20+ Differences between Roman Republic vs. Roman Empire (Explained)

The terms “republic” and “empire,” respectively, are used to refer to individual states and groups of nations.

The Roman Republic and Roman Empire are the most well-known examples of a republic and an empire, although there have been countless empires throughout history, with the British Empire being the most significant in terms of its influence and scope.

Republic refers to nations where the head of state is directly chosen by the populace, whereas empire denotes a region governed by a single individual known as the emperor.


Key Differences:

Roman Republic

  1. 509 BC to 27 BC saw the governance of the Roman Republic.
  2. Latin served as the sole official language of the Roman Republic.
  3. The Roman Republic was a place of practice for Roman polytheism.
  4. The Roman Empire employed the democratic republican form of government.
  5. Before the Roman Republic, there was the Roman Kingdom.
  6. The Roman Republic was replaced by the Roman Empire.

Roman Empire

  1. The Roman Empire ruled from 27 BC until 476 AD.
  2. The official languages of the Roman Empire were Greek and Latin.
  3. Polytheism fueled by imperial worship was practiced in the Roman Empire.
  4. In the Roman Empire, absolute monarchy was the form of government.
  5. The Roman Republic existed before the Roman Empire.
  6. The Roman Empire was succeeded by the Western and Eastern Roman Empires.

Comparison Between Roman Republic and Roman Empire

ParameterRoman RepublicRoman Empire
RuleThe Roman Republic was in power from 509 BC to 27 BC.The Roman Empire ruled from 27 BC until 476 AD.
LanguageLatin served as the sole official language of the Roman Republic.The Roman Empire’s official languages were Greek and Latin.
Religion practicedRoman polytheism was a religion that was practiced in the Roman Republic.Polytheism fueled by imperial worship was practiced in the Roman Empire.
Government StyleThe Roman Empire employed the democratic republican form of government.In the Roman Empire, absolute monarchy was the form of government.
Preceded byBefore the Roman Republic, there was the Roman Kingdom.The Roman Republic existed before the Roman Empire.
Succeeded byThe Roman Empire took the place of the Roman Republic.The Roman Empire was succeeded by the Western and Eastern Roman Empires.

major differences between Roman Republic and Roman Empire

What exactly is the Roman Republic?

This time period, which lasted from 509 BC to 27 B.C., saw the fall of the Roman Kingdom and the founding of the Roman Empire. At this time, Greek, Latin, and Etruscan cultural influences were all present in Roman culture.

Rome’s boundaries of authority were also extended to include the entire Mediterranean area and hegemony.

A few wealthy families dominated the major magistracies, which possessed legislative, military, judicial, religious, and executive authority. This country’s political structure was an oligarchy.

The republic went through a common political and social crisis, but it remained resilient and always surmounted the challenges. But once Mark Antony and Cleopatra were defeated, the senate granted Octavian enormous powers, which brought an end to the Republic.


Government of the Roman Republic:

  1. The two consuls, who had taken the king’s position, were principally generals tasked with commanding Rome’s legions in battle.
  2. Rome substituted a dictator for the consuls in times of military necessity when it was occasionally necessary to maintain unity of command.
  3. They were only able to maintain supreme military authority for a maximum of six months.
  4. The Senate now offered guidance to both magistrates and the Roman public, much as it had under the monarchy when it served as the king’s advisory council.
  5. Although the Senate simply provided advice and the people were the sole source of authority in principle, in reality, the Senate had tremendous influence due to the status enjoyed by all of its members.
  6. The centuriate assembly and the tribe assembly were two separate types of popular assemblies that existed under the republic.
  7. The centuriate assembly had a military bent; it decided on questions of peace and war and chose all of the imperium-exercising magistrates (military power).
  8. A non-military civilian body called the tribal assembly chose the magistrates who did not exercise imperium.
  9. It served as a court for significant public offenses and carried out the majority of the legislating.
  10. Rome got its first written legal code in 451 BCE, which was etched on 12 bronze tablets and displayed in the forum.
  11. Its rules included issues including court procedures, debt foreclosing, fathers’ custody of their children, property rights, inheritance, and funeral customs.
  12. This ‘Law of the Twelve Tables’ was to serve as the foundation for all early Roman private law.

What exactly is the Roman Empire?

From 27 BC to 476 AD, the Americas, Europe, and West Asia were all part of the absolute monarchy post-republican period of ancient Rome. Rome experienced stability throughout this time for the first two centuries and expanded to its greatest extent.

During this time, absolute royal rule was in place. Nevertheless, the Gallic Republic and the Palmyrene Republic broke away from the Roman government and assumed control of it, posing a threat to the empire.

But under Aurelian, the empire was brought back together, and two imperial courts were established. The Western Roman Empire would finally fall, while the Eastern Roman Empire would last.


Government of Roman Empire:

  1. Internal political conflicts were frequently used by the Romans as an opportunity to favor one party over another.
  2. According to Plutarch, “the loss of self-governance was caused by strife between factions inside towns.”
  3. Communities that had shown a commitment to Rome kept their own laws.
  4. Local taxes might be collected by them, and in rare circumstances, they were excluded from Roman taxation.
  5. Being in good standing with Rome provided advantages such as legal protections and a certain amount of independence.
  6. Roman governance was therefore constrained yet effective in its utilization of the resources at hand.
  7. Emperors and some members of their families were associated with the divinely approved authority (auctoritas) of the Roman State by the Imperial religion of ancient Rome.
  8. The emperor’s deification and recognition as the people’s father were both indicated by the ceremony of apotheosis.
  9. This was akin to the idea of the soul or manes of a pater familias being honored by his sons.
  10. The emperor’s power was founded on the consolidation of specific authority from many republican positions.
  11. This comprised the tribunes of the people’s inviolability and the censors’ power to influence Roman society’s social structure.
  12. The Dominate was the culmination of the emperor’s powers becoming less constitutional and more monarchical.

Contrast Between Roman Republic and Roman Empire

Highest positioned personnel: 

  • Roman Republic- They had two consuls and a dictator. The consuls were elected annually and had equal power. At the same time, the ruler was installed because of a crisis. He was held in office for nearly six months.
  • Roman Empire- They had an emperor who was given authority at birth and ruled forever. He was revered as a deity after his death if he had performed his duties successfully back then.


Geographics of the Roman Empire

  1. One of the biggest empires in history, the Roman Empire encompassed contiguous regions of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
  2. The Latin word imperium sans fine (empire without end) embodied the idea that the Empire was not constrained by space or time.
  3. The Romans’ supreme deity Jupiter is claimed to have granted them endless dominion in Virgil’s epic poem, The Aeneid.
  4. When the Empire came under Christian administration in the fourth century, this assertion of global sovereignty was revived, and continued.
  5. The Romans were extremely accomplished environmental sculptors who significantly changed the landscape of their surroundings in addition to annexing vast areas in their effort.
  6. For instance, huge woods were felled to supply a developing kingdom with enough wood.
  7. In truth, the Republic saw the majority of Roman conquests, while the first century A.D. saw some conquests in northern Europe.
  8. Roman dominance in Europe, Africa, and Asia was well-established. A “global map of the known globe” was shown in public for the first time in Rome during the reign of Augustus.
  9. This occurred at the same time as the creation of the most thorough study of political geography to have existed in antiquity.
  10. The geographical recording of the people and locations throughout the Empire was given important placement in the memorial narrative of Augustus’ accomplishments when he passed away.
  11. The administration of the Roman Empire’s emperors was primarily concerned with geography, the census, and the precise recording of recorded information.


  • Roman Republic- The Roman Republic is the name given to the time from 509 B.C. to 27 B.C. when the city-state of Rome had a republican system of administration. One of the world’s first instances of representative democracy is the republican government of Rome.
  • Roman Empire- Republic Rome (510–31 B.C.), The Era of Monarchs (625–510 BC), and Colonial Rome (31 BC–476 AD) are the three periods that may be distinguished in the history of the Roman Empire.


Army of the Roman Republic

  1. Rome’s military protected its boundaries and territory and assisted in levying tribute on conquered peoples.
  2. Rome’s forces were known for their might, but it also produced its fair share of idiots and disastrous failures.
  3. But the greatest foes of Rome, like Pyrrhus and Hannibal, typically won the first few battles but lost the war.
  4. At this time, Roman troops appear to have been modeled after their northern neighbors, the Etruscans, who are said to have adopted Greek military tactics.
  5. Traditionally, Servius Tullius, the city’s final monarch, is credited with introducing the phalanx formation into the Roman army.
  6. The wealthier residents, who could afford the greatest gear, made up the top row.
  7. The people in the ranks below had less wealth and worse equipment than the people in the ranks above them.
  8. The central Italian peninsula’s steep geography prevented the phalanx from being effective because of its size and openness.
  9. The Romans switched it out for the more adaptable manipular structure in the fourth century.
  10. Marcus Furius Camillus is occasionally given credit for this shift, which occurred soon after the Gallic invasion in 390.
  11. Following the Second Samnite War, it was copied from Rome’s southern Samnite adversaries.
  12. A legion was a 5,000-man army force during this time period that included both heavy and light troops.
  13. Based on social status, age, and prior military service, the manipular army was created.

Communication Through: 

  • Roman Republic- Latin was the only official language of the Roman Republic.
  • Roman Empire- The Roman Empire’s official languages were Greek and Latin.


Religion in the Roman Republic

  1. Republican Rome’s religious practices have roots in its rather mythological past.
  2. Mars’ son Romulus created Rome as a result of the favorable bird-signs Jupiter gave him regarding the location.
  3. Rome’s fundamental governmental and religious institutions were set up by Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, under the direction of the gods.
  4. Each succeeding monarch was attributed with some kind of invention, adaptation, or change that had been authorized by God.
  5. According to a source from the Imperial age, Tarquinius, the first consul of the Republic, Brutus, effectively ended human sacrifice to the goddess Mania.
  6. Romans recognized a plethora of deities that presided over both the natural world and human concerns.
  7. Every person, job, and place had a guardian tutelary god, or occasionally more than one.
  8. Each had a specific, extremely prescribed form of prayer and sacrifice attached to it.
  9. The right, responsible, and timely completion of such tasks was referred to as piety (pietas).
  10. Each Roman family believed that daily devotion to their Lares and Penates, ancestors, and the divine generative spirit inherent within their pater familias was essential to their well-being.
  11. A family that disregarded its religious obligations could hardly anticipate success.
  12. Roman state deities, whose thoughts and intentions might be perceived by priests and magistrates, were essential to the welfare of the Roman state.
  13. Expressions of divine wrath may result from imperfections in the official religion.
  14. This included famines and plagues, which corrupted politics, invalidated elections, and forced the abandoning of treaties, wars, and other official endeavors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is the difference between the two words republic and empire?

Republic refers to nations where the head of state is directly chosen by the populace, whereas empire denotes a region governed by a single individual known as the emperor.

Even though the Japanese Empire is still referred to be an empire since an emperor still rules over it, the idea is no longer seen favorably.

The conclusion of World War II and the independence of nations from the British Empire led to an increase in the number of nations choosing to become republics in order to remove even the most tenuous ties to the empire and the colonial past.

Q2. Are there any parallels between the Roman Empire and the Roman Republic?

Both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire contributed to improvements in lifestyle, but internal conflicts and warfare overthrew both.

Since both kingdoms existed for almost the same period of time, it was challenging to determine which one was superior. Both depict eras of massive conquest and devastating civil strife.

Q3. What was the cause of the fall of the Roman Republic?

The government was complicated, with numerous councils and leaders operating at various levels. However, as the republic grew, new issues started to surface.

Its final downfall in 27 BCE was caused by a combination of economic issues, political corruption, criminal activity and private armies, and Julius Caesar’s ascension to the throne.

Rome’s continuing growth brought the Republic money and revenue. In order for government officials to advance in authority and acquire access to this money, corruption and bribery increased.

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