Part Two: From Republic To Empire

•1. For all its success – Rome was unstable •2. Power switches from the many to the few

Growing Inequality & Unrest

•Landed aristocracy governed Rome •Wealthy, powerful families •Senate & political offices

•Small farmers losing land to large, wealthy landowners •New urban class of landless poor

•Latifundia – Large Landed Estates (like Plantation)


•Tiberius & Gaius Gracchus, reform-minded aristocrats •Called for laws giving public land back to the landless poor
•Both brothers eventually killed

•Discontent & unrest grew

VIDEO: Rise of Tiberius

Video: Tiberius Champions the Poor

• S.P.Q.R. is an initialism of a Latin noun phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus ("The Senate and the Roman People")

Video: Cicero Takes the Lead

The Collapse of the Republic

•Civil Wars 82 - 31 B.C. •Crassus, Pompey & Julius Caesar emerged as victors •combined wealth & power to dominate the political scene

•60 B.C. •Crassus, Pompey & Caesar •Crassus killed in 53 B.C.

The First Triumvirate

Video: Caesar’s Leadership

•Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the river •Caesar and Pompey start a civil war

•Caesar defeats Pompey’s forces •Caesar become a dictator – an absolute ruler

Video: Caesar Starts Civil War

Julius Caesar

•44 B.C. a group of leading senators assassinated him

The Second Triumvirate

•Octavian, Antony & Lepidus •Octavian took the west & Antony, the east

•Antony allied himself with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII •Like Caesar before him, Antony had fallen in love with her

Mark Anthony


•Battle of Actium: Actium Octavian’s forces smashed the army & the navy of Antony & Cleopatra •Both committed suicide a year later

•27 B.C. Octavian became “Augustus” the revered one
•Maintained a huge army •Becomes Golden Age of Literature - Virgil

The Age of Augustus


Emperors of the Early Empire

•Nero: had people killed if he wanted them out of the way - including his mother

Roman legions revolted Nero committed suicide by stabbing himself in the throat

Video: The Horror of Nero’s Reign

Emperors of the Early Empire

•5 good emperors:

Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius & Marcus Aurelius

Pax Romana = Roman Peace 100 Years of Peace

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