Rome had changed. The people of
Rome had changed. They were tired of being ruled by
others. They wanted to rule themselves. So after years of
fighting against the last king of Rome, Tarquin
the Proud, the people of Rome created a new form of
government. It was called a republic. In a republic every
citizen voted for leaders who would create their laws.
In the Roman republic every citizen could
vote for their leaders, but who were the citizens? Only adult free
men could be citizens. That meant women, children and slaves were
not citizens, and could not vote.
new Roman Republic wanted everyone to know what the laws were.
They also wanted to make sure that the law applied to everyone rich and
poor alike. So they engraved the law on tablets of metal and put
them in the forum for everyone to read. They remained there, on
display, throughout the time period that Rome was a republic. These laws were called the Twelve Tables
because there were twelve different sections. These
laws were about crime and property and family matters like
marriage and inheritance.
It didn't matter if you were rich
or poor; the law applied to every citizen.