FROM REPUBLIC TO EMPIRE
(FINISH UP EXPANSION) I. ROMAN EXPANSION
The questions is how this smallish city-state managed to conquer most of the world as they knew it?
use of maniples – more flexibility in way arranged troops
Roman discipline: obedience to orders, death penalty for insubordination or desertion, constant training
Chronology of expansion:
First Rome conquered Italy 5th and 4th centuries BC
Romans began to conquer their neighbors in Italy - slowly, in the course of the 5th and 4th centuries.
The Romans began to grant the conquered Italians partial citizen rights - gradually turning all Italians into Romans.
This extension of citizenship to conquered peoples was new in western history -
Persians; Hellenistic monarchies had treated conquered peoples as inferiors
Romans were willing to make them Romans.
PUNIC WARS – brought Rome its first overseas provinces
It took the Punic Wars - wars with Carthage - to make Rome an overseas empire.
Carthaginians had a trading empire based in North Africa
They were great merchants, and seafarers, and had conquered much of Sicily by the 3 rd century BC.
Came into conflict with the Romans over control of Sicily and Spain
The Second Punic War (218-201 BC) is more important.
This war almost destroyed Rome, because of a Carthaginian prince named Hannibal.
Hannibal had grown up in Spain, after the Carthaginian defeat during the First Punic War.
His father - so it goes - had made him swear eternal hatred towards the Romans.
When the Romans began to meddle in Spain, Hannibal decided to take war to Italy itself.
He crossed from Spain over the Pyrenees and then over the Alps, with elephants.
40,000 men; 37 elephants
He lost almost half of his army, and 2/3rds of the elephants, but he nevertheless occupied Italy for 15 years.
The Romans lost battle after battle to Hannibal (who used a style of warfare much like the Greek hoplites)
Worst Roman defeat was at Cannae - 216 BC - 40,000 Romans killed.
Two things allowed the Romans to win in the end:
- Simple refusal by them or their Italian allies to surrender
- attacking the Carthaginian home base in North Africa (204 BC)
Hannibal left Italy and was defeated in North Africa by Scipio
The ferocity of Roman attacks on the Carthaginians is worth noting
- attack on New Carthage in Spain - Roman troops had orders to kill everyone - women, children, even the dogs.
Roman dismembered corpses
Romans won the 2nd Punic war
But Hannibal had made them terrified that another foreign power would occupy Italy
From that point on, Romans were set on overcoming anyone who could possibly be a threat to them.
Conquest of rest of Mediterranean
The century and a half after the 2nd Punic War was the period of Rome’s greatest expansion.
Romans had another war with Carthage, and also fought the Hellenistic Greeks
Wars with the Greeks started because the Hellenistic kings in Greece had helped Hannibal.
To get back at the kings, the Romans declared the Greek city-states "free" - i.e. free of Macedonia - and intervened
to put this into effect.
When Greek cities don't show proper gratitude, the Romans conquer them.
146 BC was the most dramatic year -
Romans destroyed two ancient cities - Corinth and Carthage - in the same year
, killing or enslaving their populations, ripping down the buildings, and declaring the land unfit for habitation.
(modern legend is that they sowed Carthaginian land with salt to prevent it from being ever farmed again - but this is
false; no ancient source says this)
By the end of the 1st century BC, all the territory which rings the Mediterranean sea was Roman -
and as we'll talk about next week, the Romans gradually turned the people they had conquered into Romans.
II. HOW DID CONQUERING AN EMPIRE CHANGE THE ROMANS?
- Influx of wealth and slaves
Taxes and booty from conquered provinces flow into Italy.
After conquering so much of the Mediterranean world, 100's of thousands of foreign slaves were imported into Italy
(Most Roman slaves were acquired through war; Enslavement was a victor’s right in war)
to be used both for domestic service and as field hands on Roman plantations..
This created two significant changes in composition of Roman society:
- First, slave plantations began to replace the small farmers who had been the backbone of Roman society
- Among the rich slave-owning Romans, women become more liberated – slaves begin to do most of the
- Enormous expansion of the citizen body
both because of slave manumission (Romans were unusual in making their slaves Roman citizens when
they freed them; much of the Roman citizen body eventually had slave origin) and extension of citizenship to
conquered populations in Italy and the provinces
no long practical for all Roman citizens to go to Rome to vote in Assemblies; Empire had grown to
large for political system
- Romans adopt Greek (Hellenistic) culture
The Romans conquered the Greeks - but the Greeks ended up influencing Roman culture far more than Roman
culture influenced Greek.
In the 3rd and 2nd centuries, Greek intellectuals (and in 2nd and 1st c slaves) poured into Rome.
The Romans adopted Greek literary genres (drama, epic poetry, history), Greek philosophy (Stoicism,
Epicureanism), Greek art, Greek social life (like public baths, gyms, theatres), even Greek food and sexual practices
(homosexual romance became acceptable in upper class circes).
Even the shape of Roman houses became more Greek
addition of Greek peristyle.
A few conservative Romans tried to resist the Hellenizing trend - but they failed.
A truly "Graeco-Roman" culture was formed.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PROBLEMS CREATED BY THESE CHANGES
Urban proletariat of displaced farmers
Hurt military enrollment - because the Roman armies had been made up of the small farmers
Idea of being ruled by a monarch less repulsive to most of the foreign born Roman citizens
Belief that Romans (esp. Roman women) losing their traditional values
Rise of powerful general: example of Julius Caesar
The generals began to develop client armies.
(meaning of "client" in Roman society)
armies which fought for them personally instead of the Roman Republic.
Roman soldiers started to look towards their generals to support them, instead of going back to their farms.
They expected their generals to keep them on as paid soldiers even after the current war was over, or give them land
as a reward.
Generals like Julius Caesar turned citizen soldiers into their clients - the soldiers swore oath of loyalty to the general
in return for promises of rewards.
Example of Julius Caesar
New style epitomized by someone like Julius Caesar, in 1st century BC
Julius Caesar - before he became rich from conquering much of Europe - got greatly into debt in order to maintain a
rich life style
He gave elaborate public games to the Roman people; and elaborate banquets to his fellow senators
He divorced several wives, and had affairs with men as well as women
("every woman's man, and every man's woman" the saying went
He had an affair with Cleopatra, the last Hellenistic queen of Egypt - and son by her.
Above all, Julius Caesar wanted military glory - instead of just doing his duty like an old fashioned Roman, he
wanted to conquer the world, imitating Alexander -
Caesar responsible for conquering much of Europe - n. Spain, France, Belgium, S. Germany, England (briefly)
He would also turn his armies against Rome itself - and become its dictator.
When Senate tried 50 BC to take away Caesar’s command in Gaul, and not let him run for consul.
Caesar’s response in 49 BC was to lead a legion across the Rubicon, a small river which separated Cisalpine Gaul
This began the civil war BETWEEN CAESAR AND SENATE
His odds were not good: the senate had a great general - Pompey; and more troops in Greece
Nevertheless in 48 BC, at Pharsalus in Greece, Caesar defeated Pompey and the senate - largely because of the
loyalty he could command of his troops.
Caeasar as dictator
It is hard to say whether Caesar would have been able to rule as well as he fought, because after the end of the civil
war, he had only a year to live.
He offended the Romans by adopting some of the trappings of monarchy.
coins - Caesar’s head first image of a living human to appear on a Roman coin 44 BC
office of dictator (like Sulla) 49 BC on; by 44 BC, for life.
Military ambitions - to defeat Parthians (who had executed the triumvir Crassus, a humilitiation the Roman were not
likely to forget), and perhaps to rival Alexander in his conquests.
He planned to leave on campaign on March 18, 44 BC.
He never made it:
Conspiracy - led by two senators who had gone over to Caesar during the civil wars - Cassius and Marcus Brutus.
Caesar aware of conpiracies, but too proud to act against them; renowned for his clementia. He even had disbanded
his private body=guard.
March 15, 44 BC, ides of March - groups of Roman senators stabbed Caesar in the Senate house; stabbed him.
The senators thought that they had restored the Roman Republic
They were wrong. Next class we will see how Caesar's heir, Octavian Augustus, founded the Roman empire.
Octavian Augustus' founds the Roman Principate
In his will, Julius Caesar had adopted a son - Octavian Augustus
(Octavian was only 18 years old at the time).
He got the loyalty of Caesar's army veterans.
Civil war sprang up between Caesar's supporters and the senators who had murdered
After some attempts to share power (the Trimvirates), Octavian fights a series of civil wars with
Mark Antony, one of Caesar's old supporters.
The last Hellenistic queen - Cleopatra - fought against Octavian.
She became Mark Antony's lover
She let him use the wealth of Egypt to attack Octavian.
But in 31 BC, Octavian defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide rather than be captured (the Romans considered
suicide a noble way to avoid defeat)
Octavian had won the civil wars; no one was left to oppose him
After decades of civil war, Romans wanted peace at all costs.
B. Augustus' foundation of the Principate - a disguised monarchy
Actium marks the turning point in Roman history.
After this, the Roman Republic is no more, the Roman Empire (or Principate) begins.
Instead of Senatorial rule, there is imperial rule.
And yet, according to Octavian's own words, he was not the destroyer, but restorer of the
Then in 27 BC Octavian "restores" republic "transferred the Republic from my power into that
of the Senate and the Roman People" (RG 34)
Senate renames him Augustus in gratitude (after this Octavian called Augustus)
What exactly did Octavian mean by restoration of republic?
Octavian decided not to call himself dictator or king - but rather princeps and imperator
Princeps was his title with respect to the senate - meant "first" of the senators
Imperator "emperor" - meant commander of the army; the army gave him this title
Even though Augustus wasn't called king, he had most of the real power in the Roman state.
1. Republican forms retained
- Senate continued to meet, pass laws (senatusconsultum)
- Elections returned
magistrates like consuls were elected by senate and Assembly again
Augustus not even consul after 23 BC, other men were
Senate even had say in electing Roman emperors:
Senators voted emperors tribunician power (Army voted them imperator) - imperial title
not automatically inherited!
- Some provinces in theory controlled by Senate: (Asia, Africa, Greece, most important)
Senate got to decide who would become governor of these consuls.
The military largely removed - peaceful civilian government restored.
2. Powers retained by Augustus:
-Had power, but not title of key magistracies
Tribunician power: voted to him by Senate
veto; right to convene Senate; propose laws
Senate voted him all of these powers
- Control of army
But real power derived from his control of the army.
Imperator "emperor" - meant commander of the army; the army gave him this title
Emperor had command of provinces with most legions - Germanies; Syria; Danube; Spain -
in emperor's control
Changes in army:
Army was no long a citizen militia - called up only in times of war - but rather a professional,
100's of thousands of Roman soldiers were stationed throughout the Roman empire - esp.
on the borders.
Augustus, as emperor, appointed their commanders, he paid their salaries, he ordered
them to fight the wars; the Senate did none of this.
So emperor had military control; the power though not title of high magistrates, and enormous
Senate still exercised power in form - but in fact the Principate was a little more than a disguised
III. Octavian Augustus attempts to reform family values
Augustus marketed himself as the restorer of traditional Roman values - values Romans had
possessed before they had conquered an empire.
See next class how he tried to reform the Roman family.