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This text presents a detailed coverage of three crucial centuries in the history of the Roman people: the second and first centuries BC and the first century AD. It examines major issues including the development of the Roman republican form of government, Rome's expansion in the Mediterranean, the decline of the republic, the founding of the principate and the Julio-Claudian period. The introductory chapters will familiarise students with the source material and give them an understanding of those events and influences which played a large part in moulding the character of the Romans and the nature of their institutions. These chapters are essential reading for any student who wishes to understand clearly the complicated political history of the second and first centuries BC. The ancient sources and archaeological material serve both to describe events and to allow students to evaluate and interpret historical documents and pictorial evidence. Throughout the text exercises enable students to recognise differing interpretations, distinguish between fact and opinion and discern bias.