I. The Rule of Augustus and Pax Romana
A. Augustus-“First Citizen
1. He proposed social & religious reform to keep the traditional Rome
a. Social Goals
1. Land for the military-He used his own $ to buy them land
a. This money came from Caesar and from victories over Anthony
b. He was the richest person in Rome
2. Like Pericles, he began a significant building campaign in Rome, and as part of
this he recognized need to keep citizens entertained and
so he built the Circus Maximus for 250,000 to watch chariot racing
3. Then later the Coliseum seated 50,000 for more public entertainment
a Both the Coliseum and the Circus were machine marvels.
b. Their complexity was the wonder of the ancient world.
c. Thousands of humans and animals died in their arenas.
4. Ordinary people of Rome got what they wanted in these structures
a. Bread and entertainment
b. They wanted to watch blood sports
1. These sports were always wrapped around historical events
2. The battle of Zama and Scipio Africanas was a favorite
c. The question was why did they demand such entertainment?
5. The Coliseum was so important, it spread to lands as far as Africa
a. It entertained the citizens
b. But it also spread the ideals of Roman culture to other lands.
6. Besides the coliseum, Roman engineers built aqueducts for fresh water
7. This allowed Roman cities to have luxury baths like country clubs
a. Engineers became so proficient that they could supply any city with water
b. The most famous was built for “the very dry” city of Constantinople
b. Augustus also reinforced his power by using a sophisticated propaganda machine
1. His own fame will increase when Caesar was deified in 42BCE
2. Now he was the son of a god
a. With peace in Rome his own reputation grows
b. And members of the Senate will begin to see him as a god too
c. These leaders of Rome like the new era of peace
3. But he did not act like a King.
a. To his credit, he was careful and pious, modest and law abiding
b. He devoted himself to service of his country
c. He was a pragmatist--whatever worked was good
1. He wanted consensus for his plans
2. He was careful to check things out first with the Senate
3. And he was very generous with his rewards to the people and Senate
d. As part of his plan to remain a man with traditional Roman beliefs,
he began “the moral campaign”
1. in This he emphasized a return to old Roman family values
2. Significantly, he violated them often himself
4. Much of this propaganda came in literary reform: Vergil’s Aenead.
a. Augustus understood that the public must see he was responsible
for all these good policies.
b. He incorporated propaganda with literature, art, and monuments
2. In Literature--The Aeneid celebrated Augustus in Roman History
a. Augustus was the fulfillment of Roman destiny
b. Ordinary citizen learned this story and worshiped him
2. Besides social changes, Augustus also created political stability
during the Pax Romana
a. Political stability came from several major areas
1. His army was loyal to his command
a. He cut their numbers to 28 legions
b. With only 28 he could keep close watch over ambitious generals.
c. It also helped that for 60 years the provinces were quiet
2. His enormous wealth from Egypt and Anthony
a. He took all of Cleopatra’s gold
b. But he also confiscated all the wealth from Anthony’s supporters
3. Augustus refused to act like an emperor, calling himself “first citizen”
4. It helped that Romans wanted peace after 100 years of war
5. Finally, he changed the Senate, increasing the number to 600
a. Here he installed “300 New Men” from provinces
1. They owed loyalty to him and became new elite
2. They out did each other to do his bidding
b. Now even the most die-hard Republicans saw life was better
than the bloody civil war days before Augustus when 1000s died.
b. Results--Pax Romana--200 years of peace from 20BC to 200 AD
B. Although Augustus brought peace, new problems began to occur.
1. Sporadic unrest and revolts in the provinces required military action
2. The population of Rome grew to 1 million
a. Of course, this created crowded slum like conditions
b. Because of slavery, there was little work for the non slave poor
c. At its height the entire Empire had 150 million inhabitants.
d. That meant everything was becoming expensive
e. And so Augustus had to resume conquering territory to keep his
3. Moreover, class conflict began as rich and poor clashed
C. The frontier and provinces also became a problem for the emperor.
1. The question as Rome grew was how to control a new province
a. Usually, generals made agreements with local leaders that
protected local customs, making it easy to fit into the empire
b. The African city of Timgad was a typical example
2. As new groups came into the empire, they remained in line by legions
3. While the army’s job was to keep the peace, it also played other roles
a. While it kept new people in line, it also spread culture and institutions
b. In 100BC all Roman soldiers had to be Roman citizens
1. But this changes in 212AD
2. All free men in empire were made citizens
3. Now foreigners could become part of the army
c. And so a wide range of cultures existed in the empire at the same time
d. Latin became the central language & was used to organize soldiers.
e. Soldiers lived years outside of their native land
f. In new areas, they had families
g. All this spread culture.
4. Cities were important for military to control countryside
a. If area did not have a city, the Romans built them.
1. Cities were connected by roads--90,000 Kilometers in Empire
2. This allowed army to move quickly, trade, and mingle cultures
b. City government was similar through out the empire.
1. Each had a town council made up of wealthy local notables like the Senate
2. Citizens elected town magistrates responsible for collecting taxes
3. Even as Rome ended its republic and crated an empire, the town
republican government remained the same—even when emperors changed
c . By 200AD, the typical Roman city was a place of business, trade, pleasure.
1. Most Roman cities had sewage tunnels ran from each home
2. In the desert they capture and recycled run off water
d. All Roman towns had running water
1. Even in the African desert town of Timgad, Romans had pipes and
pools that carried water to each home.
2. In every city, their water came from aqueducts by Roman engineers
3. More interesting were the large number of baths in the town
4. City baths were central meeting places.
5. Interestingly, it was in the baths that much of the city art was seen
a. For example, mosaics were very elaborate
1. Mosaics displayed daily life in Roman towns
2. Themes from mythology
3. Pleasures of a Roman life
b. Also the baths contained statues of Roman gods
e. Much of the archeological information we know comes from Pompeii
1. Like all cities, its heart was the forum where the religious, economic, and
political affairs were held.
2. Buildings of the forum were the same in each city
3. Small shops dotted the main road in the forum
a. Some were things one could not get in the country
b. Taverns, snack-shops, public toilets were near the forum
4. People lived in apartments appeared near the shops too. Not
like zoning today.
5. Temples to Jupiter and Apollo were in the forum
6. Public buildings were constructed with money from the wealthy
who felt their private wealth should go to public benefits
a. The government did not pay for these
b. The upper classes also provided entertainments and increased
their prestige and status among the local population
D. While urban areas grew, problems persisted.
1. Despite their wealth and power, some areas revolted
a. Boudica was a revolt in Britain
b. Tribes in UK and Gaul opposed Rome and revolted
c. Rome crushed them
2. On the other side of the Mediterranean, problems occurred in Judea
a. Roman control in this area was poorly done.
b. Jews were oppressed with heavy taxation
c. Revolt there was crushed as in England in 70 AD
d. Rome destroyed the famous Temple in Jerusalem
3. Only one rebellion was successful
a. Germanic tribe in Teutoburg forest wiped out 3 legions.
b. Rome never went into Germany again and as a result the German
language is not influenced by Latin
II. For most people, the Emperor was a great improvement on the chaotic Republic.
A. He brought good government to the Roman Empire.
1. Augustus ushered in a period of peace
2. How did this happened?
a. Empire was well administered
1. Government employers were well trained and honest
2. Governors and provinces were centralized
3. Governors were made accountable directly to the emperor
b. Days of proconsuls milking provinces was over
1. Misdeeds seen as enemies of the state.
a. One example -Gallis--the pro-counsel of Egypt.
1. He conducted campaigns against bordering people
2. Then went around putting up statues of himself.
3. This had been standard behavior before
4. Augustus did not want his army to have divided loyalties.
5. Augustus did not summon Gallis back.
6. Instead, he just said “Gallis is no longer a friend of mine.”
b. Gallis lost his friends, the Senate moved away from him,
and Gallis then committed suicide.
c. Gallis had not really done anything wrong, and Augustus
did not resort to assassination.
2. Of course, he did it with the help of a powerful well trained army
a. Following Actium in 31BC, Augustus kept only twenty-eight legions
b. He employed them to expand Rome's frontiers up to the Danube
c. He used the wealth of the Pharaoh Ptolemy.
3. Augustus stationed his legions along the frontiers, far from Rome
a. All under command of Augustus' personally chosen representatives
b. The 28 legions of both citizens and non-citizen numbered 360,000
c. This was different than before, when the Armies were raised in Rome
and disbanded after victory before returning home.
d. Now they remained loyal but permanently long distances away.
e. Nevertheless, it was the well trained and powerful army that gave
Augustus his power
B. Social life in Rome
1. Family life was the backbone of Roman society but more flexible than today’s
a. To the Romans it included immediate relatives, extended relatives, slaves,
and adopted children
b. The fundamental factor shaping family was land ownership
1. Without land, one was destitute and had to become a tenant
on someone else’s land
2. Or sell themselves into slavery
3. Thus, maintaining family land was crucial
c. Land was passed down within a family.
1. As a result, a strong leader was necessary
2. That was father
3. Since land was the key, historians know about families with land
4. Historians do not know much about lower class families
d. Since social status in Rome was important, keeping land was crucial
in maintaining the family’s social status
1. Historians report how statues of ancestors were kept to show
their importance in preserving the family honor
2. At funerals, families would hire actors to wear “death masks”
of ancestors to show respect
e. Marriage in a family was not based on love
1. Marriages were arranged by the time a child was three
2. 35 year old men married 14 year old women
3. Newlyweds lived with the family of the husband
4. Slaves raised the children—wealthy women
did not change diapers or breast feed as it was
beneath their social dignity
f. Father was given all the power in the law of “12 Tables.”
1. He had absolute control over his family
2. He owned all the property
3. He could sell anyone in the house into slavery—including
his children and his wife
4. He could beat or kill anyone as well
a. This was very rare but happened when a father discovered his
sons were plotting against the Republic
b. It did not happen also because the land needed to be given
to the children and low life expectancy meant that fathers
were not around long
c. It was rare to have a grandparent
5. It was also considered bad form to beat your wife—it was legal,
but just not good form
2. Women played a larger role in society than people originally thought
a. Is it true that behind every great man is a woman?
b. And yet women derived their status from association with their men
1. Women were equally concerned with their man’s place in society
2. So, women shared the attitudes of their class
3. They did not feel a bond with “their sisters” in lower classes
c. Women were under the “guardianship” of men all their lives
d. Unlike Greek women, Romans educated all-male and female
e. Also, women could inherit property in wills and they kept their own
money, but their husbands had the right to take it and spend it
f. How did women wield power?
1. Despite legal restrictions, some women amassed great power
2. Cornelia, mother of Gracchi brothers had great wealth
3. Augustus wife Livia and daughter Julia played major roles
4. But social correctness was still important Julia’s extra marital
affairs had her exiled from Rome
5. All women had to act behind the scenes since they were not allowed
6. There was never a threat of a woman becoming an empress.
7. The ideal place for a woman was at home in charge of the house
a. She should possess modesty, chastity, fidelity, and fertility
b. She should be as educated as possible for women
c. A “Bad” woman who squandered money, played the
lyre too well, discuss political issues too forcefully.
3. By 30 BC Rome was highly populated with new outside ethnic groups
a. Social mobility was possible since they were pleased to be Roman.
b They felt it was possible to move up in society
c. This belief tended to diminish dissent.
4. After the Punic wars, slavery became huge part of Roman life
and quickly became essential to the economy of the city
a. Slave life could be harsh or easy
b. Slaves could be freed and accumulate wealth.
c. Slavery in America was based on race. In Rome it was status.
1. If you lost in battle you were weak and should be a slave.
2. Slave were then sold at market
d. Romans accepted slavery as normal--no one challenged it-not even Jesus
1. Slaves were merely the lowest status.
2. Most were POWs--they were casualties of war and should be dead.
3. Slaves could not marry, but they could form partnerships
a. So, children born to slaves were also slaves.
b. If a slave and free person had a child it was also a slave
4. The life of a slave depended totally on the whim of the owner.
a. A small number had it easy
b. Most lived hard lives.
1. The worst worked in the mines where they had little rest
and prayed to die
2. Galley ships used only slaves, and they too had a difficult
5. Roman social status affected slaves too.
a. Some slaves were appointed foremen in charge of others.
b. Some controlled finances in a house.
c. This hierarchy showed how deeply ingrained was the idea of status
6. There were only two recorded slave revolts
7. If a slave killed his master, all slaves in that house had to die.
(it happened in a house with 400 slaves and all died)
8. Historians debate the number of slaves--some say 15% others 33%
3. Religion was also crucial in every day life.
a. The Romans believed in multiple gods who existed everywhere.
1. They picked up Greek gods and made them their own
2. They also allowed other groups to worship their old gods
b. Roman “pagan” religion dealt more with ritual than ethics
1. Roman gods were powerful, aloof, and capricious
2. They governed forces of nature and changes in ones life
3. So, a person wanted to please these gods and get their help
especially in a “risky” venture like birth, war, harvesting.
4. Acting rightly was not as important in pleasing the gods
5. Thus, the Romans had multiple gods, each with its own special power
6. Besides the familiar gods, Romans acknowledged thousands others
a. Robigus was the god of rust and mold
b. Janus the god of the doorway—two faced looking both ways
c. So, Romans prayed constantly, even walking out of the door.
c. The Gods were used for political purpose as well.
1. Individuals picked the god they thought would help them that day
2. Politicians believed the gods could pick them to be semi-divine
3. That was a powerful psychological tool.
d. Roman gods were “anthropomorphic (took human form)
1. They had the full range of human emotions too
2. Romans had to work hard to keep them happy
3. Each god lived in its own place—Delphi, Olympus
4. Each god demanded recognition and respect, so Romans
built temples and showed respect by keeping them in good order
and also making sacrifices.
e. Unlike the Greeks, Romans believed in animism –some objects have gods in them
1. A bubbling pool of cool water
2. A cave was always a magical place usually with nymphs living there
f. They practiced all this in an effort to make sense out of a confusing world
and to keep the gods on their side.
1. What the gods wanted was for you to show respect
2. They did not care what was in your heart
3. So, Roman religion was very formalistic—lots of rituals, prayers, sacrifice
4. Always use the correct name, and perform the ritual exactly right
“In the past I have shown respect and you have helped others in what I
am asking, so please help me and I will build you a shrine or make a sacrifice
5. In a ritual you have to do everything exactly right. If you
mumble, stumble or forget, you have to start all over
6. Sacrifices are important. The gods get nourishment from the
smoke or blood. (Even Cain and able gave sacrifice to god)
7. Divination was looking at signs and telling the future
a. Priests did this by looking at birds in flight
b. Or examining the entrails of sacrificed victims
c. Or some unusual occurrence like a comet at night
g. Each temple had their own priest who conducted much of this, but
the most important priest was the Pontifice Maximus in Rome
h. With so many gods, the Romans were very tolerant of all religions
1. Syncretism was the process of blending native gods with their own
2. So, they tended to absorb and accumulate
i. Romans only suppressed other religions when they refused to support
the typical Roman gods.
C. Despite Pax, Augustus had a huge problem. Who would follow as emperor
1. This was a new issue, not one that occurred in the Republic
a. For next 100 years Emperors came from Augustus’s family
b. They were called the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
2. Legally, the Emperor was a package of powers granted to Augustus by
the "legitimate" body of the state--The Senate.
a. When he died, therefore, these powers would revert to the Senate
b. Technically, this did not allow Augustus to pick his own successor.
3. But given the chaos before his rule, Augustus knew Civil War would result.
a. Naturally, he preferred stability.
b. So, he had to develop a system of who would be next.
c. It had to be done with subtly for fear that he was creating an oligarchy.
4. Here was a dilemma: How do we pick who comes next?
a. This was the single most destabilizing problem faced by all emperors.
b. During the Republic the Senate appointed the two counsels each year.
c. But now, there was no machinery in place for orderly selecting a new
emperor without chaos
D. Picking the successor
1. Like any good Roman, Augustus harbored aspirations for his family
2. His plan was very complex and had to be done carefully
a. The Senate gave him power to appoint “princes.”
b. Princes could be given special legal privileges
1. They could hold high office years in advance of the legally
prescribed age (e.g., his nephew Marcellus).
2. Princes could be given key military commands: Tiberius
c. Princes who were not members of emperor’s family could be
brought in either through marriage or adoption
3. This then gave them positions from which the Senate could confirm them as
a. So, technically, the Senate was still in charge.
b. But since they were appointed by Augustus the Senate did his bidding
c. This meant that once a prince was given this power, he was
theoretically a sub-emperor already.
d. So, technically a new emperor was all but already installed before the
old emperor’s death, thereby ensuring a smooth transition.
e. Unfortunately, Augustus appointed 5 princes and all died before him.
1. The uncertainty of succession then led to power plays and jockeying
for positions in Rome
2. Everyone wanted to be picked as the emperors favorite
3. When Augustus died the rumors spread that his wife Livia killed
him to assure that Tiberius would rule before Augustus could
change his mind again.
4. In the end, Tiberius, the natural son of Augustus' wife Livia by a
previous marriage, became the next emperor.
a. Livia was pregnant with Tiberius by her first husband when
Augustus married her
b. Through his life Augustus loved Livia & divorced his 1st wife for her
c. Augustus never liked the dull witted Tiberius, but Livia insisted.
5. The rumors about Livia provided an illustration of the issues involved
and showed the problem with this secession issue.
a. Since so many of Augustus's favored candidates had to die to allow
Tiberius to succeed, some suspicion fell upon Livia as having
rid the imperial house of all obstacles to her son's accession.
b. Most nefarious of all was the suggestion that, despite more than
fifty years of marriage, she eventually poisoned Augustus to clear
the path or Tiberius.
c. Such rumors are undoubtedly exaggerated, and Livia can be
acquitted in most of the allegations.
1. But they cannot be discounted completely
2. Augustus never liked Tiberius and he always wanted someone
else to rule
3. Although they did not have much evidence to go on, Roman
historians nevertheless suspected that his wife plotted against
a. She wanted Tiberius to rule.
b. And so for years, rumors circulated that she poisoned
E. Tiberius proved to be a brave soldier and capable but dull administrator.
1. However, he had become embittered
a. First by his unhappy marriage with Augustus's daughter Julia
b. Also by Augustus's obvious dislike for him
c. And Augustus’s reluctance to make him his successor.
2. Then when Augustus died Tiberius character hardened
a. He tried to be like Augustus, but he often botched things
b. He was suspicious of everyone
c. Any negative comment against him could result in a person’s death
1. His close friend and heir-apparent Sejanus angered Tiberius
2. They were very close, but Tiberius had him arrested and killed
3. He then hunted down all Sejanus’s family too.
3. Tiberius disliked Rome, & in 31AD he withdrew to the island of Rhodes.
4. Ironically, despite his suspicions and negative character, he was a
actually a highly efficient ruler of the empire.
5. Then Gaius Caligula followed Tiberius. (The insane one)
a. He had been raised under the constant threat of death
b. As a result, he became cruel and capricious
1. He had a baby with his sister
2. Then sliced her open and killed the child
c. He even appointed his horse as a member of the Senate.
d. The Senate felt trapped.
1. It had no choice since it had lost its power to rule
2. Now, the emperors controlled all things
e. But after creating a climate of fear, Caligula was assassinated.
6. Then came Claudius nephew of Tiberius
a. After killing Caligula, the Army found Claudius hiding & made
him Emperor as a joke.
b. The Senate had no choice but to accept.
c. People thought him to be a fool, but he was able and scholarly
1. He stuttered
2. This was probably cerebral palsy
3. He dragged his right leg and drooled
d. His family kept him out of sight and this saved him during
Caligula’s killing reign as he was not seen as a threat.
e. Interestingly, Rome prospered under his rule.
f. It was probably, but not proven that his 6th wife, Agripina
murdered him so that her son, Nero could become Emperor.
7. Finally, Nero-the last of the Julian-Claudian Dynasty died in 68 without heir
a. He was more than Rome could bear.
b. Profligate, vicious, and paranoid
c. He murdered his mother, aunt, wife, and squandering his wealth on
attempts to gain recognition as a poet, actor, singer, & athlete.
d. Nero did not care about running the empire.
1. He spent his time writing poetry and acting in plays.
2. But he was also paranoid and did not hesitate to kill anyone he deemed
a. Several senators thought he was mad and plotted his death.
b. They were discovered with predictable results.
c. Finally in A.D. 68, Nero’s commanders revolted.
1. Nero fled Rome
2. The Senate declared him an outlaw
d. Nero ordered his aides to kill him-so without children of his own
the Julio-Claudian Dynasty came to an end.
1. Nero killed all potential rivals and so no one could replace him
2. New emperors would come from a different area of Rome
e. Even with these unbalanced leaders, Rome enjoyed economic
prosperity and stability
1. The Empire worked well despite the fact that Nero was a disaster
2. As long as there was no external crisis
3. From this point on, Emperors would come from the East
f. But the problem of “secession” would remain a major concern.
1. As Nero discovered, emperors needed the support of the army
2. Once an emperor lost military support, his reign was brief.
F. With the end of Augustus’s line, no successor appeared and so in 69AD
civil war began again
1. Roman generals realized they could be emperor with their armies
2. General Vespasian eventually won out by eliminating others
3. His was called the Flavian’s Dynasty
a. He was middle class--the son of one of Augustus’s 300 “New Men”
b. Not from Rome but a Latin, he work his way thru the army
and learned “no nonsense” rule
c. He restored stability and balanced budget with modest spending
1. He put a tax on urine, which was used for cleaning togas.
a. The rich mostly wore togas.
b. Cleaning shops paid for it, and so V. taxed it.
2. He expanded citizenship to some outsiders, but was careful to consult the
a. He learned this from Augustus.
b. Constantly associated himself with the memory of Augustus
3. He was a ruthless warrior--crushed Jewish revolt in Judea and
destroyed Herod’s Jerusalem Temple
4. Biggest thing was bringing stability to Rome
a. For this he was loved by people and called “the darling of mankind.”
b. The major geographical event of his reign was the volcanic
eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
c. He rushed emergency aide to survivors of Pompeii.
d. The destruction was overwhelming.
e. Overall he ruled well.
1. Rome remained stable
2. And he continued the myth of a republic
4. While Vespasian ruled well, his son Domitian came to a bad end.
a. Domitian needed money
b. He got it by accusing Senators of treason had them killed and
seized their property.
c. That, of course, angered senators and he was assassinated
5. Unlike all other dynasties, after Domitian’s death war did not break out because
the Senate acted immediately and consulted Generals about a successor.
6. Consensus picked Nerva who ruled only a year.
a. He had no sons so he adopted Trajan as heir
1. Trajan and Nerva was considered two of the GOOD Emperors
a. Trajan was from Spain--First Emperor to come from Provinces
1. Learned he was Nerva’s choice, he did not ride into Rome,
but got off his horse and waited outside to be called.
2. Best organized
b. His success set standards for others
1. Expanded empire-- pushed boundaries into Rumania
a. The current language is a type of Latin
b. Trajan is popular and Rumania comes from this
c. Saw need to expand to maintain Roman treasury.
1. He took 5000 pounds of gold
2. Eliminated their language
d. Built the Column of Trajan to demonstrate this
e. Also saw German tribes as a real threat
f. “If we don’t conquer them, they will rule us.
g. He is more like Julius Caesar than Augustus here
2. He instituted numerous reforms.
a. He freed political prisoners
b. He returned confiscated lands to former owners.
c. He took Rumanian gold and lowered Roman taxes
d. He increased public works projects
3. The reforms had a negative side effect--reduced incentive
4. Like Augustus, he increased use of propaganda
a. God made me emperor
b. In many scenes, Trajan is receiving lightening bolt from
c. Forum of Trajan is considered most beautiful building
1. He used art as a form of conveying a narrative of his
2. Column of Trajan showed his “super human
5. Even his death fit the propaganda model. He died in Spain
fighting to expand the empire.
a. 400 years after his death, Romans considered him the best
b. The greatest compliment given was to be equated to
c. However, Romans disliked his tendencies toward young
d. This was something Romans overlooked because of his
e. Dante gave him high reviews in the Divine Comedy
where he took time from war to save a young mother’s son.
2. Following Trajan was the Emperor Hadrian-- 117AD
a. He had tough act to follow
1. More defensive minded than Trajan
2. Trajan nominated and adopted him at the last minute
3. His reign was peaceful
4. His energy was not to extend power but to defend and
protect the empire with ruthless force
b. Interestingly, he became hated in Rome, but is popular now for his peace ideas
1. He was the most enigmatic of all Roman Emperors
2. He loved Greek culture and was an amateur architect
3. He was a mixture of ruthless and pacifist
a. Like other generals, he killed off rivals
b. But was a strange mixture of general and scholar
c. He was also more artistic than earlier emperors-writing poetry
c. Immediately after becoming emperor he began to withdraw from
Germany and Asia Minor.
d. This was crucial decision.
1. Trajan said Asia was necessary for trade
2. Hadrian said its too much to defend.
3. In UK he built a wall in 122-28 instead of conquering Scotland.
4. This let Scotts see selves as free--became a beacon for freedom
a. His wall is 73 Miles long 10 feet thick/15 feet high
b. Every mile there is small fort with turret every 1/2 mile
c. In front is a V shaped ditch 27 feet wide and 15 feet deep.
5. It was an attempt to “Awe” the barbarians with Rome’s might
a. Instead it convinced Germans that Rome was afraid of them.
b. It spurred them to form confederations against the empire
6. Like Trajan, he also enjoyed the company of young men and boys
7. He micromanaged the empire--going to every province 2 or 3 times
8. Hadrian’s rule had many positive reforms:
a. He consolidated Roman laws--which were in need of change.
b. He was an intellectual and lover of Greek culture.
1. He increased Roman architecture along Greek lines
2. Villa at Trivoli
c. He also ruled at a time when there were new feeling about Religion.
1. Some asked: “There is only 1 emperor, why isn’t there just 1
2. Philosophers began to question multiple gods.
a. Some said: One powerful god created all things-the sun
b. No one can look at the sun.
c. Hadrian began to make coins with himself as the sun
3. To deal with this concept of monotheism, he erected - The
a. This is still the greatest statement of Roman grandeur.
b. Even Michalanglo said it was unsurpassed
4. Hadrian designed the Pantheon himself.
a. It is entered through a traditional colonnaded porch or court
b. It means one supreme god from whom all others are but one of
c. Once inside, you come into a new world of space.
1. A rotunda, 43.20 meters in internal diameter.
2. The ceiling of the rotunda is domed, with an opening
a. it is painted blue with golden stars painted around it
b. It represents the universe.
3. The floor is marble representing the earth and far parts of
5. Hadrian was a good leader but did not see problems arising.
a. Grew bitter and ill
b. Eventually, he moved from Rome and died in Naples
c. Could not get along with Senate
d. He expanded the size of government to solve immediate
problems but in the long run this proved a disaster
3. Hadrian selected Marcus Aurelius as his successor
a. A stoic
1. He was remembered more as a philosopher than emperor
2. He said: I am a stoic first-Meditations popular today
3. He is quoted once an hour on twitter
4. He is a good self help author
1. Nature is the source of all things.
a. An active “force” in Nature is everywhere.
b. Each person is part nature and inside each person is this force.
c. God is that energy, ordained all things, and is part of everyone
d. But personal freedom comes with inner acceptance.
1. This is often seen as, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”
2. Or accept what you can change and forget what you can’t.
e. All parts of the Cosmos are connected
1. Each person is a small part of the Cosmos
2. As a result there is no difference between Roman & Barbarian
3. None between man and woman
2. Happiness comes:
a. when you accept & make peace with Cosmos
b. when you subordinate own ends to cosmos, community, & family
c. Religions therefore is not a ceremony, but meditation & self-examine
c. Aurelius did not love war, but was willing to do his duty.
1. He was an ok general but had little mil experience
2. He pushed back the barbarians in Gaul.
3. He died there, but left the empire strong
d. He was one of the benign dictators
1. Traveled the empire to spread culture
2. Poor Maximus--If only Emperor Aurelius had told someone
6. Marcus Aurelius was a Stoic.
a, He lived his philosophy.
b. For Stoics, internal peace was all-important.
c. The wise man achieves internal peace.
1. Keep your mind serene and focused on what is important;
2. Love God and love your neighbor.
“Somebody is going to irritate you today, Don’t let them.”
Keep a serene mind.
“I am going to drive to the store and some one will cut in front, but master yourself.
How can you master the world if you can’t master yourself
Do right but without a lot of show, be generous to others, and simple in his tastes.
To learn about the Gods, first learn from your families.
God put you in this life, follow the way.
Do not look for your place in history--if you allow reputation and power to control you, you
are no more than a slave to that desire for reputation.
Understand that your time on earth is short.
You are an actor in a play, and god is the play-wright
Don’t complain if after 2 acts he writes you out of the play.
Be gracious about your departure.
7. Meditations would never have been written by Caesar or Augustus.
a. Noble as they are, these are not the ideas you want at a critical time.
b. Aurelius was too passive to deal with new problems of the empire.
1. His gentleness toward his relatives made these problems worse.
2. He tolerated the infidelities of his wife
3. She had a child by a gladiator
c. People lost respect for him.
G. Until Aurelius, all these Emperors were successful
1. For 200 years, the Empire ran efficiently
a. The military officials were in charge of collecting taxes, rents, and
enforcing rules along the frontier
b. By 200 AD most soldiers were non-Roman who served for 25 years
1. These legions could become citizens after their service
2. This was the reward for their loyalty
3. Rome had great appeal and being Roman was a big deal
c. So, only 1000 officials ever directly controlled affairs on frontier
2. Most governing done by local officials
a. They continued to govern with significant authority
b. For example, cities in Greece continued to run selves, as their
officials collected taxes and enforced the laws
3. In return, these officials received Roman citizenship and a promise
of further advancement.
4. Of course, the army was always present
a. Legions remained in an area for years
b. Their camps became towns which served as center of govt.
c. Army built roads to each town for fast movement
1. Apian Way was the first great road.
2. Rome to Southern Italy
a. this helped unity
b. helped easy travel of troops
d. The empire worked because it rewarded those who worked with it.
1. Local elites, auxiliary soldiers, and freedmen could aspire to rise to
the highest ranks of the power elite.
2. Seldom has a ruling elite made access to its ranks so open to those
who cooperated with it.
3. So, as provincials were drawn into the Roman system.
a. They were also drawn into the world of Roman culture.
b. Proper education in Latin and Greek,
c. The absorption of Roman styles of dress, recreation.
4. Thus, in 200, conquered areas competed, not to free themselves
f rom Roman yoke but to become Roman themselves.
III. By 200AD the Empire begins to change: First is Rise of Christianity (134)
A. One of most powerful social forces to affect the empire
B. Wide range of religions came from large number of people
1. Romans accepted this because of “syncretism”
a. This is the attempt to fuse two different religions or gods
from diverse cultures.
b. Renaming Greek gods is an example, but did it with many others
c. They worshiped these gods on special occasions
d. Cities had own gods, like Athens
C. Citizens got little positive feelings from these government
religions and so people turned to the mystery religions.
1. These offered identity & community for urban poor
2. It was more intimate than public gods like Zeus
3. These mystery religions had secrete rituals
a. They gave people a sense of belonging
b. They were the equivalent of the elks or masons community
4. These also offered the promise of an after life.
a. Like Isis or Mythris in Egypt, but open only to men
b. They felt connected to each other
D. The Empire made it easy for cults to spread
1. Army moved from place to place
2. Religions were altered to fit the desires of the frontier
3. All this applied to Judea
a. After conquering the Mid East in 63BC, Rome allowed Jews to rule selves
b. Romans were tolerant and put Herod, a pro Roman Jew in power
4. Rome made no friends putting Herod in charge.
a. Other Jews hated Herod’s acceptance of Greek culture.
b. Also rumors persisted that he murdered his own wife and son
c. Jews also hated Roman tax collectors who gouged the people.
d. Firm in worship of Yahweh, Jews refused to pay any tribute.
e. Naturally, believing in only one God, they disliked the Roman idea
5. At the same time there was a apocalyptic sentiment in the Mid East
a. Several dozen men wondered the area calling themselves prophets.
b. They proclaimed the coming of the messiah
c. They also proclaimed the end of the world was near
6. In this climate, Jews revolted hoping for divine intervention from a
messiah who would restore the kingdom of King David
a. Herod rushed back to Rome for help
b. Naturally, he accepted Roman ideas when he took Roman help
c. This only alienates him further from the Jews in Judea
d. Marc Anthony moved his legions into Judea and restored Herod
e. Anthony and his legions stomped out all signs of popular discontent.
f. With Roman help, Herod will rule ruthlessly for 27 more years.
7. All this set the fertile ground for a new religion
a. Christianity originally began as a Jewish sect
b. A teacher and healer named Jesus appeared
1. Like earlier Jewish prophets he criticized practices of the time.
2. His message fit within the Jewish tradition
a. A messiah would over come Israelis enemies
b. He would create a kingdom of God on earth.
c. The messiah would not create an earthly kingdom,
1. But pave way for end of world and on judgment day
2. God would reward the good and punish the wicked
3. So one must follow a moral code that stressed intent to be
good not just follow old rituals.
8. There were other men at this time claiming to be prophets too
a. But Jesus’s popularity grew and threatened upper classes Jews
b. They arranged for his arrest
c. They convinced Pilot he was threat to Roman control and must die
9. Crucifixion is a degrading way to die.
a. Followers believed he conquered death with resurrection
b. Christians said his death was a sacrifice to atone for all man sins
c. This message began to grow especially among the poor in Rome.
d. At first they met in secrete catacombs to practice their new belief.
e. In the early years, Jesus followers considered selves as Jews.
1. Christianity had much in common with Judaism
a. Belief in one god,
b. God had contact with his people,
c. God had a plan for man referred to as a covenant
d. God expected them to live with a moral code.
2. But quickly Christianity began to diverge from Judaism.
a. They stressed the idea of the trinity
b. Christians saw Jesus as Son of God who came to absorb sin
and serve as the last sacrifice ever needed while Jews saw him as an
ordinary human who could not save souls-only God can do that.
c. Christians stressed the idea of Evil as a powerful force against God
d. Jews denied Jesus was a prophet (Muslims see him like Mohamed)
e. Christians believed in Original Sin but Jews and Muslims say
humans have free will to choose and are not born evil
f. Christians stressed the idea of “conversion” and this Missionary
spirit began to conflict with Judaism because:
1. Judaism wasn’t as open to converts-dietary rules discouraged
2. Hellenistic Jews wanted Christianity open to everyone
a. This view will eventually prevail
b. Christianity will see itself as new religion
3. Christians begin to merge Jesus with Greek ideas
a. The Greek philosopher Plato and Christian values begin to
b. This wedded Christianity to Western Civilization
E. As Christianity spread it needed an organizational structure
1. At first it had only a small group of believers
2. By 100AD, Christians chose Bishops to lead worships
a. Over time Bishops controlled money and teaching
b. They gained the authority to appoint priests
1. They called it Apostolic Secession.
2. It was a ritual of ordination that passed on the powers Jesus
gave his apostles to the bishops and bishops passed it to priests.
3. Bishops communicated with each other about doctrines
4. They came together in councils where they expelled heretics.
a. Naturally, the early church confronted a number of beliefs
b. Church leaders felt it was important to confront what was true
Christianity and what wasn’t
5. An early heresy (Donatism) stemmed from persecutions of Christians
a. In 303 Diocletian, who hated Christians ordered all books destroyed
b. Some Christians obeyed
1. They were called “Tradejory” from the word traitors
2. They were despised by Christians who suffered when they refused
c. North Africans Christians were most angry and most defiant
1. They damned all who obeyed Diocletian’s orders
2. They denounced all the decisions and actions that any
Tradejory Christians or priest had performed.
3. They claimed all Tradejory actions were illegal.
d. This threatened to cause chaos.
e. Many Christians took a more tolerant view.
1. Sacraments were still valid
2. Church leaders met and Donatism was labeled heresy
6. Another heresy was called Aryanism
a. It denied Jesus was divine and equal to God
b. Jesus was created by God as instrument of change.
c. The council of bishops met in 325 in Nicaea in Asia Minor
d. Bishop created the Nicaean creed.
1. It was a single prayer
2. It defined the church’s core belief.
e. The bishops in 451 rejected Aryanism: They said: Jesus was equal to God
7. As Christianity gained popularity persecutions increased.
a. Originally it was seen as a Jewish sect and as such was protected under Roman law
b. When it broke with Judaism it became a threat to Rome
1. It was secrete & rumors spread about church ceremonies
2. The Eucharist seemed to many to be cannibalistic
8. Christians angered Roman officials in other ways.
a. They refused to worship the Emperor
b. They refused to participate in civic affairs.
c. They denied pagan gods
d. This was seen as atheistic
9. So Claudius expelled Christians from Rome in 40 AD
a. Nero blamed them for a Roman fire in 60 AD
1. 100s were arrested and thrown into the arena
2. By 100 AD Christianity was a crime
a. At first Roman authorities said they could renounce Jesus
b. They could make a sacrifice to the emperor and be forgiven
c. But good Christians would not do this and were executed
3. As they increased in numbers, Rome was less and less tolerant.
a. In 250 AD, the Senate demanded all citizens pray for the Emperor
b. Valerian persecuted Christians and seized their $
4. Naturally, these persecutions discouraged luke warm Christians
a. But it encouraged unity among them
b. And in 303 it created martyrs to the cause
b. Then in 313 Constantine ended persecution of Christians
c. Now, the Romans turned their attention to other matters.
IV. The Decline of the Roman Empire
A. What caused Rome to ultimately fall?
1. Some said it was their social and moral decay
a. Could economic prosperity have created an immoral society?
b. What is immorality and does it lead to a society’s downfall?
2. Perhaps the decline came from lead in the pipes?
a. But only 1 million in Rome and empire had 150 million
b. Most pipes were clay or wood.
B. What about the rising political instability?
1. After Marcus Aurelius, Emperors rose and fell quickly
2. Internal fighting for power caused distraction from the borders
a. Beginning in 260 & running to 439 Germanic tribes raided deep
b. Goths were big problem
1. Pushed west by the Huns, they came from Russia
2. Roman legions were taken from Gaul to fight the invaders
3. But clearly, by 300 the West was becoming very vulnerable
3. So, by 200 Rome began to face multiple problems.
a. Poor leadership was the first as over a dozen emperors were murdered
b. A poor army also hurt the situation
1. By 200 Army was made up of mercenaries
2. The once powerful legions were now poorly trained
c. Epidemics also swept the empire reducing population.
1. This hurt army recruiting and reduced the troops on the borders
2. Now, Romans were forced to hire Germanic Goths as troops
a. But Romans disliked the “barbaric” Germans and mistreated
b. Eventually, the Goths rebelled
C. Beside political-military problems, Rome faced economic issues as well
1. The economy was hurt by rising cost of defense
a. Inflation and rising prices hurt
b. Money was worth less
1. Coins disappeared
2. They became worth more melted down.
c. This made it difficult to carry on commerce
d. Eventually, Government had to pay in supplies not money
2. Government expenses were growing rapidly
a. The government had to buy loyalty of people by giving free food
b. Providing entertainment also caused costs to soar.
3. The economy was weakened further when citizens refused to take
government job on the provinces.
a. No one wanted these positions since the pay was poor
b. Also a job on the frontier often got a person killed.
c. Eventually, Rome passed laws forcing people to take these jobs.
4. At the same time, farmers began to suffer badly
a. Small farmers were bound to the land.
b. They had no choice about occupation
c. But farmers fled the land and did not pay taxes.
d. As the number of farmers shrank the price of food rose.
D. This could have been the end, but then two strong emperors arose
1. Diocletian gained control.
a. Born a peasant, he was ruthless
b. Hew climbed ranks of the army.
2. He began a series of political, military, and economic reforms
a. First, he saw the empire was too large for one man
b. So he created 4 positions called the Tetrarchy
1. He installed his friend Maxentius as ruler of the West
2. He took the East for himself.
3. Two others were given vice emperor positions.
4. Later Diocletian will retire voluntarily and he will force
Maxemian to retire as well.
a. Maxentius his son will then rule the West
b. Constantine will take his father’s place in the East
c. This divisions made for more efficiency
d. It put end to revolving door emperor secessions.
e. Then to give more stability, each emperor married the
daughter of one of the other.
3. Diocletian set about to reform the military and the economy as well
a. First, he reorganized the army
1. Reduced the size of legions so officers had less power
2. With fewer troops they were less likely to try and seize control
3. Then, he spread troops out on the frontier to better protect empire
b. Next, he made economic changes
1. He lessened inflation by freezing wages and prices
2. He increased taxes to increase the treasury, but also stop inflation
3. He created a regular census to keep track of tax payers.
4. He created a new currency
5. He also reduced government spending
c. Some of these economic reforms worked, but many were unfair
1. Senators paid less while peasants paid the most
2. The census forced peasants to stay on the land
3. It forced people to remain in same job and pay high taxes
d. To take people’s mind off their problems, he blamed Christians for the
4. In 305 Diocletian decided to retire but internal struggle followed.
a. Constantine engaged in battle with Maxentius Emperor from Rome
b. In 313 he had a dream-mark soldiers shields with a cross
c. At first his men were reluctant to put the Christian symbol on their shields
1. Was he sincere or merely superstitious?
2. Some historians believe he was pragmatic
3. After all, they say, he refused baptisms until his death.
d. Regardless of the reason, Constantine defeated Maxentius
E. The rule of Constantine
1. As the winner of the civil war, he reunited East and West again
2. After he took over he ended the tetrarchy.
3. He also instituted new reforms
a. Most importantly, he created the Byzantine Empire
1. The eastern portion was richer
2. So, he moved the capital from Rome to Constantinople
3. It was not only richer but easier to defend
4. Sons must remain at Father’s job
5. The wealthy must pay more taxes
F. As Constantine moved east, the Germans pushed into Rome.
1. Goths, Vandals, Franks, and Huns attacked in the West
a. Visigoths were forced into Rome by Huns
b. Visigoths wiped out the Roman army in 378
c. Emperor made concessions to them
1. He allowed them in the army with their own leaders
2. Visigoths now became an uncontrollable independent army
3. And in 408 they attacked Rome.
d. This weakened Rome elsewhere as Rome pulled troops back
e. Now, UK, Spain all fell away.
f. By 400 Rome could not control provinces.
g. In 445 under Attila “Scourge of God” the “barbarians”
was at the gates.
2. End of the Western Empire
a. In this chaos, cities of the west declined.
1. Upper classes moved out to the country for protection
a. Peasants worked for rich in exchange for protection.
b. Poor left in the cities.
2. Cities declined further as trade faded
a. Roads were not maintained
b. Bandits made trade dangerous
c. Cities became smaller
d. Roman empirical authority faded
b. In 476 the last boy emperor was assassinated
c. Now all pretense that there was a Roman empire in the West was gone
3. Byzantium, however, lasted until 15th century
4. Why did Rome fail?
a. Edward Gibbon said in Decline and Fall
1. Christianity was to blame.
2. Able men should have been leaders but became church leaders instead
b. Others said it was the barbaric invasions that destroyed Rome.
1. Few natural barriers could stop them
2. On the other hand, in the East mountains protected empire for 1000 yrs.
3. But why could Rome conquer this area and then not protect it?
c. Others said: Empire was weakened when it stopped being Republic
1. But why did this take so long?
2. If empire was bad why was it so bad?
d. Others said:
1. It was soil exhaustion that caused inflation but there is little
evidence of drought or bad weather
2. Could it have been a shortage of manpower?
a. The Eastern empire had bigger population
b. In West, too many non-Romans in army weakened it
c. But if so, why wouldn’t easterners come because of
opportunity with lack of population?
e. Others said it was social failure
1. Citizens lost loyalty as emperors became more authoritarian
2. Christianity was also blamed as loyalty shifted from state to religion
f. Others said: Slavery was the cause
1. Cheap slaves hurt the development of technology
2. All societies with slaves eventually have civil wars
g. Others: Size matters
1. The empire simply was too large
2. Amazing it held together at all-similar to Soviet Union