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Rome’s Transition from Republic to Empire

In the beginning, Ancient Rome was just a small community established upon a peninsula during the 9th century. It then grew to become a huge empire situated upon the Mediterranean Sea. The Roman Republic began in the year 509 B. C. (Scullard, 2003). A republic can be described as a system of government wherein the power lies under the control of the common people. As a republic, it developed and extended its boundaries by means of invasion to become the world’s greatest nation then.

While the nation’s territorial boundaries expanded, general and political figures become all the more powerful and even desired for much more than they already have. During the first and second centuries B. C. , sequential events took place leading to the downfall of the republic. The Roman Empire was established under the leadership of the two Caesars, Julius and his nephew, Augustus who is also known as Octavian. The Emperor ruled the Roman Empire. In an empire, the power lies not on the people (Garzetti & Foster, 1974).

Rather, it is the Roman Emperor who has total control over the rest of the Roman population. Even as an Empire, Rome continuously prospered and expanded for many more years since its transition. In the Roman Republic, citizens vote for the senators to govern the nation through an election. Although elections were arranged in bribes back then, the general public nonetheless still had a considerable power in government dealings (Shotter, 2005). The Roman Republic was established when the nation was still a small city-state. Back then, managing the nation still does not post a problem.

Administration of the nation only became a primarily concern as it expanded its territorial boundaries over time. The patricians gained further political influence. Trade and economy developed rapidly following the second Punic War (Scullard, 2003). The purchase of land by the wealthy people caused a decrease in the number of available soldiers. This resulted in military instability. In the year 133 B. C. , Tiberius Gracchus was designated tribune (Scullard, 2003). Tiberius Gracchus presented numerous laws intended to restructure the nation and transform it into a real and honest republic like it once was.

At that time, his proposals and concepts were quite controversial. As a result, his life ended in a murder by a riot (Scullard, 2003). In the meantime, the illustrious General Pompey was getting favor as a result of his numerous military accomplishments (Garzetti & Foster, 1974). Likewise, Crassus, the richest man in the nation was enjoying greater popularity because of winning over a huge slave rebellion. Julius Caesar, another famous general was similarly obtaining popularity at that time. The three men formed a secret alliance with the intention of gaining control over the senate.

The group they formed came to be called as the First Triumvirate. Octavian, Lepidus, and Mark Antony constituted the Second Triumvirate which was created in the years that came after. With terror, the triumvirs thrust the senate aside and killed Cicero who was known to be the most avid supporter of the Roman Republic. Cassius and Brutus sought revenge by waging a battle against the three. In spite of this, they lost the battle to Antony. The two decided to kill themselves following their loss (Garzetti & Foster, 1974). Since opposition is nonexistent by then, Octavian and Antony ruled supreme.

They knocked Lepidus out of their alliance since they believed that he does not have a purpose left to serve (Scullard, 2003). From then on, Western Rome was taken over by Octavian as Eastern Rome was ruled by Antony. Not so long after, Octavian launched an attack against the East and triumphed over Antony in the year 36 B. C. His victory ultimately allowed him to rule supreme over the rest of the Roman Empire. It was the end of the Roman Republic. Even though the senate remained, it was left with insignificant powers in the government. Challenging the actions of the Emperor was definitely not within its power.

Ten other Caesars succeeded Augustus’ reign (Garzetti & Foster, 1974). Regardless of the crippling of the Roman Republic, the nation nonetheless expanded and prospered for many more years before its greatness ultimately declined. References Garzetti, A. , & Foster, J. R. (1974). From Tiberius to the Antonines: A History of the Roman Empire, A. D. 14-192. Oxford: Taylor & Francis. Scullard, H. H. (2003). A History of the Roman World, 753 to 146 B. C. New York: Routledge. Shotter, D. C. (2005). The Fall of the Roman Republic. New York: Routledge.

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