Roman Republic to Empire

Initially, Rome was a republic. This means that Roman citizens were elected and voted to lead the people of Rome.

They were known as the Senate. Something strange then happened. The elected leaders were not at peace with themselves and did not work in unity.

They made a collective decision to kill one of their great men. This decision was made after they became tired and were not pleased with the fact that he made himself a dictator.

A certain group of people called the Plebeians who loved Julius Caesar even though he was a dictator were not pleased after he was killed.

Right after Julius Caesar was killed, these set of people called the Plebeians turned their backs against the Senate and then made a decision to make Augustus who was Julius Caesar’s nephew, heir and adopted son to be their ruler.

The Senate then had no choice but to work alongside with him in ruling the people of Rome.

The following facts explain the series of events that transformed Rome from being a Republic to an Empire.

  • Julius Caesar made a decision to change the present state of Rome. He was a general for the Roman troops. He also became the Governor of Gaul. Occupying this position gave him access to make lots and lots of money. People also respected him because he was a man of war.
  • In 50 BC, he attacked Italy. He did that because he now has so many enemies and needed to protect his territory.
  • This same man called Caesar was the only man in power and those that were elected (Members of the Senate) were not pleased with this style of leadership, it was autocratic in nature. So, they planned and had him killed in 44 BC thinking that once that was done, everyone would be grateful that they had gotten rid of the dictator but they were wrong.
  • Caesar had a nephew called Augustus and he was also the heir. His named was later changed to Augustus Caesar. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar. He had a partner called Marc Antony and together they decided to avenge Julius Caesar’s death by fighting his old enemies. They won the battle. They shared the possessions they had acquired from the battle they fought. Augustus ruled over Rome and Marc Antony ruled over Egypt.
  • Interestingly, their relationship was tested and the peace between them was not forever. Egypt had a queen and she was called Cleopatra. She tried to gain Antony on her side by making passes at him. She succeeded. This move by her was the beginning of the fall of Egypt.
  • Augustus then went ahead to read Marc Anthony’s last will to the members of the senate. The will had indicated that Antony had made a decision to transfer his territories to Cleopatra’s children after his death. However, Augustus had a feeling they would eventually try to take Rome away from him. Before they knew anything, he made the first move and declared war by attacking them.
  • The battle was very intense and was a major win for Augustus. It was known as the battle of Actium. It is on record that about three-quarters of Egyptian fleet were destroyed. Then the next thing that happened was that Anthony and Cleopatra committed suicide. They did that because they did not want to be captured.
  • After the war, Augustus became a hero in Rome. He became the sole ruler of the province of Rome.
  • He rose to the position to be Rome’s First Emperor and was renamed Augustus Caesar.


  • Who was both the Governor of Gaul and the general of the Roman troops?
    Answer: Julius Caesar
  • Mention the very first Emperor of Rome.
    Answer: Augustus Caesar
  • What name is the queen of Egypt called?
    Answer: Cleopatra
  • In order to avenge the death of Julius Caesar, Augustus enlisted a partner’s help. What name is he called?
    Answer: Marc Antony
  • True or false question. Is it true that Marc Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide after they lost the battle so that they would not be captured?
    Answer: TRUE