The story

The power structure in the Roman Republic

  • Consuls: heads of the Republic, with a term of office of one year; they were the commanders of the army and had legal and religious duties.
  • Senate: composed of 300 senators, usually patricians. They were elected by the magistrates and their members were for life. They were responsible for drafting laws and decisions about domestic and foreign policy.
  • Magistratures: responsible for executive and judicial functions, generally formed by the patricians.
  • People's Assembly: composed of patricians and commoners; it was intended to vote on the laws and was responsible for the election of the consuls.
  • Plebe Council: composed only of the commoners; elected the tributes of the commoner and was responsible for decisions in plebiscites (decrees of the people).

The Expansion of Roman Borders

Initiated during the Republic, Roman expansionism had basically two objectives: to defend Rome from the attack of rival neighboring peoples and to secure land necessary for agriculture and grazing. The victories in the fighting led the Romans to a conquering action, that is, the action of the army led to the conquest and incorporation of new regions to Rome. Thus, after successive wars, over a period of five centuries, expansionist action allowed the Roman Empire to occupy much of the European, Asian and African continents.

The advance of the Roman military forces put the Empire in collision with Carthage and Macedonia, powers that at that time dominated the Mediterranean. The rivalries between the Carthaginians and the Romans resulted in the Punic Wars (in punished, by which the Carthaginians were known).

The Punic Wars developed in three stages during the period from 264 to 146 BC By the end of the third and final phase of the Punic Wars in 146 BC, Carthage was destroyed. Their survivors were sold into slavery and the Carthaginian territory was transformed into a Roman province. With the complete domination of the great rival, Rome began the expansion through the eastern (eastern) Mediterranean. Thus, over the next two centuries, the Hellenistic kingdoms of Macedonia, Syria, and Egypt were conquered. By the end of the first century BC, the Mediterranean had become a "Roman lake" or, as they said, Mare Nostrum("Our sea").

Period of political instability

With the end of the Punic Wars in 146 BC, a period of intense social unrest began. In addition to the slaves, peoples of the Italic Peninsula also revolted, but demanding the right to Roman citizenship. The expansion of the conquests and the increase of the plunder strengthened the Roman army, which then put itself in the struggle for power. Thus, this period was marked by a fierce political dispute between the leading generals, paving the way for dictators.

This crisis began with the institution of the triumvirates or triarchy., that is, government composed of three individuals. The First Triumvirate, in 60 BC, was composed of prestigious politicians: Pompey, Crassus and Julius Caesar. These generals began a major power struggle until, after a long civil war, Julius Caesar overcame his rivals and received the title of dictator for life.

During his rule, Julius Caesar formed the most powerful Roman legion, promoted political and administrative reform, distributed land among soldiers, boosted the colonization of the Roman provinces, and carried out public works.

Caesar's immense power led the senators to plot his death, which happened in 44 BC. Generals Marco Antonio, Lépido and Octavius ​​then formed the Second Triumvirate, preventing power from being handed over to the aristocracy that dominated the Senate. .

The power struggle continued with the new triumvirate. In 31 BC, Octavian defeated Mark Antony's forces and returned victorious to Rome. Strengthened by this campaign, Octavius ​​was able to rule without opposition. Thus ended the republican regime and started the Empire.