The twelve tables of Rome were created in 450 BC. The twelve tables were laws about how all the people should be treated fairly.
They were real laws that were written on bronze or stone. The Latin word for them was Tabulae, which means table.
The rules are not used today, but they did help to make things better for Roman people. The Tables marked the start of laws being written down so that people knew about them.
Before the Tables, people were told about laws. They couldn’t see them.
The Twelve Tables were made to settle a big argument between the people of Rome. There were two main groups of people in Rome.
The first group were the rich people and their families. The first group were called the Patricians. The rich people had the most control and could do what they wanted.
The second group were the people who weren’t rich. These were everyday Romans who were paid for their work. The second group were called the Plebeians.
The Plebeians were very unhappy with the Patricians. They did not like the Patricians being able to do what they wanted.
The Plebeians wished to have a voice and be part of what Rome did. The Plebeians said that they would leave Rome or would not work unless things changed.
It was then agreed that the new laws or tables would be written down.
The Twelve Tables set out how Roman citizens could hope to be treated. The Tables give information on what the punishment could be for certain crimes.
There are strange laws that we don’t use today. Some of the silly rules include;
Problems with the Tables
The Tables were good at letting the people of Rome know what was going on. But, not all people of Rome were equal, which meant the laws didn’t help them. Women and slaves were treated less equally and were not helped by the laws. Women could own property and work, but they couldn’t vote. For slaves, it was even worse because they were not free and no choices.