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Reinstitution of the Republic
On the Ides of March in 44 BC, Julius Caesar, the dictator perpetuo of the Roman Republic, was assassinated by the Liberators, members of the Roman Senate disenchanted with his authoritarian rule. Incorrectly assuming that their actions would be met with popular acclaim, the Liberators were forced to flee to Macedonia, where they gathered an army and awaited reprisals from Rome. Caesar's successors, the triumvirate of his lieutenant Marcus Antonius, his great-nephew Octavian, and the general M. Aemilius Lepidus, engaged the Liberators in battle at Philippi in 42 BC. During the battle, the triumvirate's forces were defeated decisively.
Returning triumphantly to Rome, the Liberators restored the traditional institutions of the Republic and instituted measures that prohibited dictatorship-for-life. Though the triumvirs had fled the Republic, their allies were not purged by Caesar's assassins, who instead urged them to support the newly-elected Consuls, Liberators Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus. Known as the "Philippid Republic", the new government managed to attain sufficient levels of popular support to stay in power.
Costly conflicts with the Parthian Empire in the East resulted in a period of economic decline. Taking advantage of disenchantment with the Philippids, Octavian returned to Italy, and the Republic's generals refused to fight him. The Senate transferred power to Octavian, who established himself as First Consul, with Marcus Junius Brutus as Second Consul.
AD 36 to AD 1200
Various reforms, including the creation of a firm executive branch and the granting of five-year terms to Consuls, were implemented under Octavian. Under Octavian's successor as the dominant Roman politician, Tiberius, the Republic witnessed the growth of a splinter sect of Judaism in the Middle East. The followers of this faith, which professed belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ, were small in number at this time, but by AD 110 would exercise certain amounts of influence in Rome. Before AD 320, various Consuls authorized persecutions of the Christians, but the accession of Consul Flavius Valerius Constantinus in that year would see official tolerance of the religion.
From 320 to about 640, the Republic experienced rapid advances in technology, learning, and philosophy. By 592, it had expanded into Persia, with which it engaged in intermittent warfare for several centuries. In the West, it subjugated Britannia and had mounted three unsuccessful attempts to invade the smaller island of Hibernia. Internally, reforms restricted chattel slavery and granted numerous rights to freedmen, greatly empowering the "plebeian" lower and middle classes. The Republic's military was met with success in its endeavors against emigrating Asiatic tribes invading Eastern Europe, and managed to make minimal advances into Germany.
By 719, political conflicts between the proconsuls of Gallia, Lusiania, and Hispania led to greater autonomy in those regions and a period of civil war. This saw the drastic weakening of the central government in Rome, and was accompanied by bitter religious feuds between Christians, centered in Jerusalem and Rome, and pantheists, comprised primarily of the rural upper classes.
In 797, the devoutly Christian proconsul of Gallia, Carolus Lucius Pippinus, marched on Rome, "liberating" its population and forcing the Senate to proclaim him as sole Consul. This provoked full-scale rebellion in Spain and Lusitania, forcing Pippinus to return to Gallia. Until 814, when he died from natural causes, Pippinus ruled the Republic from either his saddle or from his palace in Aachen. His descendants, succeeding as proconsuls of Gallia, continued the fragmentation of the Republic.
A "dark age" settled upon the Republic until about 1200, with autonomous and often hereditary provincial governors fighting one another and the forces of the nominal Consuls in Rome. This period saw a dearth of literary and artistic achievement, with the exception perhaps of Northern Italian scholars who, living in a relatively peaceful region, found time to encourage the development of a new, "Italic" dialect of Latin through popular writings.
The proconsuls and prefects of the Middle Eastern provinces found themselves beset by a wave of religious revival centered in the Arabian Desert. Triggered by the visions and activities of a resident of Makkah, Muhammad, Islam swept like wildfire into Persia, conflicting sharply with the ancient Zoroastrianism of that state and overthrowing it in 699. To a lesser degree, it clashed with the Roman rulers of Aegyptus, Judea, and Western Mesopotamia.
A fourth invasion of Hibernia was mounted by the proconsul of Britannia in 989. Though failing to seize control of the island, Romano-British troops captured and began to colonize portions of its northeast. In that same theater, Norse piratical expeditions clashed with Britannic fleets along the shores of Scotland at various times between 793 and 1067.
AD 1200 to AD 1447
In 1176, Islamic armies under the oversight of the emir of Basra invaded Judea through Mesopotamia. Welcomed by a population in many cases eager to convert to the Muslim faith, the emir's troops pushed on Jerusalem. Elements of the Roman military managed to protect the city long enough to spirit Christendom's holy relics to Syria, but the city soon fell.
In 1282, Quintus Fabricius Septivarian, a senator and experienced general, was elected Consul. With his partner in office, Marcius the Anatolian, he raised several new legions of Italian soldiers, subjugating the proconsuls of Dacia, Gallia, and Africa, each of whom had asserted regional independence. He proceeded to institute rigorous civil service codes, and persuaded the Senate to procure the funds necessary to establish two consular universities, one in Ravenna and one in Paris, the capital of Gallia.
In 1287, the governor of Venetia, successful merchant and duovir Flavius Henricus Dandulus, arranged for a private expedition to the court of China's rulers. Though Rome and the Chinese royal dynasties had for centuries traded with one another, the two had not maintained formal relations. The expedition resulted in a great increase in trade between Rome and her eastern counterpart, and the aged Dandulus was rewarded with a Consulship. During his single term, which he served alongside Septivarian, Dandulus encouraged naval expeditions along the West African coast, which resulted in the "discovery" of the Ivory Coast. He also attempted to send a pair of ships into the Atlantic Ocean, to see what lied between Hibernia and China, but both were lost in a squall.
Widespread droughts across Italy from 1301 to 1303 caused massive food shortages in Rome. In March of 1304, on the anniversary of Julius Caesar's assassination, Italian "serfs" - chattel slavery had been banned in Gallia, Italy, and Lusitania in 1115 - rose up in violent rebellion. At the same time, starving and now panicked citizens in the city began to riot, forcing Septivarian and his government to relocate to Nice, in southern Gallia.