Officially, the Roman Republic never ended, it was "saved" by Augustus who ruled with the Senate's permission, but in reality, it ended in 27 BCE when Octavian was given supreme power and the title "Augustus".
The Republic began to fall when debate and legal procedures were replaced with murder and intimidation. In elections for example, it was common for one or more of the candidates to be murdered for the political gain of the other. It became accepted to use force to "preserve the Republic". Reformers appealed to powerful generals and armys for their support against the Senate. Violence was replied with more violence and the Republic crumbled.
The First TriumvirateEdit
All this eventually led to the First Triumvirate (formed around 60 BCE, an unofficial political alliance made up of Gaius Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey) and Marcus Licinius Crassus, three important politicians and generals in Rome. Crassus and Pompey had despised each other, but Julius Caesar (Crassus's friend) brought them together. Pompey was envious of Caesar and disliked Crassus so didn't get along well in the Triumvirate. Caesar gained fame after conquering Gaul in 58 BCE. In 53 BCE, Crassus, wishing the military success of the other two triumvirs, gained a military command in the east and invaded the Parthian Empire, where he was killed by Parthian cavalry at the Battle of Carrhae.
The First Civil WarEdit
Crassus's death unbalanced the triumvirate, leaving only Caesar and Pompey in the alliance and they began to move further apart. Pompey began to align with the optimates, opposed to Caesar, while in 50 BCE, Caesar finished his campaign in Gaul, after defeating Vercingetorix's uprising, and had a loyal army to further his ambitions. Caesar's governorship in Gaul was drawing to an end, which gave him immunity from trials which would certainly come if he had to go back to Rome to stand for Consul. If he could run for Consul in absentia, he could assume another consulship and have his immunity again. He was opposed by the optimates who, in 49 BCE, passed a law declaring him a public enemy and demanding him to return to Rome and face trial. Pompey was given absolute authority to defend the Republic and on January 10, Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his army, breaking Roman law and starting a Civil War. Caesar marched through Italy, with some fighting, and took Rome without resistance. He marched south to try and stop Pompey withdrawing to Greece, but was too late. Eventually, Caesar beat Pompey, who fled to Egypt and was killed by Ptolemy XIII. Caesar had won the Civil War and in 44 BCE was proclaimed Dictator for life. As a result of this, on March the 15th, Julius Caesar was murdered in the Senate by 60 senators, led by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus.
The Second TriumvirateEdit
After the assassination, Caesar's lieutenant, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) incited the mob against the murderers. In Caesar's will, he adopted his grand-nephew Octavian as his political heir. Antonius, Octavian and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus formed the second triumvirate, with which their combined power gave them absolute control in Rome. They chased down and defeated the murderers of Julius and split the Roman Republic between them, Antony getting the richer provinces in the east, Octavian getting the Roman provinces in the West and Lepidus was given the minor province of Africa to control, making the bid for supreme power between Antony and Octavian.
The Second Civil War and the foundation of the Roman EmpireEdit
Octavian bribed the legions of Lepidus to join him, stripping him of all military power. Meanwhile, Antony became involved with Cleopatra and gave away much of his empire to his three children with her. In 31 BCE Civil War broke out again, with Octavian on one side and Antony and Cleopatra on the other. About 1/3 of the senators joined Antony and the final confrontation was on the 2nd September 31 BCE, at the Battle of Actium, in which almost all of Antony's fleet was destroyed and Octavian gained the submission of Roman Govenors and local kings throughout the Republic. Antony and Cleopatra fled and committed suicide. Octavian now had supreme power in Rome and in 27 BC, the transition between Republic and Empire was made complete. In a staged way, Octavian offered to give back his powers to the Senate, and they refused, giving him the title Augustus and imperator. The Roman Empire was born. Much later, once Augustus named Tiberius as his heir, it was clear to the people that the Republic was dead.
|History of the Roman Empire|
|History: The End of the Roman Republic (60 BCE - 27 BCE) | Augustan Age (27 BCE - CE 14) | Julio-Claudian Age (14 - 68) | Year of the Four Emperors (68 - 69) | Flavian Age (69 - 96) / Nervan-Antonine Age (96 - 193) | Severan Dynasty (193 - 235) | Crisis of the Third Century (235 - 268) | see also the Gallic Empire| Illyrian Emperors (268 - 284) | Tetrarchical Age (284 - 308) | Constantinian Age (307 - 364) | see also the Britannic Empire | Valentinian Age (364 - 388) | Theodosian Dynasty (379 - 395) | in 395, Roman Empire permanently divided into Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire|