They had a republic and two groups of people who were always fighting over who got the power; the Patricians, wealthy landowners and the Plebeians, common farmers, merchants, and artisans. The Patricians held most of the power, but in time, Rome's leaders allowed the plebeians to for an assembly and elect representatives called tribunes. These tribunes protected the rights of the Plebeians from unfair acts of Patrician officials. In the first century BC, Roman writers had said that Rome achieved a balanced government, meaning that they took the best parts of a monarchy, aristocracy, and a democracy. Rome had two officials called consuls who commanded the army and directed the government (like a king does). They had limited power and they only served s one year term that didn't allow the same person to be elected for ten more years. One consul could always veto the other's decisions. The Senate was like the aristocracy part of the government and had both a legislative and administrative functions. It had 300 members who were chosen from Rome's upper class. Later the Plebeians were allowed in the senate. In times of crisis, the republic could appoint a dictator, which was a leader who had absolute power to make laws and command the army. After Julius Caesar's death was when the Empire started and the republic ended because civil war broke out and destroyed what was left of the roman republic. The dictator's powers only lasted for six months, and they were chosen by the consuls and were then elected by the senate. The Roman Empire had an emperor who was usually a military leader. Octavian (Julius Caesar's adopted son) was Rome's ablest emperor.