[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ss_ancientrome_shewolf01_3094.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Romulus and Remus, Rome's legendary founders]]

->"''There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish... it was so fragile.''"
-->-- '''Marcus Aurelius''', ''Film/{{Gladiator}}''

The Eternal City, UsefulNotes/{{Rome}}, has several origin tales. ''Literature/TheAeneid'' recounts the wanderings of refugees from [[RapePillageAndBurn the sack]] of Troy who founded the Latin people.[[note]][[TheMoreYouKnow That's where the name of the language comes from]].[[/note]] ''The Aeneid'' also says the Trojans are founders of the Roman people, though the city [[{{Foreshadowing}} hasn't been founded yet.]] Later, Romulus and Remus, the [[UrExample Ur Examples]] of RaisedByWolves, founded the city itself on the curiously precise date April 21st, 753 BC. Certain aspects about the founding myths have a curious plausibility and the idea that the original Romans were an [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits outlaw band]] or fleeing refugees does seem believable. Rome, founded on the seven hills, was ruled by a succession of seven kings, the last few showing heavy Etruscan influence (see [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPTIGLj2LCE here]], [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQqRBdC3JTY here]], and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg2MT_FhGYs here]] for more info).

After a time the Romans lost patience with living in TheKingdom and threw out Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud), and formed what they called a ''respublica'' (literally, "Thing of the People"), from which we gain the term "Republic." Rome was organized as an oligarchy with TheAristocracy, called patricians, controlling the "Senate" (derived from ''senex'', meaning "old man"), though the public had some say on the issues through the tribunes[[note]]This office was created about 250 years after the republic's founding. Details are at TheOtherWiki.[[/note]] (lit. Protector of the People) who had veto power over the Senate, as well as the less formal ability to beg favors from their patrons. This organization is reflected in the famous Roman slogan SPQR which stands for ''Senatus Populusque Romanus,'' or "The Senate and People of Rome." TheRepublic in social structure was quite family-oriented with various clans becoming centers of webs of patronage, a patron/client relationship that has modern answers in political machines and TheMafia. While Rome's system was not democratic by modern standards it had [[FairForItsDay for its time]] a reputation for justice and stability and its elaborate checks and balances were often admired by Greeks whose cities were often troubled by [[WeAreStrugglingTogether chaos]].

The Republic had a succession of executive magistrates with one-year terms, including quaestors (low-level magistrates, 20 a year), praetors (mid-level judicial magistrates, the lowest office to grant its holder the benefit of lictors/bodyguards carrying around their telltale [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything ''fasces'']]), and two consuls (top executives with executive powers checked only by each other and the Senate). In addition, the Republic came with a safety valve: in times of crisis, a six-month term for a special office, ''dictator'', could be granted to one person, granting him complete control of the state. There could be good dictators ({{Cincinnatus}}, Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator), but usually the inherent danger of the office prevented widespread use, and both Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix and Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar would declare themselves ''dictator pro vita'', or dictator for life, granting them supreme power until death.

TheRepublic expanded through Italy both through its BadassArmy and its genius for [[YouWillBeAssimilated wooing conquered people]] from nearby cities who shared similar cultures. The extreme early myths such as the [[AbductionIsLove Rape of the Sabine Women]] portray how much of Rome's early growth was due to both of these factors.

At this point Rome was a regional power in Italy. The three UsefulNotes/PunicWars took Rome from merely being the dominant power in Italy to become the largest power in the Mediterranean Basin (to the point where the Romans simply called the Mediterranean ''Mare Nostrum,'' or "Our Sea"). The best known of these wars was the Second Punic War, involving the famous [[FourStarBadass Hannibal]]. Due to these conflicts, Rome [[{{Plunder}} inherited]] the domains of Carthage's [[TheEmpire Empire]], and sway over the Mediterranean rim. Unfortunately, the Roman governmental system wasn't up to governing a large multicultural empire, and internal power struggles grew more and more intense. Added to this was massive corruption and outright stealing of veterans' lands by large landowners. Popular pressure (represented by the famous Grachii) and Civil War broke out (first between Marius and Sulla, following a war with the Italian "allies"; then between UsefulNotes/PompeyTheGreat and Caesar), until finally TheRepublic was taken over by Julius Caesar. Caesar's successor Octavian, after a long struggle first with Caesar's assassins, then with Caesar's right-hand man Marc Antony, assumed the name Augustus and supreme power as the first Emperor of Rome (''princeps,'' lit. "[[JustTheFirstCitizen first citizen]]," originally a title awarded to the person entitled to speak first in the Senate--Augustus was leery of putting on airs. "Emperor" came from "Imperator" or "commander" in Latin, i.e. commander-in-chief of the armed forces, another of his titles. Obviously having the military backing him was essential for his regime). Though Augustus pretended he was merely first among equals and actually declared the Republic restored, the ascension of Augustus can be considered the death of the Republic.

TheRomanRepublic left a lot of imprints in Western culture in fields ranging from military tactics to engineering to philosophy (when they weren't plagiarizing the Greeks) to rhetoric ([[Creator/{{Cicero}} Marcus Tullius Cicero]] especially) to politics and the nice big one, law. The legal systems of most of Europe are wholesale borrowings of Roman Law with some adjustments, and even English-speaking nations will find a lot of old Roman Law in their own (the first rule of codified Roman Law is otherwise known as the ''subpoena'').

Episodes from the history of the Roman Republic that show up in [[HistoricalFiction fiction]] with some frequency are:
* '''The Pyrrhic War''': Remembered best for the [[TropeNamer proverbial]] [[PyrrhicVictory Pyrrhic Victories]] achieved by Pyrrhos, the ambitious king of Epirus (north-western Greece), who battled the expansion of Roman hegemony over the Greek colonies of Southern Italy, and eventually had to give up after winning all battles but the last.
* The above mentioned '''UsefulNotes/PunicWars''' against Carthage, especially the second one which featured Hannibal's famous trek from Spain into Italy, in the process crossing the Alps with WarElephants[[note]]Of course, by the time he reached Italy, almost all the elephants had perished, so their effect in the war was very minor. But it's what everybody remembers.[[/note]] Hannibal and his (eventually futile) campaign into Italy are among the best-remembered episodes of ancient Roman history, partly because of the sheer tremendousness of Hannibal's military achievements, and partly because this was the last time for several hundred years to come in which, for a moment, the very existence of the Roman state seemed to be at stake.
* '''The Spartacus Rebellion'''. In 73 BC, a rebellion broke out in a [[GladiatorGames gladiatorial school]] in Capua, resulting in about 70 gladiators escaping. The gladiators, led on by a certain Spartacus, defeated an army detachment sent to bring them in, and, by systematically freeing other slaves, ignited a general slave rebellion, also known as the Third Servile War. At the height of the rebellion, a multitude of 120,000 former slaves -- men, women and children -- marched through Italy, supplying itself by plunder. After a series of spectacular victories for the rebels, fortunes changed and in 71 BC, the slaves were defeated in a LastStand at Rhegium in Calabria by legions under the command of Marcus Licinius Crassus. Some 6,000 survivors were crucified along the Appian Road, while Spartacus' body was never identified.
* '''The end of the Republic'''. The Gallic Wars, the rise of Gaius Julius Caesar, his CivilWar with Pompey, his assassination in 44 BC, the annexation of Egypt after the death of UsefulNotes/CleopatraVII, the struggle between Octavian and Mark Anthony and the rise of Octavian as Augustus, the first Roman [[TheEmperor emperor.]]

See also UsefulNotes/TheRomanEmpire, its successor state. For the Roman Army specifically, see UsefulNotes/TheGloryThatWasRome.
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!! Tropes as portrayed in fiction:

* FightingForAHomeland: The legends surrounding the foundation of Rome.

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!! Works about or including the Roman Republic include:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comics ]]

* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'': Takes place during Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar's era.
* ''ComicBook/SuskeEnWiske'': In ''De Nerveuze NerviŽrs'' the cast travels to Belgium around the time Caesar conquered the regions. They battle alongside the Belgian tribe the Nerva against Roman troops. In ''Hannibal'' the cast travels to the time when Hannibal Barca crossed the Alps.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''Film/{{Spartacus}}'' -- The 1960 movie starring Kirk Douglas and directed by Stanley Kubrick.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/{{Rome}}'': The HBO series (co-produced by the BBC), premiered 2005 and 2007 respectively.
* ''SpartacusBloodAndSand'': Series by Starz, premiered in 2010.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Lays of Ancient Rome'' by Sir Thomas Macaulay: A collection of poems about TheRepublic. They are imagined to be what early Roman literature would have sounded like if much of it hadn't been lost.
* In ''Literature/OverTheWineDarkSea'' there are a few references to Rome, as well as a sea-fight with a Roman trireme. But it is otherwise agreed that it was one of those Barbarian cities [[HistoricalInJoke "that would never amount to anything."]].
* ''Scipio Africanus: The Man Who Defeated Hannibal'' by Ross Leckie: A fictional autobiography of Scipio, the general who commanded in the Second UsefulNotes/{{Punic War|s}} and was possibly Rome's greatest general ever.
* Steven Saylor's ''RomaSubRosa'' series.
* As if the '''real''' Roman Republic wasn't {{Badass}} enough, John Maddox Roberts' AlternateHistory ''Hannibal's Children'' has them [[TookALevelInBadass take a level or three]] in reaction to being exiled north of the Alps. When they '''come back''' one hundred years later, a Greek thinks that the sound of Roman laughter reminds him of swords clashing against shields. They don't swagger or bully; they're too badass for that. In one battle, an "inexperienced" Roman army under a "second-rate" general faces a veteran mercenary force twice their size and led by Carthage's best general. The Romans are wiped out ó but the Carthaginian army is '''wrecked''', [[PyrrhicVictory with two-thirds of its troops killed outright, and most of the rest badly battered]].
* Colleen [=McCullough's=] ''MastersOfRome'' series.
* DavidDrake's ''Literature/RanksOfBronze'' has intergalactic traders buying a legion of Roman soldiers (the survivors of Carrhae) and using them as muscle against primitive civilisations.
* Lucan's ''Literature/{{Pharsalia}}'', an epic poem telling the Roman Civil Wars.
* Robert Harris' ''Literature/{{Imperium}}'' trilogy, chronicling the life of the famous Roman statesman Creator/MarcusTulliusCicero.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Table Top Games ]]

* ''TabletopGame/RepublicOfRome'' is a game designed for people who consider ''TabletopGame/{{Diplomacy}}'' to be too tame.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theatre ]]

* A few plays of Creator/WilliamShakespeare:
** ''Theatre/AntonyAndCleopatra''
** ''Theatre/{{Coriolanus}}''
** ''Theatre/JuliusCaesar''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''[[VideoGame/RomeTotalWar Rome: Total War]]''
* The RTS game ''Praetorians'' is set at the very close of the Republic, with a campaign that follows the career of Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar.
* ''VideoGame/EuropaUniversalis: Rome,'', a spinoff of ParadoxInteractive's flagship series.
* ''VideoGame/CenturionDefenderOfRome''
* ''VideoGame/{{Caesar}}'' series of city building simulators

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