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The Fall of the Roman Republic. The life and times of Gaius Julius Caesar. The Big Picture. After today’s lesson, you should be able to answer the following questions. Could the decline of the Republic have been prevented? How might history have been different is Caesar was defeated in Gaul?

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The fall of the roman republic

The Fall of the Roman Republic

The life and times of Gaius Julius Caesar

The big picture
The Big Picture

After today’s lesson, you should be able to answer the following questions.

  • Could the decline of the Republic have been prevented?

  • How might history have been different is Caesar was defeated in Gaul?

  • If you were Caesar, what decisions would you have made differently that might have spared you from your untimely death?

After carthage and the punic wars
After Carthage and the Punic Wars

  • With its chief rival in the Mediterranean defeated, Rome was free to expand into much of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

  • Rome was engaging in a policy of imperialism

    • Imperialism

    • A. Political Movement (a popular social/cultural idea)

    • B. establishing economic or military control

      over foreign lands and people.

    • C. Roman policy following the Punic Wars

-By 133 BC, Rome will control almost the entire Mediterranean coast.

-Rome control is so widespread, the Romans call the Mediterranean Sea, “Our Sea.”

The height of the roman republic
The Height of the Roman Republic

The extent of Roman control after the Punic Wars

Social and economic effects of roman military success
Social and Economic Effects of Roman Military Success

  • Wealth flooded into Rome from three places

    • Plunder (physical wealth taken from conquered lands)

    • Control of trade routes.

    • New lands and people to tax.

  • The wealthy of Rome used this new wealth to purchase large amounts of land that they turned into latifundia.

    • Latifundia

      • A. Geography; Economic System; Cultural Change

      • B. Huge estates of land owned by wealthy Romans.

      • C. Brought additional wealth through slave farming.

  • With all the victories of Rome, came waves of slaves pouring into Roman markets.

  • Finding it cheaper to buy slaves than hire workers, latifundia owners used slaves to work their farmlands.

Plebeians seek aid reform fails
Plebeians seek aid, Reform fails

- By using slaves for labor, Roman plebeians found little opportunity for jobs in the countryside of the city.

  • In huge numbers, Romans flock to the city of Rome itself.

    • All they found were other unemployed people.

    • Joined together, many form angry mobs.

    • Many are only able to find jobs working for politicians as hired thugs.

      • These thugs become privately owned street gangs.

  • The Gracchus Brothers

    • Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus – elected Tribunes

      • In 133 BC and again in 144 BC, they call for reforms to the latifundia system.

    • Their reform ideas angered many wealthy senators, who had them killed in gang street violence.

The rise of caesar
The Rise of Caesar

  • With the plebeians angry at their current state, powerful generals quickly gain the loyalty of the legions.

  • For a number of years, the Senate struggles with these powerful generals (many are consuls) who threaten the existence of the Republic with their power.

  • Eventually, power becomes split between three men.

    • Julius Caesar, consul

    • Pompey “Magnus” (Pompey “The Great”), consul

    • Crassus, retired consul

  • Calling themselves, in secret, the Triumvirate, they plan to split the rule of Rome between them.

  • Each of the men seeks a base of power from which to rule.

    • Pompey, having been a successful general for many years, sets up in Rome itself.

    • Julius Caesar conquers the land called Gaul (modern France), making him extremely rich.

    • Crassus attempts to conquer Parthia, in Asia Minor, but is killed in battle.

Caesar vs pompey
Caesar vs Pompey

Caesar and Pompey are now set for civil war.

- The Senate, needing to have support, join with Pompey and declare Caesar an enemy of Rome.

- Caesar, with his loyal armies, crosses the Rubicon River, entering Italy with Roman soldiers. An act of clear treason.

- Pompey and Caesar’s armies finally meet for a final battle in Greece.

- Caesar wins. Pompey flees to Egypt, where he is murdered by the pharaoh, Ptolemy XII.

- The Senate, with no one left to support their power, are forced to elect Julius Caesar dictator for life.

Julius Caesar

Pompey Magnus

The rule and death of julius caesar
The Rule (and death) of Julius Caesar

Caesar’s Reforms of Roman Government

- Created a public works program to employ the jobless citizens of Rome and gave land to his soldiers and the poor.

-Introduced the Julian Calendar, which he adapted from the Egyptians

- He granted Roman citizenship to more people, many coming from other Italian tribes. (ie- not the Latins).

Still, many of the patricians and Senators of Rome hated Caesar and saw him as another would-be king.

To save what they saw as a crumbling republic, a small group of Senators, led by Marcus Brutus, assassinate Caesar in the Senate on March 15, 44 BC.

He is stabbed 23 times. It was said his last act in life was to try and cover his face with his toga so that no one would see his face as he died.

The results
The Results

  • The Republic crumbles into chaos. Civil war will occur, followed by the first Roman Emperor, who we will discuss tomorrow.

  • No Roman at the time could have predicted that Rome was about to enter its Golden Age.