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On the level: reading an organization chart.

The ancient Romans had Senators, but the government structure was very different from that of the U.S. today. This chart shows the structure of the Roman government, with groups arranged in levels (highest to lowest) relative to their power and influence in Roman society.

Study the chart and the "Who Was Who in Ancient Rome" terms, then answer the questions below.

Who Was Who in Ancient Rome

* Consuls: the two chief magistrates (judges) and most powerful officials, commanding the empire's military, public funds, and laws.

* Edile (EE-dyle): official in charge of public games, public works, and water and grain supplies.

* Equestrians: knights, or wealthy merchants or landowners.

* Patricians: aristocrats; descendants of Rome's original citizen families.

* Plebeians (PLEE-bee-unz): members of the working class; commoners.

* Praetor (PREE-tur): magistrate in charge of government when the consul traveled from Rome.

* Questor (KWESS-tur): treasurer (official responsible for public finances).

* Roman Senate: the empire's governing council. Members usually served for life.

* Tribune of the Plebs: group of officials responsible for protecting plebeians' rights. Members were plebeians chosen by plebeians.


1. Which official(s) outranked all others?--

2. Which group had the least power?--

3. In which group did both patricians and equestrians serve?--

4. Which had the higher rank within that body?--

5. To whom would you turn if your crop failed and you needed food for your family?--

6. Who had higher rank, the praetor or the officials protecting plebeian rights?--

7. Who would have been in charge of organizing chariot races and gladiator events?--

8. Which official was in charge of the budget?--

9. Which official had a duty similar to that of a U.S. Vice President? In what way?--

10. If you could choose, which rank would you hold? Why?--

Bonus: Besides Senate, which titles in the chart are words in common use today? What do they mean now?

1. consuls

2. plebeians

3. Roman Senate

4. patricians

5. the edile

6. the officials protecting plebeian rights (Tribune of the Plebs)

7. the edile

8. the questor

9. praetor; held power in Rome in the consuls' absence

10. Answers will vary.

Bonus: equestrians (horseback riders); patricians (aristocrats, or people who act like them); consul (government officials who serve in foreign countries, responsible for helping their nation's citizens visiting or working in that country)
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Publication:Junior Scholastic
Date:Jan 22, 2007
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