ROMAN HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY.
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Originally many groups of people inhabited the land of Italy—a boot-shaped peninsula in Southern Europe extending into the Mediterranean Sea. According to legend there was a Trojan prince named Aeneas who was a son of Venus! He left Troy with his father, son, and a band of Trojans as the kingdom of Troy lay in flames, having been defeated by the Greeks. Paris, a Trojan prince had run off with Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, and neighboring Greek kings had helped Menelaus defeat the Trojans and regain his bride. The story of Troy’s defeat is told in Homer’s great Greek heroic epics The Iliad and The Odyssey.
HOW THE TROJAN WAR BEGAN
Eris, the goddess of discord, was angry at not having
been invited to a wedding party and threw an apple
among the guests there. The apple was inscribed “to the
fairest,” and as she had thrown it toward Juno, Minerva, and
Venus, Jupiter ordered Paris to decide its rightful owner.
Venus promised him the love of the most beautiful
woman in the world—Helen, wife of Menelaus--and
his choice ultimately sealed the fate of his native Troy!
Aeneas had been told by his mother Venus to leave Troy to establish a great new home. He settled in Italy and generations later a descendant named Rhea Silvia had twins by the god of war, Mars. Her uncle Amulius had seized her father’s throne and forced her to become a Vestal virgin to protect his sovereignty. When her uncle discovered the twins, he had her killed and had the babies put out to die, but a servant spared them, and the infants—Romulus and Remus—were found and nurtured by a she-wolf.
They grew up and recovered the throne and started to build the city which came to be known as Rome. Rome is positioned on the western coast of the boot of Italy.
Romulus and Remus are said to have founded the city on April 21, 753 BC(DCCLIII). In the process of its founding, the twins had an argument and Romulus killed his brother
ITALY IS SITUATED
STRATEGICALLY IN THE
SICILY IS THE LARGE ISLAND
OFF THE SOUTHWEST TOE
OF ITALY’S BOOT
A HIGHLY ADVANCED CIVILIZATION--PARTICULARLY IN THE ARTS AND SCIENCES—CONQUERED BY THE ROMANS. THE ROMANS LEARNED A GREAT DEAL FROM THE GREEKS. MANY GREEK SLAVES WERE EMPLOYED BY THE ROMANS AS TEACHERS. EDUCATED ROMANS LEARNED GREEK AS WELL AS LATIN. THE ROMANS EMULATED MANY GREEK MODELS. THE ROMAN POET VERGIL MODELED HIS HEROIC EPIC TELLING THE STORY OF AENEAS (“THE AENEID”) ON HOMERIC EPICS LIKE “THE ODYSSEY”!
THE ROMANS ALSO LIKE TO DERIDE THE GREEKS, HOWEVER, AND CALLED THEM “BARBARIANS”!
THE LATIN ROOTS OF ITS NAME CONVEYS
THAT IT WAS FELT TO BE THE CENTER,
OR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE EARTH!
OF THE WHOLE ANCIENT ROMAN EMPIRE
AND PRESENT-DAY CAPITAL OF MODERN ITALY!
117 AND 125 AD
THE TIBER RIVER
THE CITY OF ROME
AND OUT TO THE
SEA CLOSE TO
ROME’S PORT CITY
ROMAN ENGINEERS WERE MASTERS OF BUILDING ROADS AND CITIES. EVERY CITY HAD A LARGE RECTANGULAR SPACE—A FORUM--OR MARKETPLACE--AS ITS CENTER. THE CAPITAL CITY OF THE EMPIRE WAS SO HUGE, THAT IT HAD MANY “FORA”. IN ENGLISH TODAY THE WORD HAS ALSO COME TO MEAN A PLACE FOR DISCUSSION—NOT SO SURPRISING, SINCE ROMANS CAME TO THE MARKETPLACE FOR MANY TYPES OF BUSINESS, AS WELL AS TO GET THE LATEST NEWS!
CHELTENHAM ADULT SCHOOL
ROME WAS BUILT ON SEVEN HILLS. ONE OF THE
MOST FAMOUS HILLS IS THE PALATINE, WHERE
THE EMPEROR AND MANY WEALTHY ROMAN
THE EMPEROR’S PALACE
(100 BC- 44BC)
--OFTEN CALLED “THE GREATEST ROMAN OF THEM ALL”!
JULIUS CAESAR CONTRIBUTED GREATLY TO THE SIZE,
GLORY, AND WEALTH OF ROME. HE REFORMED THE
CALENDAR, MADE IMPROVEMENTS IN CITY PLANNING,
EXPANDED THE TERRITORIES CONQUERED BY ROME, WROTE ABOUT
HIS MILITARY EXPLOITS, AND BECAME SO POPULAR
THAT HIS CONTEMPORARIES
ASSASSINATED HIM LEST HE MAKE HIMSELF KING.
THE ROMANS HAD OVERTHROWN A MONARCH IN 508 BC AND
INSTITUTED A NEW FORM OF GOVERNMENT CALLED A REPUBLIC,
IN WHICH NO ONE PERSON RULED AS KING. TWO CONSULS
WERE ELECTED EACH YEAR ANEW. CREATORS OF THE NEW
AMERICAN REPUBLIC SOME 2200 YEARS LATER, LOOKED BACK TO
THE ROMAN REPUBLIC AS A PARTIAL MODEL. JULIUS CAESAR’S
CONTEMPORARIES FEARED HIS GREAT POPULARITY AND POWER,
BUT ROME HAD GROWN SO LARGE, THE REPUBLIC WAS NO
LONGER ABLE TO FUNCTION PROPERLY.
ON THE IDES (15TH) OF MARCH IN 44 BC –A FAMOUS DATE IN HISTORY—
CAESAR’S FELLOW SENATORS ASSASSINATED HIM. HE IS THOUGHT TO
HAVE SAID “ET TU, BRUTE” –”AND YOU TOO, BRUTUS?” TO HIS CLOSE
FRIEND BRUTUS AT THE TIME. HE HAD ONLY HIS STYLUS TO
AFTER CAESAR’S MURDER A CIVIL WAR ENSUED.
THE VICTOR WAS CAESAR’S ADOPTED GREAT-NEPHEW
AND HEIR—OCTAVIANAUGUSTUS. AUGUSTUS
BECAME THE FIRST EMPEROR OF ROME IN 27 BC.
HIS REIGN BROUGHT MANY YEARS OF
PEACE (THE PAX ROMANA) WITHIN THE EMPIRE AND
IT IS SAID THAT HE FOUND ROME IN BRICK ,
AND LEFT IT IN MARBLE!
HERE HE IS
63 BC-14 AD
THIS HISTORICAL EVENT WAS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR
HISTORIANS. WHEN MT. VESUVIUS ERUPTED SUDDENLY
IN THE AREA OF THE BAY OF NAPLES IN 79 AD, THE TOWNS OF
POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM WERE DESTOYED—
COMPLETELY BURIED BY VARIOUS FORMS OF VOLCANIC MATERIAL.
IN THE 19TH CENTURY ARCHAEOLOGISTS BEGAN TO REDISCOVER
AND RECONSTRUCT WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE ON A DAILY BASIS IN
THE ANCIENT ROMAN EMPIRE. WE OWE MUCH OF WHAT WE
KNOW TODAY ABOUT ROMAN LIFE TO THAT DISASTER.
POMPEII AND VESUVIUS TODAY
THE BAY OF NAPLES
CITY OF NAPLES COULD BE AT GREAT RISK IF
MT VESUVIUS ERUPTS AGAIN—AND THAT COULD BE SOON!
SEE A LINK ON MY TEACHER WEBPAGE TO A
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ARTICLE FOR MORE
ON THE SUBJECT!
CIAO! ARRIVEDERCI, ROMA!