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  1. 1. John P. McKay Bennett ● D. Hill ● John Buckler Patricia Buckley Ebrey ● Roger B. Beck Clare Haru Crowston ● Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks A History of World Societies Ninth Edition CHAPTER 6 The World of Rome, 750 B.C.E.–400 C.E. Copyright © 2011 by Bedford/St. Martin’s
  2. 2. I. The Romans in Italy A. The Etruscans and Rome • 1. The Etruscans were the Italian peninsula’s first permanent settlers, and they traded with the Greeks. Small settlements located on the Tiber River became the foundation of Rome and were influenced by the Etruscan culture, alphabet, and symbols.
  3. 3. I. The Romans in Italy B. The Roman Conquest of Italy • 1. There are several myths about the founding of Rome. The most popular myth centers on Romulus and Remus, twin brothers who were descended from a god. Later historians told of an Etruscan king’s son who raped a virtuous Roman wife; the woman killed herself out of shame, and her suicide caused the Romans to rise up and overthrow their Etruscan ruler. • 2. The removal of the last Etruscan king allowed the Romans to establish the Roman republic. A series of wars allowed the Romans to dominate the Italian peninsula.
  4. 4. I. The Romans in Italy C. The Distribution of Power in the Roman Republic • 1. Early Roman social divisions consisted of the patricians, who were the landowning aristocracy, and the plebeians, free citizens with a voice in political affairs. The patricians held most of the social and political advantages. • 2. The senate was an important part of the Roman government. Two elected government executives, identified as consuls, were advised by the senators, but over time, the senate became the real force behind the law. • 3. Roman civil law consisted of statutes, customs, and regulations placed on Roman society. Later, a “natural law” based partly on Stoic beliefs came to govern Roman behavior.
  5. 5. I. The Romans in Italy D. Social Conflict in Rome • 1. Inequality between plebeians and patricians led to the Struggle of the Orders. A main complaint was that only patricians knew the law and only they could argue cases in court. Plebeians wanted the law codified and published. According to tradition, the plebeians walked out of Rome and refused to serve in the army. • 2. The strike worked. The patricians offered a number of concessions. They extended new political rights to the plebeians, and they agreed to codify and publish the Laws of the Twelve Tables.
  6. 6. II. Roman Expansion and Its Repercussions A. Overseas Conquests and the Punic Wars, 264–133 B.C.E. • 1. Carthage, a powerful city-state on the northern African coast, was a Mediterranean trading empire now challenged by Roman power. The tensions between Rome and Carthage led to the First Punic War, which ended in Carthaginian defeat. • 2. In a second attempt to defeat Rome, Hannibal led Carthaginian troops through the Alps to attack Rome. Roman forces under Scipio Africanus later advanced on Carthage, forcing Hannibal to abandon the siege of Rome. The two forces confronted each other at Zama, where Hannibal was defeated, and Rome became the victor of the Second Punic War. • 3. Finally, after a third and final war with Carthage, Rome became the power to control the Mediterranean Sea routes.
  7. 7. II. Roman Expansion and Its Repercussions B. New Influences and Old Values in Roman Culture • 1. Roman cities included many comforts of life, such as public baths, theaters, and other places of amusement. Roman leisure was influenced by the old Hellenistic culture. Greek literature was popular, while many Romans spoke Latin and Greek. • 2. Roman social organization was based on traditional family structures. The oldest male of the family remained the paterfamilias and had nearly absolute authority over the household. • 3. To the Romans slavery was not based on racial identification but rather was a misfortune that some people suffered. • 4. Roman religion was polytheistic and similar to the classic Greek tradition. Romans also believed in spirits that haunted society.
  8. 8. II. Roman Expansion and Its Repercussions • 1. The republic suffered numerous power struggles, which led to the First Triumvirate, an alliance of three leaders: Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar. The First Triumvirate collapsed, and Caesar ultimately gained sole power. • 2. Julius Caesar enacted basic reforms and moved to expand Rome into new regions, including Gaul, Spain, and North Africa. Following Caesar’s assassination, another civil war developed. • 3. A Second Triumvirate was organized with Marc Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian in power. Again, the leaders began to compete for power. Octavian and Marc Antony waged war against each other after Octavian forced Lepidus out of office. • 4. Following in Caesar’s footsteps, Marc Antony formed an alliance with Cleopatra, the Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. Their forces were defeated by Octavian at the Battle of Actium.
  9. 9. D. The Successes of Augustus • 1. Augustus formed the new Roman government as an empire, initiating a new era for Rome. Emperor in fact if not in name, Augustus promoted new ideals in most aspects of society and created a stable government. • 2. Augustus pushed for Roman expansion into Europe and established a network of roads that linked Roman settlements together.
  10. 10. 1. What aspects of peace does this panel express? 2. Based on this image, can you speculate about what the Romans believed necessary to maintain peace?
  11. 11. III. The Pax Romana A. Political and Military Changes in the Empire • 1. Some of the emperors that followed Augustus maintained a stable bureaucracy. Others were ruthless and unbalanced, and on occasion their rule led to military rebellion. • 2. Protection and fortifications were established to maintain military security, while the network of Roman roads was expanded to supply military outposts. B. Life in Rome • 1. Classic Roman construction included palaces and elaborate buildings, an elaborate sewage system, and aqueducts to serve all citizens. • 2. Roman emperors entertained the public with gladiatorial contests and chariot races.
  12. 12. III. The Pax Romana • C. Prosperity in the Roman Provinces • 1. Western Roman territories included regions of Britain, Gaul, and Germany. Eastern territories included Syria, Greece, and Anatolia. • 2. Expansion of trade throughout the empire made Rome an economic force. Trade included exotic products such as olive oil from Syria and raw materials from Mesopotamia. • D. Eastward Expansion and Contacts Between Rome and China • 1. Expansion eastward brought Rome into conflict with the Parthians, but the Romans could not remove the Parthian kingdom from Afghanistan. • 2. The Sassanids conquered the Parthian kingdom, but Rome could not defeat the Sassanid rulers. • 3. In spite of the military defeats in the east, Rome maintained trade with China using the Parthian population as middlemen. Chinese silk remained a strong commodity of trade from east to west.
  13. 13. IV. The Coming of Christianity • A. Factors Behind the Rise of Christianity • 1. The Jews began to organize opposition to Rome’s authority. A group identified as the Zealots fought to rid Judaea of Roman control. • 2. The failure of pagan religions to satisfy many people’s spiritual needs helped pave the way for the rise of Christianity. • B. The Life and Teachings of Jesus • 1. The Gospels are records of Jesus’s life and teachings. Jesus spoke of obtaining eternal life after death through a devotion to God. His message was based on Jewish moral traditions. • 2. Jesus departed from Jewish orthodoxy when he identified himself as the Messiah, or the Christ. Jesus preached that he would establish a heavenly kingdom rather than an earthly one. His teachings aroused the Jewish population, which caused Roman concern. • 3. Roman authorities were concerned about insurrection throughout the empire. Pontius Pilate was in charge of maintaining peace in Jerusalem. Pilate condemned Jesus to death in an effort to avoid outbreaks of violence. • 4. According to Jesus’s followers, on the third day after his crucifixion Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection became the cornerstone for the newly developing faith recognized as Christianity.
  14. 14. IV. The Coming of Christianity C. The Spread of Christianity • 1. Paul of Tarsus initially persecuted Christians but then was converted and began to promote Jesus’s teachings. Paul wrote numerous letters to various communities informing them about Jesus. Many of Paul’s letters were included in the New Testament. • 2. Among Paul’s main targets in his effort to spread Christianity were non-Jewish populations, identified as Gentiles. Christian teachings became popular in part because they offered to many the possibility of eternal life and the prospect of forgiveness. D. The Growing Acceptance and Evolution of Christianity • 1. Pagans in the Roman Empire viewed Christianity as a threat because there was the chance its followers would consider Jesus a rival to Caesar. Christians experienced some persecution, though they exaggerated the extent of pagan hostility. The emperor Trajan finally began the end of the persecution of Christians. • 2. Organization of the religion began as the numbers of converts increased. Churches were established, and a hierarchy of official leadership was fashioned after the system of Roman government.
  15. 15. V. Turmoil and Reform A. Diocletian’s Reforms • 1. The Roman Empire became difficult to maintain due to its size. Competing claims to leadership led to civil war. Barbarian invasions created instability as Rome lost territory to Sassanid armies and barbarian groups. • 2. Due to the empire’s size, Diocletian created a new system of government called the Tetrarchy, which had four rulers throughout the empire. The government system quickly failed.
  16. 16. V. Turmoil and Reform B. Economic Hardship and Its Consequences • 1. Instability impacted Roman economic production, causing the devaluation of Roman currency, which sparked inflation. Diocletian invoked government controls and taxes to confront the economic crisis, but this compounded the problem. • 2. Due to constant attacks by barbarian groups, Roman farmers fled the countryside, leaving vast tracts of agricultural land deserted. The abandoned land was claimed by great landlords, and their huge estates became stable and self-sufficient. Free people began to work the land for the estate owners, laying the foundation for serfdom.
  17. 17. V. Turmoil and Reform C. Constantine, Christianity, and the Rise of Constantinople • 1. Constantine supported the Christian church throughout his reign as emperor. He legalized Christianity and was baptized as a Christian, and he declared Sunday a public holiday. A later emperor, Theodosius, allowed the church to establish its own court system and law. • 2. Constantine built a new capital city, Constantinople, which was considered to be the New Rome. Located in the east, the city was easier to defend. However, the eastern and western halves of Rome began to drift apart.

Editor's Notes

  • I. The Romans in Italy
    A. The Etruscans and Rome
    1. The Etruscans were the Italian peninsula’s first permanent settlers, and they traded with the Greeks. Small settlements located on the Tiber River became the foundation of Rome and were influenced by the Etruscan culture, alphabet, and symbols.
  • I. The Romans in Italy
    B. The Roman Conquest of Italy
    1. There are several myths about the founding of Rome. The most popular myth centers on Romulus and Remus, twin brothers who were descended from a god. Later historians told of an Etruscan king’s son who raped a virtuous Roman wife; the woman killed herself out of shame, and her suicide caused the Romans to rise up and overthrow their Etruscan ruler.
    2. The removal of the last Etruscan king allowed the Romans to establish the Roman republic. A series of wars allowed the Romans to dominate the Italian peninsula.
  • I. The Romans in Italy
    C. The Distribution of Power in the Roman Republic
    1. Early Roman social divisions consisted of the patricians, who were the landowning aristocracy, and the plebeians, free citizens with a voice in political affairs. The patricians held most of the social and political advantages.
    2. The senate was an important part of the Roman government. Two elected government executives, identified as consuls, were advised by the senators, but over time, the senate became the real force behind the law.
    3. Roman civil law consisted of statutes, customs, and regulations placed on Roman society. Later, a “natural law” based partly on Stoic beliefs came to govern Roman behavior.
  • Battle Between the Romans and the Gauls (p. 148)
     
    1. Which figure is central in this frieze, do you think? What government or military position might he have held? What does this suggest about the political culture (the values and tactics that shaped political life) of the Roman Republic?
    (Answer: The figure at the top center of the frieze appears to represent a military leader – he makes a sweeping gesture of command with his right arm and rides a horse. He is probably a general and possibly a consul. This suggests the importance of military victories for the prestige of Roman leaders. )
     
    2. What Roman virtues (virtuous qualities, that is, that the Romans believed typified themselves) do the Roman warriors in this frieze embody?
    (Answer: The Roman soldiers have stern, unemotional faces and they seem to be arranged in loose ranks, while the Gauls look wild. The Roman soldiers embody the virtues of discipline, self-restraint, and martial courage. )
     
    3. This frieze was carved on a sarcophagus (coffin). What do you suppose the social station of the person whose body was placed within, and why was this particular image carved on his coffin?
    (Answer: This is obviously the sarcophagus of a very wealthy person; carving such friezes was an expensive process. In all likelihood this person had been a senior military officer. The commanding central figure in the frieze may have represented him. )
  • I. The Romans in Italy
    D. Social Conflict in Rome
    1. Inequality between plebeians and patricians led to the Struggle of the Orders. A main complaint was that only patricians knew the law and only they could argue cases in court. Plebeians wanted the law codified and published. According to tradition, the plebeians walked out of Rome and refused to serve in the army.
    2. The strike worked. The patricians offered a number of concessions. They extended new political rights to the plebeians, and they agreed to codify and publish the Laws of the Twelve Tables.
  • II. Roman Expansion and Its Repercussions
    A. Overseas Conquests and the Punic Wars, 264–133 B.C.E.
    1. Carthage, a powerful city-state on the northern African coast, was a Mediterranean trading empire now challenged by Roman power. The tensions between Rome and Carthage led to the First Punic War, which ended in Carthaginian defeat.
    2. In a second attempt to defeat Rome, Hannibal led Carthaginian troops through the Alps to attack Rome. Roman forces under Scipio Africanus later advanced on Carthage, forcing Hannibal to abandon the siege of Rome. The two forces confronted each other at Zama, where Hannibal was defeated, and Rome became the victor of the Second Punic War.
    3. Finally, after a third and final war with Carthage, Rome became the power to control the Mediterranean Sea routes.
  • II. Roman Expansion and Its Repercussions
    B. New Influences and Old Values in Roman Culture
    1. Roman cities included many comforts of life, such as public baths, theaters, and other places of amusement. Roman leisure was influenced by the old Hellenistic culture. Greek literature was popular, while many Romans spoke Latin and Greek.
    2. Roman social organization was based on traditional family structures. The oldest male of the family remained the paterfamilias and had nearly absolute authority over the household.
    3. To the Romans slavery was not based on racial identification but rather was a misfortune that some people suffered.
    4. Roman religion was polytheistic and similar to the classic Greek tradition. Romans also believed in spirits that haunted society.
  • II. Roman Expansion and Its Repercussions
    C. The Late Republic and the Rise of Augustus, 133–27 B.C.E.
    1. The republic suffered numerous power struggles, which led to the First Triumvirate, an alliance of three leaders: Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar. The First Triumvirate collapsed, and Caesar ultimately gained sole power.
    2. Julius Caesar enacted basic reforms and moved to expand Rome into new regions, including Gaul, Spain, and North Africa. Following Caesar’s assassination, another civil war developed.
    3. A Second Triumvirate was organized with Marc Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian in power. Again, the leaders began to compete for power. Octavian and Marc Antony waged war against each other after Octavian forced Lepidus out of office.
    4. Following in Caesar’s footsteps, Marc Antony formed an alliance with Cleopatra, the Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. Their forces were defeated by Octavian at the Battle of Actium. Octavian maintained Roman rule and took the name Augustus.
    D. The Successes of Augustus
    1. Augustus formed the new Roman government as an empire, initiating a new era for Rome. Emperor in fact if not in name, Augustus promoted new ideals in most aspects of society and created a stable government.
    2. Augustus pushed for Roman expansion into Europe and established a network of roads that linked Roman settlements together.
  • Ara Pacis (p. 160)
     
    1. What aspects of peace does this panel express?
    (Answer: Fertility, represented by the two babies on the central figure’s lap, one of whom seems to be reaching out to nurse, is one. The babies also connect to the feeling of domestic safety and tranquility. Material plenty, represented by agricultural products (the cow and the sheep at the foot of the central figure, the fruit on her lap), is another. )
     
    2. Based on this image, can you speculate about what the Romans believed necessary to maintain peace?
    (Answer: The arrangement of the three figures, with the central one much larger than the two to the sides, suggests that in the Roman understanding, a clear social and political hierarchy was necessary to maintain peace. One might also extrapolate from the figures’ facial expressions that discipline was also necessary for peace. )
  • III. The Pax Romana
    A. Political and Military Changes in the Empire
    1. Some of the emperors that followed Augustus maintained a stable bureaucracy. Others were ruthless and unbalanced, and on occasion their rule led to military rebellion.
    2. Protection and fortifications were established to maintain military security, while the network of Roman roads was expanded to supply military outposts.
    B. Life in Rome
    1. Classic Roman construction included palaces and elaborate buildings, an elaborate sewage system, and aqueducts to serve all citizens.
    2. Roman emperors entertained the public with gladiatorial contests and chariot races.
  • III. The Pax Romana
    C. Prosperity in the Roman Provinces
    1. Western Roman territories included regions of Britain, Gaul, and Germany. Eastern territories included Syria, Greece, and Anatolia.
    2. Expansion of trade throughout the empire made Rome an economic force. Trade included exotic products such as olive oil from Syria and raw materials from Mesopotamia.
    D. Eastward Expansion and Contacts Between Rome and China
    1. Expansion eastward brought Rome into conflict with the Parthians, but the Romans could not remove the Parthian kingdom from Afghanistan.
    2. The Sassanids conquered the Parthian kingdom, but Rome could not defeat the Sassanid rulers.
    3. In spite of the military defeats in the east, Rome maintained trade with China using the Parthian population as middlemen. Chinese silk remained a strong commodity of trade from east to west.
  • IV. The Coming of Christianity
    A. Factors Behind the Rise of Christianity
    1. The Jews began to organize opposition to Rome’s authority. A group identified as the Zealots fought to rid Judaea of Roman control.
    2. The failure of pagan religions to satisfy many people’s spiritual needs helped pave the way for the rise of Christianity.
    B. The Life and Teachings of Jesus
    1. The Gospels are records of Jesus’s life and teachings. Jesus spoke of obtaining eternal life after death through a devotion to God. His message was based on Jewish moral traditions.
    2. Jesus departed from Jewish orthodoxy when he identified himself as the Messiah, or the Christ. Jesus preached that he would establish a heavenly kingdom rather than an earthly one. His teachings aroused the Jewish population, which caused Roman concern.
    3. Roman authorities were concerned about insurrection throughout the empire. Pontius Pilate was in charge of maintaining peace in Jerusalem. Pilate condemned Jesus to death in an effort to avoid outbreaks of violence.
    4. According to Jesus’s followers, on the third day after his crucifixion Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection became the cornerstone for the newly developing faith recognized as Christianity.
  • Catacombs of Rome (p. 167)
     
    1. It has long been believed that the catacombs were not just burial chambers but also hiding places where persecuted Christians could worship. Scholars now reject this belief. In a crowded urban environment what practical considerations might have led Christians (and others, for Jews and some pagans were also buried in catacombs) to construct catacombs for their dead?
    (Answer: There was a shortage of land in the city of Rome and its environs at the time the first catacombs were constructed. Burial in cemeteries was actually forbidden within the city limits due to this problem. Even outside the city, land was expensive. Tunneling underground was a way that Christians and others could bury their dead without using an above ground cemetery. )
     
    2. Based the overall appearance of the catacomb pictured, and on the arrangement of the “shelves” on which bodies were placed, does it seem that burial in the catacombs was for people of wealth?
    (Answer: The construction of the catacombs allowed for many bodies to be placed in a relatively small space. This, plus the fact that the catacomb pictured is small and not elaborately decorated, suggests that these were burial places for the “common people,” rather than the wealthy. )
  • IV. The Coming of Christianity
    C. The Spread of Christianity
    1. Paul of Tarsus initially persecuted Christians but then was converted and began to promote Jesus’s teachings. Paul wrote numerous letters to various communities informing them about Jesus. Many of Paul’s letters were included in the New Testament.
    2. Among Paul’s main targets in his effort to spread Christianity were non-Jewish populations, identified as Gentiles. Christian teachings became popular in part because they offered to many the possibility of eternal life and the prospect of forgiveness.
    D. The Growing Acceptance and Evolution of Christianity
    1. Pagans in the Roman Empire viewed Christianity as a threat because there was the chance its followers would consider Jesus a rival to Caesar. Christians experienced some persecution, though they exaggerated the extent of pagan hostility. The emperor Trajan finally began the end of the persecution of Christians.
    2. Organization of the religion began as the numbers of converts increased. Churches were established, and a hierarchy of official leadership was fashioned after the system of Roman government.
  • V. Turmoil and Reform
    A. Diocletian’s Reforms
    1. The Roman Empire became difficult to maintain due to its size. Competing claims to leadership led to civil war. Barbarian invasions created instability as Rome lost territory to Sassanid armies and barbarian groups.
    2. Due to the empire’s size, Diocletian created a new system of government called the Tetrarchy, which had four rulers throughout the empire. The government system quickly failed.
  • V. Turmoil and Reform
    B. Economic Hardship and Its Consequences
    1. Instability impacted Roman economic production, causing the devaluation of Roman currency, which sparked inflation. Diocletian invoked government controls and taxes to confront the economic crisis, but this compounded the problem.
    2. Due to constant attacks by barbarian groups, Roman farmers fled the countryside, leaving vast tracts of agricultural land deserted. The abandoned land was claimed by great landlords, and their huge estates became stable and self-sufficient. Free people began to work the land for the estate owners, laying the foundation for serfdom.
  • V. Turmoil and Reform
    C. Constantine, Christianity, and the Rise of Constantinople
    1. Constantine supported the Christian church throughout his reign as emperor. He legalized Christianity and was baptized as a Christian, and he declared Sunday a public holiday. A later emperor, Theodosius, allowed the church to establish its own court system and law.
    2. Constantine built a new capital city, Constantinople, which was considered to be the New Rome. Located in the east, the city was easier to defend. However, the eastern and western halves of Rome began to drift apart.
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