What is the struggle of the orders?

The struggle of orders is essentially what it says, a struggle between orders. Now it goes deeper than that, but before we get into that let’s talk about the people. In Ancient Rome there were two people groups the Patricians and the Plebians . Here is a summary on both people groups.


  • To be a Patrician you had to be born into the Patrician group.
  • They were privileged, through birth. They had special rights that the Plebians didn’t have and that they could never have. Nothing the Plebians could ever do wouldn’t get them those rights.
  • They were often given land that was won in war.
  • They were most times wealthy.


  • Plebians were the rest of the population of Ancient Rome. If you weren’t a Patrician then you were a Plebian.
  • They were deprived of political rights.
  • They were also liable to be enslaved for debt.
  • Lots of times they were poor.


Now we can talk about the struggle of orders, and how it began. The Plebians came home after fighting in a long war, and they came to their farms to find them in bad shape. Because there was no one to take care of their farms while they were gone. So they decided that they would sell their land and go work in the city. But when they got to the city they discovered that their were no jobs. The jobs they had wanted weren’t available, because the slaves did those jobs. So with nowhere to work, they decided to go back to the army. But they found themselves in a predicament, in order to be in the army you had to own land. And having no land they found themselves stuck. This made the Plebians angry and they decided to do something about it. They knew that they didn’t have any rights, but they did have their physical bodies and those were valuable. So they succeed from the city, until the patricians changed somethings. And they did, here are some changes that came about:

  • They elected tribunes to represent them before Roman government.
  • In 367 B.C. Plebians became eligible for counlship.
  • They had new principles such as, Collegiality. Which is always having at least 2 people per office. And then later on the rule was that at least one had to be Plebian.

The struggle of orders (494-287 B.C.) was a time where there was a struggle of orders. But it was saved by joining of 2 people groups. And they went on to make changes to their laws to help the Plebians have more rights .




Western Civ, lesson 45.


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