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General History of Rome

Updated on December 6, 2014

The Roman Kingdom begins from the period of ancient Roman Civilization which was characterized by monarchical form of government of the Roman city and its territories. Very little is certain regarding the kingdom’s history since nearly no written records survived from that period. Moreover, histories written during the empire and republican times are based largely on legends. The kingdom’s history is believed to have begun with the founding of the city. This is traditionally dated 735 BCE with the settlements situated around Palestine hill and along river Tiber, central Italy. This eventually ended with the overthrow of kings and establishment of Republic around 509 BCE. The site for the kingdom’s founding and eventual republic followed by empire had a ford that enabled one to cross Tiber (Taagepera, 1979).

Further, the mountain and hills that surrounded it presented an easy position for defense purposes. Both of these features played a major role in the city’s success. The traditional accounts of Roman history dictates that Rome was ruled in its first centuries by seven kings in succession. Its traditional chronology, codified by Varro, designates 243 years for total reigns, 35 years average for each king.

The Republican age

The roman republic is a period in ancient Roman civilization, which began with the overthrowing of the Roman Kingdom, dated 509BC , and ending with the Roman Empire establishment in 27 BC. During this period, Rome’s control started to expand from the immediate surroundings of the city to hegemony and over the Mediterranean world. The Roman Republic used a combination of alliance and conquest to expand during the first three centuries, from Central Italy extending to the whole of Italian peninsula. It went on to include Spain, north Africa, and south of France in the subsequent century. Two centuries later, it included Greece, eastern Mediterranean, and modern France. At this time, internal tensions caused a number of civil wars, which climaxed the murder of Julius Caesar, bringing to an end the Roman Empire establishment (Garrett, 2011).

The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire is a period of post-republican in ancient Roman Civilization. It was characterized by a government headed by an emperor, and tremendous territorial holdings around Mediterranean Sea in Africa, Europe, and Asia. The preceding 500-year-old republic was destabilized severely in progression of political conflict and civil wars during which Caesar was appointed perpetual dictator then assassinated at around 44 BC. Executions and civil wars went on, culminating in Octavian’s victory (Caesar’s adopted son), over Cleopatra and Mark Antony at the Actium battle in 31 BC and Egypt’s annexation. Octavian’s power became unassailable and the Roman senate officially granted him overarching power and Augustus, the new title in 27 BC, efficiently marking the end of roman republic (Fergus, 1997).

The Republics imperial successor endured for about 500 years, the first two being a period of propensity and unprecedented political stability. Following the victory of Octavian, the empire’s size increased dramatically. After Caligula’s assassination in 41, the senate briefly considered the restoration of the Republic, but Praetorian Guard declared Claudius as an empire instead. Consequently, the Roman Empire stood as the most powerful political, economic, cultural, and military forces at that time in history. It was the biggest Empire in the period of Classical antiquity, and one among the largest Empires in the history of the world (Frier, 2000).

Prominent figures During the Roman Transition

Julius Caesar

Julius Gaius Caesar was a Roman statesman, general, consul, and remarkable author of Latin prose. He is remembered for the significant role he played in events, which led to the termination of Roman Republic, the beginning and development of Roman Empire. Caesar alongside Pompey and Crassus formed an alliance in 60 BC, which they believed could dominate politics in Rome for many years. Caesars’ victories in Gallic wars, concluded in 51 BC, extended the territories of Rome to Rhine and the English Channel. He became the first general in Rome to cross when he completed building the bridge that run across Rhine and conducted the first British invasion (Garnsey, 2000).

Octavius Gaius

Octavius Gaius was born into a wealthy branch of plebian Octavii family. Following his the uncertain murder of Ceasar his Uncle, in 44 BC, Caesar’s recognized him as the heir and adopted son of Caesar. Together with Marcus Lepidus and Mark Anthony, he formed Second Triumvirate to avenge the death of Caesar by defeating his assassins. After their success, they divided the Republic of Rome among themselves then ruled as separate military dictators. During his reign, he initiated a period of relative peace and he also reformed taxation system, set up a standing army, developed road networks, instituted the Praetorian Guard and rebuilt much of the Roman city during in the course of his reign.


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