It’s been a long time since the bit of Roman history that I learned in high school, so I didn’t really know much about Rome. I knew that there were emperors, and a senate, and Julius Caesar, (was he a general? an emperor? something else?), was killed, maybe in the senate, maybe by senators? There seemed to be a period where Rome was a republic, but also a period where it was run by emperors, and it would make sense that the republic was after the emperors, (boy, was I wrong!). Also, there’s a coliseum.
Turns out that the republic was before the emperors. Julius Caesar was a general, and pretty much the first emperor – for a moment – but he was killed by people who, just maybe, wanted to keep a republic. Or they wanted power for themselves.
It also turns out that Rome, the empire, had a surprisingly small government workforce, and tons of things were done by private companies for profit. Even things like collecting taxes. There are surprising parallels between the modern major power where politicians promote “small government” while spending a lot on the military and propping up a wealth gap between the very rich and very poor.