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Ancient Rome. The Roman Republic and Empire. Origins of Rome. City of Rome was founded in 753 B.C.E. by Romulus and Remus on 7 hills on the Tiber River. The early settlers were the Latins, Greeks and Etruscans. The Latins built the first settlement of Rome.

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ancient rome

Ancient Rome

The Roman Republic and Empire

origins of rome
Origins of Rome
  • City of Rome was founded in 753 B.C.E. by Romulus and Remus on 7 hills on the Tiber River.
  • The early settlers were the Latins, Greeks and Etruscans. The Latins built the first settlement of Rome.
  • Greek colonies brought Italy and Rome into closer contact with the Greek world while the Etruscans influenced the development of Roman Civilization.
the early republic
The Early Republic
  • 600 B.C.E.-an Etruscan became king of Rome. Various kings would order construction of many public buildings.
  • 509 B.C.E.-Tarquin the Proud was overthrown and a republic was established.
  • A Republic is a form of government in which power rests with citizens who have the right to vote for their leaders.

The Patricians (wealthy landowners) and the Plebeians (common farmers, artisans, merchants) struggled for power.

  • In time, the plebeians were allowed to create their own assemblies and elect representatives called Tribunes.
  • Tribunes were to protect the rights of the plebeians against unfair acts of patrician officials.

The Forum

government under the republic
Government under the Republic
  • 451 B.C.E.-group of officials start writing down Rome’s laws. They became known as the Twelve Tables and were the basis of later Roman law.
  • Two officials called Consuls who commanded the army and directed the government.
  • The Senate had both legislative and administrative functions in the republic.
  • A Dictator could be elected in times of crisis and then held absolute power to make laws and command the army.
the roman army
The Roman Army
  • All citizens who owned land were required to serve in the army and seekers of certain public offices had to perform 10 years of service.
  • Soldiers were organized into large units called Legions.
  • A legion was usually made up of 5,ooo heavily armed foot soldiers or infantry and were supported by a group on horseback called the cavalry.
  • A century was a smaller group of 80 men that made up the full legion.
rome spreads its power
Rome Spreads Its Power
  • By 265 B.C.E. Rome had conquered almost all of Italy.
  • Rome had different laws for different conquered regions-those close to the Tiber became full citizens, those further away were full citizens without the vote and the last group were the allies of Rome. The lenient policy was very important.
  • Rome had easy access to the Mediterranean trade but Carthage interfered with that access.
punic wars
Punic Wars
  • 264 B.C.E-Rome and Carthage went to war.
  • 264B.C.E.-146 B.C.E.-Rome and Carthage fought 3 wars known as the Punic Wars.
  • 1st Punic War was over control of Sicily and the western Mediterranean which ended in the defeat of Carthage after 23 years.
  • 2nd Punic War-General Hannibal wanted to avenge Carthage’s earlier defeat. Scipio finally defeated him in 202 B.C.E.


3rd Punic War-Rome laid siege to Carthage, burned it and sold its people into slavery. With this Rome dominated the Western Mediterranean.

the republic collapses
The Republic Collapses
  • With its increased wealth and expanding borders came many problems. The main problems were discontent of the lower classes and military disorder.
  • The gap between the rich and poor was growing. Two brothers tried to help the poor but numerous senators felt threatened by the brothers’ ideas and they met violent deaths.
  • The brothers’ deaths were followed by a period of civil war (conflict between two groups within the same country).
military upheaval
Military Upheaval
  • As the Republic became more unstable, generals began to grab power for themselves.
  • They would recruit the landless poor by promising land and these soldiers fought for pay and were loyal only to their commander.
  • It was now possible for generals with their own loyal armies to take over Rome by force.
  • Enter Julius Caesar
julius caesar
Julius Caesar
  • 60 B.C.E.-Julius Caesar joins with Crassus and General Pompey and is elected consul in 59 B.C.E. For 10 years they dominated Rome as a triumvirate (group of 3 rulers).
  • 50 B.C.E.-Pompey, now Caesar’s rival, and the Senate ordered Caesar to disband his legions and return to Rome.
  • 49 B.C.E.-Caesar defeats Pompey’s forces and in 46 B.C.E. he returns to Rome and is appointed dictator.
  • 44 B.C.E.-Caesar is named dictator for life but by March, 44 B.C.E he is dead,

Caesar also started a number of reforms such as increased pay for soldiers and he also expanded the Senate.

beginning of the empire
Beginning of the Empire
  • After Caesar’s death, civil war broke out again but was ended Octavian, Marc Anthony and Lepidus joined together. 43 B.C.E.-they took control of Rome and ruled for 10 years as the 2nd Triumvirate.
  • Later Octavian and Marc Anthony would become rivals and Octavian would defeat Marc Anthony and Cleopatra in 31 B.C.E.
  • Octavian would restore some aspects of the republic but he was the unchallenged ruler of Rome and he would accept the title of Augustus and keep the title imperator.
agriculture and trade
Agriculture and Trade
  • Agriculture was the most important industry and 90% of the people were engaged in farming.
  • Additional food (when it was needed) and luxury items were obtained by trading with other areas.
  • Rome traded throughout the Mediterranean and ships were protected by the Roman Navy.
  • Rome also had a vast network of roads that connected it to Persia and southern Russia.
a vast and powerful empire
A Vast and Powerful Empire
  • The PaxRomana (“Roman Peace”) was a period of 207 years of peace with only some fighting with tribes along the border.
  • Augustus stabilized the frontier and created a system of government that would last for centuries.
  • After Augustus’ death in 14 C.E. his system of government would maintain the empire’s stability.
the roman world
The Roman World
  • The Romans were practical in that they valued strength more than beauty, power more than grace and usefulness more than elegance.
  • Slavery was a significant part of Roman life as it was widespread and important to the economy. They worked in the cities and on farms.
  • Government and religion were linked and deities were symbols of the state and Romans were expected to honor them in private and public.
  • By this time, wealth and social status made a huge difference in how people lived.
  • The rich lived extravagantly while most people in Rome barely had the necessities of life.
  • To distract and control the masses, the government provided free games, races, mock battles and gladiator contests.