Roman Republic

Roman Colosseum

'The Roman Colosseum'

What was the Roman Republic? Definition of the Ancient Roman Republic
What was the Roman Republic? Definition: The Roman Republic is the term used to refer the period in Roman history when Rome and its territories were ruled without a king or emperor. The people who ruled the Roman republic were, in general, elected. The Roman Republic was the ancient Roman state which started in 509 BC and lasted until Augustus assumed power in 27 BC.

Why was the Ancient Roman Republic established?
The Roman Republic was established when the last of the seven kings of Rome, Tarquin the Proud, was deposed. The Romans wanted to replace the Roman monarchy with a system based on annually elected magistrates and various representative assemblies. A constitution set a series of checks and balances together with a separation of powers.

When was the Ancient Roman Republic established? 
The Roman Republic was established in 509 BC when the Romans replaced the last of the Etruscan rulers, Tarquin the Proud who was a real tyrant, with the Roman Republic.

Who established Roman Republic? What Events led to the Roman Republic? 
The Roman Republic was established in 509 BC by Lucius Junius Brutus who was the founder of the Roman Republic and traditionally one of the first Consuls. Lucius Junius Brutus led a revolt that overthrew the last Etruscan king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud). Lucius Junius Brutus was outraged at the abuse of power of the king and his family after the murder of his brother who objected to Tarquin's assumption of the throne. Another member of the Brutus family called Lucretia was raped by Tarquin's son Sextus Tarquinius. Lucretia subsequently killed herself due to her disgrace. The people of Rome subsequently supported the expulsion of the tyrant king following the Rape of Lucretia.

The Roman Republic and the Oath of Lucius Junius Brutus
After the expulsion of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus the first act of Lucius Junius Brutus was to make the Roman people, free from the tyranny of the Tarquins, swear a solemn oath never to allow any man to be king in Rome. The legend of this oath had a lasting effect on the Romans and during the period of the Roman Republic this prevented all attempts to restore the monarchy.

The Government, Structure and Constitution of the Ancient Roman Republic
The government, structure and constitution of the Roman Republic of the Roman Republic was as follows:

  • The Roman Republic was governed by an elected Senate who were appointed for life - the wealthy, aristocratic Patricians ruled Rome

  • The 300 members of the senate, all from aristocratic families, grew in power

  • The senators selected new senators to replace any who died

  • Roman Senators also appointed two senators to become joint heads of state for a year

  • The heads of state were first known as praetors and later as consuls

  • Every consul had the power of veto to forbid any action of the other

  • To avoid serious stalemates in a crisis the constitution of the republic provided for another more powerful office -  that of dictator

  • A Dictator could only hold office for a period not exceeding six months to ensure he did not achieve total power

  • As time moved on the poor people of Rome, the Plebeians (Plebs), protested at their total lack of power and exclusion form any benefits of the Republic

  • The protests of the Plebs led to the creation of two powerful new officials called the Tribunes of the People whose role was to safeguard the rights of the plebeians

What led to the Decline of the Roman Republic? 
The 500-year-old Roman Republic eventually became corrupt and weakened by bloody civil wars, political in-fighting, power plays and dissatisfaction with the Senate. These all led to the decline of the Roman Republic. Julius Caesar eventually seized power and became dictator, ending the Civil Wars, but signalling the end of the Roman Republic. The adoptive son of Julius Caesar, Octavian, became the first Emperor of Rome as Caesar Augustus.

When did the Roman Republic fall? 
The Roman Republic fell when Octavian  assumed power as the Emperor  Caesar Augustus of Rome in 27 BC, so starting the reign of the emperors who ruled the Roman Empire.

Roman Colosseum
Roman Empire

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