An Introduction to Ancient Rome

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Part 4: The Growth of Government

During the Punic Wars, the power of the Senate grew. But the government also had other people in it. The actual heads of government were called consuls. Usually, two consuls were elected, and they could be re-elected.

With the successes of the Roman army, Roman generals became very popular. They also became very powerful.

Two generals named Sulla and Gaius Marius fought each other for control of Rome. In 83 B.C., Sulla won and became dictator. It was one of many civil wars that threatened to tear Rome apart. Each time, however, the Roman civilization survived.

Even though such civil wars threatened to collapse the Roman influence, Roman soldiers continued to win victories that ever widened Roman control. One area that the Romans eventually succeeded in conquering was a large area in what is now France called Gaul.

The main conqueror of the tribes in Gaul was Julius Caesar. A brilliant general, Caesar had many triumphs, including two expeditions to the island the Romans called Britannia.

Caesar became a consul, along with two other famous and important men named Crassus and Pompey. This was the First Triumvirate (meaning "three people rule").

Crassus was a famous Senator. Pompey was a famous general, who defeated both Sulla the dictator and Spartacus the slave.

Next page > From Caesar to Empire > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

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