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The Roman Republic

The Roman Republic gained supremacy in 509 BC.  The two chief magistrates in Roman government were called consuls.  The Romans who had most of the power were the patricians, but the plebians could also hold office.  As the republic of Rome defeated all of the countries surrounding it, the generals and Senators shared the plunder and became more and more wealthy.  Other sources of their wealth were the tributes paid by the defeated countries and the payoffs offered to them by people who wanted them to grant them favors or vote a certain way.  Even the members of the common people accepted money for votes.  Many small landowners sold their land to the wealthy and moved to the city of Rome, where they ran out of money and joined the ranks of the unemployed.  The first triumvirate was formed by Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus in 62 BC.  Then Crassus died, and civil war broke out. Caesar defeated Pompey in 49 BC. In 44 BC, he was assassinated by Cassius, Brutus, and other members of a conspiracy whose members felt he was too powerful.  After the murder of Caesar, a second triumvirate was formed.  It included Mark Antony, Gaius Octavian, and Marcus Lepidus. Its members vowed to avenge Caesar’s death.

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