Rome was a city on the south-east bank of the Tiber River, in the region called Latium. Roma was often called Roma, which is the proper name for the city. The site was prominently situated on the seven hills.
Romulus was the legendary founder of Rome. Romulus was descendant of Dardanian or Trojan hero, Aeneas, one of two surviving leaders to escape the fall of Troy.
In the Tales of Rome, I will go into more details about the adventure of Aeneas. Some of the tales I will include in this page includes the story of Romulus and Remus, and briefly view the lives of the seven kings of Rome. Lastly, I will recount the birth of Roman Republic and some legend during the early Republic.
You should note that the early history of Rome was shrouded in legend. Distinguishing history from legend has always being problematic to scholars.
|Foundation of Rome|
|Seven Kings of Rome|
|Legend of the Republic|
Facts and Figures:
All Things Roman
|Romulus and Remus|
|Alternative Accounts of Foundation|
House of Rome
|Aeneas founded a new city called Lavinium or the hero renamed the city of Lauretum to Lavinium, after his new wife. Aeneas and Lavinia had a son named Silvius. His reign was long but I had trouble finding anything about Aeneas’ death.
Though, Ascanius (Iulus) succeeded his father, Lavinium became overcrowded after thirty years since it was founded. Ascanius decided to find another city in Latium, which he called Alba Longa.
Alba Longa was situated on the eastern shore of Lake Albanus. It seemed to have become a dominant city in Latium. Thirteen kings ruled after Ascanius before Romulus and Remus were born.
The kings who ruled Alba Longa after Ascanius are listed as Silvius, Latinus, Epytus, Capys, Capetus, Tiberinus, Remulus, Acrota, Aventinus, Proca, Numitor and Amulius. (See the family tree of Aba Longa.)
They were born not long after Amulius had deposed his brother Numitor as king of Alba Longa.
|In Alba Longa, Numitor was their thirteenth king after Ascanius, the son of the hero Aeneas. Numitor was the father of Ilia (Rea or Rhea Silvia; this may have been her name when she became a Vestal Virgin). Amulius, Numitor’s brother, plotted to have him remove. Amulius deposed Numitor and imprisoned his brother.
To ensure that he had no rival to the crown, Amulius had Ilia sent to the temple of Vesta, to become a Vesta Virgin. Amulius hoped that Ilia never marry nor have a child. However, Mars seduced Ilia and she became pregnant. She gave birth to twins.
Upon leaning of the news of Ilia’s sons, Amulius would have killed the helpless infants. Upon the advice of his priest Camers, Amulius had the twin infants placed in a basket; they were thrown into the Tiber, in the hope the infants would drown.
It was normal practice that a Virgin who broke her vows and was seduced, to bury the unfortunate girl alive. Ilia suffered from this fate, after her sons were born. Others say that Ilia drowned herself in the Tiber.
Once again, fate had thwarted Amulius’ plan. The basket was guided safely by Providentia to the riverbank, where the present-day Rome was situated. The two infants were suckled by a she-wolf, possibly sent by Mars, until a shepherd, named Faustulus rescued them.
Faustulus and his wife Acca Larentia brought up the twins, whom they named Romulus and Remus. When they reached manhood, they gathered followers and entered Alba Longa. The twins killed Amulius and his adviser, Camers. They restored their grandfather to the throne, in Alba Longa.
Rather than stayed with Numitor and inherited the kingdom from their grandfather, they returned to the site of their rescue. The two decided to find and rule their own city.
Romulus wanted to build the city, started laying stone for the wall, on the Palatine Hill. Remus, however, insisted that the wall should be built on Aventine hill. Remus made mockery of his brother’s work by scornfully leaping over his brother’s “mighty wall”. In anger, Romulus struck down and killed his brother.
Traditionally, the city was founded on April 23, in the year 753 BC. Romulus had decided to call it Rome, naming the town after himself.
To read about the reign of Romulus, see the Seven Kings of Rome.
|So far, I have listed Romulus as the founder of Rome and that Romulus’ ancestor was Aeneas, the hero who had survived the fall of Troy. According to Vergil and Livy, Aeneas arrival in Italy was set before a time before the Roman foundation. That was the legends as it was written by the poet Vergil and the historian Livy, both from the 1st century BC. However there are many earlier variations.
The link between the two legends, Aeneas and Romulus, were perhaps first told, in the account, Origines, written by Marcus Porcius Cato, also known as Cato the Elder or Cato the Censor (234-149 BC). Cato lived through the time of the war against Hannibal (and Carthage) and against the Hellenistic Macedonia in the East. The Origines had redefined the part played by Aeneas. It seemed that Vergil and Livy had used Cato’s account as his source, of how the Trojan hero migrated to Latinum, marrying Lavionia, daughter of King Latinus. Aeneas then founded. Ascanius, Aeneas’ son, founded the city of Aba Longa, where generations of kings ruled in Aba Longa, before the twin sons of Ilia founded Rome.
Vergil may have also derived much of his work about from Ennius (Quintus Ennius, 239-169 BC), a contemporary of Cato the Elder. Ennius had written the wandering of Aeneas in the Annales.
There are other legends, but not all of them were written by Roman authors/historians. The Greeks had taken an interest in the foundation of Rome. Two Greek writers, Hellanicus of Lesbos (flourished in 5th century BC) and Damastes of Sigeum say that it was Aeneas himself who had founded Rome. But this would mean that Rome was founded sometimes in 1175-1165 BC, not long after the Fall of Troy, which was traditionally dated to 1184 BC. This is definitely too early; it was over 300 years before the traditional date of Rome’s foundation (753 BC).
Another legend included Rhome, a Trojan woman who followed Aeneas to Italy. The Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus (flourished in 25 BC) wrote that Rhome was said to be the woman who had fired Aeneas’ ship because she was tired from their travelling, so with no ships, she was forcing the Trojans to settle in Latinum. So Aeneas named the new city after her as Rome. Then there are other variations to the tales of Rhome. One of them was that she was not a Trojan, but a native Latin, who had married Latinus and became the mother of three sons: Romus, Romulus and Telegonus.
Aeneas was a very popular figure in Italy. The earliest evidence of Aeneas in Italy, come from a terra cotta statuette of Aeneas carrying his father on his shoulder, found at Veii, Etruria, in the late 6th century BC.
Romulus and Aeneas was not the only one who reputed to be the founder of Rome. The Greek writers had also put forward the candidate of Odysseus (Ulysses) or his son, Romus, whose mother was the sorceress, Circe. According to Hesiod’s Theogony and the Epic Cycle, Odysseus and Circe had three sons: Agrius, Latinus and Telegonus. This Latinus was the founder of Latium, the region where Rome was located. But this Latinus is definitely different to the Latinus, whom Aeneas had met in the Aeneid.
Returning to the legend of Romulus, the native legend of Rome definitely had Romulus as their founder, but the original legend was most likely very different to what Livy had written in the 1st century BC.
There are doubts and speculations over the existence in the legend of Remus, Romulus’ twin. Romulus and Remus was probably originally the name of a single person, but later the two names were separated as the twins. It seemed that Remus maybe a later addition to the legend. Other believed that the plebeians had added Remus to the legend, as Romulus’ twin, when the plebeians were able to reach the magistracy offices (eg. consul, praetor, censor, etc) that were normally reserved for the Roman aristocrats.
The earliest evidence of the existence of twins, come from the silver coin minted in 269 BC, which depicted the twins Romulus and Remus.
The following articles contained information of the seven kings who ruled Rome. The three Etruscan kings were more of historical or semi-historical figures than the four early kings. Yet the historical status about monarchy of Rome and the early Republic, remained questionable.
The main sources for the history/legend of the kings and end of the monarchy, come from Livy’s History of Rome, and Plutarch’s biographies called Parallel Lives on Romulus and Numa.
There is one point I would like to make about the monarchy of Rome. It is different from other monarchy at the time, because after Romulus, a king was elected to his royal office. Candidates were chosen, and those with a majority vote, were elected by the people, and ratified by the Senate.
Kingship in Rome was never a hereditary privilege and office, nor was it necessary to be true-blood Roman. Only Romulus and Tullus Hostilius were truly Roman kings, Numa Pompilius and Ancus Marcius come from Sabine background, while Servius Tullius was Latin. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus and Lucius Tarquinius Superbus come from Etruscan noble family, known as the Tarquinii.
|Early Kings||Etruscan Kings (Tarquinii)|
House of Rome
|Romulus was the founder and first king of Rome. Romulus was the son of Mars and Ilia (or Rea Silvia), daughter of Numitor of Alba Longa. Romulus was the brother of Remus.
Romulus and his small group of followers first settled on the Palatine Hill. The city grew larger, due to the people flocking to the city. Romulus realised that he doesn’t have enough people in his new city, offered asylum for refugees. Most of them were runaway slaves and outlaws seeking refuge. But it was the city without women.
Romulus tried to persuade the Sabines to allow his people to marry their women, which were rejected. Romulus devised a plan, where he invited the Sabines to a festival. Then the Romans took the Sabine women by force.
Titus Tatius, the king from the Sabine town of Cures, brought his army in and attacked Rome, capturing the Capitoline. The Sabine women intervened during the battle, bringing peace between their Roman husbands and Sabine relatives. It was decided that the Romans and Sabines would live together, ruled jointly between the two kings. The Romans occupied the Palatine, while the Sabines settled in the Capitoline.
Tatius didn’t rule long. A quarrel broke out between the two kings, where Romulus killed Tatius. Romulus ruled the city until he was taken to heaven in a chariot, belonging to his father, Mars.
Hersilie mourned for Romulus’ disappearance. Taking pity on the queen, Juno (Hera) spirited Hersilie away to Olympus, to be with her husband. Romulus became the god Quirinus, while Hersilie became the goddess Hora.
It was said that Romulus was deified as Quirinus, a god of obscure function. Quirinus was possibly the god of war.
It was said that Romulus was involved in organising political and military institutions, such as the establishment of the Senate. The Senate advised the king in civil matters, which would later become advisers to the magistracies in the Roman Republic. This was definitely fictional.
Romulus was also said to have created the Roman calendar. One calendar year has 304 days, and the year was divided into ten months, beginning on the month of March.
|Numa Pompilius was the second king of Rome. It is common belief among scholars that Numa come from Sabine stock, since he came from the same Sabine town as Titus Tatius, in Cures.
Numa was chiefly responsible for the establishment of Roman legal and religion customs and practices. His reforms introduced priests to the temple of Jupiter, Mars and Quirinus. The twelve Salii or leaping priests performed the services for Mars Gradivus. And more importantly a new appointment was also established, called the Pontifex, the highest office for priesthood. Numa had also appointed priestesses for the temple of the Vesta Virgin.
Numa ruled Rome for about 43 years (c. 715-676 or 672 BC). His reign was remarkably different from Romulus and his successor, Tullus Hostilius, because Rome had a very long peace. He chose not to antagonise his neighbours in any way.
|Tullus Hostilius was the third king of Rome (c. 673-641 BC), after the death of Numa Pompilius. Tullus Hostilius was the grandson of the Roman champion, Hostius Hostilius, who served under the rule of Romulus.
Tullus was a very aggressive king, who sacked Alba Longa.
During the fighting, one of Tullus’ men, named Publius Horatius, challenged three Alban champions against three Roman warriors. Two of Horatius’ companions were killed in the fighting. The three Albans were wounded, but Horatius was outnumbered three to one. The three Albans pursued Horatius. Since the three Albans ran at different speed, it gave Horatius to stop and fight one Alban warrior at a time. Each time, Horatius would stop and face, then kill an Alban before running again. Only Horatius survived.
When Horatius returned home in triumph, his sister saw her brother holding the clothes of her Alban betrothed. When she mourned for her betrothed’s death, Horatius killed her for being unpatriotic. Horatius was acquitted for killing his sister.
Tullus had captured Mettius Fufetius, the Alban leader. He had Mettius torn to pieces by tying his limbs to horses. Tullus also wage a long and successful war against the Sabines.
Tullus may have built the Curia Hostilia, the building for the Senate.
Legend has it that Tullus had become superstitious after ruling for 32 years if reign. Rome was suffering from the plague. Tullus was at the temple of Jupiter Elicius when he was struck down by lightning. Ancus Marcius succeeded Tullus Hostilius.
His descendants probably survived in the Roman Republic, because the name of Hostilius had been elected several times to the consulship.
|After the death of Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius was elected as the fourth king of Rome and ruled for 25 years. On his mother’s side, Ancus was the grandson of Numa Pompilius.
Ancus was said to have built the port city of Ostia, at the mouth of the Tiber River. Ancus was also said to have built the bridge across the Tiber and extended Rome’s boundary to include the Janiculum Hill.
In foreign policy, Ancus had also conquered several Latin towns.
At Ancus’ death, he was succeeded by Lucius Tarquinius Priscus. Ancus’ two sons were jealous that an Etruscan foreigner became king, at the end of Tarquin’s reign; they hired assassins to kill Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.
|Lucius Tarquinius Priscus come from a noble Etruscan family called the Tarquinii. Actually, his wife was a Tarquin, named Tanaquil, while his father, named Demaratus had come from Corinth. Demaratus had married an Etruscan woman. His original name was Lucumo, but changed it when he came to Rome. He was sometime called Tarquin the Elder.
Tarquinius Priscus (616-578 BC) succeeded Ancus Marcius and continued the war against the Sabines, and conquered the other Latin cities.
Tarquin was responsible for several public work buildings in Rome, and was the first to begin the construction of drainage systems, which still existed today. Tarquin had also established the Roman Games in honour of Jupiter.
The sons of Ancus Marcius had murdered Tarquin, because they believed that they had the right to succeed their father. Tarquin’s cunning wife Tanaquil managed to help put their son-in-law in power. Tarquinius Priscus was succeeded by Servius Tullius.
|Servius Tullius was the son-in-law of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, and was the sixth king of Rome (578-534 BC). It’s not certain whether Servius was a Latin or an Etruscan. If he was an Etruscan, then his name was originally Mastarna.
Servius was responsible for the construction of Rome’s defensive walls. Servius also reorganised the administrative and tactical units of Roman army according to the property classes of the Roman people. The army was divided into centuries; each century would contain about a hundred men.
Lastly, Servius established the temple for the cult of Diana on the Aventine Hill.
Servius ruled for 44 years before he was assassinated by his own daughter Tullia and his son-in-law, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus.
|Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was the seventh and last king of Rome (534-510 BC). Tarquinius Superbus was commonly known as Tarquin the Proud. Tarquinius Superbus was either the son or grandson of Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.
Tarquin was married to Tullia, the daughter of Servius Tullius. Tullia had encouraged her husband to murder her father, so that Tarquin ascended to the throne.
Tarquin was responsible for the building of Capitoline Temple (Jupiter Capitolinus) and the Cloaca Maxima, the sewerage system that discharged into the Tiber. Tarquin concluded a treaty with Gabii, a town east of Rome.
Livy portrayed Tarquin as a wicked tyrant, ruling like a despot. Tarquin alienated the Senate, having put many of them to death.
Tarquin was the father of Titus, Arruns and Sextus. It was Sextus who would cause him to lose his throne. Tarquin was deposed and exile. Tarquin was also the uncle of Lucius Junius Brutus and Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus. See the Birth of the Republic about Tarquin’s downfall.
The Romans abolished the monarchy and established the government system called the Republic. Tarquin lived the rest of his life in exile in Etruria. See the Legend of the Republic.
Tarquinius Superbus died at Cumae in 496 BC.
The first article deals with the legend or semi-historical account of the revolution in Rome, such as the overthrow of the monarchy and the formation and struggle of the Roman Republic. Though, Livy wrote the History of Rome in the first century BC, the early history of Rome is actually shrouded in legends. To me, it is more legend than facts in this period, because there was scarcely any record before 240 BC.
Beside that Livy is not known for his neutral position of a historian. His accounts is coloured by his Roman bias and the need to make Rome’s legendary past greater than it really was. So his books on history can be seen as a Roman propaganda machine.
The second article, titled New Constitution, briefly go over the form of government that was established after the overthrow of the monarchy. This part is actually history, when Rome had to deal with internal problems of their systems, as well as their foreign wars and conquests.
|Birth of Republic|
End of Etruscan Rule
Lucius Tarquinius Superbus ruled Rome between 534 and 510 BC. Tarquin had three sons named Titus, Arruns and Sextus.
One day, Titus and Arruns went to consult the oracle in Delphi with their cousin, Lucius Junius Brutus. They wanted to know who would be the next king. They were told that the next leader would be the youth who return home and kiss his mother first.
They all assume that they had to kiss their mother. They returned to Rome, hoping to be the first to kiss their mother. It was Junius Brutus, who tripped over and accidentally kissed the ground. This incident passed by without attracting notice, but it was what the oracle meant. The leader would be to kiss mother-earth would be the next king or leader.
Years later, Tarquinius Superbus’ reign was becoming increasingly unpopular, because he ruled with absolute despotism. Tarquin had put many senators to death. The Senate had become increasingly uneasy during Tarquin’s reign of terror. The populace also suffered from his misrule.
The last straw came in 510 BC, when his son Sextus stayed behind the war against Ardea. Lucretia was the beautiful wife of Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, nephew of Tarquinius Superbus. Lucretia lived in Collatia with her husband.
During the absence of his father and his cousin, Sextus went to Collatia, and at sword-point, raped Lucretia. Lucretia told her father and her husband, what had happened. After Lucretia extracted an oath from her father and husband, to avenge her, she killed herself. Junius Brutus who was a friend of Collatinus decided to help, and called upon them to not only to kill Sextus but to overthrow Sextus’ tyrannical father.
With the help of Lucius Junius Brutus, they led the populace to a revolution. Sextus fled to Latin town of Gabii, east of Rome, but was murdered by people he had betrayed. When Tarquinius Superbus heard news about what had happened in Rome, he raised the siege at Ardea. When Tarquin arrived in Rome, he found that the gates were closed to him.
Tarquin was forced to flee to Caere, in Etruria. Tarquin enlisted the aid from the Etruscan cities of Veii and Tarquinii, to regain his power in Rome.
To fill the vacuum of the government in Rome, Junius Brutus created the system of government in Rome, called a republic after expulsing Tarquinius Superbus. The government was led by two chief executive officers, known as the consuls. The consuls would have the power of the kings, which they would share the authority equally, known as the imperium. The two consuls would be elected annually by the Comitia Centuriata. The Comitia Centuriata was an assembly of people, who voted by centuries (100s).
Junius Brutus and Tarquinius Collatinus were elected as the first consuls. However, the populace was unhappy, because they don’t trust anyone with the name Tarquinius. Junius Brutus convinced his friend to step down from office. A new consul, named Publius Valeria Poplicola, was appointed to take over Collatinus’ role.
There was conspiracy to rid of the new republic and Roman sympathisers to Tarquin, who wanted to restore Tarquin as monarch of Rome. The plotters were discovered and captured. Among the plotters were Junius Brutus’ two sons, Titus and Tiberius. Lucius Junius Brutus judged and condemned his own sons for conspiracy. Brutus watched as they executed his sons. His services to the new government he had created were indeed of the highest order. The moral of the story is that responsibility and welfare of the community should be placed above his own family.
A battle at Silva Arsia was indecisive. Junius Brutus encountered his cousin Arruns Tarquinius, the son of Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. In a cavalry charge, Brutus and Arruns killed one another.
According to Livy, Tarquin enlisted the aid of Lars Porsenna of Clusium, who promised to restore the exiled king, but Porsenna could not capture the city.
Horatius Cocles and his two other companions, Spurius Lartius and Titus Herminius bravely held off Porsenna’s army on the Tiber Bridge. The three champions gave the Romans time to collapse the bridge. Horatius told his companions to leave before the bridge collapse, while he stayed behind. The bridge collapsed, but Horatius managed to swim safely through the Tiber, back to Rome.
A Roman, named Gaius Mucius Scaevola, made unsuccessful attempt on Lars Prosenna’s life. Scaevola secretly inflitrated the Etruscan camp and killed the wrong man. Scaevola was captured. Scaevola was angry that he had killed the wrong person and failed to kill Porsenna. Scaevola stuck his right hand in a fire at the altar, without hesitation and unflinching. Admiring Scaevola’s courage, Porsenna returned the sword to the hero.
After witnessing three brave champions on the bridge of Tiber and now Scaevola’s courage Porsenna decided upon making peace with the Romans. Rome would remain a republic and regain the Janiculan hill on the other side of the Tiber. However, the Romans must submit hostages to Porsenna.
Among the hostages was a girl named Cloelia. Cloelia comes from a noble Roman family. Cloelia asked one of her captors’ permission to bathe in the Tiber. Once, Cloelia was near the river, she leaped into the water and began to swim back to Rome. The Etruscans soldiers began hurling javelins and shooting arrows at the heroine, but she safely reach the other side of the river and returned home.
Her father respected the treaty with Etruscans, returned her to Porsenna as hostage again. Admiring the girl’s bravery, Porsenna decided to release Cloelia and the other hostages.
The bravery of these heroes and heroine helped the Etruscans and Romans to reach a complete reconciliation.
According to Tactius (who flourished in AD 100) and other historians, a different version say that Porsenna had captured Rome (508 BC). Instead of restoring Lucius Tarquinius Superbus to the throne, Porsenna decided to rule Rome himself. The Romans were banned from the use of iron weapons. The Latin cities were getting restless under Etruscan yoke, decided to revolt. The Latin cities formed an organisation known as the Latin League. They also formed alliance with Aristodemus of Cumae, in Campania (a region south of Latium).
It was Aristodemus of Cumae, who led the Latins and defeated Porsenna’s army at Aricia, about 506 BC. This enabled Aristodemus to drive the Etruscans out of Latium, as well as cut off the link between Etruria and Campania. In this version of history, Rome had little to do with the defeat of Porsenna, from the Latins.
There have been a lot of debates of whether any of what was written about Rome during the time of foundation and monarchy to the time of establishing the Republic, have any basis historical fact. Or whether it was fictional, to boost the image of Rome’s so-called historical past.
After all, Livy, the Roman historian (59 BC – AD 17), wrote Rome’s early history several hundred years later. Livy was a contemporary of Virgil and Ovid. Livy may have problem of distinguishing history from the traditional story. Or, it could be likely that Livy invented or exaggerated his early historical account of Rome.
|It may or may not be relevant to the Roman myths, but I thought it wouldn’t it hurt to give a little background of how the new government (republic) operates. You may skip this article if you like.
If you were to believe the traditional story or history of how Rome became a Republic, then Lucius Junius Brutus was the great reformer and revolutionist who developed the new constitution.
The two magistrates, who replaced the monarch, were called praetors, but were more popularly known later as the consuls. The consuls were elected annually, and shared equal power (imperium). The consuls had the power of king, but were limited to serving for only one year. They served as chief magistrates and as generals in the time of war.
The assembly of people, which were organised into centuries, called Comitia Centuriata, elected the consuls. The ex-consuls were ennobled for life, and received seats in the Senate after their term of office ended.
Lucius Junius Brutus and Marcus Horatius Pulvillus were the first of the two to be elected as consuls in the new constitution. Though, Augustus had ended the Republic (27 BC), the consuls continued to be elected, but they no longer held the same power that they used to enjoy during the Republic. The office of consul became increasingly ceremonial by the 2nd century AD.
At first the Roman aristocratic families (the patricians) dominated the consulships. Though the plebeians were not barred from putting their own candidates for election, it was difficult for a commoner. The secessions first at 494 BC and then later in 449 BC, gave the plebeians protection against the aristocrats or patricians and allowed them rights to stand as candidates for any offices.
The plebeians created a new set of magistrates, known as the tribunes (tribuni plebs), and an assembly called the Concilium Plebis. The tribunes and the Concilium Plebis weren’t formally recognised until a new legislation was passed, Lex Publilia Volernonis, in 471 BC. It wasn’t until 449 BC, that the law, Lex Valeria-Horatia, had properly defined the power of the tribunes. It was the tribunes’ duties to protect the plebeians from the magistrates, aristocrats and Senate. Each tribune was given the right to veto a bill put forward by a magistrate. The tribunes became powerful weapons during the civil unrest and civil war of the late 2nd century and the 1st century BC.
The plebeians were also given a right to appeal to the Roman People, if they thought that were victims of the magistrates’ power.
The first plebeian consul, Lucius Sextius, was elected in 366 BC.
As the duties of the consuls increased, it was realised that the burden was too heavy for the consuls, so they introduced a new magistrate, called the praetor. The praetor acted as the chief judge. As the population increased and the empire grew, they increased the number of praetors. They ranked below the consuls in power.
Another magistrate was created to handle the financial revenue, such as the treasury. These were called quaestors. The quaestors were ranked below the praetors. At first there were four quaestors, but they increased the number as the empire grew.
The Senate served their capacity by advising the magistrates. It seemed the senators numbered around 300. The senators wielded enormous power concerning the consuls, who were candidates to be elected for offices.
In the late Republic, many senators and magistrates were becoming increasingly corrupted. They divided themselves into various factions; the most common divisions between the senators were the patricians and the plebeians.
Though the power of Rome had gained new heights in the 1st century BC, several civil wars saw the dwindling of power of the Senate and the increase powers of the proconsuls (ex-consuls who served as provincial governors) with the backing of the military might of the Roman legions. The civil wars such as between Marius and Sulla, Pompey Magnus against Julius Caesar, and finally between Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius) and Octavian (Augustus), had exposed serious flaws and weaknesses of the Senate’s positions.
When Caesar was appointed dictator for life, the senators assassinated him in the hope of saving the Republic. They made a grave mistake, because the trouble with the constitutions had only escalated with the civil wars, first between Caesar’s supporters and Caesar’s murderers, and then later between two Caesar’s supporters, Mark Antony and Octavian.
The last civil war had dealt a deathblow to the Roman Republic, when Octavian emerged victor in 30 BC. Octavian had gained ultimate power, heralding a new form of government as well as a new age of Imperial Rome.
Imperial Rome had lasted for over 450 years after Augustus, before it fell to the Ostrogoths, in AD 476, but the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) had lasted a 1000 years more, before its capital Constantinople (Byzantium) fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
The Aeneid | Tales of Rome