The Final Century of the Roman Republic

Outlined by David Trumbull COPYRIGHT, 2006

The struggle between the optimates and the populares

Tiberius Gracchi attempted land reform, and was clubbed to death outside the Senate House in 133 B.C. This assassination was the first such violent overthrow in Rome since the expelling of the kings and the establishment of the Republic. His brother Caius pressed for reform on behalf of the people and was likewise hounded by the elite; he died in 121 B.C., at the hand of his servant rather than fall into the hands of the Senators as happened to Tiberius.

Marius (157-86 B.C.) was a great military genius who, for defeating two German peoples who threatened Rome, was called the Third Founder of Rome after Romulus and Camillus who saved Rome after it was sacked by the Gauls in 390 B.C. Marius was seven times (a record) made Consul. He was allied with the populares.

The Social War (91-88 B.C.) was a struggle between Rome and her Italian allies (socii) who demanded rights of Roman citizenship. Sylla (138-78 B.C.) overshadowed the older Marius in this conflict. The rivalry between Marius and Sylla led to civil war. In 87 B.C. Marius entered Rome armed, and blood flowed in the streets.

After Sylla finally destroyed Marius, he continued his struggle with the younger Marius (son of the Marius mentioned above) and his followers. Sylla likewise entered the city armed, and, again, Roman blood flowed in the street. In 81 B.C. Sylla was made Dictator and murdered many of the leading citizens. For all his bloodshed, Sylla did step down from being Dictator after he had restored order. His reforms generally were aimed at a stronger, more functional, Senate and favor the optimates.

Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) came from a distinguished but no longer wealthy family. He was nephew, by marriage, of the elder Marius. His first wife was also connected to the cause of Marius and the populares. Caesar's second wife, Pompeia, was a granddaughter of the Dictator Sylla. His first public office was Military Tribune in 72 B.C.

Caesar was implicated in , but managed to distance himself from the Catiline Conspiracy of 63 B.C. which sought to overthrown the exisiting constitutional settlement.

As a member of the First (unofficial) Triumvirate, 60-54 B.C., Caesar was, in effect, the ruler of Rome along with Pompey, and Crassus. The alliance with Pompey ended in 54 B.C. when Julia, the daughter of Caesar, died bearing Pompey's child. Crassus died in 53 B.C. in the disastrous Parthian campaign. At the Battle of Pharsalia, 48 B.C., Caesar defeats Pompey.

On the Ides of March, 44 B.C. Caesar was assassinated by Brutus (85-42 B.C.) and others, leaving his lieutenant Marc Antony (83-30 B.C.) in charge but naming his adopted nephew Octavian as his heir.

The new settlement

Octavian (63 B.C.-A.D. 14) as member of the Second (official) Triumvirate (43-33 B.C.) with Antony, and Lepidus defeated Brutus at Philippi, 42 B.C. Octavian then defeated Anthony at Battle of Actium, 31 B.C. Octavian was granted title Augustus, 27 B.C., by the Roman Senate.

Here Ends Trumbull's Summary of the final century of the Roman Republic.