How Was It Possible for Rome to Become an Empire and Last so Long and What Were the Reasons for Its Fall?

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“Rome was one of the greatest empires of the ancient world.” (McGill) The early Roman state was founded in 509 B.C. after the Romans drove out the hated Etruscan king. By this time Rome had already grown from a cluster of small villages to a small city. The Roman Republic lasted for about six centuries, but gradually declined due to corruption and social problems. Strongmen competed for power, and out of these civil wars came the one-man dictatorship known as the Empire. The five centuries of the Empire saw Rome become one of the world's great civilizations, as the city extended its rule throughout the Mediterranean and into Northern Europe. Eventually, however, the imperial system also declined into corruption. Little did the early Roman settlers know that this was going to happen to their little village. (McGill) After Rome established itself, they were determined to never again be ruled by a monarch. The Romans’ setup a new government called a republic. Romans thought a republic would keep any individuals from gaining too much power. Later Romans looked back with enormous pride on the achievements of the early republic. Between 509 B.C. and 133 B.C., Rome adapted the government to fit the need of the people it served. It also developed the military power to not only conqueror not only Italy, but also the entire Mediterranean world. In the early republic the patricians controlled power, the land holding upper class. Senators, who served for life, interpreted laws and issued decrees. In the event of a war the senate might elect a dictator who ruled for only six months in time of emergency. (“Roman Republic.") In 69 B.C. Julius Caesar emerged into the picture, becoming a quaestor. He was able commander who led many conquests for Rome. In 59 B.C. Caesar set out for a new conquest. After nine years of constant fighting, he finally conquered Gaul. Pompey grew jealous of his achievement and had the Senate order him to disband his forces and return to Rome. Caesar...
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