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Independent Study: The Roman Empire

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Mac Christopher

on 5 June 2013

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Transcript of Independent Study: The Roman Empire

The Rise and Fall of Rome Mac Christopher Roman Republic (509 B.C - 27 B.C): Julius Caesar (100 B.C-44 B.C) Before the third century B.C, there was little to no recording of the Roman Republic When Roman conquests had begun to be recorded, Rome was already a powerful empire The first real documentation of Rome was of the various wars with Carthage (Punic Wars) According to tradition, the Roman Republic was formed after a popular uprising, which successfully overthrew Lucius Superbus The Republic consisted of two consuls (In place of Monarch), two different popular assemblies, and a senate The Senate only had the power to advise the Roman people and the consuls, but because the senate was compromised of only upper class Romans (Patricians), it possessed great power First Triumvirate: Julius Caesar was born into a aristocratic Roman family that had many connections within the Roman political life After the death of his father, Caesar got involved with the military to escape the wrath of the powerful statesman Lucius Sulla Sulla was angered by Caesar's marriage to Cornelia Cinna minor (Daughter of a powerful noble) When Sulla died, Caesar returned to Rome and began his involvement in politics However, when Caesar took a trip to study philosophy in Rhodes, he was kidnapped by pirates Caesar would convince his captors to put up a ransom, and he would later be recovered by Roman troops Upon his return, he would gain prominence after defeating Mithridates, King of Pontus An unofficial and at first secret relationship between Julius Caesar, Marcus Crassus, and Gnaeus Pompey The Luca Conference in 56 B.C set up plans for Crassus & Pompey to gain positions as consuls alongside Caesar Being in control of Syria, Crassus made a disastrous decision to attack the Parthian Empire (Crassus would die at the Battle of Carrhae) After the death of Crassus & the wife of Pompey (Daughter of Caesar), the triumvirate disintegrated Civil war would begin when Caesar famously crossed the Rubicon River after his long period residing in Gaul Pompey would lose the key Battle of Pharalasus, and he would eventually be betrayed and assassinated in Egypt Death of Caesar: In February of 44 B.C, Caesar declared himself dictator for life Senate members instantly turned against him After many attempts made by Caesar to cut the influence of the senate, the Roman senators began to plot against their new ruler Many wanted to kill Caesar at a gladiatorial showing, but the end verdict was the assassination would take place during a senate meeting On March 15th, Caesar was led into the senatorial meeting by his apprentice Marcus Brutus, and he would be stabbed repeatedly until his death Rise of Gaius Octavian (Augustus Caesar): After the death of Julius, his nephew, Octavian, learned that his uncle legally adopted him (Making him his heir to considerable wealth) Octavius entered Roman politics after the death of his uncle (Something Julius never wanted) With the Roman populace outraged about the death of Julius, Octavian was able to gain immense popularity These three men would formally form the Second Triumvirate with the creation of the Lex Titia The Second Triumvirate would eventually defeat the head assassins of Julius (Cassius & Brutus) Marc Anthony would have his long time rival Cicero executed The final obstacle in front of the triumvirate was the son of Pompey (Sextus Pompeius) He would be defeated at a large naval battle, and this victory would lead to a decrease in the influence of Lepiudus Relationship between the two remaining figures of the triumvirate (Anthony & Octavian) would be strained by Anthony's involvement in Egypt After the Battle of Actium, Octavian would be the sole power of Rome (The first Emperor of Rome) Octavian would eventually join forces with his uncle's once great friend Marc Anthony, as well as befriending Marcus Lepidus MADRID WASHINGTON
D.C Rise of the Empire: Fall of the Empire: Rise of the United States: "Decline" of the United States": Relation to Roman Empire: "All comparisons between America's current place in the world and anything legitimately called an empire in the past reveal ignorance and confusion about any reasonable meaning of the concept empire, especially the comparison with the Roman Empire." Donald Kagan Relation to Roman Empire: Over time, the Mongols were unable to maintain their military dominance As the empire expanded, it lost its cultural cohesiveness that would eventually lead to fragmentation The different Khanates began to diverge based on their different belief systems Economic prosperity declined after the rule of Kublai Khan due to poor leadership Economic turmoil and the plague would eventually lead to hostility of the citizenry towards the Mongolian rulers The Mongolian Empire's demise would be much quicker than that of Rome's, for its fall came right after its most powerful point during the leadership of Kublai Khan Relation to Rome: ROME Rise of Augustus: Despite the wishes of Julius, Augustus entered Roman politics (At the age of 18) Julius had legally adopted Augustus shortly before his death Augustus would form a coalition with Marc Anthony and Marcus Lepidus in order to reform Rome and the Senate after the assassination of Caesar This formation would be known as the Second Triumvirate The three leaders would gain popularity from the Roman public, and would eventually execute all enemies in the way of their power Brutus & Cassius lost their influence in the East when Augustus & Anthony defeated them swiftly in November of 42 B.C Brutus & Cassius would eventually commit suicide after their defeats After the defeat of the last obstacle in front of the triumvirate, Sextus Pompey, Lepidus would lose his power Relations between Caesar and Anthony would later be strained by Anthony's relationship with Cleopatra War would eventually break out between the once allies, and Augustus, with the help of Marcus Agrippa, would defeat Anthony at the Battle of Actium (31 B.C) With Marc Anthony gone, Augustus would form the Principate, which was a form of government that ensured him absolute power Augustus was now the first official Emperor of Rome Unlike his uncle (adopted father), Augustus would please Roman politicians, for he created a misleading republican system Even in the Senate's sphere of influence, Augustus maintained a great deal of authority (Auctoritas) In his reign, Augustus was able to create a stable governmental setup for the future of the Empire He was skilfully able to keep the upper class satisfied with his autocratic rule Augustus also brought peace to the Empire, which in turn increased communication and trade Expansion of the Empire: Fall of the Empire: Under the rule of Constantine, a new Roman capital would be established: Constantinople The Eastern and Western sections of the Empire would eventually split after the rule of Theodosius The Eastern Empire would thrive due to spices and other exports, while the West would be haunted by economic instability and Germanic attacks The West was pushed into its rapid fall when in 410 A.D Rome was sacked by wandering Germanic tribes The Eastern Empire would continue to thrive (Byzantine Empire) The Roman Empire would officially fall in 476 A.D when the Germanic Chief Odoacer defeated the last Roman Emperor (Romulus Augustulus) Joseph Noel Sylvestre What Caused the Demise? Political: As time went on, there was much more conflict between the Emperor and the Senate There was a plethora self-centered politicians who were only looking to further their own position The Praetorian Guard would often betray the Emperor, which allowed for corruption and deception within Roman politics The control of boundaries (Taxation) did not keep up with the great expansion Over time there was increasing instability The once highly superior Roman legions shifted from expanding to strictly fending off barbarians Steady surpluses made by expansion halted (Civic-military fabric began to unfold) The decrease in power of the Roman legions could have been due to the unenthusiastic barbarian soldiers that were recruited into the Roman military The creation of the Eastern Roman Empire took power away from the West Economic Government was constantly bankrupt near the end of the Empire There was clear failure in managing such a large empire Increase in slavery led to a disgruntled Plebian class and a lack in technological advancement The Roman poor towards the end of the Empire began to be completely dependent on the government Basically all the wealth was in the hands of the few (Complete lack of a middle class) Social: Lack of moral values moving into the 2nd and 3rd centuries The Romans began to resemble the people they called "Barbarians" Christianity would also separate people from the Empire, for Christians had more allegiance to their religion Also, Christianity affected expansion, for Christians were less hostile to other regions, and were less tolerant add in other faiths Toward the end of the Western Empire, there was no faith or pride amongst the Roman people The Plebian class would often horde goods as a tactic to gain wealth when prices increased Legacy of Rome: Preserved knowledge and accomplishments of previous Empires (Greeks) The Romans were not only great with regards to their military, but also with intellectual endeavors Roman Law was incredibly advanced and complex Roman infrastructure was outmatched in the ancient world (Some Roman structures are still functioning) The Romans connected the world through their complex system of roads and trade routes Roman architecture and city planning would remain superior through the dark ages (Plumbing, Sewage disposal, dams, and aqueducts) Rome also brought a significant body of original works; these intellectual achievements would not be re-examined until the birth of humanism DADU Rise of the Mongolian Empire: Temujin (Genghis Khan)was the son of a Mongolian Chieftain and through this lineage he would unite the various Mongol tribes Temujin would have to deal with many different rival family members before he could name himself Genghis Khan (Universal Ruler) Genghis Khan's army was heavily trained and highly organized, while also being based on merit However, Genghis did place many of his family members and long time companions in high positions (Wanted his most loyal friends to have power) Genghis Khan's army would evolve through his expansion, for at first his military strategy was solely based on cavalry In 1214, Genghis Khan would take Beijing after fighting the Jin dynasty, and he would later extend his empire West to the Adriatic after conflict with the Kwarezmian Dynasty Later in his rule, Genghis Khan would learn of the importance of towns and use of peasants to create taxable goods Genghis Khan would die in 1227, and he chose his third son Ogodei as his succesor Ogodei would expand the empire drastically, for he would take the capital of the Jin Dynasty in 1234 He would use the Northern (Jin) Chinese population to assist in the takeover of the Song Dynasty in the South Ogodei would also expand into the West, and send armies into Russia, Iraq, and Iran Demise of the Empire: Kublai Khan would successfully unite China and created the Yuan Dynasty in 1271 Marco Polo stated that Kublai Khan was "the greatest ruler the world would ever see" During his rule, many of the other Khanates in the Empire began to gain a sense of self-governance After the death of Kublai, the Khanates of the Empire virtually all separated Due to lack of leadership, the Yuan Dynasty would eventually fall after the Red Turban Rebellion, which would give rise to the Ming Dynasty The other Khanates of the Empire would see success after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty, but the Mongolian Empire had fallen with the formation of the Ming Dynasty Relation to Rome: The demise of the Mongolian Empire was more rapid in comparison with Rome, for the fall of the Empire occurred right after its "High" point In both empires, there was lack of solid leadership, yet with the Mongols this occurred directly after the rule of Kublai Khan Like the Roman Empire, the Mongolian Empire experience a loss in cultural cohesiveness, and as the Empire grew there was more division and disloyalty Also the division of the different Khanates can be related to the formation of the Eastern Roman Empire After the rule of Kublai Khan, there was little economic growth, and many commoners became hostile towards the leadership This hatred of the Mongolian officials would eventually lead to increased riots, and the Mongolian military lost its ability to control its people (Red Turban Rebellion) MADRID Rise of the Spanish Hapsburg Empire: Spain reached its zenith during the 15th & 16th centuries under Hapsburg Rule In 1516, Charles V was proclaimed sovereign of Spain (Charles I of Spain) Spain would begin to gain a great amount of power under the rule of Charles, especially with regards to foreign exploration During the rule of Charles, Spain extended its boundaries from the conquering of foreign lands by conquistadores (Cortez, Pizarro) After the abdication of Charles V during the protestant reformation, Phillip II was granted control of Spain and its overseas empire Phillip II rarely left the Iberian peninsula, and the last time he would visit his holdings would be in 1559 Phillip II would rule the Spanish Empire through patronage and the heavy use of various consultants Phillip II is known for his meticulous attention to detail and his distrust of all his officials "His smile and his dagger were very close" Cabrera de Cordoba Phillip II would conquer Portugal in 1580 after the death of his nephew Sebastian (This alarmed Europe of Spain's immense power) Demise of the Empire: Even though no other man was as powerful as Phillip II during the 16th century, Hapsburg Spain was in decline The monarchy just could not keep a firm grip of its holdings, especially in the Netherlands Conflict during this period was mainly due to religious ideals of Phillip II (He attempted to reassert the Council of Trent within his Empire) Related to this was the conflict with England that eventually led to the sinking of the Spanish Armada, which served as a major setback for "The" power of the age With the eventual independence of the Netherlands (Peace of Westphalia), Spain would never reach its once high point under Charles V and Phillip II Due to infertility, the great grandson of Phillip II (Charles II) would be the last Hapsburg ruler in Spain There was a period where Gaspar de Guzman attempted to regain the prestige that Spain had previously held under the rule of Phillip IV Towards the end of Hapsburg rule, all politicians were incredibly corrupt Economically, new world riches would cause inflation and population increase Also, there was an immense gap between lower class and the privileged class, which caused conflict and distrust in leadership The Spanish lower class were the most heavily taxed people in Europe during this time The loss of major economic assets (Netherlands) would also hurt the prestige and power of the Empire Relation to the Roman Empire: The Spanish Empire would see similar problems with economic disparity as did the Romans The complete absence of a middle class, and the highest percentage of wealth in the hands of the few halted growth of the Empire The Spanish would also fail to control its holdings successfully, and the sinking of the armada can be paralleled to the failures of the Roman legions in the decline of the Roman Empire A lack of successful leadership was present in both empires, for after the rule of Phillip II (which can also be seen as an ineffective rule) there was a lack in management of the Empire In the Roman Empire,after the "Five Good Emperors" (Nerva, Hadrian, Trajan, Pius, Aurellius) there was also a lack in planning for the future of the empire Edward Gibbon referred to the time of the "Five Good Emperors" as the period in which humans were most happy and prosperous Rise of the United States: During the late nineteenth century, the United States experienced its fastest economic growth This time period was coined "The Gilded Age" by Mark Twain The U.S was rapidly growing, and we surpassed Great Britain as the leading industrial power After World War II, the United States was seen as "The" superpower of the world The United States experienced major economic expansion after WWII and this growth lasted until the 1970's depression The 1950's can be related to the high point of Rome under the rule of Marcus Aurelius Post War America witnessed an incredible "Baby Boom" as well as an increase in the number of middle class Americans With an increased population came more consumers, as well as affordable goods After World War II, the United States also possessed the strongest military, only being rivaled by the USSR (A rivalry that lasted until the end of the 20th century) "Demise" of the United States: Relation to Rome: WASHINGTON
D.C Political: Politics has transformed to a path to wealth & influence In many cases, congressman & senators use their political career to advance their position in the private sector There has been increasing government gridlock (Tremendous increase in the amount of senatorial filibusters) Alex Fraser Tytler: "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy." Economic: There is the highest governmental disapproval in our history (Congress: 15% approval rating) Recently, we also have an overextended military across the world The "American Dream" is slipping away for the majority of America The gap between the upper and lower class is widening at a fast rate The total net worth of the bottom 60% of Americans does not equate to the wealth of the 400 richest americans (Top one percent control forty percent of the nation's wealth) Over the year we have become more of a consumer nation rather than a producer This has led to a trade deficit, which has contributed to our large national debt On top of our heavy consumption, we also allocate 900 billion dollars toward defense annually Social: Three-quarters of Americans say the country's moral values are worsening, blaming a decline in ethical standards, poor parenting, and dishonesty by government and business leaders Only 14% of respondents believe that the country's moral values are increasing, and this group believe this because of Americans' ability to pull together in tough times There is an increase in public violence, and a decrease in church attendance (3000 fewer churches annually) The United States is also dropping in education ranks, especially in mathematics & science ratings Political: The increase in government partisanship & disapproval of the government resembles the stage leading to the fall of the Roman Republic The United States also has an overextended military, and its presence across the world has become more of a hindrance to our power & prestige than a benefit A clear parallel to the fall of the Roman Republic & Empire is the increase in election spending Economic: Like in Rome, there is an increasing gap between the rich & poor (Disappearing middle class) We have also become a rather stagnant economy, for instead of being the world's producer, we have little production and a large portion of the population that is being completely cared for by the Government Social: Even though there is debate whether our moral values are declining, Americans are not as motivated as they once were In many cases, we are an improved moral society, yet we are losing ground socially to other nations, for many Americans are not productive and beneficial components of our nation Donald Kagan: "All comparisons between America's current place in the world and anything legitimately called an empire in the past reveal ignorance and confusion about any reasonable meaning of the concept empire, especially the comparison with the Roman Empire."
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