Many different factors accounted for the fall of the Roman Republic. The first was external conquest. The governing mechanisms developed for a small republic proved inadequate to cope with governing a large empire. Second, partly as a result of conquest, land became consolidated in a small number of estates owned by the senatorial elite (latifundia), driving small farmers off their lands, and leading to a volatile political situation of demagogues allying with the plebs. Finally, the Republic had degenerated into political factions supported by armed mobs, in a state of almost constant civil strife, and was basically non-functional by the time of the first triumvirate.