One legend states that Romulus, son of a priestess and Mars (Ares), the God of War, founded Rome.
A neighbor king had captured and killed Romulus' mother, sending her sons Romulus and his twin Remus down the Tiber to die.
Both brothers washed ashore and were nursed by a wolf and raised by a shepherd.
Both brothers decided to build a city together, but an omen had shown that Romulus would be the ruler of this city.
The brothers quarreled and Romulus killed Remus.
Begins in the Italian peninsula. (shaped like a boot). It lies in the center of the mediterranean region.
The access to west and east by sea made it strategically strong.
People lived in the 'boot area' as far as the paleolithic.
Around the 700 BCE, a group called the 'Latins' occupied the region of Latium, building villages along the Tiber river.
This is where the name of the language comes from.
In the 600 BCE, rome came under the rule of the Etruscans, a neighboring people.
The Etruscan kings ruled Rome and mixed with the Latins, creating the roman people.
The Latins absorbed not only the Etruscan race, but also their traditions and language, both which mixed with Latin culture.
One tradition that stayed was reminding generals that they were mortal.
Rome was originally one of many city states in the area.
In 509 BCE, the Roman aristocracy (nobles) overthrew the Etruscan ruler and stablished a republic .
Republic is a form of government in which voters elect officials to run the state.
Only adult male citizens could vote, however.
The rule of Rome was organized thus:
The Senate: The most important and powerful group. Consisted of 300 senators. They controlled public funds, determined foreign policy and acted as a court.
In this type of government, the Senate could elect an individual to act as dictator for up to six months, giving that person military and judicial authority.
Tribunes: There were several citizen assemblies in the republic, on these assemblies citizens elected officials and voted on laws. Some could vote on war topics and had some judicial power. These assemblies in turn elected ten men to act as Tribunes.
The Tribunes could accept or reject Senate bills.
Magistrates: Were public officials who ruled in the name of Rome, they constituted the executive of Rome.
After the monarchy ended (509 BCE), two Consuls were elected for one year terms. They ran government and acted as commanders. Each one could veto (refuse) the acts of the other and they ruled with the advise of the Senate, being an early form of 'check and balances'.
This is the system that inspired the political organization in many nations, including the United States.
Praetors: The praetors were elected officials who in war commanded the army and in peace oversaw the legal system. They drew the lists of potential judges and jurors and their interpretation of legal questions defined the spirit of the laws of Rome.
Censors: Were officials who served 18 month terms and were elected every 5 years. They registered citizens according to their wealth, could appoint candidates to the senate and oversaw the moral conduct of citizens. They were very powerful.
Patrician and Plebeian
After 509 BCE, Roman society was divided into two classes: Patricians (who controlled the government) and every other citizen (Plebeians).
Patricians used a patronage system, in which they supported the interests of noble families, who in turned ensured that the Patricians stayed in power through backing both financially and in terms of loyalty.
The Plebeians were highly separated and not able to hold office. Essentially, Rome was controlled by the Patricians and, aside from the limited power of the popular assemblies, the citizens had little power or control at first.
The Plebeians increased their power through protest and strikes. They eventually gained the right to participate in the military and hold office.
In 450 BCE, the Plebeians forced the Patricians to write down the laws. From these came the Twelve Tables which were placed in the Forum. (the public square).
These period of struggle between Patricians and Plebeians was called 'The Conflict of the Orders'.
Through this conflict Plebeians won a lot, but lost the ability to marry the Patricians.
Patricians used this law to preserve their status and "purity".
By about 300 BCE, the wealthy plebeians and the patricians joined to become a new Roman Nobility.
They stablished class and financial requisites on the holding of office. This made the Nobility rise to power and essentially control Rome.
By 245 BCE, Rome controlled all the region south of the Rubicon.
The powerful Roman army was organized in Legions. A Legion was a unit of 4500 to 6000 men. (legionnaires). These were required by law to possess a minimum amount of property.
Roman army discipline was strict and its organization so strong it lead to the conquer of the Macedonians.
aside from the Legions, the army also counted on the Auxilia, which were non-citizen units that aided the army.
Different Roman war tactics led to the conquest of many nations.
The Romans kept control of their conquered lands by sharing citizenship and political power to the conquered. -Why would you be the prince of a crappy city state, when you could have a seat with the senators of the most powerful empire?-
The Romans granted citizenship to cities closed to Italy and, partial citizenship to places farther away. (Partial citizens could marry, own land and work for wages, but could not vote). -Think Mr. V.
The Romans also used strategic alliances with nations, which were allowed to keep their independence under the promise of military assistance and political support when needed.
Romans did not demand tribute over the conquered, but expected the conquered people to provide land for Roman farmer settlements.
The basic Roman unit in society was the family. Family included all unmarried children, married sons and their families, and all dependents and slaves.
Total authority was held by the Paterfamilias (father).
Roman women had more power than Greek women, they were in charge of the household, did the buying of needed items and helped their husbands.
Early Romans believed that spirits inhabited everything.
The Lares: The ancestral spirits.
The Penates: guardians of the storeroom.
Vesta: Spirit of fire.
After the Romans conquered the Greeks, they identified their gods with the Greek gods, mixing them into one unit (syncretism).
Romans believed they could divine the wishes of their gods by reading the internal organs of sacrificed animals.
The Roman religion slowly spread into a state related cult. A state religion directed by a High Priest, the Pontifex Maximus, who was elected for life.
The Punic Wars
Rome came in conflict with Carthage, a large and powerful city on Africa. Carthage was originally a Phoenician colony, that grew powerful.
Both city states were expansionist and aggressive. War was inevitable.
Rome took over southern Italy, and that put them close to Carthage.
Carthage feared Rome would try to take over them and Rome feared the same about Carthage.
Between 246 and 146 BCE the Romans and Carthage fought wars, called The Punic Wars.
The latin word for Phoenician was Punicus.
First Punic War
Romans captured a Carthaginian ship and modeled their navy after it.
The Romans used land tactics at sea, equipping 'boarding bridges' to ram enemy ships and board them.
Romans won, the Carthaginians were forced to pay a large indemnity and give up Sicily.
Example of a land bridge
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War began in 218 BCE.
It's main character was Hannibal, A Carthaginian commander and one of the greatest generals in history (thus his nickname, 'The Great'). He assembled a mighty army from Spain including cavalry, infantry and war elephants.
They marched across what is today southern France and crossed the alps into Italy.
This dangerous crossing represented a great loss of lives for his army.
Hannibal won several victories, making the Romans retreat to their fortified cities.
Unfortunately for him, he had no siege equipment, so he could not take the cities. Instead, he decided to ravage the Italian countryside and mess up Rome's allies.
The Romans turned the tide by invading Africa and putting Carthage in danger.
Hannibal was ordered to return to Carthage to defend it.
There he met his match, the general Scipio. (Scipio Africanus).
Scipio kicked Hannibal's butt in the battle of Zama.
For the second time, Carthage was defeated and had to pay an indemnity.
Though Carthage maintained its independence, it was no longer a great power. Rome was the uncontested ruler now.
Third Punic War
Even though Carthage was no longer a threat to Rome, many in Rome harbored a great hatred for the Carthaginians.
The Senate passed the order to obliterate Carthage and in 149 BCE, after a long and bitter siege, Rome conquered Carthage, destroyed the city to the GROUND and sold the survivors as slaves.
In a final act of absolute hatred, the Romans sowed the fields of Carthage with salt.
(The book treats this last part as fact, but many historians believe it was just a legend and that carthage became ager publicus - The people's land)
And what happened to Macedonia, Mr. V?
Macedonia (The land of Alexander the Great -who at this point in history is very dead) was an ally of Carthage, and was conquered by Rome during the Second Punic War .