The Transition between Rome the Republic and Rome the Empire

Essay by FspanishmanHigh School, 10th gradeA+, December 2006

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Throughout history, a civilization's type of government has had a tremendous impact in its development. In Ancient Rome, one can find two, very different from each other, types of government. These are Rome as a Republic, and later on as one of the most powerful empires of all time. However, this shift was a long process that took several years and numerous reforms in order to occur. Rome becomes a Republic in 460 BC, and shifts into an Empire when Julius Caesar comes into power. However, there were many situations that led to the reforms and other events that would cause Rome's change. For example, when Rome was a Republic, it was governed by a group of elected officials, or magistrates, the Senate, the Centuriate Assembly, and later on, the Plebeian Assembly. Also, these officials were created to dominate a Republic and not a large empire, which became a problem when Rome conquered many new territories because the magistrates could not keep up with it.

This is the beginning of the idea of mare nostrum, or our sea, meaning Rome had complete control over the Mediterranean. This is the main problem that leads to a series of events that would transform Rome the Republic into Rome the Empire.

Rome's expansion led to a series of situations that needed to be taken care of. For example, rich people begin to buy a lot of land, creating big land states, known as latifundias. This out competes small farmers leading them to an extreme poverty. This marks the beginning of the first reforms. Tiberius Gracchus, and his brother Graius Gracchus, start the idea that people could only have a certain number of acres. This reform infuriates the government, and the Gracchi brothers, from the Populare Movement (trying to help the plebeians)...