Roman Society and culture is mostly affected by Etruscans. When the Etruscans came to Rome, they found a group of wood and reed villages only beginning to develop into an urban center. In less than two centuries, they transformed it into a prosperous, unified city that played crucial roles in the economic and political subjects all over the world. They laid the foundations of free citizenship, incorporating Greek models of military and social organization. These people owned nothing but an authoritative system, simplicity and picty. Stubborn farmers and soldiers created the Roman civilization.
These were two main groups in the Roman society. Free citizens who consisted of patricians and plebeians and the non-citizens which consisted of women and slaves. Patricians were the members of powerful aristocratic landowning class, plebeians were the members of the poor (in general) middle class. About the eight century BC patrician oligarchy had engineered the end of the Etruscan monarchy and they dominated the offices and institutions of the newly formed republic. At the expense of the plebes, governmental institutions of the early republic developed under patrician supremacy. However the inability of patricians to erect in grant of the military pressure from other European tribes and Italian towns forced them to compromise with plebeians. In 450 BC, plebeians united with the patricians under power by patrician magistrates and established the principle of equality before the laws.
In Roman tradition, the patriarchal system was dominant Father is the master of the family, which is composed of wife, children and the slaves over whom he could exercise power of life and death. Only after his death did his sons achieve legal and financial independence. The family was the basic unit of the society. The authority of paterfamilias was the basis of this essentially patriarchal society and the to its success. Women had only control over the children. Husband could divorce his wife at will and the law of twelve tables allowed defected children to be killed. Adoption was a common custom in Roman family. They adopted children if they did not have heirs and the adopted sons held the same legal rights as the natural offspings of the father. The lowest group of the Roman society was the slaves. They did not have any personal rights. They should do what their masters ordered.
The center of everyday life for the Roman family was the domus-family-house. Early Roman houses, even of the powerful and wealthy people, were simple low buildings constructed around an open courtyard. Not every Roman family could afford its own domus and housing problems increased as a consequence of imperial expansion. Peasants were banished form their lands and jammed into cities. They constructed themselves multistory apartment buildings. In Roman towns throughout Italy, simple dwellings, luxurious maisons, shops and apartment buildings resided side by side which in time created a disturbance between poor and rich that continuously grew day by day.
Romans believed in many gods. Every aspect of daily life and work was the responsibility of individual deities. Basic attitudes of religion, piety and office lay at the heart of Roman reverence for ???? and authority. They extended these gods with the ones from other cultures such as Greeks, Etruscans, Egyptians and Persians. Some cults from these cultures were widely distributed over the Roman Empire. Roman priesthood did not form a special cast but were important members of the elite. The Roman religion - like the Greek religion - had dogma sacraments or beliefs in reward and punishment after life. It was somewhat political and less humanistic in purpose. It served not to glorify humanity or establish a comfortable relationship between human beings and gods, but to protect the state from the enemies and to increase its power and prosperity.
Intellectually Romans developed vary slowly, although the writing was adopted as early as sixth century BC. Education was limited to special instructors hired by the father. The general education areas were the manly sports, practical art (statue making) and militaristic and political virtues, few were educated in Greek Philosophy and thinking. The majority of the people in urban and suburban areas were illiterate.
In the last two centuries of the republic the religions belief altered and the family was subject to deformations. Because of the extension of the Roman lands over the Hellenistic areas, the upper classes tended to abandon the traditional religion for philosophical studies of Stoichists and Epicurists. The common people found worship for the ancient gods no longer satisfying because they were even getting worse day by day. Furthermore Italy had attracted a stream of immigrants from East whose religious background was totally different from the Romans. In conclusion this expansion of the Roman republic, newly introduced cultures, different philosophical approaches and -probably the most vital cause- increasing gap between elites and public prepared the fall for the Roman republic at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.