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, when Rome had already completed its conquest of Italy, established itself as a major power of the ancient world, and become involved in a gigantic struggle with Carthage for control of the western Mediterranean.

The earliest Roman histories were brief résumés of facts and stories, but gradually historians embellished the sparse factual material (such as the list of annual magistrates from the beginning of the republic onward, religious records, and the texts of some laws and treaties) with both native and Greek folklore.

The Romans occupied Carthage and eventually destroyed it completely in 146.

In times of military emergency, when unity of command was sometimes necessary, Rome appointed a dictator in place of the consuls, who, however, could not hold supreme military command for longer than six months.According to the ancient historians, these changes and innovations resulted from a political struggle between two social orders, the patricians and the plebeians, that began during the first years of the republic and lasted for more than 200 years.The discrepancies, inconsistencies, and logical fallacies in the account of Livy, one of Rome’s greatest historians, make it evident that this thesis of a struggle of the orders is a gross oversimplification of a highly complex series of events that had no single cause.Yet before Porsenna could establish himself as monarch, he was forced to withdraw, leaving Rome without a king.Rather than restoring their king, the Romans replaced the kingship with two annually elected magistrates called During the early Roman Republic, important new political offices and institutions were created, and old ones were adapted to cope with the changing needs of the state.

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