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Mar 30 2015

Law of the Twelve Tables – 449 BC

When we speak of “Rome” we often use the term as a broad brush, painting across a thousand years of history or more, that includes the rise and fall of a great empire. Before the empire, there was a republic, and before the republic, there were kings. In 509 BC, the last Etruscan king was overthrown and a republic was established with a pair of consuls elected each year to serve as executive magistrates.

Before the Roman Republic, the Kingdom of Rome included a Senate and an Assembly that advised the King. Once the monarchy was gone and the republic established, the Senate and several different forms of assemblies gained more power. There was an unwritten set of principles that had evolved through precedence, which were used as guidelines and become known as “the constitution of Rome”. In 449 BC, a legal code that became known as the “Law of the Twelve Tables” was established by the Senate.

The purpose of the Twelve Tables was not to reform the current customs of law, but to document them in writing so that they would be interpreted and applied more uniformly.

The Laws of the Twelve Tables – [constitution.org]