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The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic. 509-31 BCE. Republic or Empire?. “We are in a wilderness without a single footstep to guide us .” - James Madison, 1789 CE - expansion - slavery - political factions. The Grandeur that Was Rome. - language - civil law - religion.

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The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

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republic or empire
Republic or Empire?

“We are in a wilderness without a single footstep to guide us.” - James Madison, 1789 CE

- expansion

- slavery

- political factions

the grandeur that was rome
The Grandeur that Was Rome

- language

- civil law

- religion

i on the banks of the tiber origins

I. On the banks of the Tiber: Origins

No one is so intellectually sluggish as not to want to understand how the Romans – in less than fifty-three years – conquered, and how they now govern, practically the whole inhabited world…- Polybius, 201-120 BCE

the hero ine and history
The Hero(ine) and History

Aeneas and Dido

The Aeneid- Virgil, 19 BCE

Punic Wars

Julio-Claudian Dynasty

birth of the republic
Birth of the Republic

The Rape of LucretiaLivy

509 BCE, Tarquinio deposed

a etruscan culture
A. Etruscan culture

1. Hydraulic society

2. divination / fate

- Augurs- Pulcher and the chickensdivination

b latium latin
B. Latium (Latin)
  • Seven Hills 753 BCE

2. Paterfamilias

- name: common, gens, birth

Gaius Julius Caesar

Marcus Porcius Cato

c class compromise
C. Class compromise

1 . Law of 12 Tables 451 BCE

- patricians v. plebians


d consuls and conquest
D. Consuls and Conquest

1. Political machinery

- cursus honorum- Two Consuls served 1 year terms

“Praetor” – “ military leader” military 305 BCE became a separate office and leaders then titled “CONSUL.”

2. Regional power- Roman-Italic Wars

493 - 396 – Latins & Etruscans- Roman-Gaulish War

390 - 387 – Celtic (Gaul) invasion- Samnite Wars

343 – 290 – Umbria- Pyrrhic War

280 - 275 – Greek (Pyrrhus)

Paradox of Republican Rome

Expand to survive…

expand and die

ii the punic wars 265 146 bce
II. The Punic Wars 265 - 146 BCE

Defining moment

- Livy “eternal Rome”

Rome becomes an empire, and loses its republic


B. First Punic War

264 – 241 B.C.E.

1. Roman expansion beyond Italy

Fight between Syracuse

and Messina

3. Republic or Empire?

- General Verres 120-43 BCE- Republican institutions inadequate

c second punic war 218 202 bce
C. Second Punic War218-202 BCE

1. Delenda est Carthago

Cato the Elder

2. Italian campaigns218-203 BCE

- Battle of Cannae216 BCE 70 K?

Hannibal Barca

3. Romans victorious in Sicily (212) and Africa (202)- death of Archimedes- Battle of Zama Scipio Africanus
d third punic war 149 146 bce
D. Third Punic War 149-146 BCE

1. Classical conquests

Legacy of the Punic Wars

- empire gained, but at tremendous cost

- opportunists disrupt republican machinery

- strains on the paterfamilias

iii agrarian republic

III. Agrarian Republic

Cultural Life after the Punic Wars

a paterfamilias in peril
A. Paterfamilias in peril

1. Spokesman of republican virtue

Cato the Elder 234-139 BCE

2. Latifundia system

- loss of land / citizenship

- colonial economy

- slave labor v. free labor

b infirmitas sexus
B. Infirmitas Sexus

1. Republican mothers

- divorce

c rebellious sons
C. Rebellious sons
  • Paternal power
  • Adoption an option
d slavery
D. Slavery

1. Household to gang slavery

- economic disparity

2. Spartacus’ revolt 73-71 BCE

3. Origins of dictatorship

- Crassus, Pompey, Julius Caesar

“I’m Spartacus”

e equestrians
E. Equestrians

1. New money

- officers, merchants, aristocrats of the empire

2. by-passed old orders- Gaius Gracchus

f religion
F. Religion

1. Civic religion

- Vestal Virgins

2. Familial gods, spirits

- ancestor worship

3. New gods

4. Religion as dissent

Cult of Bacchus

Republic / Empire not bound by

common religion

Persecution of Bacchus cult revealed deeper problems

- growing class disparity; slavery

- traditional male status in decline

- no unifying public religion

- Patricians hostile to any reform- “bread and circuses”

a divided republic
A. Divided republic

1. Gracchus Brothers Tribunes

Tiberius land reform d. 133Gaius expand citizenship d. 121

Undermined system → mob rule

optimates v. populares

b special commanders
B. “Special” Commanders

1. Marius 157-86 BCE- Numidian War 112 BCE- army v. republic- expanded citizenship


2. Social Wars 91 BCESulla 83-79 BCE

Return to oligarchyCicero 106-43 BCEStoicism – duty to one’s role divine providence

c the new men in power
C. The “New” Men in power

1. First Triumvirate59 BC

- Pompey, Crassus

2. Julius Caesar d. 44 BCE- Gallic conquests- “man of the people”- King?“Crossing the Rubicon”
4. Second Triumvirate 42 BCE

- Octavian, Marc Antony, Lepidus

- Battle of Actium 31 BCE

d the end of the republic
D. The End of the Republic

Octavian changes name to Caesar Augustus

“Invisible Monarchy”

Senate remains, but republic is lost

why an emperor
Why an Emperor?
  • [Rhetorical] defense of Republican virtues
  • Reform / civic peace
  • The Pax Romana31 BCE - 192 CE
a invisible monarchy
A. Invisible monarchy
  • What’s in a name?

- Consul, Augustus 27 BCE, Governor

- Imperium Maius, imperator

- princeps civitatus

Reform the Senate

3. Build Equestrian class

b army reform
B. Army reform
  • Addition by subtraction

- 60 to 28 legions

- dispersal

- Praetorian Guard

2. The Legionnaires

- standing army / navy

- long tours

- chance for promotion

- veterans benefits

  • The Auxiliaries

- chance for citizenship

Army was a crucial instrument in spreading influence

c urbanization sort of
C. Urbanization (sort of)
  • Rural West, urban East

- soldiers’ colonies

- road network

  • Little Romes

- fusion of cultures

- loyal patricians

- bureaucracy

d moral regeneration
D. Moral Regeneration
  • The “family values” Emperor

- tax breaks for kids

- stiff penalties for adultery, the unmarried

2. Pontifex maximus

- cult of the Emperor