Ancient History: Rome : Governmental and Legal Structures

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Ancient History: Rome

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Governmental And Legal Structures

Before the emergence of the Roman Republic, Rome was governed by __________.

Possible Answers:

a monarchy

a theocracy

an emperor

an oligarchy

a sultanate

Correct answer:

a monarchy

Explanation:

The Roman Republic came into existence in the second-half of the sixth century BCE. Previously, Rome had been governed by a monarchy. It is worth noting that much of the history of this time period is shrouded in myth and legend, but it is generally believed that Rome was ruled by a succession of seven kings, before the last king, Tarquinius Superbus, was overthrown in a violent revolution.

Example Question #2 : Governmental And Legal Structures

The Curiate Assembly __________.

Possible Answers:

was established in the waning years of the Roman Republic

was established in the early years of the Roman Republic

was appointed to represent the interests of the plebeians

had final authority over the appointment of a king

was the primary legislative body during the history of the Roman monarchy

Correct answer:

had final authority over the appointment of a king

Explanation:

During the history of the Roman Kingdom, the Curiate Assembly had the final authority over the appointment of a king. The Curiate Assembly was a government body made up of wealthy patricians and under the effective control of the Roman Senate.

Example Question #3 : Governmental And Legal Structures

Once approved by the Curiate Assembly, a would-be Roman monarch needed __________.

Possible Answers:

the support of the army and the most powerful generals

the support of the people in a popular referendum

the support of the Senate

religious approval and the support of the Senate

the support of the army and the support of the Senate

Correct answer:

religious approval and the support of the Senate

Explanation:

The procedure for the nomination and appointment of a Roman monarch was quite convoluted. First, the Senate had to choose a candidate for the monarchy. Then, that monarch needed to get the support of the people. Next, he had to court the approval of the Curiate Assembly. Finally, a would-be monarch needed religious approval and the reaffirmed support of the Senate. Only after all this would a ruler have the title of imperium conferred upon him and become king.

 

Example Question #4 : Governmental And Legal Structures

Rome generally entered a period of interregnum following __________.

Possible Answers:

a successful harvest

the death of a king

a successful military campaign

a religious festival 

the death of a consul

Correct answer:

the death of a king

Explanation:

The term interregnum is a Latin term that literally means “between kings.” During the period of time when Rome was ruled by a monarchy, the kingdom would enter a period of interregnum following the death of a king. In the Roman Kingdom, during interregnum, power would devolve to the Senate who would then elect a new king.

Example Question #5 : Governmental And Legal Structures

Who had the power to elect a Roman king?

Possible Answers:

no-one; it was a hereditary position

the Senate

the Centuriate Assembly

the Council of Plebs

the Roman people

Correct answer:

the Senate

Explanation:

In the Roman Kingdom, the Senate was responsible for nominating and electing a king. After a king died, the Senate was convened to appoint a new ruler. That ruler would then have to be approved by the people, the Gods, and the Curiate Assembly (a government body under the effective control of the Senate).

Example Question #6 : Governmental And Legal Structures

Which of these best describes a republic?

Possible Answers:

A government in which a few wealthy businessmen control all legislative and executive matters.

A government in which the people vote directly on legislative matters.

None of these accurately describes a republic.

A government in which the people vote directly on the actions of the army.

A government in which people elect representatives to enact laws on their behalf.

Correct answer:

A government in which people elect representatives to enact laws on their behalf.

Explanation:

A republic is a system of government in which people elect representatives to enact laws on their behalf. It is distinct from direct democracy in that the people do not actually get to vote on issues themselves, but instead appoint representatives. It was the political system which prevailed in Rome from 507 BCE until the rise of the Roman Empire in 27 BCE. It is also the political system which prevails in the modern United States of America.

Example Question #7 : Governmental And Legal Structures

Many common people, in the early years of the Roman Republic, __________.

Possible Answers:

owned land given to them for serving in the military

were practitioners of Judaism

were excluded from military service if they owned slaves

were enslaved if they had significant debts

were permitted to vote in the elections of the Senate

Correct answer:

were enslaved if they had significant debts

Explanation:

In the early years of the Roman Republic, it was common for poor plebeians to be enslaved by patricians if they accumulated significant debts. This debt slavery was abolished in 450 BCE with the codification of Roman law through the Twelve Tables.

Example Question #8 : Governmental And Legal Structures

During the rule of the Roman Kings, the Senate  __________.

Possible Answers:

none of these

was an autonomous, if largely powerless branch of government

had very little actual power, and could only be called to assembly by order of the king

acted as a powerful counterbalance to the king's authority

Correct answer:

had very little actual power, and could only be called to assembly by order of the king

Explanation:

The power in the Roman Kingdom was largely centered on the King. The Senate was NOT an independent body, it could only be assembled at the behest of the King.

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