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SOCIAL STUDIES DIARY

Plebeians versus Patricians

Livy, the most complete ancient source, wrote his history of Rome centuries after the city of Rome was established. His records from the ninth century to the fourth century BCE were unreliable and corrupted. Consequently, he simply invented a narrative to fill in the gaps. As a part of this narrative he produced a "struggle of the orders" and invented a concept known as "a state within a state." The most serious mistake that he made was his misunderstanding of who the Plebeians where and how and the power of the aristocracy and the state actually resided. Since that time many scholars have been attempting to correct the narrative and provide a more accurate account of how the ancient city-state was established and how the state's constitution actually evolved. It appears that "the state within a state, "the struggle of the orders," and even the categories of plebeian and patrician are misrepresented in Livy's narrative.
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