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The Fall of the Republic
Main Idea: The use of enslaved labor hurt farmers, increased
poverty and corruption, and brought the army into politics.
A. Trouble in the Republic
1. In Rome the rich landowners ran the Senate and
held the most powerful government jobs.
a. They handled all the money and planned the wars.
B. Problems for Farmers
1. The owners of small farms could not compete with
the new latifundia, large farming estates created by
the rich Romans.
a. The latifundia were tended to by the slaves captured during
Rome’s wars.
b. This allowed them to sell their crops cheaper and drive the
small farms out of business.
Problems for Farmers
2. There were a lot more poor people than rich
people in Rome.
a. The small farmers were forced to sell their farms
and move to the city to find work.
b. Jobs were hard to find and the pay was low
because most of the labor was being done by
the slaves.
c. This angered the poor.
3. Roman politicians used the policy of “bread
and circuses” to win the votes of the poor.
a. They bribed the poor people with food and
The Army Enters Politics
a. The army changed from volunteers to paid
soldiers who were more loyal to their general
then the Roman Republic.
2. Marius’s new military system led to power
struggles and soon another general named
Sulla drove his enemies out of Rome and
made himself dictator.
3. In 3 years Sulla changed the government by
weakening the Council of the Plebs and
strengthening the Senate.
a. For the next 50 years Rome was in civil war as
one general after another tried to take over.
Julius Caesar
Main Idea: Military hero Julius Caesar seized power
and made reforms.
A. Julius Caesar
1. In 60 B.C. 3 generals held most of the
power: Crassus, Pompey and Julius Caesar.
a. All were military men and Crassus was one of
the richest men in Rome.
b. These men formed the First Triumvirate to
rule Rome.
1) A triumvirate is a political alliance of three
Julius Caesar (continued…)
B. Caesar’s Military Campaigns
1. Each member of the Triumvirate controlled
a part of Rome’s land.
a. Pompey was in Spain, Crassus in Syria and
Caesar was in Gaul (France).
b. While in Gaul Caesar invaded Britain and
became a hero to Rome’s lower classes.
c. Senator’s back home were afraid Caesar was
becoming too popular and would try to take
over like Sulla.
2. Crassus was killed in battle and the Senate
asked Pompey to come back to Rome and
rule alone.
Julius Caesar (continued…)
3. The Senate asked Caesar to give up his
army and return home.
4. If Caesar agreed his enemies might kill him
or throw him in jail so he risked civil war
and marched his 5,000 loyal soldiers back
to Rome.
a. They crossed the Rubicon, a small river and by
doing so Caesar knew he was starting a civil
war and there was no turning back.
5. Pompey tried to stop him but Caesar was a
better general and won.
Julius Caesar (continued…)
C. Caesar’s Rise to Power
1. In 44 B.C. Caesar declared himself dictator
of Rome for life.
a. He strengthened his power by filling the Senate
with people loyal only to him.
He made many changes that helped the poor
such as forcing landowners to hire free
2. Caesar created a new calendar with 12
months, 365 days, and a leap year.
a. This was called the Julian calendar which was
changed slightly and is now used by most of
the world today.
Julius Caesar (continued…)
3. Caesar’s supporters saw him as a
great leader who brought peace to
a. His enemies feared he wanted to be
b. On March 15, 44 B.C. (the “Ides of
March”), Caesar’s enemies led by the
senators Brutus and Cassius stabbed him
to death?
Beware the Ides of March!
44 BCE
Rome Becomes an Empire
Main Idea: The Roman Republic, weakened by civil
wars, became an empire under Augustus.
A. Rome Becomes an Empire
1. After Caesar’s death another civil war
a. On one side were the forces who killed
Caesar and on the other Caesar’s
grandnephew Octavian, and his top 2
generals Antony and Lepidus.
b. After killing Caesar’s assassins these 3
men formed the Second Triumvirate.
Rome Becomes an Empire (continued…)
B. The Second Triumvirate
1. The members of the Second Triumvirate began
to fight.
a. Octavian convinced Lepidus to retire and he divided
the empire in 2.
Octavian took the west and Antony the east.
2. Antony fell in love with the Egyptian queen
Cleopatra VII and formed an alliance with her.
3. Octavian declared war on Antony.
4. In 31 B.C. at the Battle of Actium off the west
coast of Greece Octavian crushed the army and
navy of Antony and Cleopatra.
a. They fled to Egypt an a year later killed themselves
leaving Octavian at the top of the Roman world.
Rome Becomes an Empire (continued…)
C. Who Was Augustus?
1. A political leader and writer named Cicero was a
public speaker who argued against dictators
and called for a representative government with
limited powers.
2. Octavian listened to Cicero and in 27 B.C. he
restored the republic.
a. He gave some power to the Senate but really put
himself in charge.
His title imperator means “commander in chief” but
came to mean “emperor”.
He took the title of Augustus meaning the “revered
or majestic one”.
Augustus Octavian
The First Roman Dynasty
The Greatest Extent of the Roman Empire – 14 CE