The "conflict of orders" refers to the Plebeians' quest for rights and opportunities for progress within Roman society and governmental systems. The Plebeians had a numerical advantage against the patricians, which they exploited well through the secession tactic (secessio). The conflict culminated in 494 BC with the patrician victory at the Battle of Lake Trasimene. Thereafter, the patricians ruled exclusively, with some interruptions, until 449 BC.
Although not directly responsible for the war itself, the patricians used their dominance over the Senate to expand their power and privilege themselves at the expense of the Plebeians. The battle at Lake Trasimene proved to be a decisive one: the patricians were able to defeat the plebeians, who were unable to achieve any more victories after this point. This conflict lasted for almost 100 years, during which time the government was completely overhauled twice. The first time around 450 BC, when the two orders jointly created the First Commonwealth, then from 31 BC to 30 AD with the Second Commonwealth. Finally, from 29 BC onward, all Romans were equal before the law.
The origins of the conflict lie in the unequal distribution of power within Roman society.
The Conflict, or Struggle of the Orders, was a political conflict in the ancient Roman Republic between the Plebeians (commoners) and the Patricians (aristocrats), spanning from 500 BC to 287 BC, in which the Plebeians sought political equality with the Patricians. The conflict resulted in victory for the Patricians, who then dominated Rome's government and society.
During this time period, the power in Rome was divided into two groups: the Patricians and the Plebeians. The Patricians were an aristocratic class of people that held certain offices under the Senate. The Plebeians were commoners who worked the land but were also allowed to hold some positions within the community by way of election. These positions included some religious roles such as tribune of the plebs.
The conflict began when the Plebeians demanded equal rights with the Patricians. When the Senate refused to give in to their demands, the Plebeians revolted against them. The rebellion ended with a victory for the Patricians, who then dominated Rome's government and society. This is why the conflict is often called the "Plebeian War".
Common people during this time believed they had no voice in the government because there were not enough votes among them to have any impact.
Beginning approximately 494 BC, the Plebeians began to rebel against the patricians' control. This conflict is known as the "Conflict of the Orders." The Plebeians obtained additional privileges throughout the period of around 200 years. They demonstrated their dissatisfaction by going on strike. When the patricians refused to grant further concessions, the Plebeians turned to force. In 460 BC, they attacked the Senate while it was in session and killed many senators who were powerless to defend themselves.
The movement was led by Aristodemus, a nobleman who had become disgusted with the corruption of the aristocracy. With support from the people, he seized power in 454 BC and established a government composed exclusively of priests and politicians who had been chosen by him. He was said to have been a benevolent ruler but his reign only lasted two years before he was assassinated. The murder was probably committed by one of his own sons who wanted to continue holding office. However, since this son was still a child, his sister took over the government until he came of age. She too was murdered and the cycle of violence was thus continued.
At first glance, this may seem like a typical tyrannical regime but there are several factors that prevent it from being classified as such. First of all, the source material states that Aristodemus was a good man who tried to do what was right.