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p. 1Introductionlocked

  • David M. Gwynn

Abstract

The rise and fall of the Roman Republic occupies a special place in the history of Western civilization. From humble beginnings on seven hills beside the River Tiber, the city of Rome grew to dominate the ancient Mediterranean world. Led by the senatorial aristocracy, Republican armies defeated Carthage and the successor kingdoms to Alexander the Great, and brought the surrounding peoples to east and west under Roman rule. Yet the triumph of the Republic was also its tragedy. The very forces that drove the expansion of Rome, and the rewards that expansion brought, led to social, economic, and political crisis and plunged the Republic into a descending spiral of civil war. The institutions of Republican government failed under the pressures of maintaining Rome’s empire, and sole power finally passed into the hands of Augustus, the first Roman emperor....

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