The gens Fabia was one of the most ancient patrician families at Rome. The gens played a prominent part in history soon after the establishment of the Republic, three brothers were invested with seven successive consulships, from 485 to 479 BC, thereby cementing the high repute of the family. Overall, the Fabii received 45 consulships during the Republic; the house derived its greatest lustre from the patriotic courage and tragic fate of the 306 Fabii in the Battle of the Cremera, 477 BC. But the Fabii were not distinguished as warriors alone; the family is thought to have been counted amongst the gentes maiores, the most prominent of the patrician houses at Rome, together with the Aemilii, Cornelii and Valerii. Until 480 BC, the Fabii were staunch supporters of the aristocratic policies favoring the patricians and the senate against the plebs. However, following a great battle that year against the Veientes, in which victory was achieved only by cooperation between the generals and their soldiers, the Fabii aligned themselves with the plebs.
One of the thirty-five voting tribes into which the Roman people were divided was named after the Fabii. Several of the others appear to have been named after lesser families; the most famous legend of the Fabii asserts that, following the last of the seven consecutive consulships in 479 BC, the gens undertook the war with Veii as a private obligation. A militia consisting of over three hundred men of the gens, together with their friends and clients, amounting to a total of some four thousand men, took up arms and stationed itself on a hill overlooking the Cremera, a little river between Rome and Veii; the cause of this secession is said to have been the enmity between the Fabii and the patricians, who regarded them as traitors for advocating the causes of the plebeians. The Fabian militia remained in their camp on the Cremera for two years opposing the Veientes, until at last they were lured into an ambush, destroyed. Three hundred and six Fabii of fighting age were said to have perished in the disaster, leaving only a single survivor to return home.
By some accounts he was the only survivor of the entire gens. They and the elders of the gens remained at Rome; the day on which the Fabii perished was forever remembered, as it was the same day that the Gauls defeated the Roman army at the Battle of the Allia in 390 BC. This was the fifteenth day before the kalends of Sextilis, or July 18, according to the modern calendar; the story was embellished at a date in order to present it as a counterpart of the Battle of Thermopylae, which took place in 479 BC. However, Tim Cornell states that there is no reason to doubt the historicity of the battle, because the tribus Fabia—presumably where the Fabii had their country estates—was located near the Cremera, on the border with Veii. Throughout the history of the Republic, the Fabii made several alliances with other prominent families plebeian and Italian ones, which explains their long prominence; the first of such alliances that can be traced dates from the middle of the fifth century and was with the Poetelii.
In the fourth century, the Fabii were allied to the patrician Manlii and the plebeian Genucii and Licinii, whom they supported during the Conflict of the Orders. They occupied an unprecedented leading position in the third century, as three generations of Fabii were princeps senatus—a unique occurrence during the Republic. During this period, they allied with the plebeian Atilii from Campania, where the Fabii had significant estates, the Fulvii and Mamilii from Tusculum, the Otacili from Beneventum, the Ogulnii from Etruria, the Marcii, they sponsored the emergence of the Caecilii Metelii and Porcii, who owed their first consulate to the Fabii, as well as the re-emergence of the patrician Quinctii. The main direction of the second war against Carthage was disputed between the Fabii and the Cornelii Scipii; the death of Fabius Verrucosus in 203 marks the end of the Fabian leadership on Roman politics, by now assumed by their rivals: Scipio Africanus and his family. After the consulship of Fabius Maximus Eburnus in 116, the Fabii entered a century-long eclipse, until their temporary revival under Augustus.
The name of the Fabii was associated with one of the two colleges of the Luperci, the priests who carried on the sacred rites of the ancient religious festival of the Lupercalia. The other college bore the name of the Quinctilii, suggesting that in the earliest times these two gentes superintended these rites as a sacrum gentilicum, much as the Pinarii and Potitii maintained the worship of Hercules; such sacred rites were transferred to the state, or opened to the Roman populus. In times the privilege of the Lupercalia had ceased to be confined to the Fabii and the Quinctilii. According to legend, the Fabii claimed descent from Hercules, who visited Italy a generation before the Trojan War, from Evander, his host; this brought the Fabii into the same tradition as the Pinarii and Potitii, who were said to have welcomed Hercules and learned from him the sac
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
Caesar's Civil War
The Great Roman Civil War known as Caesar's Civil War, was one of the last politico-military conflicts in the Roman Republic before the establishment of the Roman Empire. It began as a series of political and military confrontations, between Julius Caesar, his political supporters, his legions, against the Optimates, the politically conservative and traditionalist faction of the Roman Senate, who were supported by Pompey and his legions. Prior to the war, Caesar had served for eight years in the Gallic Wars, he and Pompey had, along with Marcus Licinius Crassus, established the First Triumvirate, through which they shared power over Rome. Caesar soon emerged as a champion of the common people, advocated a variety of reforms; the Senate, fearful of Caesar, demanded. Caesar refused, instead marched his army on Rome, which no Roman general was permitted to do. Pompey organized an army in the south of Italy to meet Caesar; the war was a four-year-long politico-military struggle, fought in Italy, Greece, Egypt and Hispania.
Pompey defeated Caesar in 48 BC at the Battle of Dyrrhachium, but was himself defeated much more decisively at the Battle of Pharsalus. The Optimates under Marcus Junius Brutus and Cicero surrendered after the battle, while others, including those under Cato the Younger and Metellus Scipio fought on. Pompey was killed upon arrival. Scipio was defeated in 46 BC at the Battle of Thapsus in North Africa, he and Cato committed suicide shortly after the battle. The following year, Caesar defeated the last of the Optimates in the Battle of Munda and became Dictator perpetuo of Rome; the changes to Roman government concomitant to the war eliminated the political traditions of the Roman Republic and led to the Roman Empire. Caesar's Civil War resulted from the long political subversion of the Roman Government's institutions, begun with the career of Tiberius Gracchus, continuing with the Marian reforms of the legions, the bloody dictatorship of Lucius Cornelius Sulla, completed by the First Triumvirate over Rome.
The First Triumvirate, comprising Julius Caesar and Pompey, ascended to power with Caesar's election as consul, in 59 BC. The First Triumvirate was unofficial, a political alliance the substance of, Pompey's military might, Caesar's political influence, Crassus' money; the alliance was further consolidated by Pompey's marriage to Julia, daughter of Caesar, in 59 BC. At the conclusion of Caesar's first consulship, the Senate tasked him with watching over the Roman forests; this job, specially created by his Senate enemies, was meant to occupy him without giving him command of armies, or garnering him wealth and fame. Caesar, with the help of Pompey and Crassus, evaded the Senate's decrees by legislation passed through the popular assemblies. By these acts, Caesar was promoted to Roman Governor of Cisalpine Gaul. Transalpine Gaul was added later; the various governorships gave Caesar command of an army of four legions. The term of his proconsulship, thus his immunity from prosecution, was set at five years, rather than the customary one year.
His term was extended by another five years. During this ten-year period, Caesar used his military forces to conquer Gaul and invade Britain, without explicit authorisation by the Senate. In 52 BC, at the First Triumvirate's end, the Roman Senate supported Pompey as sole consul. Knowing he hoped to become consul when his governorship expired, the Senate, politically fearful of him, ordered he resign command of his army. In December of 50 BC, Caesar wrote to the Senate agreeing to resign his military command if Pompey followed suit. Offended, the Senate demanded he disband his army, or be declared an enemy of the people: an illegal political bill, for he was entitled to keep his army until his term expired. A secondary reason for Caesar's immediate desire for another consulship was to delay the inevitable senatorial prosecutions awaiting him upon retirement as governor of Illyricum and Gaul; these potential prosecutions were based upon alleged irregularities that occurred in his consulship and war crimes committed in his Gallic campaigns.
Moreover, Caesar loyalists, the tribunes Mark Antony and Quintus Cassius Longinus, vetoed the bill, were expelled from the Senate. They joined Caesar, who had assembled his army, whom he asked for military support against the Senate. In 50 BC, at his Proconsular term's expiry, the Pompey-led Senate ordered Caesar's return to Rome and the disbanding of his army, forbade his standing for election in absentia for a second consulship. On January 10, 49 BC, commanding the Legio XIII Gemina, Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, the boundary between the province of Cisalpine Gaul to the north and Italy proper to the south; as crossing the Rubicon with an army was prohibited, lest a returning general attempt a coup d'etat, this triggered the ensuing civil war between Caesar and Pompey. The general population, who regarded Caesar as a hero, approved of his actions; the historical records differ about which decisive comment Caesar made on crossing the Rubicon: one report is Alea iacta est. Caesar's own acc
Gaius Julius Caesar, known by his nomen and cognomen Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, military general, historian who played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He wrote Latin prose. In 60 BC, Caesar and Pompey formed the First Triumvirate, a political alliance that dominated Roman politics for several years, their attempts to amass power as Populares were opposed by the Optimates within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in the Roman Republic through a number of his accomplishments, notably his victories in the Gallic Wars, completed by 51 BC. During this time, Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both the English Channel and the Rhine River, when he built a bridge across the Rhine and crossed the Channel to invade Britain. Caesar's wars extended Rome's territory to past Gaul; these achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC.
With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to step down from his military command and return to Rome. Leaving his command in Gaul meant losing his immunity from being charged as a criminal for waging unsanctioned wars; as a result, Caesar found himself with no other options but to cross the Rubicon with the 13th Legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman Italy under arms. This began Caesar's civil war, his victory in the war put him in an unrivaled position of power and influence. After assuming control of government, Caesar began a program of social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian calendar, he gave citizenship to many residents of far regions of the Roman Empire. He initiated land support for veterans, he centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic and was proclaimed "dictator for life", giving him additional authority. His populist and authoritarian reforms angered the elites. On the Ides of March, 44 BC, Caesar was assassinated by a group of rebellious senators led by Gaius Cassius Longinus, Marcus Junius Brutus and Decimus Junius Brutus, who stabbed him to death.
A new series of civil wars broke out and the constitutional government of the Republic was never restored. Caesar's adopted heir Octavian known as Augustus, rose to sole power after defeating his opponents in the civil war. Octavian set about solidifying his power, the era of the Roman Empire began. Much of Caesar's life is known from his own accounts of his military campaigns and from other contemporary sources the letters and speeches of Cicero and the historical writings of Sallust; the biographies of Caesar by Suetonius and Plutarch are major sources. Caesar is considered by many historians to be one of the greatest military commanders in history, his cognomen was subsequently adopted as a synonym for "Emperor". He has appeared in literary and artistic works, his political philosophy, known as Caesarism, inspired politicians into the modern era. Gaius Julius Caesar was born into a patrician family, the gens Julia, which claimed descent from Iulus, son of the legendary Trojan prince Aeneas the son of the goddess Venus.
The Julii were of Alban origin, mentioned as one of the leading Alban houses, which settled in Rome around the mid-7th century BC, after the destruction of Alba Longa. They were granted patrician status, along with other noble Alban families; the Julii existed at an early period at Bovillae, evidenced by a ancient inscription on an altar in the theatre of that town, which speaks of their offering sacrifices according to the lege Albana, or Alban rites. The cognomen "Caesar" originated, according to Pliny the Elder, with an ancestor, born by Caesarean section; the Historia Augusta suggests three alternative explanations: that the first Caesar had a thick head of hair. Caesar issued coins featuring images of elephants, suggesting that he favored this interpretation of his name. Despite their ancient pedigree, the Julii Caesares were not politically influential, although they had enjoyed some revival of their political fortunes in the early 1st century BC. Caesar's father called Gaius Julius Caesar, governed the province of Asia, his sister Julia, Caesar's aunt, married Gaius Marius, one of the most prominent figures in the Republic.
His mother, Aurelia Cotta, came from an influential family. Little is recorded of Caesar's childhood. In 85 BC, Caesar's father died so Caesar was the head of the family at 16, his coming of age coincided with a civil war between his uncle Gaius Marius and his rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Both sides carried out bloody purges of their political opponents whenever they were in the ascendancy. Marius and his ally Lucius Cornelius Cinna were in control of the city when Caesar was nominated as the new Flamen Dialis, he was married to Cinna's daughter Cornelia. Following Sulla's final victory, Caesar's connections to the old regime made him a target for the new one, he was stripped of his inheritance, his wife's dowry, his priesthood, but he refused to divorce Cornelia and was forced to go into hiding. The threat against hi
Hispania was the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and its provinces. Under the Republic, Hispania was divided into two provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. During the Principate, Hispania Ulterior was divided into two new provinces and Lusitania, while Hispania Citerior was renamed Hispania Tarraconensis. Subsequently, the western part of Tarraconensis was split off, first as Hispania Nova renamed "Callaecia". From Diocletian's Tetrarchy onwards, the south of remaining Tarraconensis was again split off as Carthaginensis, then too the Balearic Islands and all the resulting provinces formed one civil diocese under the vicarius for the Hispaniae; the name, was used in the period of Visigothic rule. The modern placenames Hispaniola are both derived from Hispania; the origin of the word Hispania is much disputed and the evidence for the various speculations are based upon what are at best mere resemblances to be accidental, suspect supporting evidence. One theory holds it to be from the Phoenician language of colonizing Carthage.
It may derive from a Punic cognate of Hebrew אי-שפניא meaning "island of the hyrax" or "island of the hare" or "island of the rabbit". Some Roman coins of the Emperor Hadrian, born in Hispania, depict a rabbit. Others derive the word from Phoenician span, meaning "hidden", make it indicate "a hidden", that is, "a remote", or "far-distant land". Another theory, proposed by the etymologist Eric Partridge in his work Origins, is that it is of Iberian derivation and that it is to be found in the pre-Roman name for Seville, which hints at an ancient name for the country of *Hispa, an Iberian or Celtic root whose meaning is now lost. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis. Hispalis may alternatively derive from Heliopolis. According to Manuel Pellicer Catalán, the name derives from Phoenician Spal "lowland", rendering this explanation of Hispania dubious. Hispania was called Hesperia Ultima, "the last western land" in Greek, by Roman writers, since the name Hesperia had been used by the Greeks to indicate the Italian peninsula.
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. During Antiquity and Middle Ages, the literary texts derive the term Hispania from an eponymous hero named Hispan, mentioned for the first time in the work of the Roman historian Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, in the 1st century BC. Although "Hispania" is the Latin root for the modern name "Spain", substituting Spanish for Hispanicus or Hispanic, or Spain for Hispania, should be done and taking into account the correct context; the Estoria de España written on the initiative of Alfonso X of Castile "El Sabio", between 1260 and 1274, during the Reconquest of Spain, is believed to be the first extended history of Spain in Old Spanish using the words "España" and "Españoles" to refer to Medieval Hispania. The use of Latin "Hispania", Castilian "España", Catalan "Espanya" and French "Espaigne", between others, to refer to Roman Hispania or Visigothic Hispania was common throughout all the Late Middle Ages.
A document dated 1292 mentions the names of foreigners from Medieval Spain as "Gracien d'Espaigne". Latin expressions using "Hispania" or "Hispaniae" like "omnes reges Hispaniae" are used in the Middle Ages at the same time as the emerging Spain Romance languages during the Reconquista use the Romance version interchangeably. In James Ist Chronicle Llibre dels fets, written between 1208 and 1276, there are many instances of this: when it talks about the different Kings, "los V regnes de Espanya"; the Latin term Hispania used during Antiquity and the Low Middle Ages as a geographical name, starts to be used with political connotations, as shown in the expression "Laus Hispaniae" to describe the history of the peoples of the Iberian Peninsula of Isidore of Seville's "Historia de regibus Gothorum, Vandalorum et Suevorum".: You are, Oh Spain and always happy mother of princes and peoples, the most beautiful of all the lands that extend far from the West to India. You, by right, are now the queen of all provinces, from whom the lights are given not only the sunset, but the East.
You are the honor and ornament of the orb and the most illustrious portion of the Earth... And for this reason, long ago, the golden Rome desired you In modern history and Spanish have become associated with the Kingdom of Spain alone, although this process took several centuries. After the union of the central peninsular Kingdom of Castile with the eastern peninsular Kingdom of Aragon in the 15th century under the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, onl
The lictors was a Roman civil servant, a bodyguard to magistrates who held imperium. Lictors were used since the Roman Kingdom, according to Roman historian Livy, the custom may have originated earlier, in the Etruscan civilization. Rome's first king, who appointed 12 lictors to attend him. Livy refers to two competing traditions for the reason; the first version is that 12 was the number of birds that appeared in the augury, which had portended the kingdom to Romulus. The second version, favoured by Livy, is that the number of lictors was borrowed from the Etruscan kings, who had one lictor appointed from each of their 12 states. Lictors were chosen from the plebs, but through most of Roman history, they seemed to have been freedmen. Centurions from the legions were automatically eligible to become lictors on retirement from the army, they were, however Roman citizens, since they wore togas inside Rome. A lictor had to be a built man, capable of physical work. Lictors were exempted from military service, received a fixed salary, were organized in a corporation.
They were chosen by the magistrate they were supposed to serve, but it is possible that they were drawn by lots. Lictors were associated with Comitia Curiata and one was selected from each curia, since there were 30 curiae and 30 lictors; the lictor's main task was to attend as bodyguards to magistrates. They carried rods decorated with fasces and, outside the pomerium, with axes that symbolized the power to carry out capital punishment. Dictatorial lictors had axes within the pomerium, they followed the magistrate wherever he went, including the Forum, his house and the baths. Lictors were organized in an ordered line before him, with the primus lictor directly in front of him, waiting for orders. If there was a crowd, the lictors opened the way and kept their master safe, pushing all aside except for Roman matrons, who were accorded special honor, they had to stand beside the magistrate whenever he addressed the crowd. Magistrates could only dispense with their lictors if they were visiting a free city or addressing a higher status magistrate.
Lictors had legal and penal duties. A Vestal Virgin was accorded a lictor; the degree of magistrate's imperium was symbolised by the number of lictors escorting him: Dictator: 24 lictors outside the pomerium, 12 inside. The latter rule was ignored beginning with the dictatorship of Sulla Emperor: 12 lictors, after Domitian 24 lictors Rex and Consul: 12 lictors Proconsul: 11 lictors Magister equitum: 6 lictors Praetor: 6 lictors, 2 within the pomerium Propraetor and Legatus: 5 lictors Curule aediles: 2 lictors Quaestor: 0 lictors in the city of Rome, but quaestors were permitted to have fasces in the provinces. Sometimes, lictors were ascribed to private citizens on special occasions, such as funerals or political reunions, as a show of respect by the city; the lictor curiatus was a special kind of lictor who did not carry rods or fasces and whose main tasks were religious. There were 30 of them, serving at the command of the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, they were present at sacrifices where they guided sacrificial animals to the altars.
Vestal Virgins and other high-ranking priests were entitled to be escorted and protected by lictores curiati. In the Empire, women of the royal family were followed by two of this kind of lictor; the lictores curiati were responsible to summon the Comitia Curiata and to maintain order during its procedures. Cursus honorum Praetorian Guard Livius.org: Lictor
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