Julius Caesar: The Fall Of The Roman Republic

1543 words - 6 pages

The Roman Republic can be explained as the period from 509 – 27 BCE, which the ancient Roman civilization exemplified a republican form of government; where the supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives. During the Roman Republic, the 2 most powerful, and main branches of government included the Consuls and the Senate. It was the Consuls who held supreme civil and military control over Rome; however the republic had precautions in place to avoid one of the consuls from exercising too much power, such as short one year terms, veto and the notion of 2 consuls to divide authority. The republic then also included the senate; where at first, senators were only chosen from the patrician class, but in time, plebeians joined their positions (Bradley, 1990). Throughout the history of the republic, the evolution of government was driven by the struggle between the aristocracy and the ordinary citizens. The demise of the republic resulted through a series of civil wars and powerful dominance of significant historical figures (Princeton.edu, 2014).
Gaius Julius Caesar was born on the 12th of July 100BCE to his father, a Praetor who governed the province of Asia, and his mother Aurelia Cotta, who was of noble birth. The family held Populare ideologies which favoured democracy and extended rights for the lower classes. As opposed to the Optimates whose sole focus was on superiority and nobility (Vroma.org, 2011).
“His birth marked the beginning of a new chapter in roman history”. By 31, Caesar had fought in several wars and become heavily involved in politics; being appointed dictator and consul on multiple occasions (Biography.com, 2014). It was Caesar’s assassination and following events that ultimately brought an end to the republican form of government in Rome. However he was not the first to politically disrupt Rome. Previous historical figures and their actions significantly contributed to and first began the breakdown of the republic. Caesar merely finalised this already shattered form of government, throwing it into an empire.
Prior to the first triumvirate and Caesar’s dictatorship, there was a major power struggle between two political factions – the Optimates and populares. Sulla was the supporter of Optimate ideologies, whilst on the other hand Marius aligned himself with the populares; Optimates, meaning “Best Ones” or “Aristocrats” and Populares, meaning “Demagogues” or “Populists”. The Optimates were focused on the old established order which wanted the senate to govern, and the populares were led by what the people wanted (Heritage-history.com, 2012). Civil war broke out between the two parties, resulting in the death of Marius and the following dictatorship of Sulla.
After the civil war, Sulla then ruled as dictator. During Sulla’s dictatorship, he proposed a reign of terror among the roman citizens, killing large numbers of important and wealthy people, such as senators and the confiscation of their property....

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