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.

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Life Of A Science/Health Major As Told By The Cast Of "Grey's Anatomy"

Study. Mental breakdown. Repeat

The science/health major is easily one of the hardest majors out there (don’t get offended math majors, we know yours is hard too.) Science/health majors include biology, pre-med biochemistry, chemistry, physical therapy, nursing, pharmacy, zoology, nutrition science, optometry, and etc. I don’t like to brag, but I’m pretty proud to be amongst these majors at my university. Most of us watch Grey's Anatomy religiously (as does America), so I wanted to express our problems and the suffering we go through with the wise words of the cast of Grey's Anatomy.

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3. When someone says they think that being a science/health major is easy.

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5. What it feels like when you study for days and you end up failing the exam

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7. When you and your friends get an A on the exam

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No matter the struggles we go through, deep (deeeeep) down we truly love what we do and will do once we graduate. We love Science, and can't wait to actually use this information in the future to help people! To those applying for med school, optometry school, pharmacy school, nursing school, or grad school etc, GO KICK BUTT!

Anything I missed? Have something to say? Sign up to join the Odyssey community at Saint Mary's University here and have your voice heard.

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An Open Letter To Professors Who Assign Group Work

In the classroom, there is NO strength in numbers.


There is something to be said about the workings of a well-oiled machine. The swift cohesion of pieces working together to create a masterful finished product. Each individual part bringing its own unique gifts and interesting character together to create an impeccable arrangement of academic collaboration. It is absolutely awe-inspiring that professors dream of this sort of outcome from the random chunk of students that they forced together. So sorry to break it to you, professors, but the group project you assign in your class is not going to work like this. The final product will not be a meticulously crafted work of art. It is going to turn into a flaming disaster as your bitter students shamefully share the work they have thrown together.

Group projects are the bane of my, and most students', existence. You assign them in large lecture halls, small discussion courses, and every class in between. Most of the time you assemble the members of each group yourself, creating the saddest excuse for a team to ever grace the planet. This leaves the students no choice as to who they will be working with, which essentially makes the grade out of the individual's hand because they have no power over which random stranger will be tossed into their group. In the rare occasion that you do not assign the groups yourself, you leave the fear-stricken students to frantically gather their own clusters of people. This is just as bad because in this case students typically choose groups based on geographical location in the classroom, their seats that they chose on the first day of class and never got around to relocating.

Regardless of how they were gathered, every group project will introduce your students to a dynamic range of personalities. There is the one super intense leader that thinks this project grade is the single most important moment of their entire life, and if everyone does not commit their full selves to it they will actually burn the school to the ground. Conversely, there is the lazy, weak link; who is consistently dropping the ball on the group's shared research document and honestly none of the other group members even know what this person looks like because they skip class so ridiculously much. There is the one person who works every second of every day and can never fit your group meeting into their schedule because their nannying job is so important (this is actually a subtweet at me, my apologies to all of my past group members, I just have a really busy schedule, okay). Please, do not subject your students' grades to depend on the work of these insane classmates. A student's grade should reflect their own, individual work, group projects skew and make that impossible.

I understand that you mean well by assigning these projects. You hope to teach us how to work well with others, a valuable communicative asset in the real world. However, in the real world, there are standards for hiring at a company and if a worker does not perform well they will be fired. There are no standards for getting into my psychology class, any student with a laptop and a break in their schedule on Tuesday and Thursday mornings is welcome to join the class. There are no standards for performance either. If a student does not perform well in a group project their grade will plummet, which to my surprise does not greatly bother as many students as I thought, as does every other member of the group's grade. So unfair, so unparallel to the real world. Stop comparing your English 101 class to the real world.

Please professors, just stop with the group projects. I will happily write all of the papers, study all of the lectures, and even read all of the chapters in my textbook. Just don't make me create another Google Slides presentation with a bunch of strangers again.

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