The Roman Republican and Empire Building

The complete story of Rome must take into account the result of empire-building for the Roman Republic. As the Romans grew more comfortable with their form of government, and the aristocrats more assured of their preeminence and place in public rule, the ancient Roman Republic turned its eye toward the surrounding territories.

Empire-building, or the build-up of Roman controlled lands and political control was the main engine of the expanding republic. As the Roman rulers moved Rome from republic to empire, they were intent on absorbing the surrounding states, countries and cultures into the main fabric of Roman life by stamping them with the Roman seal. Citizenship was granted in a limited fashion, of course, but most Italians were afforded this benefit. The other 'foreigners' were able to enjoy the benefits of Romans. They greatly benefited from the relative peace and prosperity generated by the Roman authority and way of life.

Essentially, by 146 B.C the Roman Republic dominated most of the Mediterranean lands. The growth of the Roman Empire unfolded in three separate stages. Firstly, the Roman Republic united Italy. Secondly, the Roman defeat of Carthage. This made Rome ruler of the western Mediterranean as well. Finally, the Hellenist's fell to Roman rule. This last step was significant because of the new found proximity to Greek thought and culture which greatly influenced the Roman Empire and colored the story of Rome.

As historian, Bamber Gascoigne, notes of the newly Romanized territories, in "", "they become stabilized and properly defended. Professional careers are now possible in the army (recruits sign on for sixteen years, later increased to twenty) and in the civil service. Improved roads make it easier to keep in close touch with distant parts of the Roman world, and to move troops wherever they are needed. New towns, built to Roman design, are established in areas where there was previously no administrative structure." (Gascoinge)

Additionally, as the rulers expanded Rome from republic to empire, the ancient Roman Republic became increasingly exposed to, familiar with and sympathetic to the Greek systems of law as well. While the law was developing, so was the economics and commerce of the Romans. Tax collecting and trade were booming, and much of the wealth flowed back into Rome itself.

All in all, the empire-building, or empire-expansion of the Romans was mutually beneficial to Rome and those subjugated by their rule. From the Roman vantage point, throughout the growth of the Roman Empire, they acted in the best interests of Rome and the surrounding regions. Clearly, not all of those under Roman rule were as impressed with their 'new' way of life, but the effects of the expansion of the Roman Republic were known and tangible to all.

Works Cited:

Gascoigne, Bamber. History World. 2001.

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