ROMAN HISTORY KEY DATES IN ROMAN HISTORY – B.C. 753 Traditional date for foundation of the city. 509 Expulsion of the last of seven kings and establishment of the Republic 264-41 First Punic War leads to Rome taking control of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica 218-01 Second Punic War: Rome defeats Carthage to become dominant power in the western Mediterranean 146 Destruction of Carthage and final conquest of Greece 133 Assassination of reformist politician Tiberius Gracchus starts era of political instability. 58-50 Julius Caesar conquers Gaul (France) 55 Caesar’s first landing in Britain 44 Assassination of Caesar after his victory in civil war against Pompey and appointment as dictator for life.. 31 Octavian (Augustus) defeats Anthony and Cleopatra ending the internal conflicts that followed Caesar’s death 27 Formal establishment of the Principate with Octavian as first citizen in theory, emperor in practice KEY DATES IN ROMAN HISTORY – A.D. 31 Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 43 Invasion and annexation of Britain 69 `Year of the Four Emperors’ as various leaders scramble for power after Nero’s assassination. 70 Vespasian puts down a Jewish revolt and destroys Jerusalem. 79 Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum 98-117 Reign of Trajan who brings the empire to its maximum extent, including Romania and Mesopotamia 120 Construction of Hadrian’s Wall in Britain. 303 Diocletian attempts to wipe out Christianity 313 Constantine decrees toleration of all religions, including Christianity. 410 Visigoths capture Rome 1453 The fall of Constantinople (Byzantium/Istanbul) Mediolanum (Milan) Roma (Rome) Ostia Tiberis (Tiber) Capua Pompeii Tarentum (Tarento) Brundisium(Brindisi) (port for crossing to Greece) Syracusae(Syracuse) Corsica Sardinia Sicilia (Sicily) Via Appia ORIGINS AND THE MONARCHY (753-509 B.C.) Rome was originally one of a group of cities in Latium (>Latin) at a time when Italy was dominated by the Etruscans in the north and Greeks who had settled in the south. According to Roman legend, the kings of Alba Longa, chief of the Latin cities before Rome’s own foundation, were descended from Aeneas, a Trojan prince who fled to Italy after the Greeks took Troy. The Trojan War, the subject of Homer’s Iliad, had supposedly been caused by Paris’s abduction of Helen, the wife of the King of Sparta. In the traditional account, Romulus and Remus were children of the daughter of a king of the Latin city of Alba Longa, who was overthrown by his own brother. The new king, fearing they might later challenge his position, ordered a servant to kill them but he instead put them adrift in a basket on the River Tiber. The twins were brought ashore by the river deity near the Palatine hill and then suckled by a she-wolf before being taken in by a shepherd and his wife. After they grew up and learned of their true origin, they retored their grandfather to the throne of Alba Longa and decided to found a new city themselves. Romulus, claiming that he had seen the more favourable omens, began construction on the Palatine, his own preferred site. Remus mockingly jumped over the base of the walls and Romulus killed him in a fit of temper. The event was traditionally dated to 753 B.C. As first king, Romulus brought in vagrants and fugitives from the surrounding settlements to populate his own city. Faced with a shortage of women, he invited the neighbouring Sabines to watch an athletics contest, during which the Romans seized and carried off their daughters. The `Rape of The Sabine Women’ led to a war which was halted when the women themselves, carrying their newborn children, came between the two armies and begged for peace. According to Roman legend, Tarpeia was the daughter of the commander of the Roman garrison on the Capitoline hill, who betrayed the city to the Sabine enemy in return for `what was on their left arms’. She expected to be given their gold bracelets but they instead crushed her to death by piling their shields on her and her body was flung from a steep cliff afterwards known as the Tarpeian cliff and from then on used for the execution of traitors. Numa Pompilius, second of Rome’s legendary kings, was a peaceful and pious man whom the Romans regarded as founder of many of their religious ceremonies. In this coin issued in 97 B.C. he is standing at the altar on the left. Tullus Hostilius, the third king of Rome, destroyed the rival city of Alba Longa but neglected religious observances and was killed by Jupiter with a thunderbolt. Ancus Martius, fourth king of Rome, who waged a number of successful wars, included the Janiculum hill across the Tiber within the city boundaries and founded the port of Ostia. Tarquinius Priscus, who was Etruscan and the fifth king of Rome, is supposed to have constructed the Circus Maximus and begun work on the Capitol. He was assassinated on the orders of the sons of the previous king, Ancus Martius. Servius Tullius, the legendary sixth king of Rome, said to have been the son of a slave, enlarged the city and had a moat added to its defensive walls. He improved the status of the poorer inhabitants as well as winning military victories. Tarquinius Superbus (`Tarquin the Proud’) was the seventh and last king of Rome. He completed the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline hill but his arrogant behaviour, and finally his son’s rape of Lucretia, wife of a leading citizen, led to his overthrow in 509 B.C. and the establishment of a republic, in which executive power was held by two, annually elected consuls. The leading role in the revolution was taken by the king’s own newphew, Lucius Junius Brutus, supposedly the ancestor of the Brutus involved in the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.
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