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Transcript of Ancient Rome
By Dr. Jennifer Levin-Goldberg
In the Beginning.....
Rome at first was inhabited by the Etruscans, Greeks, and Latins.
Because of Italy's geography, it was easier to unify than Greece. The Apennines Mountains are not as arduous and easier to climb. Rome was centrally located on a peninsula (location, location, location). Italy had fertile plains that could be used for farming to support a large population.
It was protected in the North by the Alps; three seas on three sides; poor harbor in the East (so cultures and people from the East had very little contact with Rome); and built on 7 hills.
The Romans conquered the Etruscans and established a republic, where the people choose their officials. This way, no one individual would become too powerful...so they thought.....
There were two consuls elected by the Senators. Their responsibility was supervise government business and command armies. All decision made by the consuls first had to get the approval of the Senate. They also could only serve for one term (a year) and had to be a patrician. In this sense, the Roman Republic had a systems of checks and balances.
The most powerful governing body. It
consisted of the Upper House of the
It composed of 300 members and
were all patricians, or the wealthy
landowning class. Not only did they
elect the two consuls, but during
wartime could choose a dictator to
control the government for up to 6
months. Senators served for life.
Wealthy aristocratic landholding class. The word “patrician” comes from the Latin “patres”, meaning “fathers”, and these families provided the empire’s political, religious, and military leadership.
Boys received an excellent education and usually by a tutor (a Greek) focusing on rhetoric, history, law, literature, mythology, and languages. Most were encouraged to go into politics for only patricians could be senators, consuls, or emperors.
Plebeians were farmers, merchants. artisans, and
traders...basically, the bulk of the Roman population. Despite the fact that they composed the majority of
the population, they had very little influence. However,
this was about to change! The plebeians demanded the
Roman laws be written down or codified and the result was the Twelve Tables of Law. They also gained the right to elect their own representatives, known as tribunes. Tribunes could veto any laws that they felt were detrimental to the plebeians. Once again, another example of checks and balances. And finally, they were able to get plebeians elected into higher offices, like the Senate and even the consul. All these things they were able to do without a violent revolution! Even plebeians were educated by being taught to read.
They served primarily as judges in law courts but could convene the Senate and assemblies; they assumed administrative duties of consuls if the consuls were absent from Rome.
They administered finances of the state treasury and in other various capacities in the provinces. When elected quaestor, a man automatically became eligible for membership in the Senate.
The Republic further discussed
It was a representative form of government where citizens elect their representatives to represent them to rule.
They established bicameral houses; the Senate (Upper House) and Assembly (Lower House). Hummm…sounds familiar? The assembly was composed of all free adult males who could afford weaponry and all acts had to be approved by the Senate.
The Romans established a system of Checks and Balances. How?
A. Collegiality: Having representatives of each group represented (patrician and plebeian)
B. Limiting the terms of office.
C. Three branches of government!
Executive branch-emperor, consuls, dictator
Legislative branch-senate, tribune
The Expanding Empire
Rome's success for expanding its empire was largely due to its diplomacy and well trained army. The army was composed of citizen-soldiers, like in Greece. They received no pay and had to provide their own weapons! WHAT! However, they also received prizes and praise when they were valiant and noble. The basic unit is made-up of 5,000 men known as a legion.
The conquered were required to pledge allegiance to Rome, pay taxes, and supply Rome with soldiers. In exchange, they were allowed to practice their own customs, religion, and sometimes maintain control over local government. Usually, a Roman proconsul governed conquered provinces.
It was between Rome and Carthage. Carthage was a larger and richer kingdom with an excellent navy, while the Roman Republic had a strong central government, strategic military, and a vast number of loyal citizens. Both Rome and Carthage wanted to own the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily. This plentiful land with rich soil could expand either nation’s empires. Also, with Rome’s quickly swelling population of over 400,000 people, they were in desperate need of more living space. Carthage, on the other hand, could use this land to add to its already massive amount of money by farming or using it as an island for fishing and trading throughout the Mediterranean. The first Punic War resulted in Rome defeating Carthage and Sicility becoming a Roman province.
Second Punic War
The Punic Wars consisted of three wars. Rome won all three but the Second Punic War was probably the most famous. Rome was uncomfortable with Carthage's expansion into Iberia (Spain) and Hannibal, the ruler of Carthage, wanted revenge on the Romans for their first loss so he marched his men across the Pyrenees in France on elephants to fight the Romans. He lost half of his men on this trek. At first, he was incredibly successful; however, in the end, Hannibal was defeated at the Battle of Zama and his brother at the Battle of Metaurus. Rome defeated the Carthaginians..again. The result, Rome took over Iberia (Spain) and Carthage lost its fleet.
Third Punic War
The Third Punic War resulted in the complete demise of Carthage. Rome was feeling threatened by Carthage's financial comeback by rebuilding its trading networks and commercial power, so, they decided to set them up for failure. They made excessive demands upon Carthage and when Carthage was not able to deliver, they invaded. Survivors were killed or sold into slavery. The Romans topped it off with covering the land with salt so nothing would ever grow on the land again....that's a lot of salt!
Results of the Conquests
1. Rome and Carthage were considered the "super powers" but after Carthage's defeat, Rome was king!
2. Expanded empire from possessing Carthage's provinces, including Macedonia, as well as Alexander the Great's leftovers. That's a lot of land!
3. Rome became exceedingly
from all its conquests due to pillaging, looting, and establishing more trade routes throughout the empire and to others. A new wealthy class emerged and they built huge mansions and estates known as latifundia.
As the Romans conquered more lands, the conquered people became slaves on the latifundia. This hurt the smaller farmers that could not compete with the low prices the slave labor could produce. Also, more grain came into the empire from all the conquered lands which resulted in lower grain prices, which once again...the smaller farmers could not compete. This caused an influx of small farmers to migrate to the cities and join the huge amount of unemployed people. The classic case of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The end result.....a revolt!
The Gracchi brothers
Reforms needed to be made due to the corruption and greed plaguing Roman politics. Gaius wanted public funds to be used to buy or discount grain to the poor. He proposed land reforms creating colonies on public lands. He wanted to establish public work projects to employ the poor. Last, he wanted to decrease or limit the corrupt Senate's power and tax reform. When his tribunal position was up, he lost his reelection and the first thing the new tribunals did was repeal everything he did. Gaius responded by forming an army and hiring bodyguards. The people disagreed with the election results and a riot broke out with Gaius and his army assisting. In the end, his army was defeated and rather than face his captors wrath, he committed suicide by falling on his sword.
He commenced with a reform movement in order to rectify the corruption and discontent of the Roman poor. He wanted to reform the land laws by redistributing land to the poor and limit the amount of land people could own. After his tribunal position was up, he wanted to run again. This went against the law so he took his desire to run again to the People's Assembly. He had a huge following of support. A riot broke out in the Assembly in voting for his reelection when a group of senators barged in and clubbed Tiberius and his supporters to death. Nice.
Fall of the Roman Republic
The Roman Republic began to decline for numerous reasons:
a. Latifundia pushed small farmers out of business causing a mass exodus of farmers to migrate to cities, adding to the already high unemployment rate
b. Less money was coming into Rome from foreign conquests which caused inflation and unemployment rates.
2. Corrupt and greedy politicians. Two opposing political parties:
a. Optimates (Senatorial Party and wanted to maintain power for wealthy patricians
b. Populares (People's Party; comprised of members of Assembly, and demanded political reform.
3. Rome's Allies became disgruntled with their poor treatment and lack of political and economic benefits.
4. The army was understaffed and their allegiance was more toward their commanders than Rome. When generals wanted to overtake Rome, their soldiers followed.
5. Slave Rebellions were a constant threat,
The Rise of Julius Caesar
Caesar was a military genius and played a significant role in politics. Around 60 BCE, he made a pact with Pompey (Italy) and Crassus (Eastern Roman provinces) to share in the consulate; hence, forming the First Triumverant. He was elected governor of Gaul and conquered this area adding it to the Roman Empire (France and parts of Belgium). He maintained the area from Gallic barbarian invaders. His military victories made him very popular with the Roman folks. This fame threatened Pompey (who was in control of Italy) and the Senators because they were afraid he would take over the government so they insisted he resign from his position as general and disband his army. Pompey was the Senate's boy and responsible for Caesar's resignation. Caesar not happy!
Crossing of the Rubicon
An ancient Roman law forbade any general from crossing the Rubicon River and entering Italy proper with a standing army. To do so was treason. Caesar knew that crossing the Rubicon and fighting Pompey would lead to a bloody civil war. He chose to cross the Rubicon. As he crossed the river, he stated to his men, "The Die is now cast." He chased Pompey all the way to Egypt where he died in battle. While in Egypt, Caesar met Cleopatra and had an affair. They had a child, Caesarion. After his military conquests he stated, Veni, vidi, vici. Meaning "I came, I saw, I conquered." Upon his return to Rome, he forced the Senate to make him a dictator.......for life.
He made several reforms that made him
even more popular with the people.
1. He gave land to the poor
2. Employed the unemployed by launching a
public works program (like FDR)
3. Extended Roman citizenship to more people
4. Created the Julian calendar, which was based after
the Egyptian calendar.
5. Revised and created a fairer tax law
E tu Brute? Meaning
Really Brutus? Really?
Members of the Senate as well as other high ranking politicians feared that Caesar would make himself a king and disliked his reforms because it was taking power away from the rich, so, they decided to kill him. As Caesar was in the Senate, the senators all ganged up and stabbed him to death, including his good ole friend Brutus. Hence, the phrase, "stabbing you in the back." His assassination caused the people to revolt and a civil war ensued. The Second Triumverant forms(His grandson- Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus). Octavian and Mark Antony try to hunt down the killers. They begin fighting over power themselves and Octavian defeats Antony in Egypt with his girlfriend, Cleopatra (yes, she gets around apparently). Instead of facing their demise in enemy hands, they both commit suicide. The end result, Octavian rules Rome and the Western Empire and Antony took the Eastern.
The Senate gave Octavian the title of Augustus, or exalted one, and made him princeps (first citizen), imperator (successful general), and Pontifex Maximus (chief religious leader). Even though Augustus was not given the title of a king, he behaved like one. Regardless, his leadership ushered in a peaceful and prosperous time of the empire and was known as Pax Romana (Peaceful Rome).
1. Building projects, like the Roman Baths
2. Reformed tax system by creating the census, which was a population count of every person and landholding within the empire.
3. New coins issued that were standardized to facilitate trade
4. Postal system established
5. Public work projects to get the unemployed working on building and repairing buildings and infrastructure.
6. United provinces by allowing them more say in local government issues.
7. Implemented a meritocracy for civil service positions.
8. Tried to reform public morality emphasizing family such as, making adultery illegal....thus wasn't too successful!
9. Started the whole, worship your emperor as a god phase.
Life during the Pax Romana
Roman legions maintained peace and secured borders and the protected seas from pirates.
Trade flowed to Asia and Africa from the empire.
Egypt supplied Rome with an ample grain supply for its growing population.
Trade caravans traveled along the Silk Road to obtain silk and other products from China.
People freely traveled around the empire and spread ideas and cultures-like Greece which ushered in the Hellenistic Age (an infusion of Greek culture and ideas) via cultural diffusion.
People sat around a campfire eating marshmallows singing kumbaya.
Oh and let's not forget that all this wonderful peaceful and prosperous time led to leisure activities such as......the gladiator fights!!!!!
Are you not entertained!!!!!
Gladiators were usually slaves. They had to exercise everyday with a trainer. Once you get good, you are given wooden swords. They would fight in the Circus Maximus. They battled each other to the death. If one was dying, they were killed. Dead gladiators were dragged off the arena floor and thrown into a pit. This was followed by the "Cleaners," -boys that would rake up the blood in the sand. Winners were treated like royalty, although they were still slaves. However, at times, a gladiator may be able to buy his freedom with his spoils!
Spartacus was a part of the Roman army but deserted it. He was found and enslaved and forced to become a gladiator stud. He was famous because he won every battle. People loved him. He escaped from his cell where gladiators were kept when they weren't killing people, and led a huge slave revolt. What started off as 70 gladiators swelled to 100,000 slaves. At first, they were successful but eventually, after 2 years, the Roman army caught up with him and killed Spartacus. His body was never found...hmm....
Gladiators also fought in the famous Colosseum. Not only did the Colosseum house gladiator bloodshed by let's not forget chariot races and the infamous feeding Christians to the lions thing. Such sweet people.
b. History of Rome -Livy. Focused on patriotism and restoration of traditional Roman values.
c. Tacitus- wrote about Roman history but rebuked the age of Augustus and favored the simplicity of Germans.
2. Philosophy: copied the Greek Stoics, where one must accept their inevitable fate and a concern for the general welfare of others over your own. Also Epicureanism where one must decide if short term pleasures will outweigh long term pleasures. It might be better to withhold from that chocolate bar (short term pleasure) and save up the money to buy a video (long term pleasure).
3. Architecture: Greeks liked elegance, but the Romans like grandeur. The bigger, the better mentality. Improved the columns: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, Also the arch. They created the dome. The most famous is the Pantheon.
4. Technology and Science: engineering: aqueducts, bridges, public baths, and concrete.
5. Law and government: innocent until proven guilty; accused allowed to face accuser and offer a defense; judges interpreted laws; republic; system of checks and balances; three branches of government (executive-emperor, consuls, dictator; legislative-bicameral houses; judicial-courts); bicameral houses (Senate and Tribunals or Assembly); Latin words and legal phrases such as, Subpoena, habeas corpus, pro bono, affidavid, and a welfare system.
6. Julian calendar
7. Roman numerals
8. Latin- it serves as the foundation for all Romance languages (French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan).
All roads lead to Rome
9. Romans constructed one of the largest roadways in history. Some are even in use to day. They built them to make trade easier, facilitate transportation, allow messages to travel quicker, and easier to defend empire quickly from having to move from one place to another.
10. Pliny- wrote Natural History, which was an encyclopedia.
11. Horace-leading Roman satirist.
Comprised of only laws for Roman citizens.
Law of Nations
laws and rights bestowed to anyone in the Roman Empire-citizens and noncitizens
Fall of Rome
3. Economic Depression
1. The empire became too large to manage and handle.
2. Political corruption
5. Lead poisoning
6. Foreign Invaders: Ostrogoths, Visigoths, and Huns
Weakening Roman legions and hired unreliable mercenaries. In 476 AD, Odoacer, an Ostrogoth, deposed the last Roman emperor. Rome goes bye bye
7. Rise of Christianity
8. Over reliance upon slavery
9. Urban Decay
9. Urban Decay
10. Moral Decay
A divided empire didn't help! Emperor Constantine replaced Diocletian (who divided the empire in an eastern half-Byzantine- and western half-Roman, making the Eastern half his baby) and granted religious tolerance toward Christians. He moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome in the Western half, and built another capital, calling it Constantinople in the Eastern part of the Empire. He made this part of the empire the center of his power and encouraged it to flourish economically and artistically as well. As a result, the Western Empire declined and went downhill.
Romans normally allowed people to worship their own religion as long as they worshiped the Roman emperor as a god. Jews would not do this and this angered the Romans but not as much as it angered the Jews. Since the Romans conquered Judea, many Jews got fed up with Roman intolerance toward them so they called for a revolt. yeah..they lost and in response, the Romans destroyed their sacred Temple and exiled them from Israel... period; spreading all tribes throughout the region. Hence the lost 10 tribes of Israel. This became known as the Diaspora.
Jesus enters the scene and spreads a new message with 12 followers (apostles). He was very popular. Oh, and he was JEWISH! His message was always stated in parables. He wasn't the most popular among the Jews because he claimed he was the messiah and the son of G-d. Jesus stated that if one believed he was, they would receive eternal life and spiritual salvation. His most famous sermon was known as Sermon on the Mount. Rabbis felt he challenged their authority over the Jews and the Romans felt he threatened their leadership over the people so Jesus was deceived by one of his apostles, Judas, in exchange for money, arrested, tried by the Romans, and crucified on a cross. According to the Gospels, he rose from the dead (the Resurrection), and appeared to his apostles telling them to spread his message. Then, he ascended into heaven. Christians celebrate this Resurrection with Easter.
Spread of Christianity
The apostles set out to spread Christianity; however, it was Paul, a Jew, that played the most crucial role in its spread. He wrote letters, Epistle, to Christian communities discussing events and his work during his mission. Well Rome wasn't so keen on the Christian thing because, like the Jews, they refused to worship the emperor as a god or make sacrifices to the Roman gods. So, Rome began persecuting them. Many became martyrs, people who died for their beliefs. Oh, and they were fed to the lions for sheer entertainment. People converted to Christianity because Jesus' message gave hope to the poor and oppressed, promising that in the end, all are equal in the eyes of G-d and therefore, deserve to be treated and treat others with dignity and kindness. This belief united many people throughout the Roman Empire and in 313 AD, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, granting all citizens the freedom of worship. At this time, Constantine converted to Christianity as well.
Civic duty refers to the types of responsibilities that citizens have to their nation or country. In Rome, people could not rely on a king or dictator to rule and make decisions for them. Instead, they had to take an active role in their government. Citizens could work towards the betterment of their community through economic participation, public or volunteer work, and so forth in order to improve life for all citizens. People also participated in other ways. Citizens were expected to defend the Rome when required.
Five Good Emperors
2. Trajan-Oversaw the expansion of the empire to its greatest extent and massive public work projects
3. Hadrian-Strengthened the empire’s defenses by building a great wall separating Roman Empire in Britannia from the Picts. Also put down the Second Jewish Revolt. It was led by Simon Bar Kokhba, a man many believed to be the messiah. The Jews were tired of Roman oppresssion and under Bar Kokhba, tried to claim their independence from Roman rule. The Romans crushed the revolt and forced them to leave Jerusalem, dispersing the 12 tribes of Israel. Many historians consider this event the start of the Jewish Diaspora.
4. Antonius Pius
5. Marcus Aurelius- The end of his reign marked the end of the Pax Romana.
Let's not forget the Roman villa where the wealthy patricians lived!
Roman Geography Map Assignment
American v Roman Republic
Roman Law Activity
Punic War Cartoon Strip Activity
"A Game of Power" Activity
The Role of Christianity
Fall of Rome Game
This was done by a censor who kept track of the citizens and their property. Later were responsible for public morality.
Fall of Republic Analogy Activity
Caesar Cartoon Sort Activity
Roman Contribution Crossword Puzzle
Roman Numeral Activity