The governmental authorities of Rome based their authority on institutions and popular representatives that concentrated the power of the Republic, directed towards a very well organized expansionist policy.
Government of ancient Rome
Rome’s political power actors determined well-defined lines of authority consisting of institutions representing the various strata of existing social classes.
The authorities of the Government of Rome were organized in such a way that the Emperor was the highest authority, who came to have absolute autonomy to decide on matters relevant to the Republic.
The vast territory of the Roman Empire began a series of stages in which four forms of government were presented, each with their respective representatives and government authorities, these are the Monarchy, Republic, Principality and Dominated.
In the monarchical stage the King was the highest governmental authority, had powers and competences in all political, social and military fields within Rome.
It was a lifetime position, where he was a legislator and judge, during wartime he was also the Supreme Commander of the Army.
In the case of the death of the monarch, the Government of Rome passed to the Senators, who took turns to hold office until a new King was elected.
After the Republic stage ended, a new figure of power called the Emperor emerged.
The authority of the emperor concentrated individual and collective powers with competence in all areas, it also had independence from the institutions. He exercised sovereignly, with power over any government matter.
The Consuls were representatives of the authority in Rome, they exercised government functions, with specific powers and under the authorization of the members of the Senate, to whom they were accountable for their performance.
They had participation at the political level, intervened in military decisions, and controlled each other in their functions, to reduce the possibility of abuses of power.
In the event that the Republic was under threat or imminent danger of invasion, declared war or any other risk to the citizens, the Consuls resorted to appointing a Dictator.
This position required the person to have military and political experience, since she was responsible for defending the nation, having absolute authority and independence in her decisions.
The main function of the Senate was to advise the decisions of the King or the Emperor. It was a collegiate organization, in which the representatives of each civil group recognized in Rome exercised political functions.
The members of the Senate were appointed by the highest authority of the government, who added members according to their convenience to achieve political favors.
The Senate enjoyed moral authority, which is why they were considered wise people, of whom it was prudent to have their support. This is why the King and the Emperor requested his opinion on delicate matters of State.
The Roman Assemblies
The Roman Assemblies laid the foundations of modern democracy. In this governmental institution in Rome, the members had the right to vote, although with the particularity that it was paid in a grouped way by social stratum and economic level.
The Roman town was divided in Curias, which were directed by a called leader Curio Maximus or Curión, who had political and religious authority.
Once the Monarchy stage was over, a series of magistracies emerged, which were organized according to the authority and competence of their members. Among these groups (collegiate) are:
- Censors, were in charge of carrying out the registration of citizens.
- Quaestors, accountants by profession who collected taxes and performed public administration tasks.
- Praetors, were in charge of administering justice according to Roman Law.
- Ediles, organized maintenance and were dedicated to managing supplies and cleaning the city.
- Tribune of the Plebe, was the one who looked after the interests of the commoners, against the authorities of Rome.