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Were the Roman warlords responsible for the fall of the republic, or w

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As far as the debate that seems to have taken over this thread, I can see the points of both sides:

The FORMS of the Republic were kept in place until the fall of the Western Empire in 476 AD.  There was still a Senate, there were still Consuls, there were still elections.

SPQR was still the official stamp on all proceedings and monuments.

But something profound did change in 31 AD, and that was this: an incredible amount of political power was vested in the hands of one man.  He might be a modest, retiring, "hidden hand" ruler like Augustus or a flamboyant autocrat like Nero or Caracalla - but from 31 AD on, there was one person at the top who served for life, who was not voted on by the Assemblies or the Tribes, and who wielded veto power over both Consuls and Senate.  That is a substantial change in government, and while you can make the case that "the Republic" technically survived as long as its forms remained in place, the fact is (IMO) that it was NOT the Republic that Cicero and Pompey and Gaius Marius were born into.

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