Chapter 5 - The Rise of Rome

The land and the sea

  1. The geography and early settlement of Rome
    1. Italy's lack of navigable rivers discouraged trade, but the land was fertile and productive and the mountains not as divisive as those of Greece.
    2. The two great fertile plains of Italy are Latium and Campania.
    3. The Romans established their city on seven hills along the Tiber River in Latium.

The Etruscans and Rome (750-509 B.C.)

  1. Between 1000 and 875 B.C., many IndoEuropean peoples moved into Italy from the north.
  2. The Etruscans
    1. Etruscans' accomplishments were based on trade and city-state wealth and life.
      1. Etruscan urban life came to dominate much of Italy.
  3. The Romans
    1. According to legend, Romulus and Remus founded Rome in 753 B.C.
    2. The Romans adopted many customs and practices of the Etruscans
      1. They adopted the Etruscan alphabet and Etruscan symbols of authority, such as the faces, an ax that represented royal authority.
      2. The toga, or white robe, represented citizenship.
      3. From Etruscan engineering they adopted the arch and the vault.
      4. From the Etruscans the Romans learned how to be urban dwellers.
    3. The Etruscans turned Rome into an important city and brought it into contact with the Mediterranean world.
    4. The Capitoline Hill became Rome's religious center (Temple of Jupiter).

The Roman conquest of Italy (509-290 B.C.)

  1. According to tradition, the Romans expelled the Etruscan rulers and founded a republic in 509 B.C.
    1. They used alliances and soldiering to grow and prosper.
    2. In 390 B.C., invading Celts--or Gauls--destroyed Rome but the Romans reorganized their army and rebuilt the city.
    3. The Romans spread their culture through religious cults, mythology, and drama.
      1. They did not force their religion on the Italians, but invited them to participate by way of cult practice and drama.
      2. Religion, drama, and mythology were used to extend Roman legal, political, and military systems.
    4. Another reason for Rome's success in subduing Italy was the Roman concept of citizenship.
      1. The Romans frequently granted citizenship to those they conquered, thereby strengthening Rome.
      2. In their willingness to extend citizenship, the political genius of the Romans triumphed where Greece had failed.
      3. Building a vast road system also helped keep Rome united with her colonies.

The Roman state

  1. In the early republic, power resided in the hands of the members of the aristocracy, called the patricians; commoners were called plebeians.
    1. Rome was ruled by people's assemblies, elected magistrates, and--most important--the senate.
      1. The senate advised the consuls and magistrates, and its advice had the force of law.
      2. The senate gave the republic stability and continuity.
      3. The comitia centuriata, which was dominated by the patricians, decided Roman policy.
      4. In 471 B.C. the plebeians gained their own assembly, the concilium plebis.
      5. Two elected consuls and the senate ran the state.
      6. In 366 B.C. the office of praetor was created.
    2. Rome's greatest achievement was its development of the concept of law.
      1. Civil law (ius gentium) developed to protect people and property.
      2. Gradually, the concept of universal law applicable to all societies developed.

Social conflict in Rome

  1. The plebeians' desire for equality and justice led to a conflict with the patricians known as the Struggle of the Orders.
    1. A general strike led to concessions being granted to the plebeians--partly because of patrician fears of hostile neighbors.
    2. The plebeians won legal and land reforms.
      1. The lex Canuleia allowed for intermarriage between plebeians and patricians.
      2. The Law of the Twelve Tables, a codification of previously unpublished law, was a result of plebeian pressure for legal reform.
      3. Later, the patricians were forced to publish legal procedures, too, so plebeians could enjoy full protection under the law.
    3. Licinius and Sextus brought about further reform for the plebeians, but the struggle did not end until the passage of lex Hortensia in 287 B.C.
    4. The end result of the Struggle of the Orders was greater political opportunities for the plebeians and a new ruling nobility made up of both plebeians and patricians.

Roman expansion

  1. Italy becomes Roman
    1. Between 282 and 262 B.C. the Romans colonized nearly all of Italy.
      1. They created two classes of citizenship--one for those close to Rome, another, with fewer rights, as allies.
      2. Therefore, all Italians were included in making Italy Roman.
  2. Overseas conquest (282-146 B.C.)
    1. When the Romans reached southern Italy, they became involved in a series of wars.
    2. The Romans did not have a preexisting strategy for world conquest.
    3. Roman imperialism took two forms: aggression in the West and patronage in the East.
    4. They imposed a "Pyrrhic victory" on the Greeks in southern Italy.
  3. The Punic wars and beyond (264-133 B.C.)
    1. Rome's need to control Sicily led to war with Carthage--the economic giant of the western Mediterranean.
    2. The Punic wars
      1. The First Punic War, fought over Sicily, was won by Rome in 241 B.C.
      2. The Second Punic War found Carthage attacking Rome by way of Spain, with a major victory at Cannae in 216 B.C.
      3. Hannibal led the Carthaginian forces over the Alps into Italy.
      4. He then spread devastation throughout Italy, yet failed to crush Rome.
      5. Rome's commander, Scipio, took Spain from the Carthaginians in 207 B.C.
      6. A victory by Scipio over Hannibal at Zama in 202 B.C. meant that the western Mediterranean would be Roman.
      7. Fear of Carthage led to the Third Punic War.
      8. In 146 B.C. Carthage was defeated, but Spain was not conquered until 133 B.C.
  4. Rome turns east (211-133 B.C.)
    1. The Macedonians under their king, Philip V, had entered the Second Punic War against Rome.
    2. Rome turned east to defeat the Macedonians (197 B.C.), the Seleucids (189 B.C.), the Achaean League (146 B.C.), and Macedonia.
    3. Next, Rome created the political and administrative machinery to hold the Mediterranean area together.
    4. By 146 B.C. the Mediterranean had become for the Romans mare nostrum-- "our sea."

Old values and Greek culture

  1. The acquisition of an empire was the beginning of Rome's troubles.
    1. The building of empire brought about the end of traditional values and encouraged a new materialism.
    2. The Romans had to change their institutions, social patterns, and way of thinking to meet their new responsibilities as world rulers.
  2. Marcus Cato represented the traditional ideal of a simple and virtuous life.
    1. In traditional Rome the paterfamilias held immense power within the family.
    2. The virtues of chastity and modesty among women were valued.
    3. Children began their formal education at the age of seven.
    4. The agricultural year followed the traditional farmer's calendar.
    5. Slavery was common; relations between master and slave were often good.
    6. Religion played an important role in Roman life; Romans believed that if they honored the gods, the gods could grant them divine favor.
  3. Scipio Aemilianus represented the new spirit of wealth and leisure.
    1. For the new Romans, victory in war meant materialism and the pursuit of pleasure.
    2. Greek culture--Hellenism--came to dominate Roman life.
    3. Scipio Aemilianus introduced to Rome the art of personal politics.
    4. He was the center of a circle of Hellenists and helped make the culture of Greece an integral part of Roman life.
    5. Hellenism stimulated the growth of Roman art, literature, and leisure activities such as bathing.
      1. The "baths" were gyms and pools for exercise and social interaction.
      2. Women had separate facilities.

The late republic (133-31 B.C.)

  1. War and the demands of the new empire created serious political problems.
    1. The republican constitution no longer suited Rome's needs.
    2. Powerful generals became a threat.
    3. Rome's Italian allies agitated for the rights of citizenship.
  2. Unrest in Rome and Italy
    1. War and the new empire also caused economic problems; many veterans sold their warruined farms to the big landowners and migrated to the cities.
    2. A large number of urban poor emerged.
    3. The Gracchus brothers sought a solution to the problem of the veterans and the urban poor.
      1. Tiberius Gracchus angered aristocrats and the senate by proposing land reform.
      2. The murder of Tiberius Gracchus by the senators initiated an era of political violence.
      3. Gaius Gracchus demanded citizenship for all Italians, but was killed by the senate.
    4. Consul Marius used the army as his tool by recruiting landless men and promising land to the volunteers.
      1. But the senate refused to give the troops land.
      2. Henceforth, army troops looked to their commanders for their rewards--not the state.
    5. Marius changed the military so that the army was virtually a private army and no longer made up of loyal citizens.
    6. Marius and then Sulla fell into warring against each other and into a civil war.
      1. Sulla used his troops to take Rome and make the senate stronger.
      2. Marius, in turn, returned to Rome and killed Sulla's supporters.
    7. Sulla became dictator but allowed a return to the constitutional republic; then, however, fifty more years of civil war led to the end of the Republic.
    8. Cicero, a politician and writer, urged peace and public order through the idea of the "concord or the orders"--meaning an agreement to balance all interests.

Civil war

  1. Caesar, a military genius and an intellectual, conquered all of Gaul by 50 B.C.
  2. Conflict between Caesar and Pompey resulted in more civil war.
  3. Caesar defeated Pompey in 45 B.C. and made himself dictator.
  4. Caesar founded colonies to absorb Rome's poor and extended citizenship to many of the provincials.
  5. Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C., setting off another round of civil war.
  6. The Second Triumvirate (Augustus, Antony, and Lepidus) defeated Caesar's murderers but soon came into conflict themselves.
  7. In 31 B.C., Augustus put an end to civil war by defeating Antony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium in Greece.


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