Battle of Corinth (146 BC)

The Battle of Corinth was a battle fought between the Roman Republic and the Greek city-state of Corinth and its allies in the Achaean League in 146 BCE, which resulted in the complete and total destruction of Corinth. This battle marked the end of the Achaean War and the beginning of the period of Roman domination in Greek history.

Battle of Corinth
Part of The Achaean War
Tony robert-fleury, l'ultimo giorno di corinto, ante 1870

Last day before the Roman legions looted and burned the Greek city of Corinth in 146 BC. The last day on Corinth, Tony Robert-Fleury, 1870
Date146 BCE
Location
Result

Decisive Roman victory

Belligerents
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svgRoman Republic Achaean League
Commanders and leaders
Vexilloid of the Roman Empire.svgLucius Mummius Achaicus Diaeus
Strength
23,500 infantry
3,300 cavalry
13,500 infantry
650 cavalry
Casualties and losses
Minor Total

Overview

In 146 BCE, the Romans finally defeated and destroyed their main rival in the Mediterranean, Carthage, and spent the following months in provoking the Greeks, aiming to a final battle that would also strengthen their hold in this area. Cassius Dio reported that it was the Achaeans (Greeks) who began the quarrel.[1] In the winter of that year the Achaean League rebelled against Roman predominance in Greece. Marching from Macedonia, the Romans defeated the first Achaean army under Critolaos of Megalopolis at the Battle of Scarpheia, and advanced unhindered onto Corinth.

The Roman consul Mummius, with 23,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry (probably two legions plus Italian allies) with Cretans and Pergamese, advanced into the Peloponnese against the revolutionary Achaean government. The Achaean general Diaeus camped at Corinth with 14,000 infantry and 600 cavalry (plus possibly some survivors of another army that had been defeated earlier). The Achaeans made a successful night attack on the camp of the Roman advance guard, inflicting heavy casualties.

Encouraged by this success they offered battle the next day but their cavalry, heavily outnumbered, did not wait to receive the Roman cavalry charge and instead rapidly dispersed. The Achaean infantry, however, held the legions until a picked force of 1,000 Roman infantry charged their flank and broke them and the Achaeans retreated with order in the city walls. Some Achaeans took refuge in Corinth but no defense was organized because Diaeus fled to Arcadia.

Aftermath

Corinth was utterly destroyed in this year by the vicious Roman army and all of her treasures and art plundered. The entire adult male population was put to the sword and the female population and children sold into slavery. The annihilation of Corinth, the same fate met by Carthage the same year, marked a severe departure from previous Roman policy in Greece.

While there is archaeological evidence of some minimal habitation in the years afterwards, Julius Caesar re-established the city as Colonia Laus Iulia Corinthiensis in 44 BCE, shortly before his assassination.

The Sack of Corinth by Thomas Allom

The Sack of Corinth, by Thomas Allom

Lucius Mummius Achaicus in The Sack of Corinth, by Thomas Allom

Roman general Lucius Mummius Achaicus in The Sack of Corinth, by Thomas Allom (detail)

The Destruction of Corinth by Thomas Allom

The Destruction of Corinth, by Thomas Allom.

In popular culture

  • The Battle of Corinth was the central event in the 1961 film The Centurion.

References

  1. ^ Cassius Dio 21.31

Coordinates: 37°54′19″N 22°52′49″E / 37.9053°N 22.8802°E

Achaea

Achaea () or Achaia (), sometimes transliterated from Greek as Akhaia (Αχαΐα, Akhaïa [axaˈia]), is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of West Greece and is situated in the northwestern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. The capital is Patras. Its population surpassed 300,000 for the first time in 2001.

Achaean League

The Achaean League (Greek: Κοινὸν τῶν Ἀχαιῶν, Koinon ton Akhaion 'League of Achaeans') was a Hellenistic-era confederation of Greek city states on the northern and central Peloponnese. The league was named after the region of Achaea in the northwestern Peloponnese, which formed its original core. The first league was formed in the fifth century BC. The second Achaean League was established in 280 BC. As a rival of Antigonid Macedon and an ally of Rome, the league played a major role in the expansion of the Roman Republic into Greece. This process eventually led to the League's conquest and dissolution by the Romans in 146 BC.

The League represents the most successful attempt by the Greek city states to develop a form of federalism, which balanced the need for collective action with the desire for local autonomy. Through the writings of the Achaean statesman Polybius, this structure has had an influence on the constitution of the United States and other modern federal states.

Achaean War

The Achaean War was an uprising by the Greek Achaean League, an alliance of Achaean and other Peloponnesian states in ancient Greece, against the Roman Republic around 146 BC, just after the Fourth Macedonian War. Rome defeated the League swiftly, and as a lesson, they destroyed the ancient city of Corinth. The war ended with Greece's independence taken away, and Greece became the Roman provinces of Achaea and Epirus.

Ancient Corinth

Corinth (; Greek: Κόρινθος Kórinthos; Doric Greek: Ϙόρινθος Kórinthos) was a city-state (polis) on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern city of Corinth is located approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northeast of the ancient ruins. Since 1896, systematic archaeological investigations of the Corinth Excavations by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens have revealed large parts of the ancient city, and recent excavations conducted by the Greek Ministry of Culture have brought to light important new facets of antiquity.

For Christians, Corinth is well known from the two letters of Saint Paul in the New Testament, First and Second Corinthians. Corinth is also mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as part of the Paul the Apostle's missionary travels. In addition, the second book of Pausanias' Description of Greece is devoted to Corinth.

Ancient Corinth was one of the largest and most important cities of Greece, with a population of 90,000 in 400 BC. The Romans demolished Corinth in 146 BC, built a new city in its place in 44 BC, and later made it the provincial capital of Greece.

Ancient Macedonians

The Macedonians (Greek: Μακεδόνες, Makedónes) were an ancient tribe that lived on the alluvial plain around the rivers Haliacmon and lower Axios in the northeastern part of mainland Greece. Essentially an ancient Greek people, they gradually expanded from their homeland along the Haliacmon valley on the northern edge of the Greek world, absorbing or driving out neighbouring non-Greek tribes, primarily Thracian and Illyrian. They spoke Ancient Macedonian, a language closely related to Ancient Greek or a Doric Greek dialect, although the prestige language of the region was at first Attic and then Koine Greek. Their religious beliefs mirrored those of other Greeks, following the main deities of the Greek pantheon, although the Macedonians continued Archaic burial practices that had ceased in other parts of Greece after the 6th century BC. Aside from the monarchy, the core of Macedonian society was its nobility. Similar to the aristocracy of neighboring Thessaly, their wealth was largely built on herding horses and cattle.

Although composed of various clans, the kingdom of Macedonia, established around the 8th century BC, is mostly associated with the Argead dynasty and the tribe named after it. The dynasty was allegedly founded by Perdiccas I, descendant of the legendary Temenus of Argos, while the region of Macedon perhaps derived its name from Makedon, a figure of Greek mythology. Traditionally ruled by independent families, the Macedonians seem to have accepted Argead rule by the time of Alexander I (r. 498–454 BC– ). Under Philip II (r. 359–336 BC– ), the Macedonians are credited with numerous military innovations, which enlarged their territory and increased their control over other areas extending into Thrace. This consolidation of territory allowed for the exploits of Alexander the Great (r. 336–323 BC– ), the conquest of the Achaemenid Empire, the establishment of the diadochi successor states, and the inauguration of the Hellenistic period in West Asia, Greece, and the broader Mediterranean world. The Macedonians were eventually conquered by the Roman Republic, which dismantled the Macedonian monarchy at the end of the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC) and established the Roman province of Macedonia after the Fourth Macedonian War (150–148 BC).

Authors, historians, and statesmen of the ancient world often expressed ambiguous if not conflicting ideas about the ethnic identity of the Macedonians as either Greeks, semi-Greeks, or even barbarians. This has led to debate among modern academics about the precise ethnic identity of the Macedonians, who nevertheless embraced many aspects of contemporaneous Greek culture such as participation in Greek religious cults and athletic games, including the Ancient Olympic Games. Given the scant linguistic evidence, it is not clear how closely related the Macedonian language was to Greek, and how close it was to the Phrygian, Thracian, and Illyrian languages.

The ancient Macedonians participated in the production and fostering of Classical and later Hellenistic art. In terms of visual arts, they produced frescoes, mosaics, sculptures, and decorative metalwork. The performing arts of music and Greek theatrical dramas were highly appreciated, while famous playwrights such as Euripides came to live in Macedonia. The kingdom also attracted the presence of renowned philosophers, such as Aristotle, while native Macedonians contributed to the field of ancient Greek literature, especially Greek historiography. Their sport and leisure activities included hunting, foot races, and chariot races, as well as feasting and drinking at aristocratic banquets known as symposia.

Classical Athens

The city of Athens (Ancient Greek: Ἀθῆναι, Athênai [a.tʰɛ̂ː.nai̯]; Modern Greek: Αθήναι Athine [a.ˈθi.ne̞] or, more commonly and in singular, Αθήνα Athina [a.'θi.na]) during the classical period of Ancient Greece (480–323 BC) was the major urban center of the notable polis (city-state) of the same name, located in Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Isagoras. This system remained remarkably stable, and with a few brief interruptions remained in place for 180 years, until 322 BC (aftermath of Lamian War). The peak of Athenian hegemony was achieved in the 440s to 430s BC, known as the Age of Pericles.

In the classical period, Athens was a center for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Akademia and Aristotle's Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Plato, Pericles, Aristophanes, Sophocles, and many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization, and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then-known European continent.

Diaeus

For the genus of butterflies, see Diaeus (genus)

Diaeus of Megalopolis (Διαῖος) (died 146 BC) was the last strategos of the Achaean League in Ancient Greece before the League was disbanded by the Romans. He served as the League's general from 150–149 BC and from 148 BC until his death.

Greece in the Roman era

Greece in the Roman era describes the period of Greek history when Ancient Greece was dominated by the Roman Republic (509 – 27 BC), the Roman Empire (27 BC – AD 395), and the Byzantine Empire (AD 395 – 1453). The Roman era of Greek history began with the Corinthian defeat in the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC. However, before the Achaean War, the Roman Republic had been steadily gaining control of mainland Greece by defeating the Kingdom of Macedon in a series of conflicts known as the Macedonian Wars. The Fourth Macedonian War ended at the Battle of Pydna in 148 BC and defeat of the Macedonian royal pretender Andriscus.

The definitive Roman occupation of the Greek world was established after the Battle of Actium (31 BC), in which Augustus defeated Cleopatra VII, the Greek Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, and the Roman general Mark Antony, and afterwards conquered Alexandria (32 BC), the last great city of Hellenistic Greece. The Roman era of Greek history continued with Emperor Constantine the Great's adoption of Byzantium as Nova Roma, the capital city of the Roman Empire; in AD 330, the city was renamed Constantinople; afterwards, the Byzantine Empire was a generally Greek-speaking polity.

History of Greece

The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern nation state of Greece as well as that of the Greek people and the areas they inhabited and ruled historically. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has varied throughout the ages and as a result the history of Greece is similarly elastic in what it includes. Generally, the history of Greece is divided into the following periods:

Neolithic Greece covering a period beginning with the establishment of agricultural societies in 7000 BC and ending in 3200/3100 BC,

Helladic (Minoan or Bronze Age) chronology covering a period beginning with the transition to a metal-based economy in 3200/3100 BC to the rise and fall of the Mycenaean Greek palaces spanning roughly five centuries (1600–1100 BC),

Ancient Greece covering a period from the fall of the Mycenaean civilization in 1100 BC to 146 BC spanning multiple sub-periods including the Greek Dark Ages (or Iron Age, Homeric Age), Archaic period, the Classical period and the Hellenistic period,

Roman Greece covering a period from the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC to 324 AD,

Byzantine Greece covering a period from the establishment of the capital city of Byzantium, Constantinople, in 324 AD until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD,

Ottoman Greece covering a period from 1453 up until the Greek Revolution of 1821,

Modern Greece covering a period from 1821 to the present.At its cultural and geographical peak, Greek civilization spread from Egypt all the way to the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan. Since then, Greek minorities have remained in former Greek territories (e.g. Turkey, Albania, Italy, Libya, Levant, Armenia, Georgia) and Greek emigrants have assimilated into differing societies across the globe (e.g. North America, Australia, Northern Europe, South Africa). Nowadays most Greeks live in the modern states of Greece (independent since 1821) and Cyprus.

Koinon

Koinon (Greek: Κοινόν, pl. Κοινά, Koina), meaning "common," in the sense of "public," had many interpretations, some societal, some governmental. The word was the neuter form of the adjective, roughly equivalent in the governmental sense to Latin res publica, "the public thing." Among the most frequent uses is "commonwealth," the government of a single state, such as the Athenian.

Frequent in the historical writings is a sense of "league" or "federation" an association of distinct city-states in a sympoliteia. As government of a league, koinon comprised such functions as defense, diplomacy, economics, and religious practices among its member states. The word was carried over to other political associations in mediaeval and modern Greek history.

In Epirus itself there had in ancient times existed the Koinon of the Molossians. There was a Lacedaemonian League, centred on Sparta and its old dominions for a period under Roman rule, a Koinon of the Macedonians, also under Roman rule. In modern Greek history, during the Greek War of Independence, a local self-government termed Koinon was set up in the islands of Hydra, Spetsai and Psara.

Some federations termed Koinon were:

Ionian League (Koinon Ionon), formed in the 7th century BC

Koinon of the Aeinautae, recorded on an inscription which was found in Eretria, island Euboea, dated to the 5th century BC

Acarnanian League (Koinon ton Akarnanon), existing 5th century BC to c. 30 BC, with interruptions

Chalcidian League (Koinon ton Chalkideon), existing c. 430 to 348 BC

Phocian League (Koinon ton Phokeon), existing 6th century BC to 3rd century AD, with interruptions

Thessalian League (Koinon ton Thessalon), existing 363 BC to 3rd century AD, with interruptions

League of the Magnetes (Koinon ton Magneton), existing 197 BC to 3rd century AD, with interruptions

Aenianian League (Koinon ton Ainianon)

Arcadian League (Koinon ton Arkadon)

League of the Oeteans (Koinon ton Oitaion)

Euboean League (Koinon ton Euboieon)

Epirote League (Koinon Epiroton), existing from c. 320 to c. 170 BC

League of the Islanders (Koinon ton Nesioton), existing from c. 314 to c. 220 BC and 200 to 168 BC

Cretan League under the Roman Empire to the 4th century

Koinon of Macedonians existing from 3rd century to Roman period

Lycian League, founded in 168 BC

League of Free Laconians, a league of cities in Laconia established by Roman emperor Augustus in 21 BC

Koinon of the Zagorisians under the Ottoman Empire, 1670–1868

Aetolian League (Koinon ton Aitolon), early 3rd century BC to roughly 189 BC when it came under Roman influence

Achaean League (Koinon ton Achaion), 280 BC to 146 BC, dissolved by the Romans after the Battle of Corinth (146 BC)

List of films set in ancient Rome

This page lists films set in the city of Rome during the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic or the Roman Empire. Where films are only partly set in Rome, they are so noted.

List of wars involving Greece

This is a list of known wars, conflicts, battles/sieges, missions and operations involving ancient Greek city states and kingdoms, Magna Graecia, other Greek colonies (First Greek colonisation, Second Greek colonisation, Greeks in pre-Roman Crimea, Greeks in pre-Roman Gaul, Greeks in Egypt, Greeks in Syria, Greeks in Malta), Greek Kingdoms of Hellenistic period, Indo-Greek Kingdom, Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, Byzantine Empire/ Byzantine Greeks, Byzantine Greek successor states of the Byzantine Empire, Kingdom of Greece and Greece between 3000 BC and the present day.

Lucius Mummius Achaicus

Lucius Mummius (2nd century BC), was a Roman statesman and general. He received the agnomen Achaicus for his victories while consul in 146 BC, when he conquered the Achaean League and destroyed the ancient city of Corinth following the Battle of Corinth (146 BC), in the process bringing all of Greece under Roman control.

Macedonia (ancient kingdom)

Macedonia ( (listen); Ancient Greek: Μακεδονία, Makedonía), also called Macedon (), was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, and later the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The kingdom was founded and initially ruled by the royal Argead dynasty, which was followed by the Antipatrid and Antigonid dynasties. Home to the ancient Macedonians, the earliest kingdom was centered on the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, and bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south.

Before the 4th century BC, Macedonia was a small kingdom outside of the area dominated by the great city-states of Athens, Sparta and Thebes, and briefly subordinate to Achaemenid Persia. During the reign of the Argead king Philip II (359–336 BC), Macedonia subdued mainland Greece and Thrace through conquest and diplomacy. With a reformed army containing phalanxes wielding the sarissa pike, Philip II defeated the old powers of Athens and Thebes in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. Philip II's son Alexander the Great, leading a federation of Greek states, accomplished his father's objective of commanding the whole of Greece when he destroyed Thebes after the city revolted. During Alexander's subsequent campaign of conquest, he overthrew the Achaemenid Empire and conquered territory that stretched as far as the Indus River. For a brief period, his empire was the most powerful in the world – the definitive Hellenistic state, inaugurating the transition to a new period of Ancient Greek civilization. Greek arts and literature flourished in the new conquered lands and advances in philosophy, engineering, and science spread throughout much of the ancient world. Of particular importance were the contributions of Aristotle, tutor to Alexander, whose writings became a keystone of Western philosophy.

After Alexander's death in 323 BC, the ensuing wars of the Diadochi, and the partitioning of Alexander's short-lived empire, Macedonia remained a Greek cultural and political center in the Mediterranean region along with Ptolemaic Egypt, the Seleucid Empire, and the Kingdom of Pergamon. Important cities such as Pella, Pydna, and Amphipolis were involved in power struggles for control of the territory. New cities were founded, such as Thessalonica by the usurper Cassander (named after his wife Thessalonike of Macedon). Macedonia's decline began with the Macedonian Wars and the rise of Rome as the leading Mediterranean power. At the end of the Third Macedonian War in 168 BC, the Macedonian monarchy was abolished and replaced by Roman client states. A short-lived revival of the monarchy during the Fourth Macedonian War in 150–148 BC ended with the establishment of the Roman province of Macedonia.

The Macedonian kings, who wielded absolute power and commanded state resources such as gold and silver, facilitated mining operations to mint currency, finance their armies and, by the reign of Philip II, a Macedonian navy. Unlike the other diadochi successor states, the imperial cult fostered by Alexander was never adopted in Macedonia, yet Macedonian rulers nevertheless assumed roles as high priests of the kingdom and leading patrons of domestic and international cults of the Hellenistic religion. The authority of Macedonian kings was theoretically limited by the institution of the army, while a few municipalities within the Macedonian commonwealth enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and even had democratic governments with popular assemblies.

Outline of Athens

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Athens:

Athens – capital of Greece and of the Attica region. With 3,090,508 residents in 412 km2 (159 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated city. Athens is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years.

Polis

Polis (; Greek: πόλις pronounced [pólis]), plural poleis (, πόλεις [póleːs]) literally means city in Greek. It can also mean a body of citizens. In modern historiography, polis is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, and thus is often translated as "city-state". These cities consisted of a fortified city centre (asty) built on an acropolis or harbor and controlled surrounding territories of land (khôra).

The Ancient Greek city-state developed during the Archaic period as the ancestor of city, state, and citizenship and persisted (though with decreasing influence) well into Roman times, when the equivalent Latin word was civitas, also meaning "citizenhood", while municipium applied to a non-sovereign local entity. The term "city-state", which originated in English (alongside the German Stadtstaat), does not fully translate the Greek term. The poleis were not like other primordial ancient city-states like Tyre or Sidon, which were ruled by a king or a small oligarchy, but rather political entities ruled by their bodies of citizens. The traditional view of archaeologists—that the appearance of urbanization at excavation sites could be read as a sufficient index for the development of a polis—was criticised by François Polignac in 1984 and has not been taken for granted in recent decades: the polis of Sparta, for example, was established in a network of villages. The term polis, which in archaic Greece meant "city", changed with the development of the governance center in the city to signify "state" (which included its surrounding villages). Finally, with the emergence of a notion of citizenship among landowners, it came to describe the entire body of citizens. The ancient Greeks did not always refer to Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and other poleis as such; they often spoke instead of the Athenians, Lacedaemonians, Thebans and so on. The body of citizens came to be the most important meaning of the term polis in ancient Greece.

The Greek term that specifically meant the totality of urban buildings and spaces is asty (ἄστυ).

Roman Republic

The Roman Republic (Latin: Rēs pūblica Rōmāna, Classical Latin: [ˈreːs ˈpuːb.lɪ.ka roːˈmaː.na]) was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world.

Roman society under the Republic was a cultural mix of Latin, Etruscan, and Greek elements, which is especially visible in the Roman Pantheon. Its political organisation was strongly influenced by the Greek city states of Magna Graecia, with collective and annual magistracies, overseen by a senate. The top magistrates were the two consuls, who had an extensive range of executive, legislative, judicial, military, and religious powers. Whilst there were elections each year, the Republic was not a democracy, but an oligarchy, as a small number of large families (called gentes) monopolised the main magistracies. Roman institutions underwent considerable changes throughout the Republic to adapt to the difficulties it faced, such as the creation of promagistracies to rule its conquered provinces, or the composition of the senate.

Unlike the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire, the Republic was in a state of quasi-perpetual war throughout its existence. Its first enemies were its Latin and Etruscan neighbours as well as the Gauls, who even sacked the city in 387 BC. The Republic nonetheless demonstrated extreme resilience and always managed to overcome its losses, however catastrophic. After the Gallic Sack, Rome indeed conquered the whole Italian peninsula in a century, which turned the Republic into a major power in the Mediterranean. The Republic's greatest enemy was doubtless Carthage, against which it waged three wars. The Punic general Hannibal famously invaded Italy by crossing the Alps and inflicted on Rome two devastating defeats at the Lake Trasimene and Cannae, but the Republic once again recovered and won the war thanks to Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. With Carthage defeated, Rome became the dominant power of the ancient Mediterranean world. It then embarked in a long series of difficult conquests, after having notably defeated Philip V and Perseus of Macedon, Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire, the Lusitanian Viriathis, the Numidian Jugurtha, the great Pontic king Mithridates VI, the Gaul Vercingetorix, and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.

At home, the Republic similarly experienced a long streak of social and political crises, which ended in several violent civil wars. At first, the Conflict of the Orders opposed the patricians, the closed oligarchic elite, to the far more numerous plebs, who finally achieved political equality in several steps during the 4th century BC. Later, the vast conquests of the Republic disrupted its society, as the immense influx of slaves they brought enriched the aristocracy, but ruined the peasantry and urban workers. In order to solve this issue, several social reformers, known as the Populares, tried to pass agrarian laws, but the Gracchi brothers, Saturninus, or Clodius Pulcher were all murdered by their opponents, the Optimates, keepers of the traditional aristocratic order. Mass slavery also caused three Servile Wars; the last of them was led by Spartacus, a skilful gladiator who ravaged Italy and left Rome powerless until his defeat in 71 BC. In this context, the last decades of the Republic were marked by the rise of great generals, who exploited their military conquests and the factional situation in Rome to gain control of the political system. Marius (between 105–86 BC), then Sulla (between 82–78 BC) dominated in turn the Republic; both used extraordinary powers to purge their opponents. These multiple tensions led to a series of civil wars; the first between the two generals Julius Caesar and Pompey. Despite his victory and appointment as dictator for life, Caesar was murdered in 44 BC. Caesar's heir Octavian and lieutenant Mark Antony defeated Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, but then turned against each other. The final defeat of Mark Antony and his ally Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, and the Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian as Augustus in 27 BC – which effectively made him the first Roman emperor – thus ended the Republic.

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