The Fall of the Roman Republic

“The die is cast” – Julius Caesar The expansion of Rome, the ruling of Julius Caesar and his death, and the civil war that followed his death all led to the collapse of the Roman Republic. The expansion of Rome created political, social, and economical changes. Politically, the government did not change to suit the expanding of Rome. The economic changes were that poor farmers could not afford anymore to compete with the estates run by slaves, so they sold their land to the rich. Most became urban poor, which meant they were homeless and jobless, and that the government gave them food.

Social changes were that the expansion widened the gap between the rich and the poor. This gap caused tensions between the two classes, and led to the fall of the republic. Julius Caesar came to power after he spent four years campaigning in Asia minor. He was elected Senator at age 40. For more power, he campaigned in the slums of Rome. He spent a lot of money on games that would appeal to them, and made them free to get in so all could watch. After his campaigning to the poor in Rome, he was elected Supreme Priest. In 59 B. C, when him, Pompey, and Crassus formed the first triumvirate, which basically puts him as consul.

In 58 B. C, he left Rome and headed to Gaul, which there, he would become governer. Returning to Rome, and still on consul, Julius Caesar started illegally creating laws. In 56 B. C, Pompey and Crassus were to be consuls again, and Caesar’s command in Gaul was extended until 49 BC. In 54 B. C, Caesar led a three-month expedition to Britain, and was the was the first Roman to cross the English Channel, but he did not establish a permanent base there. When he got back, he found news that Julia, the daughter of Julius Caesar and the wife of Pompey, had died in childbirth, which weakened the relationship of Julius and Pompey.

In the following year, Crassus received command of the armies of the East, but was defeated and killed by the Parthians. At age 54, Julius Caesar was named dictator for ten years. He was elected out of mostly fear and respect by the Senate. Julius created a calender with 365 days, and named the month of July after himself. He also planned to attack the Parthians. In 44 B. C, Julius was elected dictator for life. The Senate agreed that Julius was acting as king, and plotted to assainate him. On March 15, 44 B. C, Julius Caesar was assaninated by the Senate, led by Pompey.

In the arising chaos of Caesar’s death, Mark Antony, Octavion, and others fought a series of five civil wars, which would end in the formation of the Roman Empire. The Roman middle and lower classes, with whom Caesar was popular, became angry that a small group of aristocrats had killed Caesar, especially after Antony gave a dramatic applause that appealed to the common people, a reflection of public opinion following Caesar’s murder. About 43 B. C, the second triumvirate was formed between Octavion, Mark Antony, and Lepidus. Sometime after 43 B.

C, Afterward, Mark Antony married Caesar’s lover, Cleopatra, intending to use the fabulously wealthy Egypt as a base to dominate Rome. A third civil war broke out between Octavion and Antony. This final civil war resulted in the final ascendancy of Octavian, who became the first Roman emperor, under the name Caesar Augustus, a name that raised him to status of an idol. The fall of the Roman Republic was caused by the expansion of Rome, and it’s class tension, the ruling of Julius Caesar, and all things that followed Julius Caesar’s death.