The Aeneid Historical Context

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Roman Government

Rome was founded in 753 BC. For nearly 250 years it was a monarchy. The last king was a tyrant whose son Tarquin raped the wife of a Roman noble. (One of the most famous accounts of this is found in the long narrative poem "The Rape of Lucrece" by William Shakespeare.) Outraged by this crime, the Romans, lead by L. Junius Brutus (an ancestor of the Brutus who assassinated Julius Caesar), drove the Tarquin family out and set up a republic. For the next 450 years Rome was ruled by the senate and consuls. The senate, chosen from the highest class of citizens (patricians) decided on government policies and the use of public money. The equites (middle class) and plebians (working class) had their own assembly which could accept or reject the proposals of the senate. After 287 B.C., Senate proposals had the force of law The executive...

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This section contains 1,231 words
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The Aeneid from Epics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.