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Roman Republic vs. Roman Empire — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on December 6, 2023
The Roman Republic was a state with elected officials; the Roman Empire was a vast region ruled by emperors.
Roman Republic vs. Roman Empire — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Roman Republic and Roman Empire

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Key Differences

The Roman Republic was an era of ancient Rome characterized by a republican form of government where officials were elected. The Roman Empire refers to the post-republican phase where Rome was governed by emperors and expanded its territorial reach.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023
Founded in 509 BC after the Romans overthrew their Etruscan conquerors, the Roman Republic was established. This republic operated on principles of checks and balances and separation of powers. Conversely, the Roman Empire began in 27 BC, marked by Augustus Caesar's rise, and was characterized by a single person having the central authority.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023
During the Roman Republic, the Senate was the dominant governing body, and the two annually elected consuls were the highest officials. In contrast, during the Roman Empire, the emperor held the highest authority, often wielding absolute power, and the Senate's role became more ceremonial.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023
The Roman Republic was a time of military expansion, but it was also marked by social strife and inequality. The Roman Empire witnessed further territorial expansion and monumental architectural achievements, but also saw periods of decline and external threats.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023
Transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire was driven by internal conflicts, including class struggles and military upheavals. As the empire phase set in, Rome enjoyed relative peace, known as Pax Romana, but the Roman Empire eventually divided and fell to external invasions.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Time Period

509 BC - 27 BC
27 BC - AD 476 (Western) / AD 1453 (Eastern)
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Governing System

Republic with elected officials
Monarchy with emperors
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Dec 06, 2023

Key Governing Body

Senate
Emperor (Senate held a more ceremonial role)
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Dec 06, 2023

Expansion

Initial military expansion
Vast territorial expansion across continents
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Dec 06, 2023

Major Challenges

Social strife, class struggles, military upheavals
Decline, division, external threats
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Compare with Definitions

Roman Republic

Established in 509 BC after overthrowing Etruscan rule.
The formation of the Roman Republic marked the end of monarchic rule in Rome.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Roman Empire

Ended in AD 476 in the West and AD 1453 in the East.
The fall of the Roman Empire marked the beginning of the European Middle Ages.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Roman Republic

An era of ancient Rome with a republican government.
The Roman Republic valued the principle of electing its officials.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Roman Empire

Period characterized by architectural and cultural achievements.
Monuments from the Roman Empire period, like the Colosseum, still stand today.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Roman Republic

A period characterized by checks and balances in governance.
During the Roman Republic, the Senate played a crucial role in decision-making.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Roman Empire

Saw the division into Eastern and Western empires.
The Roman Empire eventually split, with Constantinople as the East's capital.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Roman Republic

Governed by annually elected consuls and the Senate.
Two consuls were elected each year in the Roman Republic to oversee the state's affairs.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Roman Empire

A vast region post-republican Rome ruled by emperors.
The Roman Empire expanded its boundaries across three continents.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Roman Republic

Time of military conquests and internal social strife.
The Roman Republic saw both the rise of generals and internal conflicts.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Roman Empire

Started in 27 BC with Augustus Caesar as the first emperor.
The transition to the Roman Empire marked the end of Rome's republic phase.
Fiza Rafique
Oct 26, 2023

Common Curiosities

When was the Roman Republic established?

The Roman Republic was established in 509 BC.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

How did the Roman Empire come into existence?

The Roman Empire began in 27 BC with Augustus Caesar's rise as the first emperor.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Which lasted longer, the Roman Republic or the Roman Empire?

The Roman Empire lasted longer, from 27 BC to AD 476 in the West and AD 1453 in the East.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Did the Roman Republic have emperors?

No, the Roman Republic was governed by elected officials, not emperors.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Did the Roman Republic and Roman Empire have the same capital?

Yes, both the Roman Republic and Roman Empire had Rome as their capital.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Was the Senate present during the Roman Empire?

Yes, but during the Roman Empire, the Senate's role was more ceremonial compared to its influential position in the Roman Republic.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Was Julius Caesar an emperor?

No, Julius Caesar was a pivotal figure in the Roman Republic's end, but Augustus Caesar was the first Roman Empire emperor.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Which had a larger territorial span, the Roman Republic or the Roman Empire?

The Roman Empire had a more extensive territorial span compared to the Roman Republic.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Which entity, the Roman Republic or Roman Empire, saw the construction of the Colosseum?

The Colosseum was built during the Roman Empire.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Was Latin the official language for both the Roman Republic and Roman Empire?

Yes, Latin was the predominant language for both entities, though the Roman Empire's regions had diverse languages.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

When did the Roman Republic end?

The Roman Republic ended in 27 BC, marking the beginning of the Roman Empire.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Did Christianity emerge during the Roman Republic or Roman Empire?

Christianity emerged during the Roman Empire.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

What is Pax Romana?

Pax Romana, or "Roman Peace," refers to a period of relative peace during the Roman Empire, lasting from the reign of Augustus Caesar until around AD 180.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

Why did the Roman Republic transition to the Roman Empire?

Internal conflicts, class struggles, and military upheavals led to the shift from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

How did governance differ between the Roman Republic and Roman Empire?

The Roman Republic had a republican form with elected officials, while the Roman Empire was ruled by emperors.
Fiza Rafique
Dec 06, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at AskDifference.com, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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