Notes: From Republic to Empire

From Republic
The Roman Republic, in the face of changing
social and economic conditions, succumbed
to civil war and was replaced by an imperial
regime, the Roman Empire
The Republic Collapses
• Increasing wealth & expanding boundaries brought many problems
• Led to end of the republic & beginning of a new system
Roman Expansion: Preparedness meets Opportunity
• Three Stages
– Conquest of Italy
– Conflict with Carthage & expansion into western
Mediterranean Sea
– Domination of Hellenistic kingdoms in the eastern
The Republic Collapses
• Economic problemsgrowing gap between rich
& poor
• Rich landownerslatifundia
• Slaves flooded into
Rome- displaced small
• Some became itinerant
workers, some went to
the city & became urban
Effects of Expansion:
Social & Economic
a latifundium, or large-scale 'plantation',
during the Republic
New class of wealthy
Romans emerges
Latifundia: estates of the
– Wealth increased
– Greed and self
interest replaced
loyalty and virtue
Spread of slave labor
Roman farmers competed
with farmers from other
– Grain prices dropped
– Forced out of
business; lost farms
– Forced to move to
Rome for jobs
– Joined angry mobs
that rioted
Attempts at Reform
• Brothers, Tiberius and
Gaius Gracchus
• Elected tribunes by
Plebeian class
• Saw need for reforms on
behalf of the poor
– Provide land and grain
to the poor
• Hated by wealthy
• Both assassinated
Military Upheaval
• Generals seized power
• Recruited soldiers from
landless poor
• More loyal to generals
than to the republic
• Loss of citizen-soldiers
• Military leader supported
by his troops could take
over by force
Horatio-Ideal Roman soldier
A Century of Civil War
• Revolts
weaknesses of
• Civil wars lasted
100 years
• Main issue: who
should rule?
– The Senate:
maintain style
of government
– Consuls: enact
Sulla wins for the Patricians and
become a dictator
Julius Caesar Takes Control
• In 60 BCE, Caesar,
Crassus, Pompey
formed ruling
• Caesar successful in
Gaul-others jealous of
his popularity-fearful of
his ambition
• In 50 BCE, the Senate
ordered him to disband
his legions & return to
Crossing the Rubicon
“Alea jacta est!”=“The Die is Cast”
• Caesar refused to
disband his legions
• Returned to Rome
crossing the
Rubicon River
• Pompey fled and
Caesar defeated
• In 46 BCE, Caesar
returned to Rome
where he had
support of army &
• “Veni, Vidi, Vici”
• Senate appointed
him dictator for life
Caesar’s Reforms
• Governed as absolute ruler
• Created public works to
employ jobless
• Gave public land to poor
• Increased pay for soldiers
• Opened citizenship to
more people
• Restructured the
• Expanded & packed the
Senate w/ his supporters
• New calendar-Julian still
used today
Caesar’s Death: “Beware
the Ides of March”
• Enemies feared his
growing power
• Plotted his death to save
the Republic
– stabbed on Senate
– Mark Antony &
Octavian (Julius
Caesar’s nephew &
adopted son) hunted
down murderers
– Octavian turned on
Marc Antony- claimed
power in 31 BCE
– Octavian became
• unchallenged ruler
• imperator
• “supreme military
• emperor
What caused decline of Roman Republic?
• Spread of slavery in
agricultural system
• Migration of small farmers
into cities & unemployment
• Civil War over power of
Julius Caesar
• Devaluation of Roman
currency; inflation
From every towering roof the rubbish falls,
striking the head, and injuries grow rank.
See how pots strike and dint the sturdy pa
There's death from every window where y
ou move.
You'd be a fool to venture out to dine,
Oblivious of what goes on above,
Without you having penned the dotted line
Of your last testament,
You can but hope they spill a chamberpot.
A Hypothetical Roman Tenement Building. In the upper-left corner, a
chamberpot is being dumped on the street below. In the lower-right corner, a
chamberpot is being emptied into a barrel located under a staircase. Both
methods of waste disposal were common in ancient Rome
Augustus Creates Vast & Powerful Empire
• End of republic/beginning of empire
• For next 200 years, period of peace &
prosperity; Pax Romana
• Agriculture provided sufficient foodwhat Romans didn’t grow came
through trade
• Common coinage-the denarius made
trade efficient
• Vast trade network for basic goods &
• Ships from east sailed Mediterranean
protected by navy
• Rome even traded w/ India & China
• Complex road system linked empire
for trade & military movement
What was the “Pax Romana”?
• Two centuries of peace & prosperity under imperial rule
• Expansion & solidification of Roman Empire
Pax Roman: Roman Peace
27-BCE- 180 CE
• Egyptians farmers
supplied empire w/ grain
• Africa provided wild
animals, ivory, gold
• India provided spices,
cotton, gems
• Persians linked Roman
roads w/ Silk Road to
• Greeks provided new
ideas & philosophies
Augustus Creates Stable Government
Efficient civil service - enforced the Law
Rule of Law
High-level jobs open to all regardless of class
Ordered a census to fairly tax all cities
Postal service
Common coinage
Provided jobs
Secure travel & trade throughout the Empire
The Roman World
• Rome emphasized discipline,
strength, loyalty
• People w/ these qualities, had
virtue of gravitas
• Rome honored strength more
than beauty, power more than
grace, usefulness more than
• Most people lived in
countryside but the empire was
based in the city
• Roman empire was very
diverse but also very class
Roman Society
• Family basic unit of society
• Patriarchal-male head of
household (father)
• absolute power
• Strict discipline
• Demanded total respect
• Wife subject to his authority
Roman Society: Women
• Subservient to male
head of family-could not
administer own affairs
• Ideal woman was loving,
dutiful, dignified, strong
• Wove cloth at home
• Played larger role than
Greek women
• Some ran businesses,
supported the arts
• Most worked at home
Roman Society: Education
• All Romans encouraged
to be literate
• Wealthy hired tutorsusually Greeks
• Taught history & rhetoric
Roman Society: Religion
• Based on Etruscan & Greek gods/goddesses
Roman Society: Religion
• Calendar filled w/ feasts &
• Honored gods-ensure
divine favor
• Inspired sense of
• Worshiped in temples that
were everywhere
• Not ethical, moral or
Good Emperors
• Hadrian
– Codified Roman law
– Built walls in Britain; prevented non-Romans
from attacking
• Marcus Aurelius
– Tried to live up to Plato’s ideal philosopher
– Wrote the Meditations
– Stoic Philosophy of commitment to duty
Bad Emperors
Appointed his favorite horse as consul
Had members of his own family killed
Persecuted Christians and blamed them for
causing the terrible fire that destroyed a large
area of the city where the poor lived
Family & Religion: Changing Role of Women
• Patriarchal society
• Ideal woman: loving, dignified,
• Greater freedom over time
• Patrician women had greatest
• Roman women had more than
Greek women
• Went to public baths, dined
out, attended theater
• Some held public office
• Ran businesses
• Earned fortunes
• Most common job was
• Girls & boys
learned to
• Upper/lower
• Rhetoric
important to
upper classes
Pious but not personal, ethical or morals
Inspired by Greek gods & goddesses
Roman calendar filled w/ feasts to honor
• Public display-All participated–sense of
• Numerous cults emerged – popular with
• “Cult of the Emperor”
The Games: Bread and Circuses
Chariot Races at the Circus Maximus
Gladiator Games in the Colisseum
Kept the mobs entertained and happy
Provided free grain to the poor
Didn’t solve Rome’s problems
Roman Achievement: Blending &
Spreading Greco- Roman Civilization
• Rome borrowed &
absorbed Greek ideas
• Greek culture was the
height of culture
• Horace said, “ Greece
has conquered her rude
• Trade & travel during the
Pax Romana helped
spread Greco-Roman
Roman Achievement:
• Sculpture
• Borrowed from
• Very realistic
• Decorated
homes, gardens,
public areas
Roman Achievement:
• Used stone
• Different techniques
• Captured scenes of
everyday life
Roman Achievement:
• denarius
Coins from 118 BCE
• worth about a day's
wages for a skilled laborer
or craftsman.
• Used to pay the army
• Used to pay taxes
• sestertius and the as
• used for smaller everyday
purchases by the common
• The denarius was a silver
coin between the size of a
modern dime and a nickel
Roman Achievement:
• Very large, imposing
• Unique designs
• Colosseum
• Baths of Caracalla
• Pantheon
Roman Achievement:
Roman Achievement:
• Borrowed from the Greeks
• Rarely did their own research
• Applied what they learned from the Greeks to
practical situations/needs
• Geography
• Greek Astronomer Ptolemy’s study of the
• Greek Scientist Galen’s study of science used
scientific method to reach conclusions
Literature: Virgil
The Aeneid
Linked to Homer’s works
Aeneas, soldier who escaped Troy to
found Rome
• Taught patriotism and unity
Literature: Ovid
• Poet
• Linked Greek and Roman culture as well
• Connected Greek gods to Roman gods
Horace & Juvenal
• Satirists who made fun of Roman culture
• Similar to today’s The Simpsons or South
Park, or Saturday Night Live
Historians: Livy
• goal was to restore pride in Rome
• Recalled Rome’s great past
• Recounted tales of heroes (Horatius &
Historians: Tacitus
• Criticized past emperors
• Claimed leaders like Augustus destroyed
Roman liberty
Emperor Marcus Aurelius
• Borrowed from the Greeks -Stoic
• Accepted ideas of responsibility and
acceptance of one’s fate
• Taught that citizens should care for all
Roman Law
• “Let justice be done though the heavens
• Famous Roman saying
• Commitment to the rule of law regardless
of outcome
Roman Law: Two Systems
Civil Law
Laws that applied to all Roman citizens
Law of Nations
All non-citizens under Roman control
Citizenship granted to all and the two
systems merged
• Became basis for American legal system
Roman Law: Principles
All people are equal before the law
The accused are presumed innocent
The accused are allowed a trial
Guilt must be established through
• Decisions made by a fair judge
What was the political impact of the Pax
• Created a civil service
• Developed a uniform rule of law