The Early Days
The Rise of Rome
"Who is so thoughtless and lazy that does
not want to know in what way and with what
kind of government the Romans in less than
53 years conquered nearly the entire
inhabited world and brought it under their
rule - an achievement previously unheard
This question was asked by Polybius, a Greek
historian who lived in the second century B.C.
the achievement Polybius was speaking of
was Rome’s ability to not only conquer
peoples but to incorporate them into the
From City-State to Empire
“Rome’s greatest achievement was to
transcend the narrow political orientation
of the city-state and to create a world-
state that unified the different nations of
the Mediterranean world…. The Hebrews
were distinguished by their prophets and
the Greeks by their philosophers. The
Romans…found expression in law and
government, in the practical, not the
theoretical” (Perry 2005, 69-70).
The Land and the Sea
Italy ‘s Position and Climate (subtropical)
Rivers were unsuitable for shipping so
Mediterranean became important.
The Apennines hindered people from
penetrating Italy from the north.
Geography was better than Greece. Latium and
Campania were fertile plains
The Romans established their city on the
Tiber River in Latium.
The seven hills of Rome were defensible
and safe from the floods.
By the 8th century BC, small peasant
communities were living in the hills of
North of them were the Etruscans
South of them were the Greeks
Eventually both of these were absorbed by
The Etruscans were a mysterious people that
formed towns in Italy.
Some scholars believe that they migrated from Asia
The Etruscans exported mineral resources to pay
for luxury goods imported from the eastern
Mediterranean. They also created an export
market in olive oil and wine.
Formed a loose league of cities whose domination
covered much of Italy
7th century B.C. they had fully entered the
cosmopolitan life of the Mediterranean world
They were eventually defeated by Celts, Greeks,
and finally Romans
According to Roman legend, Romulus
and Remus founded Rome in 753 B.C.
Romulus built his settlement on the
Palatine Hill. Remus chose the Aventine.
Remus was jealous and jumped over
Romulus killed him saying "So will die
whoever else shall leap over my walls."
The Romans and the Etruscans
During the 6th and 7th BC the Etruscans expanded
their territory and controlled the monarchy in
Under the Etruscans, Rome enjoyed contacts with
the larger Mediterranean world, and the city began
to grow. Capitoline Hill became the religious
center of the city when the temple of Jupiter
Optimus Maximus was built there.
The Romans adopted some things from the
Etruscans: the toga, Architectural styles (the vault
and arch), road construction, sanitation, hydraulic
engineering, metallurgy, ceramics, portrait
sculpture, Etruscan words, names, and gods.
Forming the Republic
Romans expelled the Etruscan king Tarquin
the Proud from Rome in 509 B.C. and
founded the republic.
Then they formed alliances with the Latin towns
In the beginning, religion governed the people,
dictated laws and legitimized the rule of the
Gradually religion and politics were separated
The constitutional system paralleled the Greek
achievement of rationalizing and secularizing
politics and law
Early republic- power was with the
aristocracy- the patricians.
The Plebeians had few of the Patricians’
advantages but had a voice in politics.
The Senate- originated under the Etruscans
as a council of noble elders who advised the
king, sat year after year
Senate could not pass legislation, it could
only offer its advice.
Centuriate Assembly was established as a
popular assembly and the Senate advised it
Social Conflict in Rome
The Struggle of Orders- social conflict
that developed between patricians and
plebeians. The plebeians wanted real
political representation and safeguards
against patrician domination.
Senate and Centuriate Assembly
In 494 B.C., the plebeians walked out of
Rome and refused to serve in the army.
The tribunes- plebeians who brought grievances to
the senate for resolution.
Only the patricians knew the law. Plebeians wanted
the law codified and published.
Law of the Twelve Tables- civil and criminal law
that were inscribed on large bronze plaques. They
forced the patricians to publish legal procedures as
In 287 B.C., the lex Hortensia gave the concilium
plebes the force of law for patricians and plebeians
alike. Plebeians could now hold the consulship and
wear the purple toga, the symbol of aristocracy- also
established a new nobility with plebes and patricians.
Tribal Assembly no longer needed senate approval to pass
Roman Offices and Assemblies
The Romans created assemblies who elected magistrates
and passed legislation.
Comitia Curiata- religious, political, and military
Comitia centuriata- a military group who would help
Concilium plebes- an assembly made up of plebeians to
Chief magistrates of the republic were the two consuls,
elected for one-year terms.
They appointed quaestors to assist them.
In 421 B.C. the quaestorship became an elective office
open to plebeians.
The Praetor primarily dealt with the administration of
Censors were responsible for the supervision of public
morals, the power to determine who lawfully could sit in
the senate, and for the registration of citizens.
The Roman Constitution
Ruling ologarchy had a sense of responsibility
and talent for statesmanship
Civic needs rather than religious mystery formed
Study and interpretation of law passed to a class
of professional jurists who classified,
systematized and sought commonsense answers
to legal problems
The Roman constitution evolved gradually and
empirically to respond to needs as they arose
There had been 5 great powers when Rome started to
consolidate its power:
Seleucids in the Near East, Ptolemaics in Egypt, Macedonia,
Carthage, And the Italian Confederation (Rome dominated)
By 146 Rome was the dominant power in all of the
This Roman expansion occurred in 3 main phases
Unification of the Italian Peninsula
Collision with Carthage
Subjugation of the Hellenistic states
Rome evolved into the city of humanity – the cosmopolis
imagined by the stoics
Roman Conquest of Italy
Romans drove the Etruscans out of Latium about a century
after forming the republic
Around 390 B.C. Rome faced a setback- the Celts (AKA
Gauls) sacked Rome.
From 390 to 290 B.C. Rome was rebuilt; army was reorganized into
Next they subdued other Latin kinsmen, semi-civilized
Italian tribes, and finally the Greek city-states in southern
They developed a moral and religious devotion to their city
that kept them away from social conflict, factional disputes,
and personal ambitions.
Rome couldn’t have accomplished this task without the
cooperation of the other Italian people
Rome displayed a remarkable talent for turning former
enemies into allies and then Roman citizens
No Greek city had ever integrated non-natives into the political
Expansion into the
Rome was drawn into conflicts that brought
her an overseas empire
In 282 B.C. Rome expanded in Italy and to
Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia.
Romans brought various peoples into one
Those closest to Rome were incorporated into
the Roman state.
The others were bound by treaty with the
Romans and were considered allies.
Founded by Phoenecians in around 800 BC
Was a world commercial power
Held major pieces of Spain, Sicily, Sardinia
Rome was stepping into their territory
Rome also had to come to the aid of her
Sicilian and southern Italian allies
The Punic Wars (264-133 B.C.)
The First Punic War between Rome and
Carthage lasted 23 years(264-241 B.C.).
The Romans built a navy and fought seven
major battles with the Carthaginians, won
six, and finally wore them down.
In 241 B.C. the Romans took possession
Carthage had to surrender
In 238 B.C. Rome took advantage of
Carthaginian weakness- took Sardinia
Second Punic War
Carthage still held Spain and Rome tensions
were still high between the two powers
In 237 B.C. Carthaginian named Hamilcar led
an army to Spain. With him he took his 19
year old son, Hannibal, and made him swear
to be an enemy to Rome forever.
In 221 B.C. Hannibal became commander in
Spain. He laid siege to Saguntum. The
Romans declared war, claiming that Carthage
had attacked a friendly city.
The Second Punic War
Hannibal struck first marching over the Alps into Italy.
He defeated one Roman army at the Battle of Trebia,
another at the Battle of Lake Trasimenne in 217 B.C.,
and got his greatest victory at the Battle of Cannae.
A number of cities in central and southern Italy rebelled
Scipio Africanus copied Hannibal’s methods of mobile
warfare, streamlining the legions and introduced new
With Hannibal bottled up in southern Italy, Scipio in 204
B.C. struck directly at Carthage itself. The prompted the
Carthaginians to recall Hannibal from Italy to defend the
In 202 B.C. Scipio defeated Hannibal in one of the
world’s truly decisive battles.
The Third Punic War
Needless, unjust, and savage conflict
that ended in 146 B.C. when Scipio
Aemilianus, grandson of Scipio
Africanus, destroyed the old hated
The war was launched merely as means
Rome Turns East (211-133 B.C.)
The Hellenistic World
Overseas Conquest (282-146 B.C.) led to a
In the barbarian West, Rome resorted to
harsh aggression to conquer new territory.
The Greek city of Tarentum in southern Italy
called for help from Pyrrhus, king of Epirus
in western Greece, a relative of Alexander
the Great and an excellent general.
Pyrrhus won two furious battles but suffered
In 275 B.C. Rome drove him from Italy and
extended her sway over southern Italy.
Rome didn’t trust Greece anymore
During the Second Punic War Philip V of Macedonia
made an alliance with Hannibal against Rome.
The Romans headed east and found their first victory
over the Macedonians in 197 B.C. After that the
Roman general Titus Flamininus defeated the
In 189 B.C. the Seleucid kingdom fell too the
The decisive victory came in 146 B.C. when the
Romans conquered the Achaean League, sacked
Corinth, and finally defeated Macedonia.
Attalus III, the last king of Pergamum, bequeathed
his kingdom to the Romans. The Ptolemies of Egypt
meekly obeyed Roman wishes.
Spread of Culture
Roman Culture spread through religious cults, mythology,
and drama furthering the Romanization of Italy. The Italians
adopted Roman deities and their religious traditions.
The Romans and Italians grew closer together by the
mutual understanding of and participation in the religious
rites of Roman cults.
Drama gave the Italian an understanding of Roman law and
Unlike the Greeks, the Romans did not simply conquer and
They shared both political power and citizenship (degrees).
Rome both conquered and shared the fruits of conquest
with the conquered.
Rome could consolidate where Greece could only dominate.
Divided the Mediterranean into provinces
governed by ex-consuls and ex-praetors.
The civil law, or ius civile, consisted of statutes,
customs, and forms of procedure.
Assemblies added to the body of law, and praetors
The spirit of the law aimed at protecting the
property, lives, and reputations of citizens,
redressing wrongs, and giving satisfaction to
victims of injustice.
-ius gentium- "the law of peoples,," that applied to
Romans and foreigners and that laid the foundation
for a universal conception of law.
-ius naturale- "natural law, a universal law that
can be applied to all societies.
Consequences of Expansion
Thousands of educated Greeks came to Rome-
some enslaved, some free, some hired as tutors
Expedited the Hellenization process
Between 80 and 8 BC over 2 million slaves were
brought into Italy
1/3 the Italian population
Sicily in 135 BC
Spartacus in 73 BC
Provinces became a source for quick profit and
Greater Contact with Greek Culture
Wealthy Romans either sent their sons to Athens to
study or hired Greek teachers
Roman generals shipped libraries and Greek art
back to Rome
Romans acquired a taste for Greek science,
philosophy, medicine, and geography
They adopted Greek humanism
Rome assimilated Greek culture and then
Roman Cultural Figures
Cato the Censor- denounced Socrates fro undermining
respect for Athenian law and warned against Greek
Plautus- Rome’s greatest playwright- adopted 4th and 3rd BC
Terence- Came as a slave but was freed by his owner- less
boisterous than Plautus but superior in style
Catullus- One of the Great lyric poets- wrote about passion
and its anguish
Lucretius- an epicurean that sought philosphical tranquility.
He denounced superstition and advanced a materialistic sense
of nature. Argued that the soul perishes with the body
Cicero- roman statesman and orator. Student of Greek
More than 800 of his letters survive
Stoic belief in natural law as the governance of nature and humanity
Collapse of the Republic
Destroyed Farms and returning Farmer-
Forced to sell farms for cheap money
Latifundia and slaves
Many people moved to the urban centers
Independent rural Romans became part of
the urban poor
Tiberius Gracchus (163-133)- spokesman for
Revived old law forbidding the use of more than 312
acres of public land
Senatorial elites killed him and 300 of his followers
Gaius Gracchus (153-121)- younger brother who
reintroduced these reforms
Enabled the poor to buy grain at ½ market price
Civil war ensued and Guy and 3000 followers died
The End is Near
Senate saw itself as the guardian but it was
expressing the will of 300 families who wanted
to retain control
Generals like Marius begin to use their power to
He disposed of property rights to become a soldier
Promised money, loot, and land
Sulla battles Marius
Marius dies and Sulla makes reforms
Reduced the power of provincial governors
Increased senate to 600
Limited power of tribunes and the Assembly
Restored the right of the Senate to veto the Assembly
Old Values and Greek Cultue
"Acquisition of an empire was the
beginning of Rome’s troubles:"