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Ancient Rome and Early Christianity. 509 BCE to 476 CE. Italian Peninsula (The “Boot of Europe”). Alps Mountains in the North. Apennines running north to south along the peninsula. Tiber and Po Rivers. Legend of the Foundation of the Roman Civilization. Romulus and Remus.

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Ancient Rome and Early Christianity


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italian peninsula the boot of europe
Italian Peninsula (The “Boot of Europe”)
  • Alps Mountains in the North.
  • Apennines running north to south along the peninsula.
  • Tiber and Po Rivers.
legend of the foundation of the roman civilization
Legend of the Foundation of the Roman Civilization
  • Romulus and Remus.
  • Both thrown into the Tiber River by their uncle.
  • Found by a shewolf and nursed until they were found by a sheepherder and his wife.
  • Romulus built Rome in 753 BCE.
  • The way it really happened.
foundation of early rome
Foundation of Early Rome
  • Neolithic Revolution arrives on the Italian Peninsula around 1000 BCE.
  • Between 2000-1000 BCE, there were groups of Indo-Europeans that settled on the Italian Peninsula.
  • By 900 BCE, one of these groups, the Etruscans ruled the northern part of the peninsula.
foundations con t
Foundations (Con’t)
  • The Etruscans brought with them the Greek alphabet and were able to quickly dominate the other groups of people that inhabited the Italian Peninsula.
  • The Etruscans were skilled artists and painters. Much of what we know of them comes from their art.
  • The Etruscan society was divided up into two social groups: aristocrats and the lower class.
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Foundations (Con’t)
  • The Etruscan upper class treated others as virtual slaves.
  • By the 600’s BCE, a family of wealthy Etruscans called the Tarquins took control.
    • They helped the people of the town of Rome, which had been built in 753 BCE, to build with brick, lay out streets, and drain the swamps that surrounded the city.
    • They also taught the Romans their religion.
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Foundations (Con’t)
  • With the help of the Tarquins, Rome became one of the wealthiest cities in the region.
  • However, by 534 BCE, a king named Tarquin II took control. He was an extremely cruel leader.
  • In 509 BCE, the Romans drove the Tarquins out of Rome and declared the new region, res publica or republic.
roman republic
Roman Republic
  • Under the Etruscan rule, Roman society had been divided into two groups:
    • Patricians - wealthy, landowning aristocrats
    • Plebeians - wealthy, non-aristocratic townspeople, merchants, small farmers, etc..
    • Both groups had the right to vote, serve in the military and both paid taxes to the government. However, only patricians could hold public office.
republican government
Republican Government
  • The government of the republic was organized into both executive and legislative branches.
  • At first, the legislative branch consisted of two branches: the Senate and the Assembly of Centuries. The Senate outranked the Assembly of Centuries and the 300 members served for life.
republican government con t
Republican Government (Con’t)
  • The executive branch was headed by two patricians elected by the Senate.
    • Consuls
    • Served one year terms
    • Veto power
    • Consuls appointed other government officials.
    • Only a dictator could overrule the consuls.
    • Dictators were only appointed during crisis.
plebeian demands of 494 bce
Plebeian Demands of 494 BCE
  • The plebeians wanted a bigger voice in the government.
  • In 494 BCE, the plebeians refused to serve in the military until their demands for representation in the government was made.
  • The patricians agreed to the demands of the plebeians.
plebeian victories
Plebeian Victories
  • As a result of their threatened strike, the plebeians won the following concessions from the patricians:
    • Representation by tribunes.
    • Slavery by debts was abolished.
    • Plebeians and patricians could marry.
    • The creation of the Twelve Tables. A written code of Roman laws that were place din the Forum.
roman life
Roman Life
  • Religion:
    • Roman religion was based on Etruscan deities and Greek gods and goddesses.
    • During the 500 years of the Roman Republic, the Roman actually preserved much of the Greek culture.
    • Romans changed the names of the Greek gods and goddesses to better reflect Roman ideals.
roman life con t
Roman Life (Con’t)
  • The real power in the Roman Republic rests in the hands of the Senate.
  • The “backbone of the republic was the “citizen-farmer” of Rome. These were the people that manned the Roman armies and gave Rome the power to expand.
  • The basic unit of Roman society was the family.
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Roman Life (Con’t)
  • The oldest living male member of the family was the absolute head of the household.
    • The oldest male owned all property, controlled the education of the sons, and conducted the family’s religion ceremonies.
    • The oldest male had the power to sell family members into slavery or even kill them.
    • Women had few legal rights under the law.
roman republic expansion
Roman Republic - Expansion
  • From 500 to 300 BCE, the Roman Republic faced threats from the other groups on the Italian Peninsula. One by one, the Romans were able to either conquer or force these groups to submit to Rome.
  • The toughest challenge came from the Greeks that inhabited the southern part of the peninsula. “Pyrrhic Victory” 275 BCE.
roman legions might of rome
Roman Legions - Might of Rome
  • The strength of Rome was in its armies or legions.
  • Each legion was 6000 men strong.
  • It was quicker than the Greek phalanx.
  • Roman soldiers were well trained. Deserters were punished by death.
roman legions con t
Roman Legions (Con’t)
  • The ranks of the Roman legions were made up of the citizen farmers.
  • Romans would even allow conquered peoples the opportunity to serve in the legions.
  • Romans set up military colonies throughout the Italian Peninsula to protect key points and cities. To connect these colonies, the Romans build roads.
punic wars
Punic Wars
  • In 264 BCE, the city of Carthage attempted to seize the waterway between Sicily and the Italian Peninsula. This area is called the Straits of Messina.
punic wars con t
Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • The Roman legions were able to quickly defeat the Carthaginians on the Island of Sicily.
  • Carthage then attacked Rome with its powerful navy.
  • Rome’s power was in its legions. This gave Carthage an advantage against Rome.
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • During the early stages of the war, a Carthaginian warship was beached during a storm. The Romans captured it and made copies.
  • It allowed the Romans to use its superior legions on the seas and Carthage was defeated in 241 BCE.
  • Rome required Carthage to pay an indemnity for the damages.
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • In 221 BCE, a Carthaginian general named Hannibal was put in command of the Carthaginian armies in Spain.
  • In 219 BCE, he had taken one of Rome’s colonies.
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • Hannibal set his sights on Rome.
  • Leading 40,000 soldiers and 40 battle elephants, he marched towards Rome, crossing Gaul and natural obstacles.
  • The Romans felt comfortable in the fact that Hannibal was a long way off and that Rome was protected by the obstacles that lay in Hannibal’s path.
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • Hannibal continued to march towards Rome. His armies crossed over the Alps in the middle of winter and surprised the Romans by making it into the northern part of the peninsula. Over half his armies died on the march.
  • Roman legions were sent to stop Hannibal. All were destroyed and the Carthaginians continued to advance on Rome.
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • When Hannibal and his armies arrived outside Rome, they were not strong enough to attack the city itself.
  • Hannibal then moved his armies into the southern part of the Italian Peninsula and attacked smaller cities and towns.
  • In 216 BCE, the Romans met Hannibal on the battlefield at Cannae.
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • Hannibal and his armies were vastly outnumbered.
  • When the Romans attacked, Hannibal sprung his trap. The Romans were completely routed off the battlefield by the outnumbered Carthaginians.
    • Don’t kill the Romans - “Hamstring them.”
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • For the next 14 years, Hannibal and his armies attacked and plundered cities and towns in southern Italy.
  • In 202 BCE, a Roman general named Scipio attacked Carthage. Hannibal was summoned home to protect the city.
  • Scipio defeats Hannibal at the Battle of Zama.
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • As a result of losing, Carthage had to give most of its warships to Rome and pay another indemnity.
  • Hannibal was hunted by the Romans and finally committed suicide in Asia Minor as the Romans were about to capture him.
  • For the next 50 years, Carthage rebuilt.
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • The Romans continued to fear Carthage.
  • Cato, a Roman senator, ended all of his speeches with the statement, “Carthago delenda est” (Carthage must be destroyed).
  • Hannibal had left a mark on the psyche of the Romans.
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Punic Wars (Con’t)
  • In 146 BCE, Rome attacked Carthage, burned it to the ground and sold all of its citizens into slavery. Legend also states that the Romans plowed salt into the ground so nothing would grow.
  • This victory gave Rome control over the Western Mediterranean region. Then they turned their attention to Greece.
crisis in the roman republic
Crisis in the Roman Republic
  • Unemployment
  • Overcrowding in the cities.
  • Slavery
  • Rising crime rate.
  • Traffic congestion
  • Deepening class struggle
crisis con t
Crisis (Con’t)
  • From the period 230-130 BCE, the Romans expanded their borders in the Eastern Mediterranean region as well.
  • As Rome expanded, the social conditions within the republic began to deteriorate.
  • Throughout the Italian Peninsula and the conquered territories, wealthy Romans began to seize lands.
crisis con t35
Crisis (Con’t)
  • Small farms were bought up by the wealthy Romans from farmers who fell behind in their taxes or were away serving in the roman legions.
  • These small farms were combined into huge estates called latifundias.
  • These latifundias also switched from subsistence to cash crops.
crisis con t36
Crisis (Con’t)
  • Labor for these huge estates came from the increasing numbers of slaves that Roman expansion had brought into the republic.
    • The most highly prized slaves were from Greece. These were the best educated and most artistic.
    • By 100 BCE, slaves formed about 30% of republic’s population.
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Crisis (Con’t)
  • As more slaves became available, many of the small farmers and their families were forced to move into the cities seeking employment.
  • Jobs were not available to them because most were uneducated and slaves had taken many of the jobs.
  • This created a new class of urban poor.
crisis con t38
Crisis (Con’t)
  • Realizing the dangers of the vast numbers of hungry and unemployed within the cities, politicians implemented “bread and circuses.” Keeping the people entertained and fed became a major priority for the republic.
crisis con t39
Crisis (Con’t)
  • The gap between the rich and poor became wider and Rome positioned legions throughout the republic to put down any rebellions.
  • In 133 BCE, a tribune named Tiberius Gracchus proposed limiting the sizes of the latifundias and giving land to the poor.
  • Members of the Senate opposed his ideas and had him assassinated doing street riots sponsored by the Senate.
crisis con t40
Crisis (Con’t)
  • 10 years later, Tiberius’ brother Gaius was also murdered in Senate backed riots because of his social reforms.
  • After the death of the Gracchi brothers, the generals took control of the republic.
civil war 88 82 bce
Civil War 88 - 82 BCE
  • In 107 BCE, a Roman general named Marius became consul in Rome.
  • Marius opened the army ranks to the urban unemployed.
  • His armies swore allegiance to him rather than Rome.
civil war con t
Civil War (Con’t)
  • A rival general named Sulla struggled for control of Rome.
  • Sulla led the Senate’s armies against Marius and defeated Marius’ armies.
struggle for power
Struggle for Power
  • In 60 BCE, the 1st Triumvirate was formed by Julius Caesar, Cassius, and Pompey.
  • They wanted to restore the power of the republic.
struggle for power con t
Struggle for Power (Con’t)
  • While serving as consul of Rome, Caesar realized that he needed military victories to advance his political career.
    • In 59 BCE, Caesar left Rome to take command of the roman legions in the province of Gaul.
    • He was able to defeat the Celts and expand the republic to the Rhine River in present day Germany.
struggle for power con t45
Struggle for Power (Con’t)
  • By 50 BCE, Caesar was being hailed as a hero by the Roman public and the triumvirate was falling apart. Cassisu had been killed in battle and Pompey grew increasingly jealous of Caesar.
  • In 49 BCE, Pompey urged the Senate to recall Caesar from Gaul.
  • Caesar was ordered to give up his armies and return to Rome.
struggle for power con t46
Struggle for Power (Con’t)
  • Caesar took 5000 loyal soldiers with him and marched towards Rome.
  • He crossed the Rubicon River with his legion. This was a direct violation of Roman law.
  • Caesar forced Pompey and his armies out of the Italian Peninsula and declared himself dictator for life in 45 BCE.
julius caesar
Caesar granted citizenship to many people from the provinces.

Appointed senators from the provinces that were loyal to him.

Set up public works programs.

Ordered landowners to hire more free laborers.

Continued to distribute free grain to the poor.

Instituted a new calendar based on 365 days.

Julius Caesar
caesar con t
Caesar (Con’t)
  • Many people supported Caesar and his reforms. However, some saw him as a tyrant who wanted to become king.
  • Under Roman law, any person that wanted to become king could be executed with trial.
  • As Caesar was going to the Senate on March 15, 44 BCE, Caesar was assassinated by a group of Senators who opposed him.
the end of the roman republic
The End of the Roman Republic
  • After Caesar was assassinated, the 2nd Triumvirate was formed by Octavian, Marc Antony, and Marcus Lepidus.
  • This triumvirate was formed to avenge the assassination of Caesar.
  • The triumvirate did not last long. Lepidus was forced to retire and Marc Antony and Octavian struggled for control of Rome.
end of the republic con t
End of the Republic (Con’t)
  • Marc Antony married Cleopatra and Octavian convinced the roman people that Antony planned to rule with Cleopatra as his Queen.
  • In 31 BCE, the forces of Octavian and Marc Antony and Cleopatra met at the Battle of Actium.
  • Within a year, both Antony and Cleopatra had committed suicide.