Society in the roman republic


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Family, slaves, gladiators, military etc

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Society in the roman republic

  1. 1. FamilyWomenClientshipSlaveryReligionMilitaryGladiatorial GamesCity living 1
  2. 2. The Roman Family Carved sarcophagus illustrating family life Roman law gave absolute power to thepaterfamilias, the oldest male, who could punish and even kill any member of the extended family in his household. 2
  3. 3. Women in Ancient RomeAlthough women had no legal rights in theRepublic, they were often responsible for day-to-day household affairs. Until she was married, a Roman woman was under the absolute control of her father. After marriage, she was under the absolute control of her husband. Later, in the Imperial period, women were given more legalrights, including the right to own and inherit property, as well as the right of divorce. 3
  4. 4. Clientship Important feature ofRoman society. A Roman patrician wouldsurround himself withclients, less powerful men towhom he gave protectionand aid in return for loyalty.The more important and powerful the patrician, the more clients he had.His day often began with “office hours” when he received them and heard their requests.When he went out, he was accompanied by his clients, and their number was a sign of his importance. 4
  5. 5. SlaverySlavery was widespread in the ancient world, and it was essentialto Roman society. Between 200 BCE and 200 CE, slaves made up as much as a third of the population of Rome. 5
  6. 6. Slaves in Rome Household – Every patricianhousehold had slaves for cookingand cleaning, and even as tutors fortheir children. Trades and crafts – Slaveswere used to run shops and work intrade, with profits going to theowner. Agriculture – As the empiregrew, plantations worked by slavesreplaced small family farms. Mining and public works – Slave labor was used for construction ofbuildings, aqueducts and roads. 6
  7. 7. Carving shows tiny slaves, reflecting their position in society. 7
  8. 8. A free Roman who borrowed money and failed to repay itcould be sold into slavery, but most slaves were a result of plunder from war and conquest. Slave for saleThey were important to the Roman economy as a commodity and as a labor supply.Slaves could be freed. Sometimes an owner would free a slave ingratitude for long, faithful service. Sometimes a slave could earn and save enough money to buy his freedom. 8
  9. 9. Religion Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome (715-674 BCE), made religion acentral part of the government and official life, and it remained so throughoutRome’s history. Animal sacrifice was performed before any important event, and priestsstudied the entrails. If the sacrifice ritual went well and the guts looked good, itwas a sign that the gods approved. Strange natural events like an eclipse or unusual animal behavior wereconsidered signs from the gods. Temples were erected, supported financially, and staffed at state expense. Every human event, including illness and victory or defeat in battle, wasthought to be an expression of the favor or disfavor of the gods. 9
  10. 10. Major Roman Gods and GoddessesJupiter – King of the GodsJuno – Wife of JupiterMars - God of War (father of Romulus)Mercury - Messenger of the GodsNeptune - God of the SeaJanus - God of DoorwaysDiana - Goddess of HuntingVesta - Goddess of the HearthMinerva - Goddess of Healing and WisdomVenus - Goddess of Love (mother of Aeneas)Baccus – God of WineFortuna – Goddess of Luck 10
  11. 11. Mars and Venus Romans believed they were directly descended from Mars (father of Romulus and Remus) and Venus 11
  12. 12. A God for Everything If it was important to theRomans, they had a god orgoddess to represent it. There was agoddess, Roma, for the city ofRome. There was a crossroads god. A god of fire. And Victoria, the goddess ofvictory (right). 12
  13. 13. Household Gods Every Roman household (at least among the patricians and upper- class people about whom we have information) had an altar withstatues of household gods (lares andpenates), who were thought to take an active role in domestic affairs."In a corner at the entrance to the house was a huge cupboard with a smallbuilt-in shrine. Inside the shrine were the silver statuettes of the householdgods, a Venus in marble, and a golden casket.” --Description from 60 CE 13
  14. 14. The Roman Military The Roman Republic used its military superiorityto dominate Italy and the Mediterranean. Roman legions didn’t win every battle, but Romenever accepted defeat. If legions were wiped out, Rome sent more! 14
  15. 15. The Military Camp A Roman legion could march 18 miles a day or more, each soldier carrying up to 60 pounds of gear and arms. At the end of the march, they would construct a small town with a standard layout ofstreets, tents, fortifications, and defenses. This would be their camp for the night. 15
  16. 16. Weaponry Gladius – Short sword, 22 incheslong, used by Roman legionaries fromthe 3rd century BCE. Used to makeshort, powerful thrusts. Pilum – Throwing spear. Legionariescarried two pila, which they would hurl at theenemy as they were charging, beforeengaging with the gladius. The pilum or javelin had a hammered ironhead about 9 inches long, mounted on a 3-foot wooden shaft. The head was thin andsharp, and would bend on impact so itcouldn’t be reused. 16
  17. 17. Target – Round shield, 3 feet in diameter. Scutum – Large infantry shield, 2 ½ x 4 feet. Helmet – The youngest soldiers, often deployed at the front of anattacking legion, wore a plain helmet, often covered with the skin of a wolf orsome other animal. More senior soldiers wore helmets withcrests of feathers or horse hairs. Helmetdecorations helped identify soldiersin the midst of battle. Pectorale – Brass breastplatecovering the heart. Coin showing soldier with pilum 17
  18. 18. Awards Earned by Military Commanders Grass Crown – Highest militaryhonor, awarded to a commander by his troopswhen he heroically saved the entire army. Madeon the spot from grass and weeds on thebattlefield, it was only awarded nine times inRoman history. Sulla won the Grass Crown. Civic Crown – Second highest award, for heroism in battle. Fashionedfrom oak leaves. Civic Crown winners were immediately eligible to join theSenate. Other Senators would stand and applaud when the man with thecrown entered. Julius Caesar won the Civic Crown early in his military career. 18
  19. 19. The Military Triumph The greatest honor for a Republican military commander was to beawarded a Triumph by the Senate. This was a march through the center of Rome by the full army with all thecaptured spoils of war, including slaves and prisoners. The march began outside the city and ended at the temple of JupiterOptimus Maximus, where the triumphing general made an offering to the god. 19
  20. 20. This was the onlytime that armedsoldiers were allowedin the city. The parade wasled by the chiefs of theconqueredpeople, who wereexecuted afterward. After the prisoners and loot came the triumphator (the general beinghonored) and his army. The general, his face and arms painted red, rode in a ceremonial cartpulled by two white horses. Behind him was a slave whose job was to repeat continuously, "Mementomori" (“Remember, you are mortal”). 20
  21. 21. Life of a Roman Soldier Training – nearly constant. Marching – the major form of troop transport. Construction –camps, roads, bridges, fortifications, and siegeengines. Fighting – although this is what the army wasdesigned to do, actual fighting was rare in the lifeof a Roman soldier. Depiction of a Roman centurion 21
  22. 22. Gladiators and Gladiatorial Games Gladiatorial games were an important and popular form of public entertainment from the middle Republic until they were outlawed by the Emperor Constantine in 325.Pollice Verso ("With a Turned Thumb”) by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1872 22
  23. 23. Gladiators wereusually prisoners ofwar, slaves, orcondemnedcriminals, trained tofight. In the arena, theyfought until oneacknowledgeddefeat by raising afinger. The crowd woulddecide whether theloser would be killedor spared. 23
  24. 24. Gladiators were owned or hired by wealthy Romanswho wanted to stage a public display. The first known gladiatorial games in Rome werestaged in 264 BCE as part of a patrician funeralcelebration. Later, emperors organized games with thousands offighting pairs. 24
  25. 25. Gladiatorial games were often the third event in aday of entertainment at the amphitheater. The first event would be fights with wild animals. This would be followed by the execution of prisoners. 25
  26. 26. Chariot Racing at the Circus Maximus wasanother popular form of entertainment.The sport dates from theearliest days of Rome. It was practiced by theGreeks and Etruscans as well. Racers were usually slaves and often died in the ring. The winner received a cash prize, and a slave who could stay alive would earn enough to buy his freedom. 26
  27. 27. CITY LIVING In the final days of the Republic, the city of Rome was theheart of a vast empire. With a million inhabitants, it was more thanthree times larger than any of the other big cities of the empire:Carthage, Alexandria and Antioch. Most Romans were poor slum-dwellers, crammed intodense, poorly-maintained apartments. The wealthy lived in luxury on theseven hills of Rome. At the center of it all was theForum, crowded and lively. The Forum wasthe center of civil, religious, andcommercial life in the city. 27
  28. 28. Growth of Roman Population in the Late Republic1000 900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 220 BCE 190 BCE 170 BCE 50 BCE 1 BCE Population (x 1000) 28