Byzantium was an ancient Greek colony in early antiquity that became Constantinople, Istanbul. Byzantium was colonized by the Greeks from Megara in 657 BC; the etymology of Byzantion is unknown. It has been suggested, it may be derived from the Illyrian personal name Byzas. Ancient Greek legend refers to King Byzas, the leader of the Megarian colonists and founder of the city; the form Byzantium is a latinisation of the original name. Much the name Byzantium became common in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire, its capital Constantinople stood on the site of ancient Byzantium. The name "Byzantine Empire" was introduced by the historian Hieronymus Wolf only in 1555, a century after the empire had ceased to exist. While the empire existed, the term Byzantium referred to only the city, rather than the empire; the name Lygos for the city, which corresponds to an earlier Thracian settlement, is mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History. The origins of Byzantium are shrouded in legend.
Traditional legend says Byzas from Megara founded Byzantium in 667 BC when he sailed northeast across the Aegean Sea. The tradition tells that Byzas, son of King Nisos, planned to found a colony of the Dorian Greek city of Megara. Byzas consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, which instructed Byzas to settle opposite the "Land of the Blind". Leading a group of Megarian colonists, Byzas found a location where the Golden Horn, a great natural harbor, meets the Bosporus and flows into the Sea of Marmara, opposite Chalcedon, he adjudged the Chalcedonians blind not to have recognized the advantages the land on the European side of the Bosporus had over the Asiatic side. In 667 BC he founded Byzantium at their location, it was a trading city due to its location at the Black Sea's only entrance. Byzantium conquered Chalcedon, across the Bosporus on the Asiatic side; the city was taken by the Persian Empire at the time of the Scythian campaign of King Darius I, was added to the administrative province of Skudra.
Though Achaemenid control of the city was never as stable as compared to other cities in Thrace, it was considered, alongside Sestos, to be one of the foremost Achaemenid ports on the European coast of the Bosporus and the Hellespont. Byzantium was besieged by Greek forces during the Peloponnesian War; as part of Sparta's strategy for cutting off grain supplies to Athens, Sparta took the city in 411 BC. The Athenian military took the city in 408 BC. After siding with Pescennius Niger against the victorious Septimius Severus, the city was besieged by Roman forces and suffered extensive damage in 196 AD. Byzantium was rebuilt by Septimius Severus, now emperor, regained its previous prosperity, it was bound to Perinthos during the period of Septimius Severus. The location of Byzantium attracted Roman Emperor Constantine I who, in 330 AD, refounded it as an imperial residence inspired by Rome itself. After his death the city was called Constantinople; this combination of imperialism and location would affect Constantinople's role as the nexus between the continents of Europe and Asia.
It was a commercial and diplomatic centre. With its strategic position, Constantinople controlled the major trade routes between Asia and Europe, as well as the passage from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. On May 29, 1453, the city fell to the Ottoman Turks, again became the capital of a powerful state, the Ottoman Empire; the Turks called the city "Istanbul". To this day it remains the largest and most populous city in Turkey, although Ankara is now the national capital. By the late Hellenistic or early Roman period, the star and crescent motif was associated to some degree with Byzantium; some Byzantine coins of the 1st century BC and show the head of Artemis with bow and quiver, feature a crescent with what appears to be an eight-rayed star on the reverse. According to accounts which vary in some of the details, in 340 BC the Byzantines and their allies the Athenians were under siege by the troops of Philip of Macedon. On a dark and wet night Philip attempted a surprise attack but was thwarted by the appearance of a bright light in the sky.
This light is described by subsequent interpreters as a meteor, sometimes as the moon, some accounts mention the barking of dogs. However, the original accounts mention only a bright light in the sky, without specifying the moon. To commemorate the event the Byzantines erected a statue of Hecate lampadephoros; this story survived in the works of Hesychius of Miletus, who in all probability lived in the time of Justinian I. His works survive only in fragments preserved in the tenth century lexicographer Suidas; the tale is related by Stephanus of Byzantium, Eustathius. Devotion to Hecate was favored by the Byzantines for her aid in having protected them from the incursions of Philip of Macedon, her symbols were the crescent and star, the walls of her city were her provenance. It is unclear how the symbol Hecate/Artemis, one of many goddesses would have been transferred to the city itself, but it seems to have been an effect of being credited with the intervention against Philip and the subse
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
The Ptolemaic Kingdom was a Hellenistic kingdom based in ancient Egypt. It was ruled by the Ptolemaic dynasty, which started with Ptolemy I Soter's accession after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and which ended with the death of Cleopatra and the Roman conquest in 30 BC; the Ptolemaic Kingdom was founded in 305 BC by Ptolemy I Soter, a diadochus from Macedon in northern Greece who declared himself pharaoh of Egypt and created a powerful Macedonian Greek dynasty that ruled an area stretching from southern Syria to Cyrene and south to Nubia. Scholars argue that the kingdom was founded in 304 BC because of different use of calendars: Ptolemy crowned himself in 304 BC on the ancient Egyptian calendar, but in 305 BC on the ancient Macedonian calendar. Alexandria, a Greek polis founded by Alexander the Great, became the capital city and a major center of Greek culture and trade. To gain recognition by the native Egyptian populace, the Ptolemies named themselves as pharaohs; the Ptolemies took on Egyptian traditions by marrying their siblings per the Osiris myth, had themselves portrayed on public monuments in Egyptian style and dress, participated in Egyptian religious life.
The Ptolemies were involved in foreign and civil wars that led to the decline of the kingdom and its final conquest by Rome. Their rivalry with the neighboring Seleucid Empire of West Asia led to a series of Syrian Wars in which both powers jockeyed for control of the Levant. Hellenistic culture continued to thrive in Egypt throughout the Roman and Byzantine periods until the Muslim conquest; the era of Ptolemaic reign in Egypt is one of the best-documented time periods of the Hellenistic period. In 332 BC, Alexander the Great, King of Macedon, invaded Egypt, which at the time was a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire known as the Thirty-first Dynasty under Emperor Artaxerxes III, he visited Memphis, traveled to the oracle of Amun at the Siwa Oasis. The oracle declared him to be the son of Amun. Alexander conciliated the Egyptians by the respect he showed for their religion, but he appointed Macedonians to all the senior posts in the country, founded a new Greek city, Alexandria, to be the new capital.
The wealth of Egypt could now be harnessed for Alexander's conquest of the rest of the Achaemenid Empire. Early in 331 BC he was ready to depart, led his forces away to Phoenicia, he left Cleomenes of Naucratis. Alexander never returned to Egypt. Following Alexander's death in Babylon in 323 BC, a succession crisis erupted among his generals. Perdiccas ruled the empire as regent for Alexander's half-brother Arrhidaeus, who became Philip III of Macedon, as regent for both Philip III and Alexander's infant son Alexander IV of Macedon, who had not been born at the time of his father's death. Perdiccas appointed one of Alexander's closest companions, to be satrap of Egypt. Ptolemy ruled Egypt from 323 BC, nominally in the name of the joint kings Philip III and Alexander IV. However, as Alexander the Great's empire disintegrated, Ptolemy soon established himself as ruler in his own right. Ptolemy defended Egypt against an invasion by Perdiccas in 321 BC, consolidated his position in Egypt and the surrounding areas during the Wars of the Diadochi.
In 305 BC, Ptolemy took the title of King. As Ptolemy I Soter, he founded the Ptolemaic dynasty, to rule Egypt for nearly 300 years. All the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy, while princesses and queens preferred the names Cleopatra, Arsinoë and Berenice; because the Ptolemaic kings adopted the Egyptian custom of marrying their sisters, many of the kings ruled jointly with their spouses, who were of the royal house. This custom made Ptolemaic politics confusingly incestuous, the Ptolemies were feeble; the only Ptolemaic Queens to rule on their own were Berenice III and Berenice IV. Cleopatra V did co-rule, but it was with another female, Berenice IV. Cleopatra VII co-ruled with Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator, Ptolemy XIV, Ptolemy XV, but she ruled Egypt alone; the early Ptolemies did not disturb the customs of the Egyptians. They built magnificent new temples for the Egyptian gods and soon adopted the outward display of the Pharaohs of old. During the reign of Ptolemies II and III, thousands of Macedonian veterans were rewarded with grants of farm lands, Macedonians were planted in colonies and garrisons or settled themselves in the villages throughout the country.
Upper Egypt, farthest from the centre of government, was less affected though Ptolemy I established the Greek colony of Ptolemais Hermiou to be its capital. But within a century, Greek influence had spread through the country and intermarriage had produced a large Greco-Egyptian educated class; the Greeks always remained a privileged minority in Ptolemaic Egypt. They lived under Greek law, received a Greek education, were tried in Greek courts, were citizens of Greek cities; the first part of Ptolemy I's reign was dominated by the Wars of the Diadochi between the various successor states to the empire of Alexander. His first objective was to hold his position in Egypt securely, secondly to increase his domain. Within a few years he had gained control of Libya, Coele-Syria, Cyprus; when Antigonus, ruler of Syria, tried to reunite Alexander's empire, Ptolemy joined the coalition against him. In 312 BC, allied with Seleucus, th
Tyche was the presiding tutelary deity who governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. In Classical Greek mythology, she is the daughter of Zeus or Hermes. In literature, she might be given various genealogies, as a daughter of Hermes and Aphrodite, or considered as one of the Oceanids, daughters of Oceanus, Tethys, or of Zeus, she was connected with Agathos Daimon. The Greek historian Polybius believed that when no cause can be discovered to events such as floods, frosts, or in politics the cause of these events may be attributed to Tyche. During the Hellenistic period, cities venerated their own specific iconic version of Tyche, wearing a mural crown. Tyche had temples at Caesarea Maritima, Antioch and Constantinople. In Alexandria the Tychaeon, the Greek temple of Tyche, was described by Libanius as one of the most magnificent of the entire Hellenistic world, she was uniquely venerated at Itanos in Crete, as Tyche Protogeneia, linked with the Athenian Protogeneia, daughter of Erechtheus, whose self-sacrifice saved the city.
Stylianos Spyridacis concisely expressed Tyche's appeal in a Hellenistic world of arbitrary violence and unmeaning reverses: "In the turbulent years of the Epigoni of Alexander, an awareness of the instability of human affairs led people to believe that Tyche, the blind mistress of Fortune, governed mankind with an inconstancy which explained the vicissitudes of the time." Tyche appears on many coins of the Hellenistic period in the three centuries before the Christian era from cities in the Aegean. Unpredictable turns of fortune drive the complicated plotlines of Hellenistic romances, such as, Leucippe and Clitophon or Daphnis and Chloe, she experienced a resurgence in another era of uneasy change, the final days of publicly sanctioned Paganism, between the late-fourth-century emperors Julian and Theodosius I, who definitively closed the temples. The effectiveness of her capricious power achieved respectability in philosophical circles during that generation, although among poets it was a commonplace to revile her for a fickle harlot.
In Greco-Roman and medieval art she was depicted as carrying a cornucopia, an emblematic gubernaculum, the wheel of fortune, or she may stand on the wheel, presiding over the entire circle of fate. The constellation of Virgo is sometimes identified as the heavenly figure of Tyche, as well as other goddesses such as Demeter and Astraea. Tyche of Constantinople Media related to Tyche at Wikimedia Commons
Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian, born in Halicarnassus in the Persian Empire. He is known for having written the book The Histories, a detailed record of his "inquiry" on the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars, he is considered to have been the first writer to have treated historical subjects using a method of systematic investigation—specifically, by collecting his materials and critically arranging them into an historiographic narrative. On account of this, he is referred to as "The Father of History", a title first conferred on him by the first-century BC Roman orator Cicero. Despite Herodotus's historical significance, little is known about his personal life, his Histories deals with the lives of Croesus, Cambyses, Smerdis and Xerxes and the battles of Marathon, Artemisium, Salamis and Mycale. Herodotus has been criticized for the fact that his book includes a large number of obvious legends and fanciful accounts. Many authors, starting with the late fifth-century BC historian Thucydides, have accused him of making up stories for entertainment.
Herodotus, states that he is reporting what he has been told. A sizable portion of the information he provides has since been confirmed by historians and archaeologists. Herodotus announced the purpose and scope of his work at the beginning of his Histories as such: Here are presented the results of the enquiry carried out by Herodotus of Halicarnassus; the purpose is to prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time, to preserve the fame of the important and remarkable achievements produced by both Greeks and non-Greeks. His record of the achievements of others was an achievement in itself, though the extent of it has been debated. Herodotus's place in history and his significance may be understood according to the traditions within which he worked, his work is the earliest Greek prose. However, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, a literary critic of Augustan Rome, listed seven predecessors of Herodotus, describing their works as simple, unadorned accounts of their own and other cities and people, Greek or foreign, including popular legends, sometimes melodramatic and naïve charming – all traits that can be found in the work of Herodotus himself.
Modern historians regard the chronology as uncertain, but according to the ancient account, these predecessors included Dionysius of Miletus, Charon of Lampsacus, Hellanicus of Lesbos, Xanthus of Lydia and, the best attested of them all, Hecataeus of Miletus. Of these, only fragments of Hecataeus's works survived, the authenticity of these is debatable, but they provide a glimpse into the kind of tradition within which Herodotus wrote his own Histories. In his introduction to Hecataeus's work, Genealogies: Hecataeus the Milesian speaks thus: I write these things as they seem true to me; this points forward to the "international" outlook typical of Herodotus. However, one modern scholar has described the work of Hecataeus as "a curious false start to history", since despite his critical spirit, he failed to liberate history from myth. Herodotus mentions Hecataeus in his Histories, on one occasion mocking him for his naive genealogy and, on another occasion, quoting Athenian complaints against his handling of their national history.
It is possible that Herodotus borrowed much material from Hecataeus, as stated by Porphyry in a quote recorded by Eusebius. In particular, it is possible that he copied descriptions of the crocodile and phoenix from Hecataeus's Circumnavigation of the Known World misrepresenting the source as "Heliopolitans", but Hecataeus did not record events that had occurred in living memory, unlike Herodotus, nor did he include the oral traditions of Greek history within the larger framework of oriental history. There is no proof that Herodotus derived the ambitious scope of his own work, with its grand theme of civilizations in conflict, from any predecessor, despite much scholarly speculation about this in modern times. Herodotus claims to be better informed than his predecessors by relying on empirical observation to correct their excessive schematism. For example, he argues for continental asymmetry as opposed to the older theory of a circular earth with Europe and Asia/Africa equal in size. However, he retains idealizing tendencies, as in his symmetrical notions of the Nile.
His debt to previous authors of prose "histories" might be questionable, but there is no doubt that Herodotus owed much to the example and inspiration of poets and story-tellers. For example, Athenian tragic poets provided him with a world-view of a balance between conflicting forces, upset by the hubris of kings, they provided his narrative with a model of episodic structure, his familiarity with Athenian tragedy is demonstrated in a number of passages echoing Aeschylus's Persae, including the epigrammatic observation that the defeat of the Persian navy at Salamis caused the defeat of the land army. The debt may have been repaid by Sophocles because there appear to be echoes of The Histories in his plays a passage in Antigone that resembles Herodotus's account of the death of Intaphernes. However, this point is one of the most contentious
Hannibal Barca was a general and statesman from Ancient Carthage, considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father, Hamilcar Barca, was a leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War, his younger brothers were Mago and Hasdrubal, he was brother-in-law to Hasdrubal the Fair, all commanded Carthaginian armies. Hannibal lived during a period of great tension in the western Mediterranean Basin, triggered by the emergence of the Roman Republic as a great power after it had established its supremacy over Italy. Although Rome had won the First Punic War, revanchism prevailed in Carthage, symbolised by the alleged pledge that Hannibal made to his father to never be a friend of Rome; the Second Punic War broke out in 218 after Hannibal's attack on Saguntum, an ally of Rome in Hispania. He made his famous military exploit of carrying war to Italy by crossing the Alps with his African elephants. In his first few years in Italy, he won a succession of dramatic victories at the Trebia, Lake Trasimene, Cannae.
He distinguished himself for his ability to determine his and his opponent's respective strengths and weaknesses, to plan battles accordingly. Hannibal's well-planned strategies allowed him to conquer. Hannibal occupied most of southern Italy for 15 years, but could not win a decisive victory, as the Romans led by Fabius Maximus avoided confrontation with him, instead waging a war of attrition. A counter-invasion of North Africa led by Scipio Africanus forced him to return to Carthage. Scipio had studied Hannibal's tactics and brilliantly devised some of his own, he defeated Rome's nemesis at the Battle of Zama, having driven Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal out of the Iberian Peninsula. After the war, Hannibal ran for the office of sufet, he enacted political and financial reforms to enable the payment of the war indemnity imposed by Rome. During this time, he lived at the Seleucid court, where he acted as military advisor to Antiochus III the Great in his war against Rome. Antiochus met defeat at the Battle of Magnesia and was forced to accept Rome's terms, Hannibal fled again, making a stop in the Kingdom of Armenia.
His flight ended in the court of Bithynia, where he achieved an outstanding naval victory against a fleet from Pergamon. He was afterwards betrayed to the committed suicide by poisoning himself. Hannibal is regarded as one of the greatest military strategists in history and one of the greatest generals of Mediterranean antiquity, together with Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Scipio Africanus. Plutarch states that Scipio asked Hannibal "who the greatest general was", to which Hannibal replied "either Alexander or Pyrrhus himself" Military historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge called Hannibal the "father of strategy", because Roman armies adopted elements of his military tactics into its own strategic arsenal. Hannibal has been cited by various subsequent military leaders, such as Napoleon Bonaparte, as an inspiration and the greatest strategist of all time; the English form of the name is derived from the Latin. Greek historians rendered the name as Anníbas Bárkas. Hannibal was a common Carthaginian masculine given name.
The name was recorded in Carthaginian sources as ḤNBʿL. It is a combination of the common Carthaginian masculine given name Hanno with the Northwest Semitic Canaanite deity Baal, its precise vocalization remains a matter of debate. Suggested readings include Ḥannobaʿal, Ḥannibaʿl, or Ḥannibaʿal, meaning "Baʿal/The Lord is Gracious", "Baʿal Has Been Gracious", or "The Grace of Baʿal". Barca was the Semitic surname of his aristocratic family, meaning "shining" or "lightning", it is thus the Phoenician equivalent to the Arabic name Barq or the Hebrew name Barak or the ancient Greek epithet Keraunos, given to military commanders in the Hellenistic period. In English, his clan are sometimes collectively known as the Barcids; as with Greek and Roman practice, patronymics were a common part of Carthaginian nomenclature, so that Hannibal would have been known as "Hannibal son of Hamilcar". Hannibal was one of the sons of a Carthaginian leader, he was born in what is present day northern Tunisia, one of many Mediterranean regions colonised by the Canaanites from their homelands in Phoenicia.
He had several sisters and two brothers and Mago. His brothers-in-law were the Numidian king Naravas, he was still a child when his sisters married, his brothers-in-law were close associates during his father's struggles in the Mercenary War and the Punic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. In light of Hamilcar Barca's cognomen, historians refer to Hamilcar's family as the Barcids. However, there is debate as to whether the cognomen Barca was applied to Hamilcar alone or was hereditary within his family. If the latter Hannibal and his brothers bore the name "Barca". After Carthage's defeat in the First Punic War, Hamilcar set out to improve his family's and Carthage's fortunes. With that in mind and supported by Gades, Hamilcar began the subjugation of the tribes of the Iberian Peninsula. Carthage at the time was in such a poor state. According to Polybius, Hannibal much said that when he came upon his father and begged to go with him, Hamilcar agreed and dem
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