Roman Republic

Roman Republic

Overview
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 where the government operated as a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy
Roman Kingdom
The Roman Kingdom was the period of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by a monarchical form of government of the city of Rome and its territories....

, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

, elected annually by the citizens and advised by a senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

. A complex constitution
Constitution of the Roman Republic
The Constitution of the Roman Republic was a set of guidelines and principles passed down mainly through precedent. The constitution was largely unwritten, uncodified, and constantly evolving...

 gradually developed, centered on the principles of a separation of powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 and checks and balances. Except in times of dire national emergency, public offices were limited to one year, so in theory at least, no single individual could dominate his fellow-citizens.

In practice, Roman society was hierarchical
Social class in ancient Rome
Social class in ancient Rome was hierarchical, but there were multiple and overlapping social hierarchies. The status of free-born Romans was established by:* ancestry ;...

.
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Encyclopedia
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 where the government operated as a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy
Roman Kingdom
The Roman Kingdom was the period of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by a monarchical form of government of the city of Rome and its territories....

, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls
Roman consul
A consul served in the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic.Each year, two consuls were elected together, to serve for a one-year term. Each consul was given veto power over his colleague and the officials would alternate each month...

, elected annually by the citizens and advised by a senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

. A complex constitution
Constitution of the Roman Republic
The Constitution of the Roman Republic was a set of guidelines and principles passed down mainly through precedent. The constitution was largely unwritten, uncodified, and constantly evolving...

 gradually developed, centered on the principles of a separation of powers
Separation of powers
The separation of powers, often imprecisely used interchangeably with the trias politica principle, is a model for the governance of a state. The model was first developed in ancient Greece and came into widespread use by the Roman Republic as part of the unmodified Constitution of the Roman Republic...

 and checks and balances. Except in times of dire national emergency, public offices were limited to one year, so in theory at least, no single individual could dominate his fellow-citizens.

In practice, Roman society was hierarchical
Social class in ancient Rome
Social class in ancient Rome was hierarchical, but there were multiple and overlapping social hierarchies. The status of free-born Romans was established by:* ancestry ;...

. The evolution of the Constitution of the Roman Republic
History of the Constitution of the Roman Republic
The history of the Constitution of the Roman Republic is a study of the ancient Roman Republic that traces the progression of Roman political development from the founding of the Roman Republic in 509 BC until the founding of the Roman Empire in 27 BC. The constitutional history of the Roman...

 was heavily influenced by the struggle between Rome's land-holding aristocracy (the patricians), who traced their ancestry back to the early history of the Roman kingdom, and the far more numerous citizen-commoners, the plebeians. Over time, the laws that gave Patricians exclusive rights to Rome's highest offices were repealed or weakened, and a new aristocracy emerged from among the plebeian class. The leaders of the Republic developed a strong tradition and morality
Mos maiorum
The mos maiorum is the unwritten code from which the ancient Romans derived their social norms. It is the core concept of Roman traditionalism, distinguished from but in dynamic complement to written law. The mos maiorum The mos maiorum ("ancestral custom") is the unwritten code from which the...

 requiring public service and patronage
Patronage in ancient Rome
Patronage was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus and his client . The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. The patronus was the protector, sponsor, and benefactor of the client...

 in peace and war, therefore military and political success were inextricably linked. During the first two centuries of its existence the Republic expanded through a combination of conquest and alliance, from central Italy to the entire Italian peninsula. By the following century it included North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, Greece, and what is now southern France. Two centuries after that, towards the end of the 1st century BC, it included the rest of modern France, and much of the east. By this time, despite the Republic's traditional and lawful constraints against any individual's acquisition of permanent political powers, Roman politics was dominated by a small number of Roman leaders, their uneasy alliances punctuated by a series of civil wars.

The final victor in these civil wars, Octavian (later Augustus)
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, reformed the Republic as a Principate
Principate
The Principate is the first period of the Roman Empire, extending from the beginning of the reign of Caesar Augustus to the Crisis of the Third Century, after which it was replaced with the Dominate. The Principate is characterized by a concerted effort on the part of the Emperors to preserve the...

, with himself as Rome's "first citizen" (princeps
Princeps
Princeps is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person."...

). The Senate continued to sit and debate. Annual magistrates were elected as before, but final decisions on matters of policy, warfare, diplomacy and appointments were privileged to the princeps as "first among equals" (or imperator
Imperator
The Latin word Imperator was originally a title roughly equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic. Later it became a part of the titulature of the Roman Emperors as part of their cognomen. The English word emperor derives from imperator via Old French Empreur...

, from which the term emperor
Emperor
An emperor is a monarch, usually the sovereign ruler of an empire or another type of imperial realm. Empress, the female equivalent, may indicate an emperor's wife or a woman who rules in her own right...

 is derived). His powers were monarchic in all but name, and he held them for his lifetime, on behalf of the Senate and people of Rome
SPQR
SPQR is an initialism from a Latin phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus , referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official emblem of the modern day comune of Rome...

. The Roman Republic was never restored, but neither was it abolished, so the event that signaled its transition to Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 is a matter of interpretation. Historians have variously proposed the appointment of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 as perpetual dictator
Roman dictator
In the Roman Republic, the dictator , was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate . The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi , i.e...

 in 44 BC, the defeat of Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 at the Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium
The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman...

 in 31 BC, and the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian (Augustus)
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 under the first settlement in 27 BC, as candidates for the defining pivotal event
Epoch (reference date)
In the fields of chronology and periodization, an epoch is an instance in time chosen as the origin of a particular era. The "epoch" then serves as a reference point from which time is measured...

 ending the Republic.

Many of Rome's legal and legislative structures can still be observed throughout Europe and the rest of the world by modern nation state and international organizations. The Romans' Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 language has influenced grammar and vocabulary across parts of Europe and the world.

Constitution



The Constitution of the Roman Republic was an unwritten set of guidelines and principles passed down mainly through precedent. The Roman constitution was not formal or even official. It was largely unwritten, uncodified, and constantly evolving.

Senate of the Roman Republic



The Senate's ultimate authority derived from the esteem and prestige of the Senate. This esteem and prestige was based on both precedent and custom, as well as the high calibre and prestige of the Senators. The Senate passed decrees, which were called senatus consultum. This was officially "advice" from the Senate to a magistrate. In practice, however, these were usually obeyed by the magistrates. The focus of the Roman Senate was directed towards foreign policy. Though it technically had no official role in the management of military conflict, the Senate ultimately was the force that oversaw such affairs.

Legislative Assemblies



It was the People of Rome
SPQR
SPQR is an initialism from a Latin phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus , referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official emblem of the modern day comune of Rome...

 – and thus the assemblies – who had the final say regarding the election of magistrates, the enactment of new laws, the carrying out of capital punishment, the declaration of war and peace, and the creation (or dissolution) of alliances. There were two types of legislative assemblies. The first was the comitia ("committees"), which were assemblies of all citizens. The second was the concilia ("councils"), which were assemblies of specific groups of citizens.

Assembly of the Centuries


Citizens were organized on the basis of centuries and tribes. The centuries and the tribes would each gather into their own assemblies. The Comitia Centuriata ("Century Assembly") was the assembly of the centuries. The president of the Comitia Centuriata was usually a consul. The centuries would vote, one at a time, until a measure received support from a majority of the centuries. The Comitia Centuriata would elect magistrates who had imperium powers (consuls and praetors). It also elected censors. Only the Comitia Centuriata could declare war, and ratify the results of a census. It also served as the highest court of appeal in certain judicial cases.

Assembly of the Tribes


The assembly of the tribes, the Comitia Tributa, was presided over by a consul, and was composed of thirty-five tribes. The tribes were not ethnic or kinship groups, but rather geographical subdivisions. The order that the thirty-five tribes would vote in was selected randomly by lot. Once a measure received support from a majority of the tribes, the voting would end. While it did not pass many laws, the Comitia Tributa did elect quaestors, curule aedile
Aedile
Aedile was an office of the Roman Republic. Based in Rome, the aediles were responsible for maintenance of public buildings and regulation of public festivals. They also had powers to enforce public order. There were two pairs of aediles. Two aediles were from the ranks of plebeians and the other...

s, and military tribunes.

Plebeian Council


The Plebeian Council was an assembly of plebeians, the non-patrician citizens of Rome, who would gather into their respective tribes. They elected their own officers, plebeian tribunes and plebeian aediles. Usually a plebeian tribune would preside over the assembly. This assembly passed most laws, and could also act as a court of appeal. Since it was organised on the basis of the tribes, its rules and procedures were nearly identical to those of the Comitia Tributa.

Executive Magistrates



Each magistrate was vested with a degree of maior potestas ("major power"). Each magistrate could veto any action that was taken by a magistrate of an equal or lower rank. Plebeian tribunes
Tribune
Tribune was a title shared by elected officials in the Roman Republic. Tribunes had the power to convene the Plebeian Council and to act as its president, which also gave them the right to propose legislation before it. They were sacrosanct, in the sense that any assault on their person was...

 and plebeian aediles
Aedile
Aedile was an office of the Roman Republic. Based in Rome, the aediles were responsible for maintenance of public buildings and regulation of public festivals. They also had powers to enforce public order. There were two pairs of aediles. Two aediles were from the ranks of plebeians and the other...

, on the other hand, were independent of the other magistrates.

Magisterial powers, and checks on those powers


Each republican magistrate held certain constitutional powers. Only the People of Rome (both plebeians and patricians) had the right to confer these powers on any individual magistrate. The most powerful constitutional power was imperium. Imperium was held by both consuls and praetors. Imperium gave a magistrate the authority to command a military force. All magistrates also had the power of coercion. This was used by magistrates to maintain public order. While in Rome, all citizens had a judgement against coercion. This protection was called provocatio (see below). Magistrates also had both the power and the duty to look for omens. This power would often be used to obstruct political opponents.

One check over a magistrate's power was his collegiality. Each magisterial office would be held concurrently by at least two people. Another check over the power of a magistrate was provocatio. Provocatio was a primordial form of due process
Due process
Due process is the legal code that the state must venerate all of the legal rights that are owed to a person under the principle. Due process balances the power of the state law of the land and thus protects individual persons from it...

. It was a precursor to habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

. If any magistrate was attempting to use the powers of the state against a citizen, that citizen could appeal the decision of the magistrate to a tribune. In addition, once a magistrate's annual term in office expired, he would have to wait ten years before serving in that office again. Since this did create problems for some consuls and praetors, these magistrates would occasionally have their imperium extended. In effect, they would retain the powers of the office (as a promagistrate
Promagistrate
A promagistrate is a person who acts in and with the authority and capacity of a magistrate, but without holding a magisterial office. A legal innovation of the Roman Republic, the promagistracy was invented in order to provide Rome with governors of overseas territories instead of having to elect...

), without officially holding that office.

Consuls, praetors, censors, aediles, quaestors, tribunes, and dictators



The consul of the Roman Republic was the highest ranking ordinary magistrate; each consul served for one year. Consuls had supreme power in both civil and military matters. While in the city of Rome, the consuls were the head of the Roman government. They would preside over the senate and the assemblies. While abroad, each consul would command an army. His authority abroad would be nearly absolute.

Praetor
Praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

s would administer civil law and command provincial armies. Every five years, two censors would be elected for an eighteen month term. During their term in office, the two censors would conduct a census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

. During the census, they could enroll citizens in the senate, or purge them from the senate. Aediles were officers elected to conduct domestic affairs in Rome, such as managing public games and shows. The quaestors would usually assist the consuls in Rome, and the governors in the provinces. Their duties were often financial.

Since the tribunes were considered to be the embodiment of the plebeians, they were sacrosanct
Sacrosanct
Sacrosanctity was a right of tribunes in Ancient Rome not to be harmed physically. Plebeians took an oath to regard anyone who laid hands on a tribune as an outlaw liable to be killed without penalty...

. Their sacrosanctity was enforced by a pledge, taken by the plebeians, to kill any person who harmed or interfered with a tribune during his term of office. All of the powers of the tribune derived from their sacrosanctity. One obvious consequence of this sacrosanctity was the fact that it was considered a capital offense to harm a tribune, to disregard his veto, or to interfere with a tribune.

In times of military emergency, a dictator would be appointed for a term of six months. Constitutional government would dissolve, and the dictator would become the absolute master of the state. When the dictator's term ended, constitutional government would be restored.

Political history



The constitutional history of the Roman Republic can be divided into five phases. The first phase began with the revolution which overthrew the monarchy
Roman Kingdom
The Roman Kingdom was the period of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by a monarchical form of government of the city of Rome and its territories....

 in 509 BC. The final phase ended with the transition that transformed the Republic into what would effectively be the Roman Empire, in 27 BC. Throughout the history of the Republic, the constitutional evolution was driven by the conflict of the orders
Conflict of the Orders
The Conflict of the Orders, also referred to as the Struggle of the Orders, was a political struggle between the Plebeians and Patricians of the ancient Roman Republic, in which the Plebeians sought political equality with the Patricians. It played a major role in the development of the...

 between the aristocracy and the ordinary citizens.

Patrician Era (509–367 BC)


According to legend, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was overthrown in 509 BC by a group of noblemen led by Lucius Junius Brutus. Tarquin is said to have made a number of attempts to retake the throne, including the Tarquinian conspiracy
Tarquinian conspiracy
The Tarquinian conspiracy was a conspiracy amongst a number of senators and leading men of ancient Rome in 509 BC to reinstate the monarchy, and to put Lucius Tarquinius Superbus back on the throne. The conspirators were discovered and executed...

, the war with Veii and Tarquinii and finally the war between Rome and Clusium, all of which failed to achieve Tarquin's objectives.

The historical monarchy, as the legends suggest, was probably overthrown quickly, but the constitutional changes which occurred immediately after the revolution were probably not as extensive as the legends suggest. The most important constitutional change probably concerned the chief executive. Before the revolution, a king would be elected by the senators for a life term. Now, two consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

s were elected by the citizens for an annual term. Each consul would check his colleague, and their limited term in office would open them up to prosecution if they abused the powers of their office. Consular political powers, when exercised conjointly with a consular colleague, were no different from those of the old king. In the immediate aftermath of the revolution, the senate and the assemblies were as powerless as they had been under the monarchy.

In 494 BC, the city was at war with two neighbouring tribes. The plebeian soldiers refused to march against the enemy, and instead seceded
Secessio plebis
Secessio plebis was an informal exercise of power by Rome's plebeian citizens, similar to a general strike taken to the extreme. During a secessio plebis, the plebs would simply abandon the city en masse and leave the patrician order to themselves...

 to the Aventine Hill
Aventine Hill
The Aventine Hill is one of the seven hills on which ancient Rome was built. It belongs to Ripa, the twelfth rione, or ward, of Rome.-Location and boundaries:The Aventine hill is the southernmost of Rome's seven hills...

. The plebeians demanded the right to elect their own officials. The patricians agreed, and the plebeians returned to the battlefield. The plebeians called these new officials "plebeian tribunes". The tribunes would have two assistants, called "plebeian aediles
Aedile
Aedile was an office of the Roman Republic. Based in Rome, the aediles were responsible for maintenance of public buildings and regulation of public festivals. They also had powers to enforce public order. There were two pairs of aediles. Two aediles were from the ranks of plebeians and the other...

". In 367 BC a law was passed, which required the election of at least one plebeian aedile each year. In 443 BC, the censorship was created, and in 366 BC, the praetorship was created. Also in 366 BC, the curule aedileship was created. Shortly after the founding of the Republic, the Comitia Centuriata ("Assembly of the Centuries") became the principal legislative assembly. In this assembly, magistrates were elected, and laws were passed.

During the 4th century BC, a series of reforms were passed. The result of these reforms was that any law passed by the Plebeian Council would have the full force of law. This gave the tribunes (who presided over the Plebeian Council) a positive character for the first time. Before these laws were passed, the only power that the tribunes held was that of the veto.

Conflict of the Orders (367–287 BC)



After the plebeian aedileship had been created, the patricians created the curule aedileship. After the consulship had been opened to the plebeians, the plebeians were able to hold both the dictatorship and the censorship. Plebiscites
Plebeian Council
The Concilium Plebis — known in English as the Plebeian Council or People's Assembly — was the principal popular assembly of the ancient Roman Republic. It functioned as a legislative assembly, through which the plebeians could pass laws, elect magistrates, and try judicial cases. The Plebeian...

 of 342 BC placed limits on political offices; an individual could hold only one office at a time, and ten years must elapse between the end of his official term and his re-election. Further laws attempted to relieve the burden of debt from plebeians by banning interest on loans. In 337 BC, the first plebeian praetor was elected.

During these years, the tribunes and the senators grew increasingly close. The senate realised the need to use plebeian officials to accomplish desired goals. To win over the tribunes, the senators gave the tribunes a great deal of power and the tribunes began to feel obligated to the senate. As the tribunes and the senators grew closer, plebeian senators were often able to secure the tribunate for members of their own families. In time, the tribunate became a stepping stone to higher office.

Around the middle of the 4th century BC, the Concilium Plebis enacted the "Ovinian Law". During the early republic, only consuls could appoint new senators. The Ovinian law, however, gave this power to the censors. It also required the censor to appoint any newly elected magistrate to the senate. By this point, plebeians were already holding a significant number of magisterial offices. Thus, the number of plebeian senators probably increased quickly. However, it remained difficult for a plebeian to enter the senate if he was not from a well-known political family, as a new patrician-like plebeian aristocracy emerged. The old nobility existed through the force of law, because only patricians were allowed to stand for high office. The new nobility existed due to the organisation of society. As such, only a revolution could overthrow this new structure.

By 287 BC, the economic condition of the average plebeian had become poor. The problem appears to have centered around widespread indebtedness. The plebeians demanded relief, but the senators refused to address their situation. The result was the final plebeian secession. The plebeians seceded to the Janiculum hill
Janiculum
The Janiculum is a hill in western Rome, Italy. Although the second-tallest hill in the contemporary city of Rome, the Janiculum does not figure among the proverbial Seven Hills of Rome, being west of the Tiber and outside the boundaries of the ancient city.-Sights:The Janiculum is one of the...

. To end the secession, a dictator was appointed. The dictator passed a law (the "Hortensian Law"), which ended the requirement that the patrician senators must agree before any bill could be considered by the Plebeian Council. This was not the first law to require that an act of the Plebeian Council have the full force of law. The Plebeian Council acquired this power during a modification to the original Valerian law in 449 BC. The significance of this law was in the fact that it robbed the patricians of their final weapon over the plebeians. The result was that control over the state fell, not onto the shoulders of voters, but to the new plebeian nobility.

The plebeians had finally achieved political equality with the patricians. However, the plight of the average plebeian had not changed. A small number of plebeian families achieved the same standing that the old aristocratic patrician families had always had, but the new plebeian aristocrats became as uninterested in the plight of the average plebeian as the old patrician aristocrats had always been.

Supremacy of the New Nobility (287–133 BC)


The great accomplishment of the Hortensian Law was in that it deprived the patricians of their last weapon over the plebeians. Thus, the last great political question of the earlier era had been resolved. As such, no important political changes would occur between 287 BC and 133 BC. The critical laws of this era were still enacted by the senate. In effect, the plebeians were satisfied with the possession of power, but did not care to use it. The senate was supreme during this era because the era was dominated by questions of foreign and military policy. This was the most militarily active era of the Roman Republic.

The final decades of this era saw a worsening economic situation for many plebeians. The long military campaigns had forced citizens to leave their farms to fight, only to return to farms that had fallen into disrepair. The landed aristocracy began buying bankrupted farms at discounted prices. As commodity prices fell, many farmers could no longer operate their farms at a profit. The result was the ultimate bankruptcy of countless farmers. Masses of unemployed plebeians soon began to flood into Rome, and thus into the ranks of the legislative assemblies. Their economic state usually led them to vote for the candidate who offered the most for them. A new culture of dependency was emerging, which would look to any populist leader for relief.

From the Gracchi to Caesar (133–49 BC)



The prior era saw great military successes, and great economic failures. The patriotism of the plebeians had kept them from seeking any new reforms. Now, the military situation had stabilised, and fewer soldiers were needed. This, in conjunction with the new slaves that were being imported from abroad, inflamed the unemployment situation further. The flood of unemployed citizens to Rome had made the assemblies quite populist.

The Gracchi




Tiberius Gracchus
Tiberius Gracchus
Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus was a Roman Populares politician of the 2nd century BC and brother of Gaius Gracchus. As a plebeian tribune, his reforms of agrarian legislation caused political turmoil in the Republic. These reforms threatened the holdings of rich landowners in Italy...

 was elected tribune in 133 BC. He attempted to enact a law which would have limited the amount of land that any individual could own. The aristocrats, who stood to lose an enormous amount of money, were bitterly opposed to this proposal. Tiberius submitted this law to the Plebeian Council, but the law was vetoed by a tribune named Marcus Octavius
Marcus Octavius
Marcus Octavius was a Roman tribune and a major rival of Tiberius Gracchus. A serious and discreet person, he earned himself a reputation as an influential orator. Though originally close friends, Octavius became alarmed by Gracchus's populist agenda and, at the behest of the Roman senate,...

. Tiberius then used the Plebeian Council to impeach Octavius. The theory, that a representative of the people ceases to be one when he acts against the wishes of the people, was counter to Roman constitutional theory. If carried to its logical end, this theory would remove all constitutional restraints on the popular will, and put the state under the absolute control of a temporary popular majority. His law was enacted, but Tiberius was murdered when he stood for reelection to the tribunate.

Tiberius' brother Gaius was elected tribune in 123 BC. Gaius Gracchus'
Gaius Gracchus
Gaius Sempronius Gracchus was a Roman Populari politician in the 2nd century BC and brother of the ill-fated reformer Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus...

 ultimate goal was to weaken the senate and to strengthen the democratic forces. In the past, for example, the senate would eliminate political rivals either by establishing special judicial commissions or by passing a senatus consultum ultimum ("ultimate decree of the senate"). Both devices would allow the Senate to bypass the ordinary due process rights that all citizens had. Gaius outlawed the judicial commissions, and declared the senatus consultum ultimum to be unconstitutional. Gaius then proposed a law which would grant citizenship rights to Rome's Italian allies. By this point, however, a part of Rome deserted him. He stood for election to a third term in 121 BC, but was defeated and then murdered. The senate was weakened significantly.

The populares and the optimates



In 118 BC, King Micipsa
Micipsa
Micipsa was the eldest legitimate son of Masinissa, the King of Numidia, in the Ancient Algerian Maghreb of North Africa. He became the King of Numidia.-Early life:...

 of Numidia
Numidia
Numidia was an ancient Berber kingdom in part of present-day Eastern Algeria and Western Tunisia in North Africa. It is known today as the Chawi-land, the land of the Chawi people , the direct descendants of the historical Numidians or the Massyles The kingdom began as a sovereign state and later...

 (current-day Algeria and Tunisia) died. He was survived by two legitimate sons, Adherbal
Adherbal
Adherbal, son of Micipsa and grandson of Masinissa, was a king of Numidia between 118 BC and 112 BC. He inherited the throne after the death of his father, and ruled jointly with his younger brother Hiempsal, and Jugurtha, the nephew of Masinissa...

 and Hiempsal
Hiempsal I
Hiempsal I, son of Micipsa and grandson of Masinissa, was a king of Numidia in the late 2nd century BC.Micipsa, on his deathbed, left his two sons, Adherbal and Hiempsal, together with his cousin, Jugurtha, joint heirs of his kingdom...

, and an illegitimate son, Jugurtha
Jugurtha
Jugurtha or Jugurthen was a King of Numidia, , born in Cirta .-Background:Until the reign of Jugurtha's grandfather Masinissa, the people of Numidia were semi-nomadic and indistinguishable from the other Libyans in North Africa...

. Micipsa divided his kingdom between these three sons. Jugurtha, however, turned on his brothers, killing Hiempsal and driving Adherbal out of Numidia. Adherbal fled to Rome for assistance, and initially Rome mediated a division of the country between the two brothers. Eventually, Jugurtha renewed his offensive, leading to a long and inconclusive war with Rome. He also bribed several Roman commanders, and at least two tribunes, before and during the war. His nemesis, Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the...

, a legate from a virtually unknown provincial family, returned from the war in Numidia and was elected consul in 107 BC over the objections of the aristocratic senators. Marius invaded Numidia and brought the war to a quick end, capturing Jugurtha in the process. The apparent incompetence of the Senate, and the brilliance of Marius, had been put on full display. The populares
Populares
Populares were aristocratic leaders in the late Roman Republic who relied on the people's assemblies and tribunate to acquire political power. They are regarded in modern scholarship as in opposition to the optimates, who are identified with the conservative interests of a senatorial elite...

party took full advantage of this opportunity by allying itself with Marius.

Several years later, in 88 BC, a Roman army was sent to put down an emerging Asian power, king Mithridates
Mithridates VI of Pontus
Mithridates VI or Mithradates VI Mithradates , from Old Persian Mithradatha, "gift of Mithra"; 134 BC – 63 BC, also known as Mithradates the Great and Eupator Dionysius, was king of Pontus and Armenia Minor in northern Anatolia from about 120 BC to 63 BC...

 of Pontus
Pontus
Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

. The army, however, was defeated. One of Marius' old quaestors, Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

, had been elected consul for the year, and was ordered by the senate to assume command of the war against Mithridates. Marius, a member of the "populares
Populares
Populares were aristocratic leaders in the late Roman Republic who relied on the people's assemblies and tribunate to acquire political power. They are regarded in modern scholarship as in opposition to the optimates, who are identified with the conservative interests of a senatorial elite...

" party, had a tribune revoke Sulla's command of the war against Mithridates. Sulla, a member of the aristocratic ("optimates
Optimates
The optimates were the traditionalist majority of the late Roman Republic. They wished to limit the power of the popular assemblies and the Tribunes of the Plebs, and to extend the power of the Senate, which was viewed as more dedicated to the interests of the aristocrats who held the reins of power...

") party, brought his army back to Italy and marched on Rome
Sulla's civil wars
Sulla's civil wars were a series of civil wars in which Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a Roman statesman and general, attempted to take control of the Roman Republic.- Background :...

. Sulla was so angry at Marius' tribune that he passed a law intended to permanently weaken the tribunate. He then returned to his war against Mithridates. With Sulla gone, the populares under Marius and Lucius Cornelius Cinna
Lucius Cornelius Cinna
Lucius Cornelius Cinna was a four-time consul of the Roman Republic, serving four consecutive terms from 87 to 84 BC, and a member of the ancient Roman Cinna family of the Cornelii gens....

 soon took control of the city.

During the period in which the populares party controlled the city, they flouted convention by re-electing Marius consul several times without observing the customary ten year interval between offices. They also transgressed the established oligarchy by advancing unelected individuals to magisterial office, and by substituting magisterial edicts for popular legislation.

Sulla soon made peace with Mithridates. In 83 BC, he returned to Rome, overcame all resistance, and recaptured the city. Sulla and his supporters then slaughtered most of Marius' supporters. Sulla, having observed the violent results of radical popular reforms, was naturally conservative. As such, he sought to strengthen the aristocracy, and by extension the senate. Sulla made himself dictator, passed a series of constitutional reforms
Constitutional Reforms of Lucius Cornelius Sulla
The Constitutional Reforms of Lucius Cornelius Sulla were a series of laws that were enacted by the Roman Dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla between 82 and 80 BC, which reformed the Constitution of the Roman Republic. In the decades before Sulla had become Dictator, a series of political developments...

, resigned the dictatorship, and served one last term as consul. He died in 78 BC.

Pompey, Crassus and the Catilinarian Conspiracy



In 77 BC, the senate sent one of Sulla's former lieutenants, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 ("Pompey the Great"), to put down an uprising in Spain. By 71 BC, Pompey returned to Rome after having completed his mission. Around the same time, another of Sulla's former lieutenants, Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general and politician who commanded the right wing of Sulla's army at the Battle of the Colline Gate, suppressed the slave revolt led by Spartacus, provided political and financial support to Julius Caesar and entered into the political alliance known as the...

, had just put down the Spartacus
Spartacus
Spartacus was a famous leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about Spartacus beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory and may not always be reliable...

 led gladiator/slave revolt in Italy. Upon their return, Pompey and Crassus found the populares party fiercely attacking Sulla's constitution. They attempted to forge an agreement with the populares party. If both Pompey and Crassus were elected consul in 70 BC, they would dismantle the more obnoxious components of Sulla's constitution. The two were soon elected, and quickly dismantled most of Sulla's constitution.

Around 66 BC, a movement to use constitutional, or at least peaceful, means to address the plight of various classes began. After several failures, the movement's leaders decided to use any means that were necessary to accomplish their goals. The movement coalesced under an aristocrat named Lucius Sergius Catilina
Catiline
Lucius Sergius Catilina , known in English as Catiline, was a Roman politician of the 1st century BC who is best known for the Catiline conspiracy, an attempt to overthrow the Roman Republic, and in particular the power of the aristocratic Senate.-Family background:Catiline was born in 108 BC to...

. The movement was based in the town of Faesulae, which was a natural hotbed of agrarian agitation. The rural malcontents were to advance on Rome, and be aided by an uprising within the city. After assassinating the consuls and most of the senators, Catiline would be free to enact his reforms. The conspiracy was set in motion in 63 BC. The consul for the year, Marcus Tullius Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

, intercepted messages that Catiline had sent in an attempt to recruit more members. As a result, the top conspirators in Rome (including at least one former consul) were executed by authorisation (of dubious constitutionality) of the senate, and the planned uprising was disrupted. Cicero then sent an army, which cut Catiline's forces to pieces.

The most important result of the Catilinarian conspiracy was that the populares party became discredited. The prior 70 years had witnessed a gradual erosion in senatorial powers. The violent nature of the conspiracy, in conjunction with the senate's skill in disrupting it, did a great deal to repair the senate's image.

First Triumvirate


In 62 BC, Pompey returned victorious from Asia. The Senate, elated by its successes against Catiline, refused to ratify the arrangements that Pompey had made. Pompey, in effect, became powerless. Thus, when Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 returned from a governorship in Spain in 61 BC, he found it easy to make an arrangement with Pompey. Caesar and Pompey, along with Crassus, established a private agreement, now known as the First Triumvirate
First Triumvirate
The First Triumvirate was the political alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Unlike the Second Triumvirate, the First Triumvirate had no official status whatsoever; its overwhelming power in the Roman Republic was strictly unofficial influence, and...

. Under the agreement, Pompey's arrangements would be ratified. Caesar would be elected consul in 59 BC, and would then serve as governor of Gaul for five years. Crassus was promised a future consulship.

Caesar became consul in 59 BC. His colleague, Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus
Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus
Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus was a politician of the late Roman Republic.Bibulus was the son in law of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticencis. In 59 BC he was elected consul, supported by the optimates, conservative republicans in the Senate and opponents of Julius Caesar's triumvirate...

, was an extreme aristocrat. Caesar submitted the laws that he had promised Pompey to the assemblies. Bibulus attempted to obstruct the enactment of these laws, and so Caesar used violent means to ensure their passage. Caesar was then made governor of three provinces. He facilitated the election of the former patrician Publius Clodius Pulcher
Publius Clodius Pulcher
Publius Clodius Pulcher was a Roman politician known for his popularist tactics...

 to the tribunate for 58 BC. Clodius set about depriving Caesar's senatorial enemies of two of their more obstinate leaders in Cato
Cato the Younger
Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis , commonly known as Cato the Younger to distinguish him from his great-grandfather , was a politician and statesman in the late Roman Republic, and a follower of the Stoic philosophy...

 and Cicero. Clodius was a bitter opponent of Cicero because Cicero had testified against him in a sacrilege case. Clodius attempted to try Cicero for executing citizens without a trial during the Catiline conspiracy, resulting in Cicero going into self-imposed exile and his house in Rome being burnt down. Clodius also passed a bill that forced Cato to lead the invasion of Cyprus which would keep him away from Rome for some years. Clodius also passed a bill that gave the populace a free grain dole, which had previously just been subsidised.

The end of the First Triumvirate


Clodius formed armed gangs that terrorised the city and eventually began to attack Pompey's followers, who in response funded counter-gangs formed by Titus Annius Milo
Titus Annius Milo
Titus Annius Milo Papianus was a Roman political agitator, the son of Gaius Papius Celsus, but adopted by his maternal grandfather, Titus Annius Luscus...

. The political alliance of the triumvirate was crumbling. Domitius Ahenobarbus
Ahenobarbus
Ahenobarbus was the name of a plebeian family of the Domitia gens in the late Republic and early Principate of ancient Rome. The name means "red-beard" in Latin...

 ran for the consulship in 55 BC promising to take Caesar's command from him. Eventually, the triumvirate was renewed at Lucca. Pompey and Crassus were promised the consulship in 55 BC, and Caesar's term as governor was extended for five years. Crassus led an ill-fated expedition with legions led by his son, Caesar's lieutenant, against the Kingdom of Parthia. This resulted in his defeat and death at the Battle of Carrhae
Battle of Carrhae
The Battle of Carrhae, fought in 53 BC near the town of Carrhae, was a major battle between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic. The Parthian Spahbod Surena decisively defeated a Roman invasion force led by Marcus Licinius Crassus...

. Finally, Pompey's wife, Julia, who was Caesar's daughter, died in childbirth. This event severed the last remaining bond between Pompey and Caesar.

Beginning in the summer of 54 BC, a wave of political corruption and violence swept Rome. This chaos reached a climax in January of 52 BC, when Clodius was murdered in a gang war by Milo. On 1 January of 49 BC, an agent of Caesar presented an ultimatum to the senate. The ultimatum was rejected, and the senate then passed a resolution which declared that if Caesar did not lay down his arms by July of that year, he would be considered an enemy of the Republic. On 7 January of 49 BC, the senate passed a senatus consultum ultimum, which vested Pompey with dictatorial powers. Pompey's army, however, was composed largely of untested conscripts. On 10 January, Caesar crossed the Rubicon
Rubicon
The Rubicon is a shallow river in northeastern Italy, about 80 kilometres long, running from the Apennine Mountains to the Adriatic Sea through the southern Emilia-Romagna region, between the towns of Rimini and Cesena. The Latin word rubico comes from the adjective "rubeus", meaning "red"...

 with his veteran army (in violation of Roman laws) and marched towards Rome. Caesar's rapid advance forced Pompey, the consuls and the Senate to abandon Rome for Greece. Caesar entered the city unopposed.

The period of transition (49–29 BC)


The era that began when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC and ended when Octavian returned to Rome after Actium in 29 BC, saw the constitutional evolution of the prior century accelerate at a rapid pace. By 29 BC, Rome had completed its transition from being a city-state with a network of dependencies, to being the capital of a world empire.

With Pompey defeated and order restored, Caesar wanted to ensure that his control over the government was undisputed. The powers which he would give himself would ultimately be used by his imperial successors. He would assume these powers by increasing his own authority, and by decreasing the authority of Rome's other political institutions.

Caesar would hold both the dictatorship and the tribunate, but alternated between the consulship and the proconsulship. In 48 BC, Caesar was given permanent tribunician powers. This made his person sacrosanct, gave him the power to veto the senate, and allowed him to dominate the Plebeian Council. In 46 BC, Caesar was given censorial powers, which he used to fill the senate with his own partisans. Caesar then raised the membership of the Senate to 900. This robbed the senatorial aristocracy of its prestige, and made it increasingly subservient to him. While the assemblies continued to meet, he submitted all candidates to the assemblies for election, and all bills to the assemblies for enactment. Thus, the assemblies became powerless and were unable to oppose him.

Near the end of his life, Caesar began to prepare for a war against the Parthian Empire
Parthian Empire
The Parthian Empire , also known as the Arsacid Empire , was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Persia...

. Since his absence from Rome would limit his ability to install his own consuls, he passed a law which allowed him to appoint all magistrates in 43 BC, and all consuls and tribunes in 42 BC. This, in effect, transformed the magistrates from being representatives of the people to being representatives of the dictator.

Caesar's assassination and the Second Triumvirate


Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. The motives of the conspirators were both personal and political. The assassination was led by Gaius Cassius and Marcus Brutus. Most of the conspirators were senators, many of whom were angry that Caesar had deprived the Senate of much of its power and prestige. Others believed he was a tyrant, abusing his power and clearing a path to absolute rule as a king. The senators took it upon themselves to destroy Caesar before he made himself invulnerable, and they stabbed Caesar to death in Pompey's theater, where the Senate was meeting on 15 March (44 BC). The civil war that followed destroyed what was left of the Republic.

After the assassination, Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 formed an alliance with Caesar's adopted son and great-nephew, Gaius Octavian
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

. Along with Marcus Lepidus
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (triumvir)
Marcus Aemilius Lepidus , was a Roman patrician who rose to become a member of the Second Triumvirate and Pontifex Maximus. His father, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, had been involved in a rebellion against the Roman Republic.Lepidus was among Julius Caesar's greatest supporters...

, they formed an alliance known as the Second Triumvirate
Second Triumvirate
The Second Triumvirate is the name historians give to the official political alliance of Octavius , Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony, formed on 26 November 43 BC with the enactment of the Lex Titia, the adoption of which marked the end of the Roman Republic...

. They held powers that were nearly identical to the powers that Caesar had held under his constitution. As such, the Senate and assemblies remained powerless, even after Caesar had been assassinated. The conspirators were then defeated at the Battle of Philippi
Battle of Philippi
The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

 in 42 BC. Eventually, however, Antony and Octavian fought against each other in one last battle. Antony was defeated in the naval Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium
The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman...

 in 31 BC, and he committed suicide with his love, Cleopatra. In 29 BC, Octavian returned to Rome as the unchallenged master of the Empire and later accepted the title of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

- "Exalted One" .

Culture



Life in the Roman Republic revolved around the city
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 of Rome, and its famed seven hills
Seven hills of Rome
The Seven Hills of Rome east of the river Tiber form the geographical heart of Rome, within the walls of the ancient city.The seven hills are:* Aventine Hill * Caelian Hill...

. The city also had several theatres
Roman theatre (structure)
The characteristics of Roman to those of the earlier Greek theatres due in large part to its influence on the Roman triumvir Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Much of the architectural influence on the Romans came from the Greeks, and theatre structural design was no different from other buildings...

. gymnasiums
Gymnasium (ancient Greece)
The gymnasium in ancient Greece functioned as a training facility for competitors in public games. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term gymnós meaning "naked". Athletes competed in the nude, a practice said to...

, and many taverns, baths
Thermae
In ancient Rome, thermae and balnea were facilities for bathing...

 and brothels. Throughout the territory under Rome's control, residential architecture ranged from very modest houses to country villas
Roman villa
A Roman villa is a villa that was built or lived in during the Roman republic and the Roman Empire. A villa was originally a Roman country house built for the upper class...

, and in the capital city of Rome, to the residences
House
A house is a building or structure that has the ability to be occupied for dwelling by human beings or other creatures. The term house includes many kinds of different dwellings ranging from rudimentary huts of nomadic tribes to free standing individual structures...

 on the elegant Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill is the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city...

, from which the word "palace" is derived. The vast majority of the population lived in the city center, packed into apartment blocks.

Most Roman towns and cities had a forum
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum...

 and temples, as did the city of Rome itself. Aqueducts were built to bring water to urban centers and wine
Ancient Rome and wine
Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences of viticulture on the Italian peninsula can be traced to Ancient Greeks and Etruscans. The rise of the Roman Empire saw an increase in technology and awareness of winemaking which spread to all parts of the empire...

 and cooking oil were imported from abroad. Landlords generally resided in cities and their estates were left in the care of farm managers. To stimulate a higher labour productivity, many landlords freed large numbers of slaves.

Beginning in the middle of the 2nd century BC, Greek culture was increasingly ascendant, in spite of tirades against the "softening" effects of Hellenised culture. By the time of Augustus, cultured Greek household slaves taught the Roman young (sometimes even the girls). Greek sculptures adorned Hellenistic landscape gardening on the Palatine or in the villas, and much Roman cuisine was essentially Greek. Roman writers disdained Latin for a cultured Greek style.

Social history and structure



Many aspects of Roman culture were borrowed from the Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. In architecture and sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, the difference between Greek models and Roman paintings are apparent. The chief Roman contributions to architecture were the arch
Arch
An arch is a structure that spans a space and supports a load. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and their systematic use started with the Ancient Romans who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.-Technical aspects:The...

 and the dome
Dome
A dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory....

. Rome has also had a tremendous impact on European cultures following it. Its significance is perhaps best reflected in its endurance and influence, as is seen in the longevity and lasting importance of works of Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

 and Ovid
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

. Latin, the Republic's primary language, remains used for liturgical purposes by the Roman Catholic Church, and up to the 19th century was used extensively in scholarly writings in, for example, science and mathematics. Roman law laid the foundations for the laws of many European countries and their colonies.

The center of the early social structure was the family, which was not only marked by blood relations but also by the legally constructed relation of patria potestas. The Pater familias
Pater familias
The pater familias, also written as paterfamilias was the head of a Roman family. The term is Latin for "father of the family" or the "owner of the family estate". The form is irregular and archaic in Latin, preserving the old genitive ending in -as...

 was the absolute head of the family; he was the master over his wife, his children, the wives of his sons, the nephews, the slaves and the freedmen, disposing of them and of their goods at will, even putting them to death. Roman law recognised only patrician families as legal entities.

Slavery and slaves were part of the social order; there were slave markets where they could be bought and sold. Many slaves were freed by the masters for services rendered; some slaves could save money to buy their freedom. Generally, mutilation and murder of slaves was prohibited by legislation. It is estimated that over 25% of the Roman population was enslaved.

Clothing and dining




Men typically wore a toga
Toga
The toga, a distinctive garment of Ancient Rome, was a cloth of perhaps 20 ft in length which was wrapped around the body and was generally worn over a tunic. The toga was made of wool, and the tunic under it often was made of linen. After the 2nd century BC, the toga was a garment worn...

, and women a stola
Stola
The stola was the traditional garment of Roman women, corresponding to the toga, or the pallium, that were worn by men.Originally, women wore togas as well, but after the 2nd century BC, the toga was worn exclusively by men, and women were expected to wear the stola...

. The woman's stola looked different than a toga, and was usually brightly coloured. The cloth and the dress distinguished one class of people from the other class. The tunic worn by plebeians, or common people, like shepherds and slaves, was made from coarse and dark material, whereas the tunic
Tunic
A tunic is any of several types of clothing for the body, of various lengths reaching from the shoulders to somewhere between the hips and the ankles...

 worn by patricians was of linen or white wool. A knight or magistrate would wear an augusticlavus, a tunic bearing small purple studs. Senators wore tunics with broad red stripes, called tunica laticlavia. Military tunics were shorter than the ones worn by civilians. Boys, up until the festival of Liberalia
Liberalia
The Liberalia is the festival of Liber Pater and his consort Libera. The Romans celebrated Liberalia with sacrifices, processions, ribald and gauche songs, and masks which were hung on trees....

, wore the toga praetexta, which was a toga with a crimson or purple border. The toga virilis, (or toga pura) was worn by men over the age of 16 to signify their citizenship in Rome. The toga picta was worn by triumphant generals and had embroidery of their skill on the battlefield. The toga pulla was worn when in mourning.

Even footwear indicated a person's social status. Patricians wore red and orange sandals, senators had brown footwear, consuls had white shoes, and soldiers wore heavy boots. The Romans also invented socks for those soldiers required to fight on the northern frontiers, sometimes worn in sandals.

Romans had simple food habits. Staple food was generally consumed at around 11 o'clock, and consisted of bread, salad, cheese, fruits, nuts, and cold meat left over from the dinner the night before. The Roman poet, Horace
Horace
Quintus Horatius Flaccus , known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.-Life:...

 mentions another Roman favorite, the olive, in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: "As for me, olives, endive
Endive
Endive , Cichorium endivia, is a leaf vegetable belonging to the daisy family. Endive can be cooked or used raw in salads.-Background:Endive is also a common name for some types of chicory...

s, and smooth mallows
Althaea (genus)
Althaea is a genus of 6-12 species of perennial herbs native to Europe and western Asia. It includes Althaea officinalis, also known as the marshmallow plant, whence the fluffy confection got its name. They are found on the banks of rivers and in salt marshes, preferring moist, sandy soils. The...

 provide sustenance." The family ate together, sitting on stools around a table. Fingers were used to eat solid foods and spoons were used for soups.

Wine was considered a staple drink, consumed at all meals and occasions by all classes and was quite cheap. Cato the Elder
Cato the Elder
Marcus Porcius Cato was a Roman statesman, commonly referred to as Censorius , Sapiens , Priscus , or Major, Cato the Elder, or Cato the Censor, to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger.He came of an ancient Plebeian family who all were noted for some...

 once advised cutting his rations in half to conserve wine for the workforce. Many types of drinks involving grapes and honey were consumed as well. Drinking on an empty stomach was regarded as boorish and a sure sign for alcoholism, whose debilitating physical and psychological effects were known to the Romans. An accurate accusation of being an alcoholic was an effective way to discredit political rivals. Prominent Roman alcoholics included Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

, and Cicero's own son Marcus (Cicero Minor
Cicero Minor
Marcus Tullius Cicero Minor , or Cicero the Younger, was born in 64 BC. He was the son of Marcus Tullius Cicero, who as a distinguished orator and consular senator was one of the leading figures of the Roman Republic during the 1st century BC. His mother was Terentia, Cicero senior’s first wife...

). Even Cato the Younger
Cato the Younger
Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis , commonly known as Cato the Younger to distinguish him from his great-grandfather , was a politician and statesman in the late Roman Republic, and a follower of the Stoic philosophy...

 was known to be a heavy drinker.

Education and language



Following various military conquests in the Greek East
Greek East
"Greek East" and "Latin West" are terms used to distinguish between the two parts of the Greco-Roman world, specifically the eastern regions where Greek was the lingua franca, and the western parts where Latin filled this role...

, Romans adapted a number of Greek educational precepts to their own fledgling system. Physical training to prepare the boys to grow as Roman citizens and for eventual recruitment into the army. Conforming to discipline was a point of great emphasis. Girls generally received instruction from their mothers in the art of spinning, weaving, and sewing.
Schooling in a more formal sense was begun around 200 BC. Education began at the age of around six, and in the next six to seven years, boys and girls were expected to learn the basics of reading, writing and counting. By the age of twelve, they would be learning Latin, Greek, grammar and literature, followed by training for public speaking. Oratory
Oratory
Oratory is a type of public speaking.Oratory may also refer to:* Oratory , a power metal band* Oratory , a place of worship* a religious order such as** Oratory of Saint Philip Neri ** Oratory of Jesus...

 was an art to be practiced and learnt, and good orators commanded respect.
The native language of the Romans was Latin. Although surviving Latin literature
Latin literature
Latin literature includes the essays, histories, poems, plays, and other writings of the ancient Romans. In many ways, it seems to be a continuation of Greek literature, using many of the same forms...

 consists almost entirely of Classical Latin
Classical Latin
Classical Latin in simplest terms is the socio-linguistic register of the Latin language regarded by the enfranchised and empowered populations of the late Roman republic and the Roman empire as good Latin. Most writers during this time made use of it...

, an artificial and highly stylised and polished literary language
Literary language
A literary language is a register of a language that is used in literary writing. This may also include liturgical writing. The difference between literary and non-literary forms is more marked in some languages than in others...

 from the 1st century BC, the actual spoken language was Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin
Vulgar Latin is any of the nonstandard forms of Latin from which the Romance languages developed. Because of its nonstandard nature, it had no official orthography. All written works used Classical Latin, with very few exceptions...

, which significantly differed from Classical Latin in grammar, vocabulary, and eventually pronunciation. Rome's expansion spread Latin throughout Europe, and over time Vulgar Latin evolved and dialectised in different locations, gradually shifting into a number of distinct Romance languages. Many of these languages, including French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian
Romanian language
Romanian Romanian Romanian (or Daco-Romanian; obsolete spellings Rumanian, Roumanian; self-designation: română, limba română ("the Romanian language") or românește (lit. "in Romanian") is a Romance language spoken by around 24 to 28 million people, primarily in Romania and Moldova...

 and Spanish, flourished, the differences between them growing greater over time. Although English is Germanic rather than Roman in origin, English borrows heavily from Latin and Latin-derived words.

The arts



Roman literature was from its very inception influenced heavily by Greek authors. Some of the earliest works we possess are of historical epics telling the early military history of Rome. As the republic expanded, authors began to produce poetry, comedy, history, and tragedy. Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

 represents the pinnacle of Roman epic poetry. His Aeneid
Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

tells the story of flight of Aeneas from Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

 and his settlement of the city that would become Rome. Lucretius
Lucretius
Titus Lucretius Carus was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is an epic philosophical poem laying out the beliefs of Epicureanism, De rerum natura, translated into English as On the Nature of Things or "On the Nature of the Universe".Virtually no details have come down concerning...

, in his On the Nature of Things
On the Nature of Things
De rerum natura is a 1st century BC didactic poem by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius with the goal of explaining Epicurean philosophy to a Roman audience. The poem, written in some 7,400 dactylic hexameters, is divided into six untitled books, and explores Epicurean physics through richly...

, attempted to explicate science in an epic poem. The genre of satire was common in Rome, and satires were written by, among others, Juvenal and Persius. The rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

al works of Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 are considered to be some of the best bodies of correspondence recorded in antiquity.

In the 3rd century BC, Greek art taken as booty from wars became popular, and many Roman homes were decorated with landscapes by Greek artists. Portrait sculpture during the period utilised youthful and classical proportions, evolving later into a mixture of realism and idealism. Advancements were also made in relief sculptures, often depicting Roman victories.

Music was a major part of everyday life. The word itself derives from Greek μουσική (mousike), "(art) of the Muses". Many private and public events were accompanied by music, ranging from nightly dining to military parades and manoeuvres. In a discussion of any ancient music, however, non-specialists and even many musicians have to be reminded that much of what makes our modern music familiar to us is the result of developments only within the last 1,000 years; thus, our ideas of melody, scales, harmony, and even the instruments we use would not be familiar to Romans who made and listened to music many centuries earlier.

Over time, Roman architecture was modified as their urban requirements changed, and the civil engineering and building construction technology became developed and refined. The Roman concrete
Roman concrete
Roman concrete was a material used in construction during the late Roman Republic through the whole history of the Roman Empire. Roman concrete was based on a hydraulic-setting cement with many material qualities similar to modern Portland cement...

 has remained a riddle, and even after more than 2,000 years some Roman structures still stand magnificently. The architectural style of the capitol city was emulated by other urban centers under Roman control and influence. Roman cities were well planned, efficiently managed and neatly maintained.

Sports and entertainment


The city of Rome had a place called the Campus Martius
Campus Martius
The Campus Martius , was a publicly owned area of ancient Rome about in extent. In the Middle Ages, it was the most populous area of Rome...

 ("Field of Mars"), which was a sort of drill ground for Roman soldiers. Later, the Campus became Rome's track and field playground. In the campus, the youth assembled to play and exercise, which included jumping, wrestling, boxing and racing. Equestrian sports, throwing, and swimming were also preferred physical activities. In the countryside, pastime included fishing and hunting. Board games played in Rome included dice
Dice
A die is a small throwable object with multiple resting positions, used for generating random numbers...

 (Tesserae or Tali
Venus Throw
The Venus Throw was the highest roll in the Ancient Roman gambling game of tali, or knucklebones. The game was played with four sheep's or goat's knucklebones, 4-sided rectangular dice numbered I, III, IV and VI . The Venus Throw happened when each talus landed on a different side, i.e. with a...

), Roman Chess (Latrunculi
Ludus latrunculorum
Ludus latrunculorum, latrunculi, or simply latrones is a board game played by the ancient Greeks and Romans...

), Roman Checkers
Draughts
Draughts is a group of abstract strategy board games between two players which involve diagonal moves of uniform pieces and mandatory captures by jumping over the enemy's pieces. Draughts developed from alquerque...

 (Calculi), Tic-tac-toe
Tic-tac-toe
Tic-tac-toe, also called wick wack woe and noughts and crosses , is a pencil-and-paper game for two players, X and O, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The X player usually goes first...

 (Terni Lapilli), and Ludus duodecim scriptorum
Ludus duodecim scriptorum
Ludus duodecim scriptorum, or XII scripta, was a tables game popular during the time of the Roman Empire. The name translates as "game of twelve markings", probably referring to the three rows of 12 markings each found on most surviving boards...

 and Tabula, predecessors of backgammon. There were several other activities to keep people engaged like chariot races, musical and theatrical performances.

Religion



Roman religious beliefs date back to the founding of Rome, around 800 BC. However, the Roman religion commonly associated with the republic and early empire did not begin until around 500 BC, when Romans came in contact with Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 culture, and adopted many of the Greek religious beliefs. Private and personal worship was an important aspect of religious practices. In a sense, each household was a temple to the gods. Each household had an altar (lararium), at which the family members would offer prayers, perform rites, and interact with the household gods. Many of the gods that Romans worshiped came from the Proto-Indo-European pantheon
Proto-Indo-European religion
Proto-Indo-European religion is the hypothesized religion of the Proto-Indo-European peoples based on the existence of similarities among the deities, religious practices and mythologies of the Indo-European peoples. Reconstruction of the hypotheses below is based on linguistic evidence using the...

, others were based on Greek gods. The two most famous deities were Jupiter
Jupiter (mythology)
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Jupiter or Jove is the king of the gods, and the god of the sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon....

 (the king God) and Mars
Mars (mythology)
Mars was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions...

 (the god of war). With its cultural influence spreading over most of the Mediterranean, Romans began accepting foreign gods into their own culture, as well as other philosophical traditions such as Cynicism and Stoicism
Stoicism
Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early . The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of "moral and intellectual perfection," would not suffer such emotions.Stoics were concerned...

.

Structural history



The structural history of the Roman military describes the major chronological transformations in the organisation and constitution of the Roman armed forces. The Roman military was split into the Roman army
Roman army
The Roman army is the generic term for the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the kingdom of Rome , the Roman Republic , the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine empire...

 and the Roman navy
Roman Navy
The Roman Navy comprised the naval forces of the Ancient Roman state. Although the navy was instrumental in the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean basin, it never enjoyed the prestige of the Roman legions...

, although these two branches were less distinct than they tend to be in modern defence forces. Within the top-level branches of army and navy, structural changes occurred both as a result of positive military reform and through organic structural evolution.

Hoplite armies (509–c. 315 BC)



During this period, Roman soldiers seem to have been modelled after those of the Etruscans to the north, who themselves seem to have copied their style of warfare
Phalanx formation
The phalanx is a rectangular mass military formation, usually composed entirely of heavy infantry armed with spears, pikes, sarissas, or similar weapons...

 from the Greeks. Traditionally, the introduction of the phalanx formation
Phalanx formation
The phalanx is a rectangular mass military formation, usually composed entirely of heavy infantry armed with spears, pikes, sarissas, or similar weapons...

 into the Roman army is ascribed to the city's penultimate king, Servius Tullius
Servius Tullius
Servius Tullius was the legendary sixth king of ancient Rome, and the second of its Etruscan dynasty. He reigned 578-535 BC. Roman and Greek sources describe his servile origins and later marriage to a daughter of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, Rome's first Etruscan king, who was assassinated in 579 BC...

 (ruled 578 to 534 BC). According to Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

 and Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus
Dionysius of Halicarnassus was a Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric, who flourished during the reign of Caesar Augustus. His literary style was Attistic — imitating Classical Attic Greek in its prime.-Life:...

, the front rank was composed of the wealthiest citizens, who were able to purchase the best equipment. Each subsequent rank consisted of those with less wealth and poorer equipment than the one before it.

One disadvantage of the phalanx was that it was only effective when fighting in large, open spaces, which left the Romans at a disadvantage when fighting in the hilly terrain of central Italian peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

. In the 4th century BC, the Romans abandoned the phalanx in favour of the more flexible manipular formation. This change is sometimes attributed to Marcus Furius Camillus
Marcus Furius Camillus
Marcus Furius Camillus was a Roman soldier and statesman of patrician descent. According to Livy and Plutarch, Camillus triumphed four times, was five times dictator, and was honoured with the title of Second Founder of Rome....

 and placed shortly after the Gallic invasion
Battle of the Allia
The Battle of the Allia was a battle of the first Gallic invasion of Rome. The battle was fought near the Allia river: the defeat of the Roman army opened the route for the Gauls to sack Rome. It was fought in 390/387 BC.-Background:...

 of 390 BC; it is more likely, however, that they were copied from Rome's Samnite
Samnium
Samnium is a Latin exonym for a region of south or south and central Italy in Roman times. The name survives in Italian today, but today's territory comprising it is only a small portion of what it once was. The populations of Samnium were called Samnites by the Romans...

 enemies to the south, possibly as a result of Samnite victories during the Second Samnite War
Samnite Wars
The First, Second, and Third Samnite Wars, between the early Roman Republic and the tribes of Samnium, extended over half a century, involving almost all the states of Italy, and ended in Roman domination of the Samnites...

 (326 to 304 BC).

Manipular legion (c. 315–107 BC)


During this period, an army formation of around 5,000 men (of both heavy and light infantry) was known as a legion. The manipular army was based upon social class, age and military experience. Maniples were units of 120 men each drawn from a single infantry class. The maniples were typically deployed into three discrete lines based on the three heavy infantry
Heavy infantry
Heavy infantry refers to heavily armed and armoured ground troops, as opposed to medium or light infantry, in which the warriors are relatively lightly armoured. As modern infantry troops usually define their subgroups differently , 'heavy infantry' almost always is used to describe pre-gunpowder...

 types.

Each first line maniple were leather-armoured infantry soldiers who wore a bronze breastplate and a bronze helmet adorned with 3 feathers approximately 30 cm (12 in) in height and carried an iron-clad wooden shield. They were armed with a sword and two throwing spears. The second infantry line was armed and armoured in the same manner as was the first infantry line. The second infantry line, however, wore a lighter coat of mail rather than a solid brass breastplate. The third infantry line was the last remnant of the hoplite-style (the Greek-style formation used occasionally during the early Republic) troops in the Roman army. They were armed and armoured in the same manner as were the soldiers in the second line, with the exception that they carried a lighter spear.

The three infantry classes may have retained some slight parallel to social divisions within Roman society, but at least officially the three lines were based upon age and experience rather than social class. Young, unproven men would serve in the first line, older men with some military experience would serve in the second line, and veteran troops of advanced age and experience would serve in the third line.

The heavy infantry of the maniples were supported by a number of light infantry and cavalry troops, typically 300 horsemen per manipular legion. The cavalry was drawn primarily from the richest class of equestrians. There was an additional class of troops who followed the army without specific martial roles and were deployed to the rear of the third line. Their role in accompanying the army was primarily to supply any vacancies that might occur in the maniples. The light infantry consisted of 1,200 unarmoured skirmishing troops drawn from the youngest and lower social classes. They were armed with a sword and a small shield, as well as several light javelins.

A small navy had operated at a fairly low level after about 300 BC, but it was massively upgraded about forty years later, during the First Punic War
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters but also to a lesser extent in...

. After a period of frenetic construction, the navy mushroomed to a size of more than 400 ships on the Carthaginian
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 ("Punic") pattern. Once completed, it could accommodate up to 100,000 sailors and embarked troops for battle. The navy thereafter declined in size.

The extraordinary demands of the Punic Wars
Punic Wars
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place...

, in addition to a shortage of manpower, exposed the tactical weaknesses of the manipular legion, at least in the short term. In 217 BC, near the beginning of the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

, Rome was forced to effectively ignore its long-standing principle that its soldiers must be both citizens and property owners. During the 2nd century BC, Roman territory saw an overall decline in population, partially due to the huge losses incurred during various wars. This was accompanied by severe social stresses and the greater collapse of the middle classes. As a result, the Roman state was forced to arm its soldiers at the expense of the state, which it had not had to do in the past.

The distinction between the heavy infantry types began to blur, perhaps because the state was now assuming the responsibility of providing standard-issue equipment. In addition, the shortage of available manpower led to a greater burden being placed upon Rome's allies for the provision of allied troops. Eventually, the Romans were forced to begin hiring mercenaries to fight alongside the legions.

The legion after the reforms of Gaius Marius (107–27 BC)



In a process known as the Marian reforms
Marian reforms
The Marian reforms of 107 BC were a group of military reforms initiated by Gaius Marius, a statesman and general of the Roman republic.- Roman army before the Marian reforms :...

, Roman consul Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the...

 carried out a programme of reform of the Roman military. In 107 BC, all citizens, regardless of their wealth or social class, were made eligible for entry into the Roman army. This move formalised and concluded a gradual process that had been growing for centuries, of removing property requirements for military service. The distinction between the three heavy infantry classes, which had already become blurred, had collapsed into a single class of heavy legionary infantry. The heavy infantry legionaries were drawn from citizen stock, while non-citizens came to dominate the ranks of the light infantry. The army's higher-level officers and commanders were still drawn exclusively from the Roman aristocracy.

Unlike earlier in the Republic, legionaries were no longer fighting on a seasonal basis to protect their land. Instead, they received standard pay, and were employed by the state on a fixed-term basis. As a consequence, military duty began to appeal most to the poorest sections of society, to whom a salaried pay was attractive. A destabilising consequence of this development was that the proletariat "acquired a stronger and more elevated position" within the state.

The legions of the late Republic were, structurally, almost entirely heavy infantry. The legion's main sub-unit was called a cohort
Cohort (military unit)
A cohort was the basic tactical unit of a Roman legion following the reforms of Gaius Marius in 107 BC.-Legionary cohort:...

and consisted of approximately 480 infantrymen. The cohort was therefore a much larger unit than the earlier maniple sub-unit, and was divided into six centuries of 80 men each. Each century was separated further into 10 "tent groups" of 8 men each. Legions additionally consisted of a small body, typically 120 men, of Roman legionary cavalry. The cavalry troops were used as scouts and dispatch riders rather than battlefield cavalry. Legions also contained a dedicated group of artillery crew of perhaps 60 men. Each legion was normally partnered with an approximately equal number of allied (non-Roman) troops.

However, the most obvious deficiency of the Roman army remained its shortage of cavalry, especially heavy cavalry. As Rome's borders expanded and its adversaries changed from largely infantry-based to largely cavalry-based troops, the infantry-based Roman army began to find itself at a tactical disadvantage, particularly in the East.

After having declined in size following the subjugation of the Mediterranean, the Roman navy underwent short-term upgrading and revitalisation in the late Republic to meet several new demands. Under Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, an invasion fleet was assembled in the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 to allow the invasion of Britannia
Britannia
Britannia is an ancient term for Great Britain, and also a female personification of the island. The name is Latin, and derives from the Greek form Prettanike or Brettaniai, which originally designated a collection of islands with individual names, including Albion or Great Britain. However, by the...

; under Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

, a large fleet was raised in the Mediterranean Sea to clear the sea of Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

n pirates. During the civil war that followed, as many as a thousand ships were either constructed or pressed into service from Greek cities.

Campaign history



The core of the campaign history of the Roman Republican military is the account of the Roman military's land battles. Despite the encompassing of lands around the periphery of the Mediterranean sea, naval battles were typically less significant than land battles to the military history of Rome.

As with most ancient civilisations, Rome's military served the triple purposes of securing its borders, exploiting peripheral areas through measures such as imposing tribute on conquered peoples, and maintaining internal order. From the outset, Rome's military typified this pattern and the majority of Rome's campaigns were characterised by one of two types. The first is the territorial expansionist campaign, normally begun as a counter-offensive, in which each victory brought subjugation of large areas of territory. The second is the civil war, of which examples plagued the Roman Republic in its final century.

Roman armies were not invincible, despite their formidable reputation and host of victories. Over the centuries the Romans "produced their share of incompetents" who led Roman armies into catastrophic defeats. Nevertheless, it was generally the fate of even the greatest of Rome's enemies, such as Pyrrhus
Pyrrhus of Epirus
Pyrrhus or Pyrrhos was a Greek general and statesman of the Hellenistic era. He was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians, of the royal Aeacid house , and later he became king of Epirus and Macedon . He was one of the strongest opponents of early Rome...

 and Hannibal, to win the battle but lose the war. The history of Rome's campaigning is, if nothing else, a history of obstinate persistence overcoming appalling losses.
Early Italian campaigns (458–396 BC)

The first Roman republican wars were wars of both expansion and defence, aimed at protecting Rome itself from neighbouring cities and nations and establishing its territory in the region. Initially, Rome's immediate neighbours were either Latin
Latins
"Latins" refers to different groups of people and the meaning of the word changes for where and when it is used.The original Latins were an Italian tribe inhabiting central and south-central Italy. Through conquest by their most populous city-state, Rome, the original Latins culturally "Romanized"...

 towns and villages, or else tribal Sabines from the Apennine hills beyond. One by one Rome defeated both the persistent Sabines and the local cities that were either under Etruscan control or else Latin towns that had cast off their Etruscan rulers. Rome defeated Latin cities in the Battle of Lake Regillus
Battle of Lake Regillus
The Battle of Lake Regillus was a legendary early Roman victory, won over the Latin League led by the expelled Etruscan former king of Rome. It is usually said to have occurred in 498 BC, but other dates have been proposed, including 499 BC, 496 BC and 493 BC.The battle may be entirely legendary,...

 in 496 BC, the Battle of Mons Algidus
Battle of Mons Algidus
The Battle of Mons Algidus was fought in 458 BC between the Roman Republic and the Aequi near Algidus Mons, Latium. The Roman dictator Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus turned a Roman defeat into an important victory.-Background:...

 in 458 BC, the Battle of Corbione
Battle of Corbione
The Battle of Corbione took place in 446 BC. General Titus Quinctius Capitolinus Barbatus and legatus Spurius Postumius Albus Regillensis led Roman troops to a victory over the Aequi tribes of north-east Latium and the Volsci tribes of southern Latium...

 in 446 BC, the Battle of Aricia, and an Etruscan city in the Battle of the Cremera
Battle of the Cremera
The Battle of the Cremera was fought between the Roman Republic and the Etruscan city of Veii, in 477 BC .Historical records show the defeat of the Roman stronghold on the river Cremera, and the consequent incursions of the Veientes in Roman territory.The preserved account of the battle, written by...

 in 477 BC, By the end of this period, Rome had effectively completed the conquest of their immediate Etruscan and Latin neighbours, as well as secured their position against the immediate threat posed by the tribespeople of the nearby Apennine hills.
Celtic invasion of Italia (390–387 BC)

By 390 BC, several Gallic tribes had begun invading Italy from the north as their culture expanded throughout Europe. The Romans were alerted of this when a particularly warlike tribe invaded two Etruscan towns from the north. These two towns were not far from Rome's sphere of influence. These towns, overwhelmed by the size of the enemy in numbers and ferocity, called on Rome for help. The Romans met them in pitched battle at the Battle of Allia River
Battle of the Allia
The Battle of the Allia was a battle of the first Gallic invasion of Rome. The battle was fought near the Allia river: the defeat of the Roman army opened the route for the Gauls to sack Rome. It was fought in 390/387 BC.-Background:...

 around 390–387 BC. The Gauls, under their chieftain Brennus
Brennus (4th century BC)
Brennus was a chieftain of the Senones, a Gallic tribe originating from the modern areas of France known as Seine-et-Marne, Loiret, and Yonne, but which had expanded to occupy northern Italy....

, defeated the Roman army of around 15,000 troops and proceeded to pursue the fleeing Romans back to Rome itself and sacked the city before being either driven off or bought off. Now that the Romans and Gauls had bloodied one another, intermittent warfare was to continue between the two in Italy for more than two centuries. The Celtic problem would not be resolved for Rome until the final subjugation of all Gaul by Julius Caesar at the Battle of Alesia
Battle of Alesia
The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia took place in September, 52 BC around the Gallic oppidum of Alesia, a major town centre and hill fort of the Mandubii tribe...

 in 52 BC.
Roman expansion into Italia (343–282 BC)


After recovering surprisingly swiftly from the sack of Rome, the Romans immediately resumed their expansion within Italy. The First Samnite War of between 343 BC and 341 BC was a relatively short affair: the Romans beat the Samnites in two battles, but were forced to withdraw from the war before they could pursue the conflict further due to the revolt of several of their Latin allies in the Latin War
Latin War
The Latin War was a conflict between the Roman Republic and its neighbors the Latin peoples of ancient Italy. It ended in the dissolution of the Latin League, and incorporation of its territory into the Roman sphere of influence, with the Latins gaining partial rights and varying levels of...

. Rome bested the Latins in the Battle of Vesuvius
Battle of Vesuvius
-The Battle of Vesuvius:The Battle of Vesuvius was fought near Mount Vesuvius in 340 BC. The battle was fought between the Romans and the Latin army...

 and again in the Battle of Trifanum
Battle of Trifanum
The Battle of Trifanum was fought in 339 BC between the Roman Republic and the Latins. The Roman force was led by Manlius Imperiosus, and they were victorious....

, after which the Latin cities were obliged to submit to Roman rule.

The Second Samnite War, from 327 BC to 304 BC, was a much longer and more serious affair for both the Romans and Samnites. The fortunes of the two sides fluctuated throughout its course. The Romans then proved victorious at the Battle of Bovianum
Battle of Bovianum
The Battle of Bovianum was fought in 305 BC between the Romans and the Samnites.- Battle :The Romans were led by two consuls, Tiberius Minucius Augurinus and Lucius Postumius Megellus...

 and the tide turned strongly against the Samnites from 314 BC onwards, leading them to sue for peace with progressively less generous terms. By 304 BC the Romans had effectively annexed the greater degree of the Samnite territory, founding several colonies.

Seven years after their defeat, with Roman dominance of the area looking assured, the Samnites rose again and defeated a Roman army in 298 BC, to open the Third Samnite War. With this success in hand they managed to bring together a coalition of several previous enemies of Rome. In the Battle of Populonia
Battle of Populonia
The Battle of Populonia was fought in 282 BC between Rome and the Etruscans. The Romans were victorious, and the Etruscan threat to Rome sharply diminished after this battle....

 in 282 BC Rome finished off the last vestiges of Etruscan power in the region.
Pyrrhic War (280–275 BC)



By the beginning of the 3rd century, Rome had established itself as a major power on the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

, but had not yet come into conflict with the dominant military powers in the Mediterranean Basin
Mediterranean Basin
In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin refers to the lands around the Mediterranean Sea that have a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers, which supports characteristic Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub vegetation...

 at the time: Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 and the Greek kingdoms.

When a diplomatic dispute between Rome and a Greek colony erupted into open warfare in a naval confrontation, the Greek colony appealed for military aid to Pyrrhus
Pyrrhus of Epirus
Pyrrhus or Pyrrhos was a Greek general and statesman of the Hellenistic era. He was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians, of the royal Aeacid house , and later he became king of Epirus and Macedon . He was one of the strongest opponents of early Rome...

, ruler of the northwestern Greek kingdom of Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

. Motivated by a personal desire for military accomplishment, Pyrrhus landed a Greek army of some 25,000 men on Italian soil in 280 BC.

Despite early victories, Pyrrhus found his position in Italy untenable. Rome steadfastly refused to negotiate with Pyrrhus as long as his army remained in Italy. Facing unacceptably heavy losses with each encounter with the Roman army, Pyrrhus withdrew from the peninsula (thus deriving the term "pyrrhic victory
Pyrrhic victory
A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost to the victor that it carries the implication that another such victory will ultimately cause defeat.-Origin:...

"). In 275 BC, Pyrrhus again met the Roman army at the Battle of Beneventum. While Beneventum was indecisive, Pyrrhus realised his army had been exhausted and reduced, by years of foreign campaigns, and seeing little hope for further gains, he withdrew completely from Italy.

The conflicts with Pyrrhus would have a great effect on Rome. Rome had shown it was capable of pitting its armies successfully against the dominant military powers of the Mediterranean, and that the Greek kingdoms were incapable of defending their colonies in Italy and abroad. Rome quickly moved into southern Italia, subjugating and dividing the Greek colonies. Now, Rome effectively dominated the Italian peninsula, and won an international military reputation.
Punic Wars (264–146 BC)


The First Punic War
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic. For 23 years, the two powers struggled for supremacy in the western Mediterranean Sea, primarily on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters but also to a lesser extent in...

 began in 264 BC when settlements on Sicily began to appeal to the two powers between which they lay – Rome and Carthage – to solve internal conflicts. The war saw land battles in Sicily early on, but the theatre shifted to naval battles around Sicily and Africa. Before the First Punic War there was no Roman navy to speak of. The new war in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 against Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, a great naval power, forced Rome to quickly build a fleet and train sailors.

The first few naval battles were catastrophic disasters for Rome. However, after training more sailors and inventing a grappling engine, a Roman naval force was able to defeat a Carthaginian fleet, and further naval victories followed. The Carthaginians then hired Xanthippus of Carthage, a Spartan mercenary general, to reorganise and lead their army. He managed to cut off the Roman army from its base by re-establishing Carthaginian naval supremacy. With their newfound naval abilities, the Romans then beat the Carthaginians in naval battle again at the Battle of the Aegates Islands
Battle of the Aegates Islands
The Battle of the Aegates Islands or Aegusa was the final naval battle fought between the fleets of Carthage and the Roman Republic during the First Punic War...

 and leaving Carthage without a fleet or sufficient coin to raise one. For a maritime power the loss of their access to the Mediterranean stung financially and psychologically, and the Carthaginians sued for peace.

Continuing distrust led to the renewal of hostilities in the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

 when Hannibal Barca
Hannibal Barca
Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca Hannibal's date of death is most commonly given as 183 BC, but there is a possibility it could have taken place in 182 BC. was a Carthaginian military commander and tactician. He is generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history...

 attacked a Spanish town, which had diplomatic ties to Rome. Hannibal then crossed the Italian Alps to invade Italy. Hannibal's successes in Italy began immediately, and reached an early climax at the Battle of Cannae
Battle of Cannae
The Battle of Cannae was a major battle of the Second Punic War, which took place on August 2, 216 BC near the town of Cannae in Apulia in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage under Hannibal decisively defeated a numerically superior army of the Roman Republic under command of the consuls Lucius...

, where 70,000 Romans were killed.

In three battles, the Romans managed to hold off Hannibal but then Hannibal smashed a succession of Roman consular armies. By this time Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal Barca
Hasdrubal Barca
Hasdrubal was Hamilcar Barca's second son and a Carthaginian general in the Second Punic War. He was a younger brother of the much more famous Hannibal.-Youth and Iberian leadership:...

 sought to cross the Alps into Italy and join his brother with a second army. Hasdrubal managed to break through into Italy only to be defeated decisively on the Metaurus River
Battle of the Metaurus
The Battle of the Metaurus was a pivotal battle in the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage, fought in 207 BC near the Metauro River in present-day Italy. The battle gets a chapter in the classic The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World by Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy...

. Unable to defeat Hannibal himself on Italian soil, the Romans boldly sent an army to Africa under Scipio Africanus
Scipio Africanus
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus , also known as Scipio Africanus and Scipio the Elder, was a general in the Second Punic War and statesman of the Roman Republic...

 with the intention of threatening the Carthaginian capital. Hannibal was recalled to Africa, and defeated at the Battle of Zama
Battle of Zama
The Battle of Zama, fought around October 19, 202 BC, marked the final and decisive end of the Second Punic War. A Roman army led by Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus defeated a Carthaginian force led by the legendary commander Hannibal...

.

Carthage never managed to recover after the Second Punic War and the Third Punic War
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War was the third and last of the Punic Wars fought between the former Phoenician colony of Carthage, and the Roman Republic...

 that followed was in reality a simple punitive mission to raze the city of Carthage to the ground. Carthage was almost defenceless and when besieged offered immediate surrender, conceding to a string of outrageous Roman demands. The Romans refused the surrender, and the city was stormed after a short siege and completely destroyed. Ultimately, all of Carthage's North African and Spanish territories were acquired by Rome.
Kingdom of Macedonia, the Greek poleis, and Illyria (215–148 BC)


Poleis and wars


Rome's preoccupation with its war with Carthage provided an opportunity for Philip V
Philip V of Macedon
Philip V was King of Macedon from 221 BC to 179 BC. Philip's reign was principally marked by an unsuccessful struggle with the emerging power of Rome. Philip was attractive and charismatic as a young man...

 of the kingdom of Macedonia, located in the north of the Greek peninsula, to attempt to extend his power westward. Philip sent ambassadors to Hannibal's camp in Italy, to negotiate an alliance as common enemies of Rome. However, Rome discovered the agreement when Philip's emissaries were captured by a Roman fleet. The First Macedonian War
First Macedonian War
The First Macedonian War was fought by Rome, allied with the Aetolian League and Attalus I of Pergamon, against Philip V of Macedon, contemporaneously with the Second Punic War against Carthage...

 saw the Romans involved directly in only limited land operations, but they ultimately achieved their objective of pre-occupying Philip and preventing him from aiding Hannibal.

Macedonia began to encroach on territory claimed by Greek city states in 200 BC and these states pleaded for help from their newfound ally Rome. Rome gave Philip an ultimatum that he must submit Macedonia to being essentially a Roman province. Philip refused, and Rome declared war against Philip in the Second Macedonian War
Second Macedonian War
The Second Macedonian War was fought between Macedon, led by Philip V of Macedon, and Rome, allied with Pergamon and Rhodes. The result was the defeat of Philip who was forced to abandon all his possessions in Greece...

. Ultimately, in 197 BC, the Romans defeated Philip at the Battle of Cynoscephalae
Battle of Cynoscephalae
The Battle of Cynoscephalae was an encounter battle fought in Thessaly in 197 BC between the Roman army, led by Titus Quinctius Flamininus, and the Antigonid dynasty of Macedon, led by Philip V.- Prelude :...

, and Macedonia was forced to surrender.

Rome now turned its attentions to one of the Greek kingdoms, the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

, in the east. A Roman force defeated the Seleucids at the Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Thermopylae (191 BC)
The Battle of Thermopylae was fought in 191 BC between a Roman army led by consul Manius Acilius Glabrio and a Seleucid force led by King Antiochus III the Great. The Romans were victorious, and as a result, Antiochus was forced to flee Greece. It was described by Appian and by Livy at...

 and forced them to evacuate Greece. The Romans then pursued the Seleucids beyond Greece, beating them in the decisive engagement of the Battle of Magnesia
Battle of Magnesia
The Battle of Magnesia was fought in 190 BC near Magnesia ad Sipylum, on the plains of Lydia , between the Romans, led by the consul Lucius Cornelius Scipio and his brother, the famed general Scipio Africanus, with their ally Eumenes II of Pergamum against the army of Antiochus III the Great of the...

.

In 179 BC, Philip died and his talented and ambitious son, Perseus, took his throne and showed a renewed interest in Greece. Rome declared war on Macedonia again, starting the Third Macedonian War
Third Macedonian War
The Third Macedonian War was a war fought between Rome and King Perseus of Macedon. In 179 BC King Philip V of Macedon died and his talented and ambitious son, Perseus, took his throne. Perseus married Laodike, daughter of King Seleucus IV Keraunos of Asia, and increased the size of his army...

. Perseus initially had greater military success against the Romans than his father. However, as with all such ventures in this period, Rome responded by simply sending another army. The second consular army duly defeated the Macedonians at the Battle of Pydna
Battle of Pydna
The Battle of Pydna in 168 BC between Rome and the Macedonian Antigonid dynasty saw the further ascendancy of Rome in the Hellenic/Hellenistic world and the end of the Antigonid line of kings, whose power traced back to Alexander the Great.Paul K...

 in 168 BC and the Macedonians duly capitulated, ending the Third Macedonian War
Third Macedonian War
The Third Macedonian War was a war fought between Rome and King Perseus of Macedon. In 179 BC King Philip V of Macedon died and his talented and ambitious son, Perseus, took his throne. Perseus married Laodike, daughter of King Seleucus IV Keraunos of Asia, and increased the size of his army...

.

The Fourth Macedonian War, fought from 150 BC to 148 BC, was the final war between Rome and Macedonia. The Romans swiftly defeated the Macedonians at the Second battle of Pydna
Battle of Pydna (148 BC)
The Battle of Pydna was fought in 148 BC between Rome and the forces of the Macedonian leader Andriscus. The Roman force was led by Quintus Caecilius Metellus, and was the winner of this engagement. The result of the battle played an important role in deciding the outcome of the Fourth Macedonian...

. Another Roman army besieged and destroyed Corinth in 146 BC, which led to the surrender and thus conquest of Greece.

Jugurthine War (111–104 BC)


The Jugurthine War
Jugurthine War
The Jugurthine War takes its name from the Berber king Jugurtha , nephew and later adopted son of Micipsa, King of Numidia.-Jugurtha and Numidia:...

 of 111–104 BC was fought between Rome and Jugurtha
Jugurtha
Jugurtha or Jugurthen was a King of Numidia, , born in Cirta .-Background:Until the reign of Jugurtha's grandfather Masinissa, the people of Numidia were semi-nomadic and indistinguishable from the other Libyans in North Africa...

 of the North African kingdom of Numidia
Numidia
Numidia was an ancient Berber kingdom in part of present-day Eastern Algeria and Western Tunisia in North Africa. It is known today as the Chawi-land, the land of the Chawi people , the direct descendants of the historical Numidians or the Massyles The kingdom began as a sovereign state and later...

. It constituted the final Roman pacification of Northern Africa, after which Rome largely ceased expansion on the continent after reaching natural barriers of desert and mountain. Following Jugurtha's usurpation of the throne of Numidia, a loyal ally of Rome since the Punic Wars, Rome felt compelled to intervene. Jugurtha impudently bribed the Romans into accepting his usurpation. Jugurtha was finally captured not in battle but by treachery.
The Celtic threat (121 BC) and the new Germanic threat (113–101 BC)


In 121 BC, Rome came into contact with two Celtic tribes (from a region in modern France), both of which they defeated with apparent ease. The Cimbrian War
Cimbrian War
The Cimbrian War was fought between the Roman Republic and the Proto-Germanic tribes of the Cimbri and the Teutons , who migrated from northern Europe into Roman controlled territory, and clashed with Rome and her allies...

 (113–101 BC) was a far more serious affair than the earlier clashes of 121 BC. The Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 tribes of the Cimbri
Cimbri
The Cimbri were a tribe from Northern Europe, who, together with the Teutones and the Ambrones threatened the Roman Republic in the late 2nd century BC. The Cimbri were probably Germanic, though some believe them to be of Celtic origin...

and the Teutons
Teutons
The Teutons or Teutones were mentioned as a Germanic tribe by Greek and Roman authors, notably Strabo and Marcus Velleius Paterculus and normally in close connection with the Cimbri, whose ethnicity is contested between Gauls and Germani...

migrated from northern Europe into Rome's northern territories, and clashed with Rome and her allies. At the Battle of Aquae Sextiae
Battle of Aquae Sextiae
The Battle of Aquae Sextiae took place in 102 BC. After a string of Roman defeats , the Romans under Gaius Marius finally defeated the Teutones and Ambrones.-The battle:...

 and the Battle of Vercellae
Battle of Vercellae
The Battle of Vercellae, or Battle of the Raudine Plain, in 101 BC was the Roman victory of Consul Gaius Marius over the invading Germanic Cimbri tribe near the settlement of Vercellae in Cisalpine Gaul....

 both tribes were virtually annihilated, which ended the threat.
Internal unrest (135–71 BC)

The extensive campaigning abroad by Roman generals, and the rewarding of soldiers with plunder on these campaigns, led to a general trend of soldiers becoming increasingly loyal to their generals rather than to the state. Rome was also plagued by several slave uprisings during this period, in part because vast tracts of land had been given over to slave farming in which the slaves greatly outnumbered their Roman masters. In the last century BC at least twelve civil wars and rebellions occurred. This pattern did not break until Octavian (later Caesar Augustus) ended it by becoming a successful challenger to the Senate's authority, and was made princeps
Princeps
Princeps is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person."...

(emperor).

Between 135 BC and 71 BC there were three "Servile Wars"
Roman Servile Wars
The Servile Wars were a series of three slave revolts in the late Roman Republic. See:...

 involving slave uprisings against the Roman state, the third
Third Servile War
The Third Servile War , also called the Gladiator War and the War of Spartacus by Plutarch, was the last of a series of unrelated and unsuccessful slave rebellions against the Roman Republic, known collectively as the Roman Servile Wars...

 and final uprising was the most serious, involving ultimately between 120,000 and 150,000 slaves under the command of the gladiator Spartacus
Spartacus
Spartacus was a famous leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about Spartacus beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory and may not always be reliable...

. Additionally, in 91 BC the Social War broke out between Rome and its former allies in Italy over dissent among the allies that they shared the risk of Rome's military campaigns, but not its rewards. Although they lost militarily, the allies achieved their objectives with legal proclamations which granted citizenship to more than 500,000 Italians.

The internal unrest reached its most serious state, however, in the two civil wars
Sulla's civil wars
Sulla's civil wars were a series of civil wars in which Lucius Cornelius Sulla, a Roman statesman and general, attempted to take control of the Roman Republic.- Background :...

 that were caused by the consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

 at the beginning of 82 BC. In the Battle of the Colline Gate
Battle of the Colline Gate
The battle of the Colline Gate, fought in November of 82 BC, was the final battle by which Sulla secured control of Rome following the civil war against his rivals. The Samnites led by Pontius Telesinus attacked Sulla's army at the Colline Gate on the northeastern wall, and fought all night before...

 at the very door of the city of Rome, a Roman army under Sulla bested an army of the Roman Senate and entered the city. Sulla's actions marked a watershed in the willingness of Roman troops to wage war against one another that was to pave the way for the wars which ultimately overthrew the Republic, and caused the founding of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

.
Conflicts with Mithridates (89–63 BC) and the Cilician pirates (67 BC)

Mithridates the Great was the ruler of Pontus
Kingdom of Pontus
The Kingdom of Pontus or Pontic Empire was a state of Persian origin on the southern coast of the Black Sea. It was founded by Mithridates I in 291 BC and lasted until its conquest by the Roman Republic in 63 BC...

, a large kingdom in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 (modern Turkey), from 120 to 63 BC. Mithridates antagonised Rome by seeking to expand his kingdom, and Rome for her part seemed equally keen for war and the spoils and prestige that it might bring. In 88 BC, Mithridates ordered the killing of a majority of the 80,000 Romans living in his kingdom. The massacre was the official reason given for the commencement of hostilities in the First Mithridatic War
First Mithridatic War
The First Mithridatic War was a war challenging Rome's expanding Empire and rule over the Greek world. In this conflict, the Kingdom of Pontus and many Greek cities rebelling against Rome were led by Mithridates VI of Pontus against the Roman Republic and the Kingdom of Bithynia...

. The Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

 forced Mithridates out of Greece proper, but then had to return to Italy to answer the internal threat posed by his rival, Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius
Gaius Marius was a Roman general and statesman. He was elected consul an unprecedented seven times during his career. He was also noted for his dramatic reforms of Roman armies, authorizing recruitment of landless citizens, eliminating the manipular military formations, and reorganizing the...

. A peace was made between Rome and Pontus, but this proved only a temporary lull.

The Second Mithridatic War
Second Mithridatic War
The Second Mithridatic War was one of three wars fought between Pontus and the Roman Republic. The second Mithridatic war was fought between King Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman general Lucius Licinius Murena....

 began when Rome tried to annex a province that Mithridates claimed as his own. In the Third Mithridatic War
Third Mithridatic War
The Third Mithridatic War was the last and longest of three Mithridatic Wars fought between Mithridates VI of Pontus and his allies and the Roman Republic...

, first Lucius Licinius Lucullus
Lucius Licinius Lucullus
This article is on the Consul of 151 BC. For the descendent see Lucullus, and for others of this name see Licinia .Lucius Licinius Lucullus was a novus homo who became Consul in 151 BC. He was imprisoned by the Tribunes for attempting to enforce a troop levy too harshly...

 and then Pompey the Great were sent against Mithridates. Mithridates was finally defeated by Pompey in the night-time Battle of the Lycus
Battle of the Lycus
The Battle of the Lycus was fought in 66 BC between the Roman Republic army of Pompey and the forces of Mithridates VI of Pontus. The Romans easily won the battle with few losses. Mithridates later committed suicide, finally ending the Third Mithridatic War....

.
The Mediterranean had at this time fallen into the hands of pirates, largely from Cilicia
Cilicia
In antiquity, Cilicia was the south coastal region of Asia Minor, south of the central Anatolian plateau. It existed as a political entity from Hittite times into the Byzantine empire...

. The pirates not only strangled shipping lanes but also plundered many cities on the coasts of Greece and Asia. Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

 was nominated as commander of a special naval task force to campaign against the pirates. It took Pompey just forty days to clear the western portion of the sea of pirates and restore communication between Iberia (Spain), Africa, and Italy.
Caesar's early campaigns (59–50 BC)



During a term as praetor in Iberia (modern Spain), Pompey's contemporary Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 defeated two local tribes in battle. Following his term as consul in 59 BC, he was then appointed to a five year term as the proconsular Governor of Cisalpine Gaul (current northern Italy), Transalpine Gaul (current southern France) and Illyria (the modern Balkans). Not content with an idle governorship, Caesar strove to find reason to invade Gaul, which would give him the dramatic military success he sought. When two local tribes began to migrate on a route that would take them near (not into) the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul, Caesar had the barely sufficient excuse he needed for his Gallic Wars
Gallic Wars
The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns waged by the Roman proconsul Julius Caesar against several Gallic tribes. They lasted from 58 BC to 51 BC. The Gallic Wars culminated in the decisive Battle of Alesia in 52 BC, in which a complete Roman victory resulted in the expansion of the...

, fought between 58 BC and 49 BC.

Caesar defeated large armies at major battles 58 BC and 57 BC. In 55 and 54 BC he made two expeditions into Britain
Caesar's invasions of Britain
In his Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar invaded Britain twice, in 55 and 54 BC. The first invasion, made late in summer, was either intended as a full invasion or a reconnaissance-in-force expedition...

, becoming the first Roman to do so. Caesar then defeated a union of Gauls at the Battle of Alesia
Battle of Alesia
The Battle of Alesia or Siege of Alesia took place in September, 52 BC around the Gallic oppidum of Alesia, a major town centre and hill fort of the Mandubii tribe...

, completing the Roman conquest of Transalpine Gaul. By 50 BC, the entirety of Gaul lay in Roman hands. Gaul never regained its Celtic identity, never attempted another nationalist rebellion, and, other than the crisis of the 3rd century, remained loyal to Rome until the fall of the western empire in 476.
Triumvirates and Caesarian ascension (53–30 BC)


By 59 BC an unofficial political alliance known as the First Triumvirate
First Triumvirate
The First Triumvirate was the political alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Unlike the Second Triumvirate, the First Triumvirate had no official status whatsoever; its overwhelming power in the Roman Republic was strictly unofficial influence, and...

 was formed between Gaius Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

, Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus
Marcus Licinius Crassus was a Roman general and politician who commanded the right wing of Sulla's army at the Battle of the Colline Gate, suppressed the slave revolt led by Spartacus, provided political and financial support to Julius Caesar and entered into the political alliance known as the...

, and Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus ("Pompey the Great") to share power and influence. In 53 BC, Crassus launched a Roman invasion of the Parthian Empire (modern Iraq and Iran). After initial successes, he marched his army deep into the desert; but here his army was cut off deep in enemy territory, surrounded and slaughtered at the Battle of Carrhae
Battle of Carrhae
The Battle of Carrhae, fought in 53 BC near the town of Carrhae, was a major battle between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic. The Parthian Spahbod Surena decisively defeated a Roman invasion force led by Marcus Licinius Crassus...

 in which Crassus himself perished. The death of Crassus removed some of the balance in the Triumvirate and, consequently, Caesar and Pompey began to move apart. While Caesar was fighting in Gaul, Pompey proceeded with a legislative agenda for Rome that revealed that he was at best ambivalent towards Caesar and perhaps now covertly allied with Caesar's political enemies. In 51 BC, some Roman senators demanded that Caesar not be permitted to stand for consul unless he turned over control of his armies to the state, which would have left Caesar defenceless before his enemies. Caesar chose civil war over laying down his command and facing trial.

By the spring of 49 BC, the hardened legions of Caesar crossed the river Rubicon
Rubicon
The Rubicon is a shallow river in northeastern Italy, about 80 kilometres long, running from the Apennine Mountains to the Adriatic Sea through the southern Emilia-Romagna region, between the towns of Rimini and Cesena. The Latin word rubico comes from the adjective "rubeus", meaning "red"...

 and swept down the Italian peninsula towards Rome, while Pompey ordered the abandonment of Rome. Afterwards Caesar turned his attention to the Pompeian stronghold of Iberia (modern Spain) but decided to tackle Pompey himself in Greece. Pompey initially defeated Caesar, but failed to follow up on the victory, and was decisively defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus
Battle of Pharsalus
The Battle of Pharsalus was a decisive battle of Caesar's Civil War. On 9 August 48 BC at Pharsalus in central Greece, Gaius Julius Caesar and his allies formed up opposite the army of the republic under the command of Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus...

 in 48 BC, despite outnumbering Caesar's forces two to one, albeit with inferior quality troops. Pompey fled again, this time to Egypt, where he was murdered.

Pompey's death did not result in an end to the civil war as Caesar's enemies were manifold and continued to fight on. In 46 BC Caesar lost perhaps as much as a third of his army, but ultimately came back to defeat the Pompeian army of Metellus Scipio in the Battle of Thapsus
Battle of Thapsus
The Battle of Thapsus took place on April 6, 46 BC near Thapsus . The Republican forces of the Optimates, led by Quintus Caecillius Metellus Scipio, clashed with the veteran forces loyal to Julius Caesar.-Prelude:...

, after which the Pompeians retreated yet again to Iberia. Caesar then defeated the combined Pompeian forces at the Battle of Munda
Battle of Munda
The Battle of Munda took place on March 17, 45 BC in the plains of Munda, modern southern Spain. This was the last battle of Julius Caesar's civil war against the republican armies of the Optimate leaders...

.

Caesar was now the primary figure of the Roman state, enforcing and entrenching his powers and his enemies feared that he had ambitions to become an autocratic ruler. Arguing that the Roman Republic was in danger a group of senators hatched a conspiracy and murdered Caesar
Assassination of Julius Caesar
The assassination of Julius Caesar was the result of a conspiracy by approximately forty Roman senators who called themselves Liberators. Led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, they stabbed Julius Caesar to death in the Theatre of Pompey on the Ides of March 44 BC...

 in the Senate in March of 44 BC. Mark Antony, Caesar's lieutenant, condemned Caesar's assassination, and war broke out between the two factions. Antony was denounced as a public enemy, and Caesar's adopted son and chosen heir, Gaius Octavian, was entrusted with the command of the war against him. At the Battle of Mutina
Battle of Mutina
The Battle of Mutina was fought on April 21, 43 BC between the forces of Mark Antony and the forces of Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus and Aulus Hirtius, who were providing aid to Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus.-Prelude:...

 Antony was defeated by the consuls Hirtius and Pansa
Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus
Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus was consul of the Roman Republic in 43 BC. Although supporting Gaius Julius Caesar during the Civil War, he pushed for the restoration of the Republic upon Caesar’s death...

, who were both killed.

Octavian came to terms with Caesarians Antony and Lepidus in 43 BC when the Second Triumvirate
Second Triumvirate
The Second Triumvirate is the name historians give to the official political alliance of Octavius , Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony, formed on 26 November 43 BC with the enactment of the Lex Titia, the adoption of which marked the end of the Roman Republic...

 was formed. In 42 BC Triumvirs Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 and Octavian
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 fought the Battle of Philippi
Battle of Philippi
The Battle of Philippi was the final battle in the Wars of the Second Triumvirate between the forces of Mark Antony and Octavian and the forces of Julius Caesar's assassins Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus in 42 BC, at Philippi in Macedonia...

 with Caesar's assassins Brutus
Brutus
Brutus is the cognomen of the Roman gens Junia, a prominent family of the Roman Republic. The plural of Brutus is Bruti, and the vocative form is Brute, as immortalized in the quotation "Et tu, Brute?", from Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar....

 and Cassius
Gaius Cassius Longinus
Gaius Cassius Longinus was a Roman senator, a leading instigator of the plot to kill Julius Caesar, and the brother in-law of Marcus Junius Brutus.-Early life:...

. Although Brutus defeated Octavian, Antony defeated Cassius, who committed suicide. Brutus joined him shortly afterwards.

However, civil war flared again when the Second Triumvirate of Octavian, Lepidus and Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

 failed. The ambitious Octavian built a power base of patronage and then launched a campaign against Mark Antony. At the naval Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium
The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman...

 off the coast of Greece, Octavian
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 decisively defeated Antony and Cleopatra
Cleopatra VII of Egypt
Cleopatra VII Philopator was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.She was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Greek origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great's death during the Hellenistic period...

. Octavian was granted a series of special powers including sole "imperium" within the city of Rome, permanent consular powers and credit for every Roman military victory, since all future generals were assumed to be acting under his command. In 27 BC Octavian was granted the use of the names "Augustus" and "Princeps" indicating his primary status above all other Romans, and he adopted the title "Imperator Caesar" making him the first Roman Emperor.

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