The regal period of Rome came to an end when it became the republic; and this contributed towards the detachment of the royal family and its Etruscan connections because the last seven legendary kings belonged to the Etruscan ancestry. The early opponents of Rome were the Sabines living in the hills of eastern and northern Rome. The last royal family of Rome took refuge in Etruria in Veii and Tarquinii; and Rome conquered and destroyed them. At the time of monarchy or regal period, the king used to be the military leader, chief judge and the highest authority in religion. Since the king held the supreme power, the senate did not have any importance for passing laws and influencing policies. However, the top men of the king used to be from the social class. The senate became the most powerful institution in Rome for the next five hundred years after the king was defeated. Then, the senators started to fill the executive officers and the senators were selected once in a year constitutionally. However, the senate was only open for the people belonged to aristocrat classes and the divination of the classes used to be done on the basis of owned land and tax burden. After the transition to republic, all the people of Rome was ready to defend their country from outsiders such as Etruscans and Samnites. In that time, Rome acquired new lands, became wealthier, made new alliance, defended alliances, made new enemies and did business with the enemies. This republican period of Rome was known for challenges, success and hardship. It was a simple time for the Roman Republic filled with good men and women.
The beginning of the Roman Republic could be seen in 509 B.C. after Rome defeated the Etruscan king and developed their own government. They selected a mixed form of government with three branches after witnessing the issues of the monarchy, Greek democracy and aristocracy; and this system was known as the republic system. The main aim of the Roman Republic was to find an agreement between different government’s branches. There were three branches in the Roman Republic; they are Consuls, Senate and Assemblies. These are discussed below:
The Consuls – The highest office in the Roman Republic was held by two consuls with highest military and civil authority. The power of the consuls was as significant as the power of the king. Each consul had the power of veto, they led the army, they served as judge and they had major religious duties. Initially, the consuls consisted of the aristocrats who belonged from the famous families. In the later period, laws encouraged the common people as eligible for the consulship where one of the consuls had to be a common people.
The Senate – It was expected that Rome’s elders would provide their valuable advices to the consuls who held the executive authority. The senate which was the consuls of the elders preceded the Roman Republic. The senate was considered as an advisory branch which consisted of 300 aristocrats who served for life. The ranks of the Senate were obtained from the list of former consuls as well as other officers. The common people were also considered for the Senate as well. The main aim of Senate was the foreign policies of Rome along with significant jurisdiction in different civil affairs and controlling the treasury.
The Assemblies – The Assemblies were considered as the most democratic branch of the Roman Republic. There were four assemblies and they made the voting power available for many of the citizens of Rome. All army members and the annually elected consuls were the part of the Assembly of Centuries; all the citizens who approved and rejected laws were the part of the Assembly of Tribes; the Comitia Curiata was consisted of 30 local groups; and the plebeians were included in the Concilium Plebis.
At the time of the Roman Republic period, political institutions as well as political officers were developed in such a manner so that one man becoming too powerful can be avoided. At that time, it was possible to develop an effective structure of the government of Roman Republic which consisted of the consuls, the senate and the assemblies. This contributed towards the effective distribution of power and authority which diminished the practice of providing all the powers and authority to the aristocrats. There was major expansion in the Roman Empire through the expansion of the form of citizenship to many of the people it captured. At that time, there was also major military expansion which contributed to economic development and freed many enslaved people which played major part in the transformation of Rome and the Roman culture. This indicates towards the crucial aspect that there was peace and happiness in the Roman Republic due to the initiatives of the government for the overall wellbeing of the Roman people. This good relation between the Roman government and the people of Rome made Rome the most powerful state in the world by the first century BCE in the presence of the combination of economic expansion, military power and political stability.
There was a major influence of the Greek Authors in the Roman literatures, but the expansion of Roman Republic contributed towards the key diversification of the art and literatures of Rome. With the expansion of the Republic, Roman authors started to write comedy, poetry, tragedy and history. In ‘De rerum natura’, an attempt to explain science was taken by Lucretius. At that time, the genre of satire became popular in Rome which was written by the authors like Persius and Juvenal. In Roman Republic, Cicero was considered as the master of Latin prose. He produced large number of quality writing nearly from 80 BCE to his demise in 43 BCE in different subject matters and genres. This large number of works of Cicero was divided into four segments that are letters, orations, philosophical works and rhetorical treatises.
Like literature, Greece art had major influence on the early Roman arts. However, as the Roman Republic captured Greek region, there was a major growth in the official and patrician sculpture by the Romans. In spite of the creation of fee standing work portraying the heroic adventures or mythology like Greeks, the Romans started to develop various historical works. Romans started to consider the small sculptures as the luxury products. Some examples of the high quality of artwork in the Roman Republic were silver Warren Cup and glass Lycurgus cup. For the large population, they used to produce shaped relief decoration in clay containers and small collectibles in large quantities along with great quality. Roman paintings were also considered as great artwork at that time and the surviving example of the Roman paintings are the paintings from Pompeii and Herculaneum. Moreover, the Roman portraiture was known for their substantial realism which are known as veristic portraiture.
The main reasons for the early Roman Republican wars were expansion and defence which aimed to protect Rome from neighbouring nations and cities. The First Samnite War of 343 BCE – 341 BCE was a short matter where Rome defeated the Samnites in two encounters, but Rome had to withdraw the war from further proceeding due to the presence of their Latin allies in the Latin war. The second Samnite war of 327 BCE – 304 BCE was longer than the first one where the Romans effectively captured the larger part of Samnite territory. The third Samnite War started was started when the Samnites defeated a Roman army, but Rome defeated them. After that, the Pyrrhic War of 280 BCE occurred when Pyrrhus landed in Itali with 25,000 men, but Rome refused in negotiating. In 275 BCE, Pyrrhus met Rome in the Battle of Beneventum where Rome defeated Pyrrhus and forced to withdraw their army from Italy.
After that, the First Punic War took place in 264 BCE when both Rome and Carthage showed their interest to use settlement within Sicily with the aim to solve their own internal conflict. This war included land battles in Sicily, but it shifted to marine battle around Africa and Sicily; and Rome defeated Carthaginians with huge fleets. The second Punic War started in 218 BCE when Carthaginian commander Hannibal attacked a Spanish town and the Romans defeated them in the Battle of Zama. In the Third Punic war took place when Rome destroyed the city of Carthage and acquired Carthage’s North America and Spanish lands. Lastly, the First, Second and Third Macedonian Wars took place by 168 BCE when Rome fought with Macedonia and defeated them. Then, Rome divided the whole Macedonian Kingdom into four republics. After the occurrence of the Fourth Macedonian War, Rome took the decision of dividing Macedonia into two New Roman jurisdiction; that are Achaea and Epirus.
The Crises of the Roman Republic was a prolonged age of political uncertainty and social turmoil that contributed towards the destabilization of the Roman Republic. Tiberius and Gaius, the Gracchi brothers, presented certain mainstream agricultural and land reforms in 130s BCE and 120s BCE and the patrician Senate opposed this. After a political standstill, both these brothers were murdered by the violence of the mob. Political uncertainty sustained due to the engagement of populist Marius and optimate Sulla in many conflicts. Sulla detained the power and marched against the Senate and Marius detained the power in Rome. After that, the Populist Party was disgraced by the Catilinarian conspiracy. According to the terms of the First Triumvirate, Caesar would be elected consul in 59 BCE, but afterward, he served as Gaul’s governor for five years. The triumvirate was beaten in the presence of increasing political violence along with the death of Caesar’s daughter. As per the new passed resolution by the Senate, Caesar would be considered as the enemy of the Roman Republic in case he did not put down his weapons by July 49 BCE. In the meantime, dictatorial power was given to Pompey over the Roman Republic. Caesar crossed the Rubicon on January 10, 49 BCE towards Rome. Both Pompey and Senate abandoned Rome for Greece; and Caesar did not face any opposition while entering Rome.
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