrified the vulnerable patricians who immediately agreed to the plebeians’ request. Thus, began Rome’s reform.

The Struggle of Order continued well into the 400s as the commoner class fought and won numerous victories in the tussle for legislative equality between the social classes.

For instance, in 471 B.C.E., the plebeians attained their very own assembly which issued regulations pertaining only to the lower class. The law, in itself, was still unknown to the majority of the commoners who understood that they would need to grasp the workings of the government and its judicial system if the commoner class were to obtain any rights. Consequently, the laws were written down onto 12 tablets in 449 B.C.E. which lessened the aristocrats’ control over legal matters. Now, in court cases, the accuser would have to cite which statue they were accusing the defendant by, and the accused would have the right to know. A lawyer was still required in order to navigate the legal system, but this systematic move ensured the protection of the plebeian rights in court.

Yet another issue the plebeians faced was their exclusion from the Roman Senate.

In response, an association known as the office of tribune was established with the legislative branch of Rome. The tribune office was entrusted with the power to veto any legislation the senate declared that would hurt the commoner class in any way. The office was also given the power to call the senate to order and allow plebeians to meet with the tribunes at any given time to express complaints. Although the tribune office lacked any legislative power itself, this aspect was later reformed as well. Furthermore, despite the fact that the tribunes were part of the wealthiest class the plebeians had, they were unable to run as senators.

To be a senator, the individual would have to be a member of the upper class — an impossible occurrence for plebeians because the law did not permit commoners to intermarry with patricians. The law was changed, but social prejudice further encouraged legislation to rule that plebeians who had married into the upper class could not serve as senators. The year 367 B.C.E. brought another victory for the commoner class. Chief magistrates who were originally composed of individuals from the upper class now required at least one of their members to be a commoner. The following years produced more councils governed by plebeians. Finally, in 267 B.C.E., the ultimate triumph of the lower class was achieved through the Lex Hortensia, which acknowledged all Romans — plebeian or patrician — equal under the law.

All rulings issued by the plebeian assembly would now hold power over both the lower and upper class.

It became the new elite governing force which marked the end of the Struggle of Orders as Rome became a unified force. Rome’s social unionization strengthened their power in their conflict against the Italian peninsula. Rome met the series of external threats as the prevailing victor. The Samnian and Oskan folk both eventually came under the rule of Rome, and the alliances gave Rome a greater hold on the lands around them. The Romans’ series of victories were brought to a halt by the Greeks, but the Greeks — having faced a severe loss of men and supplies — chose to go back home rather than conquer the defeated force.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.


Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

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