The Centuriate Assembly of the Roman Republic was one of the three voting assemblies in the Roman constitution. It was named the Centuriate Assembly as it divided Roman citizens into groups of one hundred men by classes; the Centuries reflected military status, but reflected the wealth of their members. The Centuries gathered into the Centuriate Assembly for legislative and judicial purposes; the majority of votes in any Century decided. Each Century received one vote, regardless of how many electors each Century held. Once a majority of Centuries voted in the same way on a given measure, the voting ended, the matter was decided. Only the Centuriate Assembly could declare war or elect the highest-ranking Roman Magistrates: "'Consuls", "Praetors" and "Censors"; the Centuriate Assembly could pass a law that granted constitutional command authority, or "Imperium", to Consuls and Praetors, Censorial powers to Censors. In addition, the Centuriate Assembly served as the highest court of appeal in certain judicial cases, ratified the results of a Census.
Since the Romans used a form of direct democracy and not elected representatives, voted before each assembly. As such, the citizen-electors had no power, other than the power to cast a vote; each assembly was presided over by a single Roman Magistrate, as such, it was the presiding magistrate who made all decisions on matters of procedure and legality. The presiding magistrate's power over the assembly was nearly absolute; the only check on that power came in the form of vetoes handed down by other magistrates. Any decision made by a presiding magistrate could be vetoed by a magistrate known as a "Plebeian Tribune". In addition, decisions made by presiding magistrates could be vetoed by higher-ranking magistrates. In the Roman system of direct democracy, two primary types of assembly were used to vote on legislative and judicial matters; the first was the Committee. The Centuriate Assembly was a Committee. Committees were assemblies of all citizens, were used for official purposes, such as for the enactment of laws.
Acts of a Committee applied to all of the members of that Committee. The second type of assembly was the Council, a forum where specific groups of citizens met for official purposes. In contrast, the Convention was an unofficial forum for communication. Conventions were forums where Romans met for specific unofficial purposes, such as, for example, to hear a political speech. Private citizens who did not hold political office could only speak before a Convention, not before a Committee or a Council. Conventions were meetings, no legal or legislative decisions could be made in one. Voters always assembled first into Conventions to hear debates and conduct other business before voting, into Committees or Councils to vote. A notice always had to be given several days before the assembly was to vote. For elections, at least three market-days had to pass between the announcement of the election, the actual election. During this time period, the candidates interacted with the electorate, no legislation could be proposed or voted upon.
In 98 BC, a law was passed which required a similar three market-day interval to pass between the proposal of a law and the vote on that law. During criminal trials, the assembly's presiding magistrate had to give a notice to the accused person on the first day of the investigation. At the end of each day, the magistrate had to give another notice to the accused person, which informed him of the status of the investigation. After the investigation was complete, a three market-day interval had to elapse before a final vote could be taken with respect to conviction or acquittal. Only one assembly could operate at any given point in time, any session underway could be dissolved if a magistrate "called away" the electors. In addition to the presiding magistrate, several additional magistrates were present to act as assistants, they were available to help resolve procedural disputes, to provide a mechanism through which electors could appeal decisions of the presiding magistrate. There were religious officials either in attendance or on-call, who would be available to help interpret any signs from the Gods, since the Romans believed that their gods let their approval or disapproval with proposed actions be known.
In addition, a preliminary search for omens was conducted by the presiding magistrate the night before any meeting. On several known occasions, presiding magistrates used the claim of unfavorable omens as an excuse to suspend a session, not going the way they wanted. On the day of the vote, the electors first assembled into their Conventions for debate and campaigning. In the Conventions, the electors were not sorted into their respective Centuries. Speeches from private citizens were only heard if the issue to be voted upon was a legislative or judicial matter, then, only if the citizen received permission from the presiding magistrate. If the purpose of the ultimate vote was for an election, no speeches from private citizens were heard, instead, the candidates for office used the Convention to campaign. During the Convention, the bill to be voted upon was read to the assembly by an officer known as a "Herald". A Plebe
The Latin word imperator derives from the stem of the verb imperare, meaning'to order, to command'. It was employed as a title equivalent to commander under the Roman Republic, 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 Empereür; the Roman emperors themselves based their authority on multiple titles and positions, rather than preferring any single title. Imperator was used consistently as an element of a Roman ruler's title throughout the principate and the dominate. In Latin, the feminine form of Imperator is imperatrix; when Rome was ruled by kings, to be able to rule, the king had to be invested with the full regal authority and power. So, after the comitia curiata, held to elect the king, the king had to be conferred the imperium. In Roman Republican literature and epigraphy, an imperator was a magistrate with imperium, but mainly in the Roman Republic and during the late Republican civil wars, imperator was the honorific title assumed by certain military commanders.
After an great victory, an army's troops in the field would proclaim their commander imperator, an acclamation necessary for a general to apply to the Senate for a triumph. After being acclaimed imperator, the victorious general had a right to use the title after his name until the time of his triumph, where he would relinquish the title as well as his imperium. Since a triumph was the goal of many politically ambitious Roman commanders, Roman Republican history is full of cases where legions were bribed to call their commander imperator; the title of imperator was given in 90 BC to Lucius Julius Caesar, in 84 BC to Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, in 60 BC to Gaius Julius Caesar, relative of the mentioned Lucius Julius Caesar, in 45 BC again to Gaius Julius Caesar, in 44 BC to Marcus Iunius Brutus, in 41 BC to Lucius Antonius. In 15 AD Germanicus was imperator during the empire of his adoptive father Tiberius. After Augustus established the Roman Empire, the title imperator was restricted to the emperor, though in the early years of the empire it would be granted to a member of his family.
As a permanent title, imperator was used as a praenomen by the Roman emperors and was taken on accession. After the reign of Tiberius, the act of being proclaimed imperator was transformed into the act of imperial accession. In fact, if a general was acclaimed by his troops as imperator, it would be tantamount to a declaration of rebellion against the ruling emperor. At first the term continued to be used in the Republican sense as a victory title but attached to the de facto monarch and head of state, rather than the actual military commander; the title followed the emperor's name along with the number of times he was acclaimed as such, for example IMP V. In time it became the title of the de facto monarch, pronounced upon their assumption; as a title imperator was translated into Greek as autokrator This was imprecise as it lost the nuances of Latin political thought contrasting imperium with other forms of public authority. This title was used in Greek-language texts for Roman emperors from the establishment of the empire.
In the east, the title continued to be used into the Byzantine period, though to a lesser, much more ceremonial, extent. In most Byzantine writings, the Greek translation "Autokrator" is preferred, but "Imperator" makes an appearance in Constantine IV's mid 7th century mosaic in the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, on various 9th century lead seals. After the Roman empire collapsed in the West in the 5th century, Latin continued to be used as the language of learning and diplomacy for some centuries; the Roman emperors of this period were referred to as imperatores in Latin texts, while the word basileus was used in Greek. After 800, the imperator was used as a formal Latin title in succession by the Carolingian and German Holy Roman Emperors until 1806 and by the Austrian Emperors until 1918. In medieval Spain, the title imperator was used under a variety of circumstances from the ninth century onwards, but its usage peaked, as a formal and practical title, between 1086 and 1157, it was used by the Kings of León and Castile, but it found currency in the Kingdom of Navarre and was employed by the Counts of Castile and at least one Duke of Galicia.
It signalled at various points the king's equality with the Byzantine Emperor and Holy Roman Emperor, his rule by conquest or military superiority, his rule over several people groups ethnic or religious, his claim to suzerainty over the other kings of the peninsula, both Christian and Muslim. Beginning in 1077 Alfonso instituted the use of the style ego Adefonsus imperator totius Hispaniae and its use soon became regular; this title was used throughout the period 1079–81, which represents the peak of his imperial pretensions before his capture of the city of Toledo, ancient capital of the Visigoths. In 1080 he introduced the form ego Adefonsus Hispaniarum imperator, which he used again in 1090, his most elaborate imperial title was ego Adefonsus imperator totius Castelle et Toleto necnon et Nazare seu Alave. In 1721
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
The Pontifex Maximus or pontifex maximus was the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion, open only to patricians until 254 BC, when a plebeian first occupied this post. A distinctly religious office under the early Roman Republic, it became politicized until, beginning with Augustus, it was subsumed into the Imperial office, its last use with reference to the emperors is in inscriptions of Gratian who, however decided to omit the words "pontifex maximus" from his title. Although in fact the most powerful office of Roman priesthood, the pontifex maximus was ranked fifth in the ranking of the highest Roman priests, behind the rex sacrorum and the flamines maiores; the word "pontifex" and its derivative "pontiff" became terms used for Catholic bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, the title of "Pontifex Maximus" was applied within the Catholic Church to the Pope as its chief bishop and appears on buildings and coins of popes of Renaissance and modern times.
The official list of titles of the Pope given in the Annuario Pontificio includes "Supreme Pontiff" as the fourth title, the first being "Bishop of Rome".. The etymology of "pontifex" is uncertain, has been since Roman times; the word appears to consist of the Latin word for "bridge" and the suffix for "maker". However, there is a possibility that this definition is a folk etymology for an Etruscan term, since Roman religion was influenced by Etruscan religion, little is known about the Etruscan language, not Indo-European. According to the common interpretation, the term pontifex means "bridge-builder"; this was originally meant in a literal sense: the position of bridge-builder was indeed an important one in Rome, where the major bridges were over the Tiber, the sacred river: only prestigious authorities with sacral functions could be allowed to "disturb" it with mechanical additions. However, it was always understood in its symbolic sense as well: the pontifices were the ones who smoothed the "bridge" between gods and men.
The interpretation of the word pontifex as "bridge-builder" was that of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Marcus Terentius Varro. Plutarch pointed out that the term existed before there were any bridges in Rome and derived the word from Old Latin pontis meaning a powerful or absolute master, while others derived it from potis facere in the sense of "able to sacrifice"; the last derivation is mentioned by Varro, who rejected it, but it was the view of Pontifex Maximus Quintus Scaevola. Others have held that the word was pompifex; the word pons meant "way" and pontifex would thus mean "maker of roads and bridges". Another opinion is that the word is a corruption of a similar-sounding but etymologically unrelated Etruscan word, yet another hypothesis considers the word as a loan from the Sabine language, in which it would mean a member of a college of five, from Osco-Umbrian ponte, five. This explanation takes into account the fact that the college was established by Sabine king Numa Pompilius and the institution is Italic: the expressions pontis and pomperias found in the Iguvine Tablets may denote a group or division of five or by five.
The pontifex would thence be a member of a sacrificial college known as pomperia. The Roman title "Pontifex Maximus" was rendered in Greek inscriptions and literature of the time as "ἀρχιερεύς" or by a more literal translation and order of words as "ἀρχιερεὺς μέγιστος" (literally, "greatest high priest"; the term "ἀρχιερεύς" is used in the Septuagint text of the Old Testament and in the New Testament to refer to the Jewish high priest in 2Mac 4, 7. The Collegium Pontificum was the most important priesthood of ancient Rome; the foundation of this sacred college and the office of Pontifex Maximus is attributed to the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius. Much of what is known about the Regal period in Roman history is mythical; the Collegium acted as advisers to the rex in religious matters. The collegium was headed by the pontifex maximus, all the pontifices held their office for life, but the pontifical records of early Rome were most destroyed when the city was sacked by the Gauls in 387 BCE, the earliest accounts of Archaic Rome come from the literature of the Republic, most of it from the 1st century BC and later.
According to the Augustan-era historian Livy, Numa Pompilius, a Sabine, devised Rome's system of religious rites, including the manner and timing of sacrifices, the supervision of religious funds, authority over all public and private religious institutions, instruction of the populace in the celestial and funerary rites including appeasing the dead, expiation of prodigies. Numa is said to have founded Roman religion after dedicating an altar on the Aventine Hill to Jupiter Elicius and consulting the gods by means of augury. Numa wrote down and sealed these religious instructions, gave them to the first Pontifex Maximus, Numa Marcius. In the Roman Republic, the Pontifex Maximus was the highest office in the state religion of ancient Rome and directed the College of Pontiffs. According to Livy, after the overthrow of the monarchy, the Romans created the priesthood of the rex sacrorum, or "king of sacred rites," to carry out certain religious duties and rituals performed by the king; the rex sacrorum was explicitly deprived of military and political power, but the pontifices were permi
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving
Vicarius is a Latin word, meaning substitute or deputy. It is the root of the English word "vicar". In ancient Rome, this office was equivalent to the English "vice-", used as part of the title of various officials; each vicarius was assigned to a specific superior official, after whom his full title was completed by a genitive. At a low level of society, the slave of a slave hired out to raise money to buy manumission, was a servus vicarius. In the 290s, the Emperor Diocletian carried out a series of administrative reforms, ushering in the period of the Dominate; these reforms saw the number of Roman provinces increased, the creation of a new administrative level, the diocese. The dioceses twelve, grouped several provinces, each with its own governor; the dioceses were headed by a vicarius, or, more properly, by a vices agens praefecti praetorio. An exception was the Diocese of the East, headed by a comes. In 370 or 381 Egypt and Cyrenaica were detached from the Diocese of the East and made a diocese under an official called the Augustal Prefect.
In the eastern parts of the Empire, dominated by Greek language and common use of Greek terminology, vicarius was called exarch. According to the Notitia dignitatum, the vicarius had the rank of vir spectabilis. For example, in the diocese of Hispania, his staff included: The princeps was chosen from among the senior agentes in rebus, from the salaried class of the ducenarii. A cornicularius. Two numerarii. A commentariensis. An adiutor. An ab actis. A cura epistolarum. An unnamed number of subadiuvae. Various exceptores. Singulares et reliquum officium. Ostrogorsky, George. History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Meyendorff, John. Imperial unity and Christian divisions: The Church 450-680 A. D; the Church in history. 2. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. Notitia dignitatum Pauly-Wissowa
The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world. Roman society under the Republic was a cultural mix of Latin and Greek elements, visible in the Roman Pantheon, its political organisation was influenced by the Greek city states of Magna Graecia, with collective and annual magistracies, overseen by a senate. The top magistrates were the two consuls, who had an extensive range of executive, judicial and religious powers. Whilst there were elections each year, the Republic was not a democracy, but an oligarchy, as a small number of large families monopolised the main magistracies. Roman institutions underwent considerable changes throughout the Republic to adapt to the difficulties it faced, such as the creation of promagistracies to rule its conquered provinces, or the composition of the senate.
Unlike the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire, the Republic was in a state of quasi-perpetual war throughout its existence. Its first enemies were its Latin and Etruscan neighbours as well as the Gauls, who sacked the city in 387 BC; the Republic nonetheless demonstrated extreme resilience and always managed to overcome its losses, however catastrophic. After the Gallic Sack, Rome indeed conquered the whole Italian peninsula in a century, which turned the Republic into a major power in the Mediterranean; the Republic's greatest enemy was doubtless Carthage, against. The Punic general Hannibal famously invaded Italy by crossing the Alps and inflicted on Rome two devastating defeats at the Lake Trasimene and Cannae, but the Republic once again recovered and won the war thanks to Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. With Carthage defeated, Rome became the dominant power of the ancient Mediterranean world, it embarked in a long series of difficult conquests, after having notably defeated Philip V and Perseus of Macedon, Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire, the Lusitanian Viriathis, the Numidian Jugurtha, the great Pontic king Mithridates VI, the Gaul Vercingetorix, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
At home, the Republic experienced a long streak of social and political crises, which ended in several violent civil wars. At first, the Conflict of the Orders opposed the patricians, the closed oligarchic elite, to the far more numerous plebs, who achieved political equality in several steps during the 4th century BC; the vast conquests of the Republic disrupted its society, as the immense influx of slaves they brought enriched the aristocracy, but ruined the peasantry and urban workers. In order to solve this issue, several social reformers, known as the Populares, tried to pass agrarian laws, but the Gracchi brothers, Saturninus, or Clodius Pulcher were all murdered by their opponents, the Optimates, keepers of the traditional aristocratic order. Mass slavery caused three Servile Wars. In this context, the last decades of the Republic were marked by the rise of great generals, who exploited their military conquests and the factional situation in Rome to gain control of the political system.
Marius Sulla dominated in turn the Republic. These multiple tensions lead to a series of civil wars. Despite his victory and appointment as dictator for life, Caesar was murdered in 44 BC. Caesar's heir Octavian and lieutenant Mark Antony defeated Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, but turned against each other; the final defeat of Mark Antony and his ally Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, the Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian as Augustus in 27 BC – which made him the first Roman emperor – thus ended the Republic. Since the foundation of Rome, its rulers had been monarchs, elected for life by the patrician noblemen who made up the Roman Senate; the last Roman king was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. In the traditional histories, Tarquin was expelled in 509 because his son Sextus Tarquinius had raped the noblewoman Lucretia, who afterwards took her own life. Lucretia's father, her husband Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Tarquin's nephew Lucius Junius Brutus mustered support from the Senate and army, forced Tarquin into exile in Etruria.
The Senate agreed to abolish kingship. Most of the king's former functions were transferred to two consuls, who were elected to office for a term of one year; each consul had the capacity to act as a check on his colleague, if necessary through the same power of veto that the kings had held. If a consul abused his powers in office, he could be prosecuted. Brutus and Collatinus became Republican Rome's first consuls. Despite Collatinus' role in the creation of the Republic, he belonged to the same family as the former king, was forced to abdicate his office and leave Rome, he was replaced as co-consul by Publius Valerius Publicola. Most modern scholarship describes these events as the quasi-mythological detailing of an aristocratic coup within Tarquin's own family, not a popular revolution, they fit a narrative of a personal vengeance against a tyrant leading to his overthrow, common among Greek cities and theorised by Aristotle