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Polangco, Kathlyn B.

8, September 2015
History 23 A Assignment

The Rise of the Roman Empire

He (Augustus) could boast that he inherited it brick and left it marble1.


- Augustus Caesar

The grandeur that was Rome, that was what everyone thinks of when we think of Rome,

however it was not always so. Rome started as a settlement of farmers and peasants and formed

part of the Etruscan Kingdom. For a time Rome was only a frivolous settlement in the greater

Etruscan Kingdom, until such a time the settlement prospered to the point it became powerful

enough to declare its independence and end the hegemony of the Etruscan king. This was the

time that Romans upon having been under the yoke of a Monarch, decided upon themselves that

they will never again be under the whims of an autocrat2. Thus the Roman Republic was known,

it was to be ruled by the Senate of Rome, who membership is only open to members of the

Patrician families. For years the Patricians imposed its will on Rome being the leading source of

Military might of the Republic, however, as time went on the Plebians were able to slowly exert

their influence, until such time that they were able to force the Senate to acquiesce to their

request, of having a Tribune as representative of the Plebs and also to have the Plebian

Assembly, to represent the plebes in the government of Rome3.

1
N.d. 2010. Concise Dictionary of Quotations. New York: Oxford University Press.

2
Morey, William C. 1901. Outline of Roman History. Chicago: American Book Company.

3
Livius, Titus. n.d. The History of Rome. Edited by. D. SPILLAN A.M. M.D. London: John Childs and Son,
Bungay.
It was then that from the rising power of the plebs and the eroding control of the

Patricians that sets the way for the transition of the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire, it was

further exacerbated by the birth of a certain Gaius Julius Caesar from House Julii4. Little did

people know that this infant would sent ripples, nay, waves in the civilized world. At sixteen

years old, with the untimely death of his father, Julius Caesar became the head of the family, and

with his family connections to the then powerful regime of Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius

Cinna, became the head priest of Jupiter5. It seemed he was destined to a life of Religion.

However, fate has other plans and with the defeat of his benefactors and with the ascendance of

Lucius Cornelius Sulla, he was stripped of his priesthood. Seeing the danger that he is in,

belonging to the previous regime, he decided to join the Army as an escape from the new regime.

It seems that his misfortunes were actually the greatest blessing that would befall on him, it

would appear that he has a nack for the military thereby acquiring fame and glory even being

awarded the Civic Crown the highest award a Roman citizen can hope for6. With the death of

Sulla, Julius Caesar was able to return to Rome and resume his Political Career, it seems that he

was destined to be in the military. He was again called to duty as quaestor, after which he was

sent to Spain as a Praetor7, and during his term able to conquer two tribes and was hailed as

imperator by his troops.

It was then that Julius was given the choice of either a triumphant entrance to Rome or

Consulship. He chose the later than the former and here begun the story of Julius Caesar the

Consul of Rome. During the Praetorship of Julius Caesar in Spain, Crassus became his

benefactor and on his Consulship in Rome he seek to mend the rift between his benefactor

4
Suetonius, Augustus 68,71
5
Velleius Paterculus, Roman History 2.22; Florus, Epitome of Roman History 2.9
6
William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities: Flamen
7
Freeman, Philip (2008). Julius Caesar. Simon and Schuster.
Crassus and Pompey8. With the three of them, they made an alliance which would be known as

the first Triumvirate. With this Julius Caesar ended his consulship and took on the governorship

and conquest of Gaul, he became triumphant adding vast swathes of territory to the Roman

Republic, with his fortunes and rising popularity his two allies Cassus and Pompey felt

threatened that they seek to undermine Julius Caesar, Pompey thereby urging the Senate to order

Julius Caesar to disband his army9. It was on this instance that Julius Caesar decided to cross the

Rubicon with one legion starting the Civil War10 against his two allies Pompey and Crassus, he

was triumphant and became the undisputed ruler of Rome11. The Senate fearing the uncontrolled

power of Julius Caesar and his popularity with the people decided upon themselves, to eliminate

Caesar for the Republic. It was actually more than that as the Patricians fears having a single

person with so much power, that it endangers their own and it serves their interest to extinguish

the threat. Thus, upon a scheduled Senate Tillius Cimber, a Senator, presented a petition to

Caesar to recall his exiled brother. When Caesar rejected the petition, Tillius grabbed Caesar and

plunge the blade unto Caesar12, the rest of the conspirators thereby surrounded Caesar and

stabbed him as well13.

The death of Julius Caesar a well-loved figure of the Plebians became the end of the

Roman Republic, as his heir Augustus Octavius Caesar, established the Second Triumvirate,

8
Plutarch. n.d. The Parallel Lives. Accessed September 5, 2015.
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Caesar*.html.
9
Suetonius, Julius 28
10
Plutarch, Caesar 32.8
11
Plutarch, Caesar 37.2
12
"Plutarch Life of Brutus". Classics.mit.edu. Retrieved 06 September 2015.
13
Woolf Greg (2006), Et Tu Brute? The Murder of Caesar and Political Assassination, p. 199
exacted revenge on the assassins of Julius Caesar and put down the two other members of the

triumvirate. He then effectively crippled the Senate, and established the Roman Empire14.

14
Wikimedia Foundation Inc. n.d. Augustus. Accessed September 06, 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus.