The Roman Republic
The city of Rome started as a small village and developed to be the biggest and most beautiful city in the ancient world. According to legend, Romolus and Remus were born in the vicinity of this small village and were raised up and taken care of by a wolf. When they grew up they fought for leadership and Romolus won and founded a new city instead of the village and called it Rome after his name.
The city of Rome was ruled by various kings and the last one to rule it was King Tarquin. However, the latter was so cruel with his people that they revolted against him and expelled him from the city. They were determined not to be ruled by a king anymore so that all the power will not be given to one person only. So they founded a Republic which means a state without a king. They wanted the Roman Republic to be ruled by a democratic government. So on their money they printed the letters S.P.Q.R. which symbolized the Latin words “Senatus Populus Que Romanus”; which in English means “The Senate and the People of Rome are ruling”. The Roman Government was to be divided into two: The Senate was the most important and included the Roman Nobles which were called Patricians. The other part was called The Assembly and included the common people called Plebeians.
From this point onwards Rome was referred to as the 'Roman Republic'. The word 'republic' comes from the Latin words 'res publica' which mean 'public matters' or 'matters of state'.
The senate selected a consul who would rule Rome like a king but the difference was that he would only occupy that position for one year. This idea was a sensible one as the consul ruled carefully because he knew that otherwise the next consul who would be ruling for the following year could punish him.
In Rome people were classified into one of the following four groups:
Slaves - These had no rights as other people owned them.
Plebeians - They had little say but were free people.
Equestrians - These people were rich and were sometimes called to fight for Rome.
Patricians - They were the highest class in Rome and the power of Rome lay in their hands.
The Roman Republic turned out to be a very successful government as it lasted from 510 BC to 23 BC - almost 500 years.
The Roman Republic were faced with one very big challenge, the Carthaginians. Carthage was a very powerful city which also controlled its own empire. The Carthaginians and the Romans fought a lot both on land and on sea. The most famous one of all was when the Carthaginian general Hannibal invaded Italy by crossing over the Alps with all his troops. At the end of this battle, Rome won and Carthage was entirely destroyed.
The Roman Empire came to an end when it was overrun by millions of barbarians. The collapse was accomplished when the Visigoth Odoacer and his troops dominated Rome in 476 AD.