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Classical Studies 202 Ancient Roman Society Lecture # 3. -The Punic Wars of the Middle Republic- -Slaves and Freedpersons- -Social Structure- -Marriage- -Agriculture- BREAK -Film: The Republic of Rome. THE PUNIC WARS (264-146 BC). 3 Punic Wars ("Punic" = Carthaginian or Phoenician)

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classical studies 202 ancient roman society lecture 3
Classical Studies 202Ancient Roman SocietyLecture # 3

-The Punic Wars of the Middle Republic-

-Slaves and Freedpersons-

-Social Structure-




-Film: The Republic of Rome

the punic wars 264 146 bc
  • 3 Punic Wars ("Punic" = Carthaginian or Phoenician)
  • Carthage (near Tunis): maritime empire
  • Worship old Semitic gods, ie Tanit, Melqart and Ba’al
  • Sacrifice children in times of distress
  • Small citizen population
  • Freely intermarried with local population
  • Large mercenary army
1 st punic war 264 241 bce
1st Punic War (264-241 BCE)
  • Sicily divided between the Kingdom of Syracuse, Carthaginian trading cities, and independent Greek cities
  • Mamertine (“sons of Mars) take city of Messana
  • Syracuse attacks (wants city back)
  • Mamertines call for aid to Carthage and Rome
  • Carthage arrives to help Mamertines, and then just keep going and take the city
  • Mamertines call on Rome (as fellow Italians!) to get rid of Carthaginians
  • Syracuse and Carthage declare war on Rome
  • Syracuse then makes a separate peace treaty
  • Carthage is left on their own. Carthage is a naval power, Rome is a land power. Cicily is the common ground they fight over.
  • Rome justifies the war as “helping people” from the north africans
  • Rome doesn’t want carthaginians with a foot hold so close to their area.
1 st punic war 264 241 bce5
1st Punic War (264-241 BCE)
  • Sicily: intervention of Rome and Carthage(264 – 241 BC)
  • Carthage (a sea power) is now at war with Rome (a land power) and they keep destroying Romes war.
  • Rome captures one of their ships, copy it, and then mass produce it.
  • The Corvus (“Raven”), rome’s attempt to turn naval battels into land battles. Shops have a walkway that they use to board Carthaginian ships, and kill them.
  • 255 BC Regulus' expedition. This is Rome’s attempt to finish things. Carthage hires the ‘spartans’ to train them. Use war elephants to trample roman invasion. Regulus is captured and executed by Carthaginians. Put in a barrel with spikes and rolled down a hill
  • 241 Peace Treaty

-Carthage gives Rome a War indemnity of 3,200 Talents of Silver over 10 years (1 Talent = 60 pounds), which was easy because Carthage has money.

-Carthage must also give them Sardinia, Sicily and Corsica: annexed by Rome (Rome becomes an Empire!)

2 nd punic war 219 201 bce
2nd Punic War (219-201 BCE)
  • Hamilcar Barca (“thunderbolt”)

-248-241 Supreme Commander in Sicily

-236 sent to build Spanish empire

  • 221 BC Hannibal Barca, son of Hamilcar becomes general of Spain

-brilliant tactician in Punic Wars

-loved by his soldiers, he marched with the soldiers

-oath to never be a friend to Rome. His job was to increase Carthages power by exploiting the wealth of Spain.

the second punic war 219 201 bce
The Second Punic War (219-201 BCE)
  • 219 BC siege of Saguntum
    • ? River becomes boundary between Roman and Carthaginian refernce, but then make a friendship with Saguntum on the other side.
  • 218 BC crosses the Alps (35,000 infantry, 6,000 cavalry and 60 elephants vs 700,000 Romans)
    • Attempt to cross alps to invade Rome.
    • Carve a road out, and surprise Rome
    • Not going to destroy Rome, instead he is trying to inflict enough damage to break city states away from the empire. Doesn’t work.
    • Half survive the journey
217 bc battle of lake trasimene 40 000 romans killed
217 BC Battle of Lake Trasimene (40,000 Romans killed)
  • Hanibal knows Romans want to fight. Romans follow a lure along the road, while Hanibal has people hiding along the sides.
  • Drove the romans into the lake, killed most of them.
  • Gauls join up with Cartheginians. Most of the Cartheginian casualties are gauls.
  • Some northern scity states join them also.
  • The north opens up a bit.
rome panics
Rome Panics
  • Two quick victories open northern Italy to invasion (armies gone & leaders killed!)
  • Attributed to “Punic Treachery!”
  • Gauls and some northern Italian cities join Hannibal
  • Some southern Italian Greek cities join Hannibal as well
  • Rome builds a massive army and decides to wipe out Hannibal once and for all!
216 bc battle of cannae major roman defeat 30 60 000romans killed
216 BC Battle of Cannae : major Roman defeat (30 – 60,000Romans killed)
  • Hanibal outnumbered 2-1.
  • Romans find a flat open plane to fight like they normally do
  • Hanibal distracts them in the center, while the cartheginian calvary circles around them. Romans funnel in, Calvary surrounds them.
  • Countless casualties
  • Rome losses a very large army. Rome looks for a new General who will learn from this.
results of cannae
Results of Cannae
  • 216 BC Philip V of Macedon declares war on Rome and allies to Hannibal
  • Rome appoints Scipio (nicknamed Africanus for his victory over Carthage)as Commander
the tide turns
The Tide Turns
  • Scipio defeats Carthaginian armies in Spain
  • Hannibal gets supplies from Spain. But he is choked off from early in the war, so he is bottled up.
  • Hannibal trapped in southern Italy. Doesn’t have enough people to take Rome. Doesn’t have siege equipment.
  • He spends 14 years in Rome, most of the work is in vain.
  • Hasdrubal (Hannibal's brother)
  • Zama (202 BC): major Carthaginian defeat
  • 201 Peace Treaty

-war indemnity – Carthage must pay 10,000 Talents over 50 years

-Rome takes over /annexs Spain

  • In 203 Hannibal is called out of Italy.
the 3 rd punic war 149 146 bce
The 3rd Punic War (149-146 BCE)
  • A series of wars
  • Macedonia (north of Greece)

-defeated by Rome & her allies

  • Numidians (north africa - hostile neighbours of Carthage)

-become allies of Rome, not Carthaginians. Strip Carthage down to a narrow strip of land

  • Third Punic War (149-146 BC)
    • Numidians attack Carthage, Carthage fights back and Rome sides with Numidians
    • Cato goes to Carthage, finds the city in good working order, comes back and ends every speech he makes with: "Carthage must be destroyed!“
    • Rome kills every man, slavery for women and children. Knock down city and plow soil with salt so that nothing will ever grow again.
      • Ironically Rome comes back to this place later and rebuilds it.
roman social structure
  • Two Classes
    • patricians (aristocracy, upper social order) 10% of populati
      • honestiores (self referred to as the "more honourable" upper class )
    • plebeians (plebs) (commoners, lower social order) 90% of population
      • humiliores (the lower class)
  • gentes (gens) (clans)
    • Pedigree for office
roman upper classes
Roman Upper Classes
  • Senatorials (governing body of Republican Rome)
    • Patrician families in the senate.
    • nobiles (nobility, patrician, senatorial class)
    • Senator has a wealth of about : 1 million sesterces
  • Equites (equestrians)
    • Smart in business and made money
    • rich plebeians (cavalry, business class)
    • Often marry Senatorials to get the name, they provide the money. “help out the other family”
    • 400,000 sesterces
other class status symbols
Other Class Status Symbols
  • novus homo ("new man", without consular ancestors)
    • First in a family to become a ‘consul’
  • cursus honorum (career ladder, sequence of public offices)
  • publicani (state contractors, from equestrian class)
    • An office, not a social class
    • Tax collectors, bad reputation
    • You can become wealthy by being one of these. Collect for senators. If you collect above and beyond that is required you can keep it.
  • procurators, prefects (senior equestrian appointments)
    • Help governor run the province
slaves and freedpersons
Slaves and Freedpersons
  • differences between ancient and modern concepts of slavery
  • You could be freed from your slavery then
  • Salves were valuable property, why abuse it?
  • prisoners of war: cheap slaves make latifundia (farming plantations) possible
  • Slaves would be used for their talents, not for just animal labour.
  • servus (slave) = manpower, status symbol, wealth (chattels)
  • Acquiring slaves: purchase from a slave market; when you buy your get a ‘bill of sale’, defects were noted on this bill, dealers were dishonest (used car salesman style).
  • vernae (slaves born on the master's estate)
  • loan/rental, e.g. wet-nurses
slave jobs
Slave Jobs
  • agricultural (e.g. on latifundia)
  • industrial (manufacturing)
  • unskilled (mines, quarries, construction, docks, galleys)
  • [good] domestic (household slaves: easier life, chance of freedom)
  • [good] clerical/administrative (civil service)
  • gladiator (punishment for runaway/criminal slave) Big paycheck if you lived, possiblity of celebrity status. Possibility to buy freedom
slaves continued
Slaves (continued)
  • slave can't be soldier, except in dire emergency, e.g. Cannae
  • job specialization (esp. Greek)
  • Greek slaves educated (physicians, tutors)
  • slave foreman runs rural estate for absentee master
  • master's powers of punishment unlimited
    • By law owners had all the rights
    • Again, if you harm the slave it isn’t in your economic best interest
  • ergastula (prison barracks where slave were locked up)
    • Prison for slaves who ran away
    • Charged with stealing (you can’t steal yourself)
  • distrust of slaves: evidence under torture; masters murdered (only believe them if they were being tortured during interogation)
  • revolts:
    • Sicily (135 BC),
    • Spartacus (73 BC) Escape, but change their mind, crucified the last 6,000 slaves. A warning to everyone else.
slaves continued21
Slaves (continued)
  • Various laws were passed to curb abuses by Claudius, Vespasian, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius
    • Ex: if you abandon sick slaves and they live, they are free
  • Pliny's enlightened treatment of his slaves
    • Let them have wills, property, keep their children
  • training and wealth of some slaves
  • privileges: peculium (slave's savings)
  • contubernium (cohabitation with a fellow slave)
    • Common law marriages for slaves
  • manumission (setting a slave free)
    • for long or exceptional service
    • for saving master's life
    • in exchange for peculium (money)
  • Augustus limits number of slaves that can be manumitted
    • You can only free 100 slaves at a time
    • Afraid of social order if a lot of slaves are freed
manumission of slaves
Manumission of Slaves
  • Methods of being freed:

-by the rod (before praetor or governor)

-by testament (a document from owner)

-informal (don't get Roman citizenship but become "Junian" Latins “go away”)

  • libertus (freedperson, ex-slave, NOTE: not a roman citized)
    • However, your kid canbea roman citizen
  • freed slave becomes client of former master

-owes him several days' service each year

-in return owner protects in law courts etc.

  • libertus: can't hold public office (but sons can)
  • can't marry into senatorial class
  • collegia (burial/social clubs) joined by slaves, freedpersons
roman marriage
Roman Marriage
  • arranged marriages (matchmakers, e.g. friends, orators)
  • criteria for choosing a spouse: wealth, influence, fertility, status
  • Legally married could:
    • Heir
    • Adopt
  • forbidden matches:

-senator/lower class


-free person/slave

(if you did, you become a slave)

-soldiers (can’t be distracted)

Women followed the army, get stranded in a foreign country and end up marrying out of neccessity

  • contubernium (cohabitation; marital union not recognized by law)
    • No legal status, but acknowledged as being together
marriage continued
Marriage (continued)
  • Republic: father's consent only; later: father's + children's consent
  • minimum age: 14 (boys), 12 (girls)
  • betrothal: minimum age gradually raised to 10
  • Gifts (for bride, and her family), agreement (formal legal document), dowry (to grooms family), iron rings (origin of wedding ring), party (celebrating)
  • calendar restrictions
    • Second half of June was considerred good
marriage continued25
Marriage (continued)
  • wedding (civil): dress of bride and groom.
    • Long white dress
    • Red shoes
    • Ornate hair
  • decoration of house
  • contract, sacrifice, reception, procession to new home (of the groom)
  • threshold ceremony (offering made to God Janus)
  • wedding (religious, with cakes. Exchanged cakes): hard to annul (but possible), unpopular
  • dowry: recoverable on divorce (romans were big on debts. 30 days to repay the debt, or locked up)
marriage continued26
Marriage (continued)
  • manus (husband's legal control over wife, and property, represent in court)
  • changing attitudes (originally "one-man woman" vs. frequent divorce)
  • grounds for divorce: originally, only adultery; later, any reason
  • remarriage (not necessarily for love (must remarry in a year at one point))
  • divorce especially common among upper class (trade up politically)
  • child custody: father (legally at least)
  • punishments for adultery: death, exile, partial loss of dowry
  • farming manuals:

-Cato (2nd c. BC)

-Varro (1st c. BC)

-Columella (1st c. AD)

-Palladius (4th c. AD)

-Vergil, Georgics (1st c. BC)

  • "Mediterranean triad" (wheat, olives, grapes)
  • Wine was a big export (even healthier than water)
agricultural techniques
Agricultural Techniques
  • terracing crops
  • rotation of crops to preserve soil
  • fertilizer
  • intercultivation (planting cereals between rows of trees),
  • draining & irrigation (aquaducts)
  • farm animals transhumance (move animals around to preserve grassland)
  • ard (early plough -- scratched surface only)
    • Early farming was hard physical labour
  • sickle, scythe, flail, all tools of farming
  • amphora (clay shipping container) potentially very large
farms and farm land
Farms and Farm Land
  • ager publicus ("common" land, owned by the state)
  • latifundia (sing. latifundium) (plantations, large estates)
  • coloni (tenant farmers) old soldiers were given land after duty. Often in north africda.
  • villa (estate owner's residence and outbuildings)

-includes"urbane", "rustic", and utility areas


(5 minutes)

Film: The Republic of Rome