Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ancient Rome from Republic to Dictatorship

From Republic to Dictatorship
The tax money that came from the provinces made the upper class richer, but the slaves who came made the lower classes poorer. Many plebeians lost their jobs or land because their work was turned over to slaves. This caused conflicts between the rich and the poor. Two brothers, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, tried to change the laws to help the poor. However, the senate would not agree to these changes. Both brothers were killed for their ideas. For the next 50 years, many leaders tried to gain control of the republic.

In 82 B.C., after a bloody civil war, Lucius Sulla became dictator. He ruled for three years, not for just the six months Roman law allowed. Sulla retired in 79 B.C., and the government was returned to consuls. Pompey and Cicero (SIH»suh*roh) were among those who served as consuls after Sulla gave up his power.

In 59 B.C. Julius Caesar, a Roman general, was elected consul. Caesar put together a careful plan to rule all Roman lands. His first move was to form an army and capture Gaul (what is now France). His success in winning Gaul for the Romans proved his military ability. As governor of the new province of Gaul, Caesar kept close watch on Rome.

In 49 B.C. Caesar prepared to return to Rome. By this time the senate feared that he would try to take over the Roman government. The senate warned Caesar not to bring his soldiers past the Rubicon River, the border between Gaul and Italy. "The die is cast," Caesar said as he crossed the Rubicon with his army and declared war on his enemies in Rome. Civil war raged for three years while Caesar fought his enemies for power.

In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar was appointed dictator for ten years. Caesar proved to be a strong leader. He improved many lives by making laws to help the poor. He also created new jobs and gave citizenship to more people.

In 44 B.C. Caesar became dictator for life. The republic had become a dictatorship.
But Caesar's time of glory was short.

Some senators and citizens feared that Caesar would make himself king. On March 15, known as the Ides of March on the Roman calendar, Caesar went to the senate without his bodyguards. He was stabbed to death by a group of senators. Caesar's death in 44 B.C. led to another time of civil war.

What kind of ruler was Julius Caesar?

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