The Roman Empire 1 The Roman Empire 29

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The Roman Empire 29 BCE to 500 CE Identifications  Augustus  Third Triumvirate  Battle of Actium  Cleopatra  Princeps  Pax Romana  Nero  The Imperial Cult  The ―Good Emperors‖
Augustus Comes to Power

 After death of Julius Caesar, Octavian and Antony form 3rd triumvirate with Lepidus  A period of uneasy truce follows Antony‘s marriage to Octavian‘s sister, Octavia  Antony takes up with Cleopatra, loses support of Roman people  Octavian moves to take control of the empire.  Augustus defeats Antony at Battle of Actium in 31 BCE  Brings long period of civil war and anarchy to an end  Octavian takes control using ingenious tactics – The Spin
The Making of an Emperor ―I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.‖

 Octavian invites Senate to advise him, allows it to maintain its traditional duties.  Octavian camouflaged his absolute power by maintaining façade of the Republic  In reality, resistance was futile  Octavian controlled Roman legions  In 27 BCE, Octavian offered to give up his position, knowing Senate would refuse  Could now claim to be legitimate ruler of Rome  Took the title princeps ; Senate gave him title of Augustus
Augustus Caesar (r. 27 BCE to 14 CE)

 Marks end of the Republic and beginning of the Roman Empire  End of senatorial rule and aristocratic dominance in politics  Beginning of one-man rule
– Deification of Roman emperors after death (Imperial Cult)

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 Reforms under Augustus:
– – – –
Reformed army Engaged in building projects Reformed administration in provinces Created civil service

Pax Romana (27 BCE – 180 CE)

 The ―Roman Peace‖—this was Empire‘s golden age  The Julio-Claudian dynasty (r. 14 CE – 68 CE): – This was the Imperial Cult – Preserved and strengthened the great achievements of Augustus
But, then there were the madmen who disgraced the Julio-Claudian dynasty: Commodus Caligula—yet another madman (r. 37 CE – 41 CE)

 Succeeded Tiberius, his grand-uncle, together with his brother  Caligula ordered his brother killed within months of their succession as co-rulers  Immensely popular in first months of his reign  Quickly became excessively cruel, morally degenerate, and disrespectful toward tradition
and the Senate

 Significance: his reign revealed the inherent weaknesses in the Augustan Principate
Nero Claudius Caesar (born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus)-(r. 54-68 CE)  Succeeds to Imperial throne upon death of his stepfather, Claudius.  Claudius generally believed to have been murdered by his wife (Nero‘s mother), Agrippina. - Agrippina soon murdered herself, on Nero‘s command. - Nero also killed one of his wives.  Obsessed with his ―talents‖ as a musician, singer. - Spent most of his time on this.  Led depraved lifestyle engaging in various sexual perversions, i.e., pedophilia, S&M, sodomy, etc.  Large parts of Rome burned during his reign. - Many Romans blamed Nero - ―Nero fiddled while Rome burned.‖ - Nero built his ―golden palace‖ on the ashes. - Blames Christians for Rome‘s burning  Brutally persecuted Christians.  Nero became increasingly paranoid as public opinion turned against him.

 Julio-Claudian dynasty ended (thankfully) with suicide of the degenerate Nero. Better times ahead…
Pax Romana

 Flavian dynasty (r. 69 CE – 96 CE):  Vespasian (r. 69 CE – 79 CE) – Built Roman Colosseum

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 The Jewish Problem:  Relations between Roman authorities and the Jews of Judea deteriorated  Roman leaders tried not to interfere with religious practices and beliefs of Jews
Titus and Domitian

–

Improved loyalty and discipline of army

 Titus—favored son of Vespasian. – Ruled for only a short time – Died in 81 CE w/out issue  Domitian—clearly less favored than elder brother Titus – Tyrant who was greatly feared by Roman people – Persecuted Jews and Christians – Executed those who opposed him  Assassinated by Senate in 96 CE
Pax Romana—The ―Good Emperors‖ prosperity and power

 The ―Good Emperors‖—A succession of 5 emperors who brought Empire to height of its  Nerva  Trajan  Hadrian  Antoninus  Marcus Aurelius
Pax Romana—Nerva(r. 96-98 CE) Selected by Senate to succeed Domitian

 Began a period of prosperity in the Empire  Initiated adoptive system that would lead to a succession of competent rulers until 180 AD  Adopted Trajan, governor of upper Germany, as his son and heir
Pax Romana—Trajan (r. 98-117 CE)

 One of Rome‘s most admirable figures  Maintained good relations with Senate, so was able to accomplish what he wished  Reformed and expanded the Empire
– Eased taxation in provinces – Provided for poor children – Built public works

 Conquered Dacia (modern Romania and Hungary)  Died o

– Expanded into Persian Gulf region but was overextended and had to pull back

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Pax Romana—Hadrian (r. 117-138 CE)

 Succeeded Trajan—married to Trajan‘s niece  ‗The builder‘ Emperor  Strengthened border defenses in Britain  Fought second Hebrew revolt in Judea (132-135 CE)  Majority of Palestinian Jews killed, sold as slaves, or exiled  Forbade Jews to enter Jerusalem  Antinous—Hadrian‘s lover?
Antoninus Pius

 Reigned during a period of peace and quiet before the storm that plagued his successor  Generally, continued work begun by Trajan and Hadrian  Conservative economic policy left Rome‘s finances in good shape  In preparation for the succession, his daughter Faustina married Marcus Aurelius, his adopted  Died of natural causes 161 CE.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (r. 161-180 CE) son

 Last one of the ―Good Emperors‖  Stoic philosopher  Frequent incursions into Empire by foreigners during his reign  Serious German invasions repelled by legions  Forced to devalue coinage to pay for wars  On his death, 80 years of ruling by right of merit, rather than by right of birth, ends
End of the Pax Romana—Lucius Aurelius Commodus (r. 180-192 CE)

 1 of 14 children of Marcus Aurelius, but only son to survive childhood  His succession to throne ends 80 years of bringing men to the throne because of merit rather  Insanity and paranoia lead him to murder anyone he perceives as a threat, including senators  Enjoys playing gladiator  Murdered by a gladiatorial athlete in a plot engineered by his concubine, Marcia, and his
Praetorian Prefect and family members than birth


				
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