Political history of the Roman military

Rome's military was always tightly keyed to its political system. In the Roman kingdom the social standing of a person impacted both his political and military roles, which were often organised into familial clans such as the Julia. These clans often wielded a large amount of power and were huge influences through the Roman Kingdom into the Republic. The political system was from an early date based upon competition within the ruling elite, the Patricians. Senators in the Republic competed fiercely for public office, the most coveted of which was the post of Consul.[1] Two were elected each year to head the government of the state, and would be assigned a consular army and an area in which to campaign.[1] From Gaius Marius and Sulla onwards, control of the army began to be tied into the political ambitions of individuals, leading to the first triumvirate of the 1st century BC and the resulting Caesar’s civil war. The late Republic and Empire was increasingly plagued by usurpations led by or supported by the military, leading to the crisis of the third century in the late empire.