A practical joke, or prank, is a mischievous trick played on someone causing the victim to experience embarrassment, confusion, or discomfort. A person who performs a practical joke is called a "practical joker". Other terms for practical jokes include jape, or shenanigan. Practical jokes differ from confidence tricks or hoaxes in that the victim finds out, or is let in on the joke, rather than being talked into handing over money or other valuables. Practical jokes are lighthearted and without lasting impact, thus most practical jokes designed to encourage laughter. However, practical jokes performed with cruelty can constitute bullying, whose intent is to harass or exclude rather than reinforce social bonds through ritual humbling; some countries in Western culture traditionally emphasize the carrying out of practical jokes on April Fools' Day. A practical joke is "practical" because it consists of someone doing something physical, in contrast to a verbal or written joke. For example, the joker, setting up and conducting the practical joke might hang a bucket of water above a doorway and rig the bucket using pulleys so when the door opens the bucket dumps the water.
The joker would wait for the victim to walk through the doorway and be drenched by the bucket of water. Objects can feature in practical jokes, like fake vomit, chewing-gum bugs, exploding cigars, stink bombs and whoopee cushions. Practical jokes occur in offices to surprise co-workers. Examples include covering computer accessories with Jell-O, wrapping a desk with Christmas paper or aluminium foil or filling it with balloons. Practical jokes commonly occur during sleepovers, when teens play pranks on their friends as they come into the home, enter a room or as they sleep. American humorist H. Allen Smith wrote a 320-page book in 1953 called The Compleat Practical Joker that contains numerous examples of practical jokes; the book became a best seller - not only in the United States but in Japan. Moira Marsh has written an entire volume about practical jokes. - she found that in the USA males perpetrate such gags more than females. A practical joke recalled as his favorite by the playwright Charles MacArthur, concerns the American painter and bohemian character Waldo Peirce.
While living in Paris in the 1920s, Peirce "made a gift of a big turtle to the woman, the concierge of his building". The woman doted on the lavished care on it. A few days Peirce substituted a somewhat larger turtle for the original one; this continued for some time, with larger and larger turtles being surreptitiously introduced into the woman's apartment. The concierge was beside herself with happiness and displayed her miraculous turtle to the entire neighborhood. Peirce began to sneak in and replace the turtle with smaller and smaller ones, to her bewildered distress; this was the storyline behind Esio Trot, by Roald Dahl. Modern and successful pranks take advantage of the modernization of tools and techniques. In Canada, engineering students have a reputation for annual pranks. A similar prank was undertaken by engineering students at Cambridge University, where an Austin 7 car was put on top of the Senate House building. Pranks can adapt to the political context of the era. Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are known for their "hacks".
Not unlike the Stone Louse of Germany, in the American West the jackalope has become an institutionalized practical joke perennially perpetrated by ruralites on tourists, most of whom have never heard of the decades-old myth. The 2003 TV movie Windy City Heat, consists of an elaborate practical joke on the film's star, Perry Caravallo, led to believe that he is starring in a faux action film, Windy City Heat, where the filming, ostensibly for the film's DVD extras documents the long chain of pranks and jokes performed at Caravallo's expense
The Second Triumvirate is the name historians have given to the official political alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, Marcus Antonius, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, formed on 27 November 43 BC with the enactment of the Lex Titia, the adoption of which some view as marking the end of the Roman Republic, whilst others argue the Battle of Actium or Octavian becoming Caesar Augustus in 27 BC. The Triumvirate existed for two five-year terms, covering the period 43 BC to 33 BC. Unlike the earlier First Triumvirate, the Second Triumvirate was an official established institution, whose overwhelming power in the Roman state was given full legal sanction and whose imperium maius outranked that of all other magistrates, including the consuls. Octavian, despite his youth, extorted from the Senate the post of suffect consul for 43 BC, he had been warring with Antony and Lepidus in upper Italia, but in October 43 BC the three agreed to unite and seize power and so met near Bononia. This triumvirate of new leaders was established in 43 BC as the Triumviri Rei Publicae Constituendae Consulari Potestate.
Where the first triumvirate was a private agreement, the second was embedded in the constitution formally joining Octavian and Lepidus in shared rule over Rome. The only other office, qualified "for confirming the Republic" was the dictatorship of Lucius Cornelius Sulla. A historical oddity of the Triumvirate is that it was, in effect, a three-man directorate with dictatorial powers; as had been the case with both Sulla and Julius Caesar during their dictatorships, the members of the Triumvirate saw no contradiction between holding a supraconsular office and the consulate itself simultaneously. In 44 BC, Lepidus' possession of the provinces of Hispania and Narbonese Gaul was confirmed, he agreed to hand over 7 legions to Octavian and Antony to continue the struggle against Brutus and Cassius for eastern Roman territory. Antony retained Cisalpine Gaul and hegemony over Gaul itself, Octavian held Africa and was given nominal authority over Sicily and Sardinia. According to historian Richard Weigel, Octavian's share at this stage was "practically humiliating".
In order to refill the treasury, the Triumvirs decided to resort to proscription. As all three had been partisans of Caesar, their main targets were opponents of the Caesarian faction; the most notable victims were Marcus Tullius Cicero, who had opposed Caesar and excoriated Antony in his Philippicae, Marcus Favonius, a follower of Cato and an opponent of both triumvirates. The proscription of Caesar's legate Quintus Tullius Cicero seems to have been motivated by the perceived need to destroy Cicero's family. For ancient writers, the most shocking proscriptions were those of Caesar's legate Lucius Julius Caesar, Lepidus' brother Lucius Aemilius Lepidus Paullus, they were added to the list because they had been the first to condemn Antony and Lepidus after the two allied. In fact they both survived. Octavian's colleague in the consulate that year, his cousin, Quintus Pedius, died before the proscriptions got underway. Octavian himself resigned shortly after, allowing the appointment of a second pair of suffect consuls.
This became a broad pattern of the Triumvirate's two terms. The Caesarean background of the Triumvirs made it no surprise that after the conclusion of the first civil war of the post-Caesar period, they set about prosecuting a second: Caesar's murderers Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus had usurped control of most of the Eastern provinces, including Macedonia, Asia Minor, Syria. In 42 BC, Octavian and Antony set out to war, defeating Brutus and Cassius in two battles fought at Philippi. After the victory and Octavian agreed to divide the provinces of the Republic into spheres of influence. Octavian — who had begun calling himself "Divi filius" after Caesar's deification as Divus Julius and now styled himself "Imperator Caesar" — took control of the West, Antony of the East; as a result, the province of Cisalpine Gaul was absorbed into Italy. Narbonese Gaul was absorbed into Gallia Comata, creating a unified Gaul, was thus taken over by Antony. Octavian took over Spain from Lepidus.
Lepidus himself was offered the prospect of control over Africa. The excuse given for this was a report that Lepidus had been traitorously negotiating with Sextus Pompey. If he were proved innocent he would have Africa. Octavian returned to Rome to administer the distribution of land to his veterans. Antony remained in the east to bring Brutus and Cassius' former territories under triumvirate control; the reduced role of Lepidus is evident in the fact that far fewer coins depict him from
A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the cursus honorum. Each year, the citizens of Rome elected two consuls to serve jointly for a one-year term; the consuls alternated in holding imperium each month, a consul's imperium extended over Rome and the provinces. However, after the establishment of the Empire, the consuls became mere symbolic representatives of Rome's republican heritage and held little power and authority, with the Emperor acting as the supreme authority. After the legendary expulsion of the last Etruscan King, Tarquin the Proud, a harsh ruler at the end of the Roman Kingdom, most of the powers and authority of the king were ostensibly given to the newly instituted consulship; this change in leadership came about when the king's son, Sextus Tarquinius, raped the wife and daughter of powerful Roman nobles. A group of nobles led by Lucius Junius Brutus, with the support of the Roman Army, expelled Tarquinius and his family from Rome in 509 BC.
Consuls were called praetors, referring to their duties as the chief military commanders. By at least 300 BC the title of Consul became used. Ancient writers derive the title consul from the Latin verb consulere, "to take counsel", but this is most a gloss of the term, which derives—in view of the joint nature of the office—from con- and sal-, "get together" or from con- and sell-/sedl-, "sit down together with" or "next to". In Greek, the title was rendered as στρατηγὸς ὕπατος, strategos hypatos, simply as ὕπατος; the consul was believed by the Romans to date back to the traditional establishment of the Republic in 509 BC, but the succession of consuls was not continuous in the 5th century BC. During the 440s, the office was quite replaced with the establishment of the Consular Tribunes, who were elected whenever the military needs of the state were significant enough to warrant the election of more than the two usual consuls; these remained in place until the office was abolished in 367/366 BC and the consulship was reintroduced.
Consuls had extensive powers in peacetime, in wartime held the highest military command. Additional religious duties included certain rites which, as a sign of their formal importance, could only be carried out by the highest state officials. Consuls read auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field. Two consuls were elected each year, serving together, each with veto power over the other's actions, a normal principle for magistracies, it is thought that only patricians were eligible for the consulship. Consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, which had an aristocratic bias in its voting structure which only increased over the years from its foundation. However, they formally assumed powers only after the ratification of their election in the older Comitia Curiata, which granted the consuls their imperium by enacting a law, the "lex curiata de imperio". If a consul died during his term or was removed from office, another would be elected by the Comitia Centuriata to serve the remainder of the term as consul suffectus.
A consul elected to start the year - called a consul ordinarius - held more prestige than a suffect consul because the year would be named for ordinary consuls. According to tradition, the consulship was reserved for patricians and only in 367 BC did plebeians win the right to stand for this supreme office, when the Lex Licinia Sextia provided that at least one consul each year should be plebeian; the first plebeian consul, Lucius Sextius, was elected the following year. The office remained in the hands of a few families as, according to Gelzer, only fifteen novi homines - "new men" with no consular background - were elected to the consulship until the election of Cicero in 63 BC. Modern historians have questioned the traditional account of plebeian emancipation during the early Republic, noting for instance that about thirty percent of the consuls prior to Sextius had plebeian, not patrician, names, it is possible that only the chronology has been distorted, but it seems that one of the first consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus, came from a plebeian family.
Another possible explanation is that during the 5th century social struggles, the office of consul was monopolized by a patrician elite. During times of war, the primary qualification for consul was military skill and reputation, but at all times the selection was politically charged. With the passage of time, the consulship became the normal endpoint of the cursus honorum, the sequence of offices pursued by the ambitious Roman who chose to pursue political power and influence; when Lucius Cornelius Sulla regulated the cursus by law, the minimum age of election to consul became, in effect, 41 years of age. Beginning in the late Republic, after finishing a consular year, a former consul would serve a lucrative term as a proconsul, the Roman Governor of one of the provinces; the most chosen province for the proconsulship was Cisalpine Gaul. Although throughout the early years of the Principate, the consuls were still formally elected by the Comitia Centuriata, they were in fact nominated by the princeps.
As the years progressed, the distinction between the Comitia Centuriata and the Comitia Tributa appears to have disappeared, so for the purposes of the consular
A statue is a free-standing sculpture in which the realistic, full-length figures of persons or animals or non-representational forms are carved in a durable material like wood, metal, or stone. Typical statues are close to life-size. Statues have been produced in many cultures from prehistory to the present. Statues represent many different people and animals and mythical. Many statues are placed in a public places as public art; the world's tallest statue, Statue of Unity, is 182 metres tall and is located near the Narmada dam in Gujarat, India. Ancient statues survive showing the bare surface of the material of which they are made. For example, many people associate Greek classical art with white marble sculpture, but there is evidence that many statues were painted in bright colors. Most of the color has weathered off over time. A travelling exhibition of 20 coloured replicas of Greek and Roman works, alongside 35 original statues and reliefs, was held in Europe and the United States in 2008: Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity.
Details such as whether the paint was applied in one or two coats, how finely the pigments were ground, or which binding medium would have been used in each case—all elements that would affect the appearance of a finished piece—are not known. Richter goes so far as to say of classical Greek sculpture, "All stone sculpture, whether limestone or marble, was painted, either wholly or in part." Medieval statues were usually painted, with some still retaining their original pigments. The coloring of statues ceased during the Renaissance, as excavated classical sculptures, which had lost their coloring, became regarded as the best models; the Löwenmensch figurine from the Swabian Alps in Germany is the oldest known statue in the world, dates to 30,000-40,000 years ago. The Venus of Hohle Fels, from the same area, is somewhat later. Throughout history, statues have been associated with cult images in many religious traditions, from Ancient Egypt, Ancient India, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome to the present.
Egyptian statues showing kings as sphinxes have existed since the Old Kingdom, the oldest being for Djedefre. The oldest statue of a striding pharaoh dates from the reign of Senwosret I and is the Egyptian Museum, Cairo; the Middle Kingdom of Egypt witnessed the growth of block statues which became the most popular form until the Ptolemaic period. The oldest statue of a deity in Rome was the bronze statue of Ceres in 485 BC; the oldest statue in Rome is now the statue of Diana on the Aventine. The wonders of the world include several statues from antiquity, with the Colossus of Rhodes and the Statue of Zeus at Olympia among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. While Byzantine art flourished in various forms and statue making witnessed a general decline. An example was the statue of Justinian which stood in the square across from the Hagia Sophia until the fall of Constantinople in the 15th century. Part of the decline in statue making in the Byzantine period can be attributed to the mistrust the Church placed in the art form, given that it viewed sculpture in general as a method for making and worshiping idols.
While making statues was not subject to a general ban, it was hardly encouraged in this period. Justinian was one of the last Emperors to have a full-size statue made, secular statues of any size became non-existent after iconoclasm. Starting with the work of Maillol around 1900, the human figures embodied in statues began to move away from the various schools of realism that been followed for thousands of years; the Futurist and Cubist schools took this metamorphism further until statues still nominally representing humans, had lost all but the most rudimentary relationship to the human form. By the 1920s and 1930s statues began to appear that were abstract in design and execution; the notion that the position of the hooves of horses in equestrian statues indicated the rider's cause of death has been disproved. UK Public Monument and Sculpture Association
Plutarch named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, was a Greek biographer and essayist, known for his Parallel Lives and Moralia. He is classified as a Middle Platonist. Plutarch's surviving works were intended for both Greek and Roman readers. Plutarch was born to a prominent family in the small town of Chaeronea, about 80 kilometres east of Delphi, in the Greek region of Boeotia, his family was wealthy. The name of Plutarch's father has not been preserved, but based on the common Greek custom of repeating a name in alternate generations, it was Nikarchus; the name of Plutarch's grandfather was Lamprias, as he attested in Moralia and in his Life of Antony. His brothers and Lamprias, are mentioned in his essays and dialogues, which speak of Timon in particular in the most affectionate terms. Rualdus, in his 1624 work Life of Plutarchus, recovered the name of Plutarch's wife, from internal evidence afforded by his writings. A letter is still extant, addressed by Plutarch to his wife, bidding her not to grieve too much at the death of their two-year-old daughter, named Timoxena after her mother.
He hinted at a belief in reincarnation in that letter of consolation. The exact number of his sons is not certain, although two of them and the second Plutarch, are mentioned. Plutarch's treatise De animae procreatione in Timaeo is dedicated to them, the marriage of his son Autobulus is the occasion of one of the dinner parties recorded in the "Table Talk". Another person, Soklarus, is spoken of in terms which seem to imply that he was Plutarch's son, but this is nowhere stated, his treatise on marriage questions, addressed to Eurydice and Pollianus, seems to speak of the latter as having been an inmate of his house, but without any clear evidence on whether she was his daughter or not. Plutarch studied mathematics and philosophy at the Academy of Athens under Ammonius from 66 to 67. At some point, Plutarch received Roman citizenship; as evidenced by his new name, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, his sponsor for citizenship was Lucius Mestrius Florus, a Roman of consular status whom Plutarch used as a historical source for his Life of Otho.
He lived most of his life at Chaeronea, was initiated into the mysteries of the Greek god Apollo. For many years Plutarch served as one of the two priests at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the site of the famous Delphic Oracle, twenty miles from his home. By his writings and lectures Plutarch became a celebrity in the Roman Empire, yet he continued to reside where he was born, participated in local affairs serving as mayor. At his country estate, guests from all over the empire congregated for serious conversation, presided over by Plutarch in his marble chair. Many of these dialogues were recorded and published, the 78 essays and other works which have survived are now known collectively as the Moralia. In addition to his duties as a priest of the Delphic temple, Plutarch was a magistrate at Chaeronea and he represented his home town on various missions to foreign countries during his early adult years. Plutarch held the office of archon in his native municipality only an annual one which he served more than once.
He undertook the humblest of duties. The Suda, a medieval Greek encyclopedia, states that Emperor Trajan made Plutarch procurator of Illyria. However, most historians consider this unlikely, since Illyria was not a procuratorial province, Plutarch did not speak Illyrian. According to the 8th/9th-century historian George Syncellus, late in Plutarch's life, Emperor Hadrian appointed him nominal procurator of Achaea – which entitled him to wear the vestments and ornaments of a consul. Plutarch spent the last thirty years of his life serving as a priest in Delphi, he thus connected part of his literary work with the sanctuary of Apollo, the processes of oracle-giving and the personalities who lived or traveled there. One of his most important works is the "Why Pythia does not give oracles in verse". More important is the dialogue "On the E in Delphi", which features Ammonius, a Platonic philosopher and teacher of Plutarch, Lambrias, Plutarch's brother. According to Ammonius, the letter E written on the temple of Apollo in Delphi originated from the following fact: the wise men of antiquity, whose maxims were written on the walls of the vestibule of the temple, were not seven but five: Chilon, Thales and Pittakos.
However, the tyrants Cleobulos and Periandros used their political power in order to be incorporated in the list. Thus, the E, which corresponds to number 5, constituted an acknowledgment that the Delphic maxims originated from the five real wise men; the portrait of a philosopher exhibited at the exit of the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, dating to the 2nd century AD, had been in the past identified with Plutarch. The man, although bearded, is depicted at a young age, his hair and beard are rendered in thin incisions. The gaze is due to the heavy eyelids and the incised pupils; the portrait is no longer thought to represent Plutarch. But a fragmentary hermaic stele next to the portrait did once bear a portrait of Plutarch, since it is inscribed, "The Delphians along with the Chaeroneans dedicated this to Plutarch, following the precepts of the Amphictyony". Plutarc
Augustus was a Roman statesman and military leader, the first emperor of the Roman Empire, reigning from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate has consolidated an enduring legacy as one of the most effective and controversial leaders in human history; the reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. The Roman world was free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries, despite continuous wars of imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and the year-long civil war known as the "Year of the Four Emperors" over the imperial succession. Augustus was born Gaius Octavius Thurinus into an old and wealthy equestrian branch of the plebeian gens Octavia, his maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, Octavius was named in Caesar's will as his adopted son and heir. Along with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. Following their victory at the Battle of Philippi, the Triumvirate divided the Roman Republic among themselves and ruled as military dictators.
The Triumvirate was torn apart by the competing ambitions of its members. Lepidus was driven into exile and stripped of his position, Antony committed suicide following his defeat at the Battle of Actium by Octavian in 31 BC. After the demise of the Second Triumvirate, Augustus restored the outward façade of the free Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, the executive magistrates, the legislative assemblies. In reality, however, he retained his autocratic power over the Republic as a military dictator. By law, Augustus held a collection of powers granted to him for life by the Senate, including supreme military command, those of tribune and censor, it took several years for Augustus to develop the framework within which a formally republican state could be led under his sole rule. He rejected monarchical titles, instead called himself Princeps Civitatis; the resulting constitutional framework became known as the Principate, the first phase of the Roman Empire. Augustus enlarged the Empire, annexing Egypt, Pannonia and Raetia, expanding possessions in Africa, completing the conquest of Hispania, but suffered a major setback in Germania.
Beyond the frontiers, he secured the Empire with a buffer region of client states and made peace with the Parthian Empire through diplomacy. He reformed the Roman system of taxation, developed networks of roads with an official courier system, established a standing army, established the Praetorian Guard, created official police and fire-fighting services for Rome, rebuilt much of the city during his reign. Augustus died in AD 14 at the age of 75 from natural causes. However, there were unconfirmed rumors, he was succeeded as emperor by his adopted son Tiberius. As a consequence of Roman customs and personal preference, Augustus was known by many names throughout his life: Gaius Octavius Thurinus: He received his birth name, after his biological father, in 63 BC. "Gaius" was his praenomen, "Octavius" was his nomen, "Thurinus" was his cognomen. His rival Mark Antony used the name "Thurinus" as an insult, to which Augustus replied, surprised that "using his old name was thought to be an insult".
Gaius Julius Caesar: After he was adopted by Julius Caesar, he adopted Caesar's name in accordance with Roman naming conventions. While he dropped all references to the gens Octavia, people colloquially added the epithet Octavianus to his legal name, either to differentiate him from his adoptive father or to highlight his more modest origins. Modern historians refer to him using the anglicized form "Octavian" between 44 BC and 27 BC. Gaius Julius Caesar Divi Filius: Two years after his adoption, he founded the Temple of Caesar additionally adding the title Divi Filius to his name in attempt to strengthen his political ties to Caesar's former soldiers, following the deification of Caesar. Imperator Caesar Divi Filius: From 38 BC, Octavian opted to use Imperator, the title by which troops hailed their leader after military success, his name is translated as "Commander Caesar, Son of the Divine". Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus: Following his 31 BC defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra on his own insistence, the Roman Senate granted him the additional name, "Augustus", which he added to his previous names thereafter.
Historians use this name to refer to him from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. While his paternal family was from the town of Velletri 40 kilometres from Rome, Augustus was born in the city of Rome on 23 September 63 BC, he was born at Ox Head, a small property on the Palatine Hill close to the Roman Forum. He was given the name Gaius Octavius Thurinus, his cognomen commemorating his father's victory at Thurii over a rebellious band of slaves. Suetonius wrote: "There are many indications that the Octavian family was in days of old a distinguished one at Velitrae; this man was leader in a war with a neighbouring town..." Due to the crowded nature of Rome at the time, Octavius was taken to his father's home village at Velletri to be raised. Octavius mentions his father's equestrian family only in his memoirs, his paternal great-grandfather Gaius Octavius was a military tribune in Sicily during the Second Punic War. His grandfather had served in several lo
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