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Geography of Rome
• Located on the center
of the Italian peninsula
– Location by the water
will help eventually help
Rome control the
• If Italy looks like a leg,
Rome is on the kneecap
• Protected from
invasions in the north
by the Alps
From Kingdom to Republic
– The Etruscans and Rome
• Romulus and Remus: legendary twins rescued by a shewolf; founded Rome in 753 B.C.E.
• The Etruscans dominated Italy between the eighth and
fifth centuries B.C.E.
• The Romans overthrew the Etruscans in the 5th century
– The Roman republic and its constitution
• Establishment of the republic
– Rome conquered the Etruscans in 509 B.C.E.
– Created a republic with a Senate dominated by the
– Consuls were elected by the Senate
– Senate advised the consuls and ratified major decisions
• Conflicts between patricians and plebeians
– Patricians granted plebeians tribunes
– Tribunes' power to intervene and veto decisions
– Patricians also agreed to codify laws into the Laws of the
Excerpt from Table IX
• No privileges, or statutes, shall be enacted in favor of
private persons, to the injury of others contrary to the
law common to all citizens, and which individuals, no
matter of what rank, have a right to make use of.
• The same rights shall be conferred upon, and the same
laws shall be considered to have been enacted for all the
people residing in and beyond Latium, that have been
enacted for good and steadfast Roman citizens.
• How are the laws of the twelve tables similar to modern
– The expansion of the republic
• Rome consolidated its position in Italy, fifth and fourth
• Conflict with Carthage (Punic Wars) and Hellenistic
• Rome became a major power in the Mediterranean Sea
From republic to empire
– The foundation of empire
• Julius Caesar: very popular social reformer and conqueror
Seized Rome in 49 B.C.E. (start around 5:30)
Claimed the title "dictator for life," 46 B.C.E.
Social reforms and centralized control
Assassinated in 44 B.C.E.
• Octavian brought civil conflict to an end
– Senate bestowed title "Augustus", 27 B.C.E.
– Monarchy disguised as a republic
– Created an army under his control
– Rome becomes more of an empire
– Continuing expansion and integration of the empire
• Roman expansion into Mediterranean basin, western
Europe, down Nile to Kush
• Pax romana, 250 years of relative peace and prosperity
• Well-engineered Roman roads; postal system
Economy and society in the Roman
– Trade and urbanization
• Owners of latifundia [large estates]focused on specialized
crops for export
• Mediterranean trade
– Many ports in Italy, Greece, and northern Africa
– Roman navy kept the seas largely free of pirates
– The Mediterranean became a Roman lake
• The city of Rome
Wealth fueled urban development
Statues, pools, fountains, arches, temples, stadiums
First use of concrete as construction material
Attracted numerous immigrants
Attractions: baths, pools, gymnasia, circuses, stadiums, amphitheaters
– Family and society in Roman times
• The pater familias--eldest male of the family ruled
– Women wielded considerable influence within their families
– Many women supervised family business and wealthy estates
• Wealth and social change
– Newly rich classes built palatial houses and threw lavish
– Cultivators and urban masses lived at subsistence level
– Poor classes became a serious problem in Rome and other
– No urban policy developed, only "bread and circuses"
• Slavery--one-third of the population
– Spartacus's uprising in 73 B.C.E.
– Urban slaves eventually saw better conditions and
possibility of gaining freedom
The cosmopolitan Mediterranean
– Greek philosophy and religions of salvation
• Roman deities: gods, goddesses, and household gods
• Greek influence--Stoicism
– Appealed to Roman intellectuals
– Cicero (106-43 B.C.E.) persuasive orator and writer
• Religions of salvation gave sense of purpose and
– Roman roads served as highways for religious
– Conquered people were allowed to keep their own
religions but were expected to treat the emperor like
– Monotheistic Jews considered state cults to be
blasphemy, Rome let this slide for a while
– Jesus of Nazareth
• Charismatic Jewish teacher, taught devotion to God and
love for human beings
• Attracted large crowds through his wisdom and miraculous
• The teaching "the kingdom of God is at hand" alarmed the
• Crucifixion in early 30s C.E.
• Apostles claimed he was the messiah
Major belief: monotheism
Rules: Ten Commandments and Hebrew Law
Holy Book: Torah
Important People: Moses and Abraham
– Hebrews emerged near ancient Babylon in
– Enslaved by Babylonians then Egyptians
– Forced out of Rome 70 AD- Jewish Diaspora
– Remained landless until 1948
• Major beliefs: monotheism and Golden Rule
• Rules: Ten Commandments
• Holy Book: Bible (Broken into 2 parts)
– Old Testament- based on the Torah
– New Testament- based on the life of Jesus
• Important People: Moses, Abraham, Jesus, the apostles
• History in Rome:
– Grew out of Judaism, Jesus was Jewish
– Refused to worship emperor as a god persecution
– Promise of salvation and willingness of worshippers to become
– Constantine makes Rome Christian around 300 C.E.
– When Rome fell, the Church became a source of order and
strength for the people of Europe
• The concept of a republican form of government
governed by a constitution and a fixed body of law that
guaranteed the rights of citizens.
• Elaborate transportation and communications networks
with sophisticated roads, sea lanes linking port cities,
and an imperial postal system.
• Economically specialized regions, either in the
development of cash crops for export or in localized
• New cities built throughout the empire with
unprecedented levels of sanitation, comfort, and
• Widespread dissemination of philosophical beliefs and
values, like Stoicism, and religions of salvation, like
Rome: Crash Course World History
How did Rome begin?
What was the early government of Rome like?
How did the plebeians finally get more rights?
Why were the Punic wars important?
How did Julius Caesar change Rome?
The Fall of Rome 476 C.E.
Very similar to the fall of Han China
Too big to defend
Reliance on barbarian mercenaries
Outside invasions (The Huns strike again!)
Government corruption and poor leadership
Loss of pride
Diocletian tried to save Rome by dividing it into
two halves: West = Rome, East = Byzantium
Too little too late
• Western Rome falls in 476 when the city of
Rome is sacked by Barbarians
– Government collapses
– Wars and chaos lead to feudalism and the Middle
• Byzantium, which is much wealthier continues
until 1453 C.E. We’ll talk about that later!
• Fall of Rome: Crash Course World History
• List at least 10 factors that led to the fall of