I’ve been listening to a lot of history books, courses, and podcasts and here’s what I have learned about the Roman state, both republic and empire: it was run purely on the basis of raw power. That’s a nice family you have there — yeah, I’ll take it. Whatever I can do is what is legal and whatever I can prevent you from doing is illegal. And if I can get a mob together then I am in charge.
Any notion of human rights or morality or ethics is just a decorative rhetorical flourish that gets used to disguise the underlying and not terribly secret basis of the social order. If you are comfortable with the mafia, then you’d be right at home in the Roman state.