6.1 -The Roman Republic & Punic Wars
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6.1 -The Roman Republic & Punic Wars

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An overview of the Roman Republic and the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage.

An overview of the Roman Republic and the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage.

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6.1 -The Roman Republic & Punic Wars 6.1 -The Roman Republic & Punic Wars Presentation Transcript

  • The Roman Republic
    • Objectives for this section:
    • Know the shift of Rome’s government from monarchy to republic and what the cause of this shift was.
    • Know the differences among the classes (patrician, plebian, et al)
    • Know the basic structure of the Roman republican government and the checks and balances each division had on the others.
    • Know what the Punic Wars are and between whom they were fought and why.
      • What caused each war and what was the aftermath?
      • Who’s Hannibal?
      • Why was Cannae important?
      • What’s the overall result of all the Punic Wars?
  • 509 B.C. Rome becomes a republic . 264 B.C. The First Punic War with Carthage begins . 218 B.C. In the Second Punic War, Hannibal invades Italy . 44 B.C. Conspirators kill Julius Caesar . A.D. 284 Diocletian, who will divide the Roman Empire, becomes emperor. A.D. 476 Western Roman Empire falls with the ouster of the last emperor, Romulus Augustulus . 500 B.C.
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  • Rome’s growth and decline over the years.
    • According to legend, Rome was founded Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Mars
    • Mars raped their mother who happened to be a Vestal virgin. She was buried alive as punishment. R and R were supposed to be exposed, but the servant left them on the bank of the Tiber instead. It flooded and they floated away.
    • Went downriver, were rescued and raised by she-wolf.
    • In a dispute over where to put the city, Romulus slew Remus.
    • Romulus proceeded to name it after himself, set up all of its institutions, and attracted to it people who needed a fresh start… which typically meant criminals.
    • When women ran short, he just kidnapped 700 from the neighboring Sabines.
      • According to the Roman historian Livy, though, they were treated well and weren’t assaulted.
    • In reality, people had been living in the region for a while.
    • The area where Rome was defensible due to the hills and was surrounded by a fertile plain
    • The Tiber river was also navigable from the sea to there and had a low point where it could be forded
    • According to legend, Romulus founded Rome in 753 BC. Probably not Romulus, but archaeology suggests it was indeed founded in the middle of the 8 th century BC.
    • The early Romans were strongly influenced by those around them.
    • There were Etruscans to the north, Sabines to the east, and Greeks along the coast.
    • Rome, in the beginning, was a monarchy
    • According to ancient sources, there were only seven kings in 243 years, which gives an average reign of 35 years – far longer than the norm.
    • There were probably more kings, but contemporary records no longer exist.
    • He was apparently elected (proposed by the Senate and voted on by the Assembly) and the line wasn’t entirely hereditary.
    • King was the head of the religion and held most of the power.
    • There was the Senate and the Curiate Assembly, but they had little power.
    • The kings were of varying quality, but most decent.
    • They gradually expanded Rome’s power and territory.
    • One king, Tarquinius Priscus, put in the first sewer system, drained a swamp, and built the Circus Maximus.
    • The last king was Tarquinius Superbus. He was a jerk.
      • He was Priscus’s son, but wasn’t elected to the throne. He eventually had the elected king, Servius, assassinated with the help of his wife, Servius’s own daughter. After he was dead, she drove over his body with a chariot.
      • He also repealed popular reforms and was rather violent. The Senate finally succeeded in expelling him in 510 BC.
  • Tarquin the Proud equals Grand Moff Tarkin?! Some speculate so (but probably a coincidence).
    • After getting rid of Tarquin the Jerk, the Senate decided it had had enough of kings and reformed Rome into a Republic 509 BC.
    • Some speculation this was a backdate so that republican Rome predated Cleisthenes’ Athens.
      • That way, Rome (which had a cultural inferiority complex towards Greece) could claim it was the first democracy.
    • There were several classifications of people in Rome: patricians, plebians, allies, and slaves.
    • The patricians were the traditional wealthy aristocrats.
    • Plebians were the average joe farmers and artisans. Both patricians and plebians were citizens.
    • Allies were native people of conquered territories. They had a limited form of citizenship
    • Slaves had no rights at all. They were purely property.
    • The patricians initially formed a kind of a republican oligarchy.
    • The plebians didn’t like this and threatened to secede from Rome on several occasions and so established the tribunes, who were tasked with protecting plebian rights. If they thought a pleb was being oppressed, they could say, “Veto,” which means, “I forbid it.”
    • So instead of a king, they had two consuls
    • Kinda like the two Spartan kings, by having two men in charge instead of one, you resist tyranny.
    • Each consul had to consult the other before acting and one could veto the other.
    • Were patricians elected to one year terms
    • Supreme commanders of the military
    • Took care of daily affairs and kept other officials in line. Also presided over the Senate.
    • Would join the Senate at the expiration of their term, so it was in their interests to cultivate good relations with that body.
    • Later, proconsuls were created – consuls whose terms could be extended due to military matters, such as leadership continuity during a war.
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    • A dictator could be appointed to a six month term.
    • Had supreme power and could override the consuls.
    • Appointed in times of crisis.
    • The Senate
    • A body of 300 patricians from the wealthiest families.
    • Served for life.
    • Advised consuls, approved projects, did foreign policy.
    • Was the main power in Rome.
    • Centuriate Assembly
    • Composed of citizen-soldiers by class.
    • Appointed consuls.
    • Votes weren’t individual votes. Individual votes contributed to how the class decided. The upper classes’ votes had more weight. Thus, it was still patrician-controlled.
    • Tribal Assembly
    • Included both patricians and plebians.
    • People were split up depending on where they lived – into one of 35 different tribes.
      • The tribes were determined by geography and not by population.
    • Each tribe had one vote.
    • Since the majority of people lived in one of Rome’s four urban tribes, that meant the 31 rural tribes had more influence.
    • The tribal assembly grows in power and eventually makes most of the laws.
    • Also elected the tribunes.
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    • The Twelve Tables
    • The first codification of Roman law.
    • Made around 450 BC in response to plebians’ complaints that the patricians were forming and interpreting laws to their own benefit.
    • They were written down on 12 bronze tablets that were posted in the Roman forum.
    • More a listing of rights than formal laws.
    • For something so important, we oddly don’t know what the exact text was, but we can piece a lot of it together from fragments.
    • Here’s a sampling from the Twelve Tables:
    • If someone is called to go to court, he is to go. If he doesn't go, a witness should be called. Only then should he be captured. If he shirks or flees, he should be captured. If illness or old age is an impediment, let him be given a carriage. If he doesn't want it, it should not be covered.
    • An obviously deformed child must be put to death.
    • If a father sells his son into slavery three times, the son shall be free of his father.
    • If a person dies intestate without heirs, the nearest male kinsman shall inherit. If there is no near male kinsmen, his clansmen shall inherit.
    • If one has maimed another and does not buy his peace, let there be retaliation in kind.
    • Someone who breaks another's bone by hand or club must pay 300 sesterces; for a slave, 150; if he has done simple harm against another, 25.
    • No dead man may be cremated nor buried in the City.
    • Marriages between plebeians and patricians are forbidden.
    • Men in the army may not wed until training is complete.
    • Someone who has brought a false claim shall be brought before three judges, and shall pay a double penalty.
    • The Roman system had a series of checks and balances among the different entities.
    • This carries over today.
    • Punic Wars
    • In 390 BC, however, Rome was sacked by the Gauls.
    • In response, Rome gradually expanded its power over Italy and conquered its neighbors. By 265 BC, it controls Italy and has a significant trade empire in the Mediterranean.
    • Its growing power naturally puts it in conflict with Carthage, the dominant Mediterranean city at the time. When interests among power conflict, war happens.
    • Rome and Carthage fought three different wars, called the Punic Wars because the Latin term for a Carthaginian was Punici.
  • They weren’t all that far apart.
  • Note the artificial harbor. A remarkable achievement.
  • Then Now Warship harbor Merchant harbor
  • The warship island. A warship slip
    • It ain’t just ancient. Compare…
    German U-Boat pens from World War II
    • First Punic War
    • 264-241 BC
    • While war between Rome and Carthage was probably inevitable, the spark was a power struggle in Sicily.
      • It was under the control of Carthage, but Rome backed a rebellion and sent in its forces.
  • Carthage’s areas of influence before the First Punic War.
    • Fighting was initially restricted to Sicily, but Rome then took the fight to Carthage. The Romans built a huge naval force of warships and troop transports and began attacking Carthage’s North African cities and countryside.
      • This force was eventually defeated by a Spartan mercenary general. That and Carthage regained control over Sicily. But the key was the naval battles.
    • Carthage was master of the seas. Rome, though, as usual, adapted nicely.
      • They copied some Carthaginian designs and also introduced the corvus.
      • The corvus was a rotating bridge with spikes on the end. The Romans would maneuver close to an enemy ship, drop the bridge into the deck of the enemy, locking the two ships together.
        • Roman marines would then cross over the bridge and get to fighting.
        • It did cause some problems, though, since it made the ship more unstable.
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    • Despite the naval copying and innovation, and because of some bad luck from the weather, Roman fleets were destroyed and Carthage took the upper hand.
      • The Carthaginians, thinking the war over, started demobilizing. Rome took advantage, rebuilt its fleets and annihilated Carthage’s fleet.
    • Both sides were ready for the war to be over as they both suffered heavily. Over 50,000 Romans had died and a great deal of money spent.
    • Rome, however, had the upper hand and could dictate terms to Carthage… and the terms were heavy.
      • Carthage had to cede Sicily and most other of its Mediterranean islands to Rome.
      • Roman prisoners were to be returned while Carthaginians prisoners had to be ransomed.
      • Carthage had to pay Rome an exorbitant sum of money (2,200 talents of gold).
    • Aftermath
      • Rome was ruler of the seas.
      • Carthage was now second-rate. It was also humiliated.
      • The victor’s peace imposed upon Carthage hindered its recovery and fueled resentment, which led to the Second Punic War.
    • Second Punic War
    • 218-202 BC
    • Carthage was angry over its treatment by Rome after the First Punic War.
    • Also, to pay off the reparations, it had to get the money from somewhere, so it expanded its power in Spain.
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    • The Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca began the conquering of Spain and then it fell to his son Hannibal .
      • Hannibal especially hated the Romans.
      • He attacked a Roman ally in Spain as well as making other provocative moves and Rome declared war on Carthage.
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    • Hannibal gradually advance towards Italy, subduing people along the way by force or diplomacy.
    • He had around 50,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry and some war elephants.
    • He crossed his force over the Alps… in winter. Did I mention he had elephants? This was an amazing feat and caught the Romans flat-footed. They had expected to fight Hannibal in Spain and had even sent forces there.
      • A chunk of his forces died along the way, though.
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    • Suddenly, the enemy was in Rome’s back yard. You have to understand how this felt to Rome’s mentality.
    • Hannibal got the support of rebellious locals and was good at avoiding battles. When he did fight, he pasted the Romans.
      • He was a military genius and the generals sent against him weren’t.
  • The Battle of Trebia is an example.
    • The worst defeat, though, was the Battle of Cannae on 8/2/216 BC
      • Nearly 87,000 Romans engaged around 55,000 of Hannibal’s troops. Rome had never before fielded such an army.
      • Hannibal, being a military genius, developed a cunning plan. He was helped by the stupid Roman commander.
      • Though the Romans had more soldiers and so could have had a longer, flanking line of troops, they were arrayed with depth such that the line stretched about as long as Hannibal’s. The idea was to break through Hannibal’s center.
    • The initial set up
    • Hannibal put his weaker troops in his center and his good troops on the flanks.
    • When the Romans attacked, they gradually drove back Hannibal’s center. This was intentional on Hannibal’s part.
    Hannibal also had an advantage in sun and wind.
    • Once the Romans drove in, the superior troops on the flanks closed in while the cavalry swung around and attacked the Roman rear. The Roman force was completely enveloped and they were slaughtered. Their massed forces also made it impossible to maneuver and the slaughter was made worse by panic (as usual).
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  • Hannibal counting the rings of defeated Roman elites that he sent back to Carthage as proof of his victory.
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      • About 60,000 of the original 87,000 Roman troops were killed, including a consul and 80 senators. Nearly 600 legionaries were killed per minute.
        • Another 10,000 were taken prisoner. That means only about 17,000 made out of Cannae alive and free. About 80% of Rome’s overall military was gone.
        • It’s one of the greatest tactical defeats in history as well as one of the greatest losses of life in a single battle.
        • To compare:
          • U.S. WWI battle deaths: 53,402
            • Over two years and was 1.1% of total service member.
          • U.S. WWII battle deaths: 291,557
            • That’s over four years in two theaters of operation. It’s also 1.8% of the total service members.
          • Iraq War battle deaths: about 3,500 so far
            • Over 4.5 years and is about 0.3% of the total service members.
      • After Cannae, the Romans were terrified and didn’t know what to do. Furthermore, many of Rome’s regional allies decided to side with Hannibal and Carthage.
        • They were also shocked. Everyone in Rome either knew or was related to someone lost at Cannae.
      • Hannibal opted not to attack Rome directly, thinking he wouldn’t be able to take the fortified city.
      • He offered reasonable peace terms to Rome. Rome, even though it was on the ropes, refused Hannibal’s offer in true Roman style.
    • Rome drew up a new army, enlisting a good chunk of the male populace. The word ‘peace’ was prohibited and only women could shed tears in public.
    • Instead of engaging Hannibal in big battles, they merely harassed him in Italy and denied him the supplies he needed. Whenever he could get the Romans to attack, he always beat them.
    • Meanwhile, Rome took the war to Carthage.
      • They attacked Carthaginian forces in Spain, Carthage’s main source of wealth, which prompted Carthage to send reinforcements and supplies there instead of to Hannibal.
      • They also attacked Carthage’s allies in Sicily and Macedon.
      • While Hannibal was the better of any Roman commander, he’s gradually worn down by the Romans attacking his support system and supply lines.
    • Finally, Scipio, who was successful in Spain, is elected consul and he takes an army to North Africa.
      • Carthage recalled Hannibal from Italy in 203 BC to face the threat.
      • Scipio defeated Hannibal in the Battle of Zama (finally!).
        • Scipio comes back a hero and is given the name Scipio Africanus Major.
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  • Scipio on coin and as bronze bust.
    • On the brink of destruction, Carthage sues for peace.
      • Rome again imposes a victor’s peace:
        • Spain becomes Rome’s.
        • Carthage has to pay a lot in reparations.
        • Its navy can only have 10 ships to fight pirates.
        • It couldn’t raise an army without Rome’s blessing.
        • Carthage, once proud and powerful, is essentially reduced to a Roman client state.
    • Third Punic War
    • 149-146 BC
    • While Carthage had been stripped of most of its power, its continued existence made many Romans uneasy. They had, after all, fought two wars with Carthage and the barbarians had been at the gates of Rome itself.
    • Another problem was that when a border dispute arose between Carthage and its neighbor Numidia, the Roman Senate kept finding in Numidia’s favor.
      • Carthage was also raising an army in order to deal with Numidian incursions. But, even though it was defensive, it was still a no-no under the terms of the treaty.
    • Rome also insisted on Carthage continuing to pay its annual tribute even though the reparations had, by 151 BC, all been paid back under the terms that ended the Second Punic War.
    • Some Romans openly agitated for war.
      • The great statesmen Cato would end his Senate speeches with “Carthago delenda est,” or “Carthage must be destroyed.”
        • He had also traveled to Carthage in 157 BC and feared what he saw as growing prosperity there.
        • In one dramatic act, he flung ripe figs from a fold in his toga, declaring they had been plucked in Carthage just two day ago.
          • What do you think this was supposed to illustrate?
    • So Rome engages in a pre-emptive war against Carthage.
      • It may not have been unfounded. After the Romans got there, there were indications Carthage was rearming, especially its navy because its harbor had been improved.
    • Rome beats Carthage and the Carthaginians sue for peace. Rome keeps giving more conditions until it finally says the population will have to move inland and Carthage will be burned.
      • The Carthaginians resist, Rome lays siege to Carthage (it lasts three years), the Romans storm the city, and Carthage falls.
      • The city is razed and burned to the ground. Those who didn’t die in the siege or the city’s capture are sold into slavery… about 50,000 people.
    • Carthage as it had been ceases to be and it becomes a Roman province.
    • Rome officially takes over the western Mediterranean as well as North Africa.