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The End of the Republic
Chapter 11, Lesson 3
Problems in the Republic
• As Rome continued to win victories abroad, economic
troubles grew at home.
• In the 100s B.C. many small farmers were pushed out of business by
large farms that relied on slave labor.
• Small farms closed, and unemployed people moved to Rome’s cities
looking for work.
• Conflicts between rich and poor grew in Rome.
• Roman rulers offered cheap food and free entertainment to Rome’s
• “Bread and Circuses”
• The Gracchus brothers worked for reforms to help the poor.
• They were murdered by a group of Senators.
Critical Thinking
Analyzing What does the
murder of these brothers tell
us about the Roman
government at this time?
The Gracchus Brothers tried to help poor farmers who had lost their land to
much larger Roman farms known as latifundia.
Roman Politics and the Army
• Rome’s military leaders sought political power.
• In 107 B.C., Marius became consul and recruited
armies by promising land to those who joined.
• Rome’s army was full of mercenaries who swore allegiance to
Marius, not the state.
• Others soon began recruiting their own armies, and civil war
broke out.
• In 82 B.C., Sulla drove his enemies out of Rome and
proclaimed himself dictator.
• Sulla reduced the power of the tribunes and gave the Senate
more power.
The Rise of Julius Caesar
•After Sulla left, Rome fell into a 50 year period
of civil war.
• Three men, Crassus, Pompey, and Julius Caesar formed
the first triumvirate, which is a group of three rulers
sharing political power.
• Crassus was killed in battle, and Senators wanted Caesar to
step down and let Pompey have control.
• Caesar refused, and returned to Rome by crossing the Rubicon
Caesar crossed the Rubicon at great risk.
Even today, the phrase “crossing the
Rubicon” is used when a person makes a
decision that cannot be undone.
Critical Thinking
Predicting What might have
happened if Caesar had not
decided to cross the Rubicon?
•Caesar’s return to Rome started another civil war, in
which he defeated Pompey’s army.
•Caesar was named dictator (absolute ruler) of
• Caesar’s reforms made him loved by the poor, but
hated by the Senate and most wealthy Romans.
• He gave jobs to the unemployed and granted citizenship to
those living in Roman territories.
• He also increased the size of the Senate to 900 and ordered
landowners using slave labor to hire free workers.
• In 44 BC, Caesar was murdered by a group of Senators.
In William Shakespeare’s play Julius
Caesar, Caesar utters, “Et tu, Brute?”
when he realizes that not only Cassius,
but also his friend Brutus, has helped
to assassinate him. “Et tu” means “You,
as well?” or “You, too?”
Today this phrase is still used when addressing a disloyal
person or an unexpected traitor. For example, if a person
started spreading rumors about you, and then you found
out that a supposedly good friend has been joining forces
with that person, you might appropriately use the phrase,
“Et tu, Brute?” to express your shock and disappointment
in the person.
From Republic to Empire
•A second triumvirate formed after Caesar’s
• Octavian was Caesar's heir and grandnephew.
• Mark Antony was Caesar’s ally and assistant.
• Lepidus was the commander of Caesar’s cavalry.
•Within a few years, the empire was divided into
two parts.
• Octavian controlled the west, Antony the east.
• Octavian and Antony came into conflict.
• Antony aligned himself with Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
• Octavian’s army defeated Antony’s army, causing Antony and Cleopatra to
flee to Egypt, where they committed suicide.
Octavian – A New Direction
•At age 32, Octavian was the
sole ruler of Rome.
• He gave some power back to the
Senate because he knew many
Romans favored a republic over a
• In 27 BC, the senate gave him the
title Augustus.
• He was now Rome’s first emperor,
or all powerful ruler.