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The Classical World
I- Ancient Greece II- Rome
1- Geography of Greece 1- Origin of Rome
2- History of Greece 2- Expansion beyond Italy
3- Society 3- Roman trade
4- Religion and culture 4- The Empire after Augustus
5- Greek art 5- Conclusion
2
I- ANCIENT GREECE
1- Geography of Greece
The Mediterranean Sea offered an easily adaptable climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers, while
the mountainous terrain, allowed for multiple easily defensible positions.
The surrounding sea offered an environment conducive to developing and sustaining an enduring culture
that was relatively safe from incursions while able to communicate and exchange large quantities of goods
and ideas with ease through the sea lanes. It is not by accident that the ancient Greek civilization developed
around a significant maritime power.
While today’s Greece is confounded within the modern borders, in ancient Hellenic civilization it expanded
throughout the Mediterranean. Besides the traditional mainland, the islands, and the coast of Asia Minor,
Hellenic colonies existed in Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Libya, and all around the Black Sea. With the
conquests of Alexander the Great Hellenic civilization attained its widest reach. During the Hellenistic era
Greek culture expanded to include Asia Minor, the Middle East, Egypt, and the land further East to the
Western parts of India.
2- History of Greece
The ancient Greeks lived in many lands around
the Mediterranean Sea, from Turkey to the south
of France. They had close contacts with other
peoples such as the Egyptians, Syrians and
Persians. The Greeks lived in separate city-states
(poleis), but shared the same culture, language
and religious beliefs, so we can talk about the Hellas to refer to the whole territory.
Greek history is generally divided into the following eras:
a) Bronze Age (circa 3300 – 1150 BCE)
Minoan (circa 2600 – 1200 BCE)
Mycenaean (circa 1600 – 1100 BCE)
b) Dark Ages (circa 1100 – 700 BCE)
c) Archaic (circa 700 – 480 BCE)
d) Classical (480 – 323 BCE)
e) Hellenistic (323 – 30 BCE)
Minoan civilization was born in Crete, where we can find several palaces which show us the enrichment of
this commercial culture, such as Cnossos (the mythical Minotaur’s labyrinth).
Mycenaean culture flourished on the Peloponnese peninsula in the Late Bronze Age, from about 1600 to
1100 B.C.E. The name comes from the site of Mycenae, where the culture was first recognized after the
excavations in 1876 of Heinrich Schliemann. The Mycenaean period of the later Greek Bronze Age was
3
viewed by the Greeks as the "age of heroes" and perhaps provides the historical background to many of the
stories told in later Greek mythology, including Homer's epics.
The collapse of Mycenaean civilization around 1100 B.C.E. brought about a period of isolation known as
the Dark Age.
During the Dark Ages of Greece the old major settlements were abandoned (with the notable exception of
Athens), and the population dropped dramatically in numbers. They left no written record behind leading to
the conclusion that they were illiterate.
Notable events from this period include the occurrence of the first Olympics in 776, and the writing of the
Homeric epics the Iliad and the Odyssey. Around 800 B.C.E. the revival had begun as trade with the wider
world increased, arts, crafts and writing re-emerged and city-states (poleis) developed.
c) Archaic era
The next period of Greek History is described as Archaic and lasted for about two hundred years from (700
– 480 BCE). During this epoch Greek population recovered and organized politically in city-states (poleis)
comprised of citizens, foreign residents, and slaves. Greek city-states of the Archaic epoch spread
throughout the Mediterranean basin through vigorous colonization
Through domination of commerce in the Mediterranean, aggressive expansion abroad, and competition at
home, several very strong city-states began emerging as dominant cultural centers, most notably Athens,
Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, among other.
d) Classical Greece
Between 480 and until 323 BCE Athens and Sparta dominated the Hellenic world with their cultural and
military achievements. These two cities, with the involvement of the other Hellenic states, rose to power
through alliances, reforms, and a series of victories against the invading Persian armies (Persian Wars).
They eventually resolved their rivalry in a long, and particularly nasty war, Peloponnesian War, that
concluded with the demise of Athens first, Sparta second, and the emergence of Macedonia as the dominant
power of Greece.
Sparta was a closed society governed by an oligarchic government led by two kings, and occupying the
harsh southern end of the Peloponnesus, organized its affairs around a powerful military that protected the
Spartan citizens from both external invasion and internal revolt of the helots (the lowest social class).
Athens on the other hand grew to an adventurous, open society, governed by a Democratic government that
prospered through commercial activity. The period of Perikles’ leadership in Athens is described as the
“Golden Age”. It was during this period that the massive building project, that included the Acropolis, was
undertaken.
e) The Hellenistic period
Through diplomacy and might, Philip II who became king in 359 BCE, managed to consolidate the areas
around northern Greece under his power, and until his assassination in 336 BCE had added central and
southern Greece to his hegemony. In 334 BCE, Alexander the Great led his army across the Hellespont
4
into Asia and scored successive wins against the Persian Empire. in 323 BCE his sudden death of a fever at
the age of 32 put an end to a brilliant military career, and left his vast conquered land without an heir.
His generals controlled the empire. They fought common enemies and against each other as they attempted
to establish their power, and eventually, three major kingdoms emerged through the fights that followed the
death of Alexander in 323 BCE and persisted for the most part over the next three hundred years.
The battle of Actium is considered the pivotal moment that defines the end of Ancient Greece. After the
battle of Actium, the entire Hellenic world became subject to Rome.
3- Society
Despite the differences between every poleis, one of the main aspects we study about ancient Greece is the
social structure. That is the feature that explains the different political and military systems and the origin of
the Athenians democracy.
The privilege group was formed by citizens, which are the sons of free parents. This condition excluded
women, foreign people (metics) and slaves. They had all the political rights but also the duties of participate
in the army and the political institutions. For example, in Athens citizens over 20 years of age could get into
the Ecclesia, the Boule or even became a magistrate (such as stratego or archon). Citizens also had a
relevant role in poleis ´armies, although hoplites had to pay their own expensive equipment. The military
role reached the peak point in Sparta, a military state where children of highest social groups were separated
of their families at seven years to received severe military training.
Metics (foreign people) didn´t have political rights although they were essential in trading and craftwork.
Peasants were found in small villages and slavery was a widespread institution, just like in all the ancient
civilizations. Similar to slaves were Spartans´ helots, who are said not to be allowed to dress clothes and
even were hunted by young Spartans to reach their adulthood.
4- Religion and culture
In the ancient Greek world, religion was personal, direct, and present in all areas of life. With formal rituals
which included animal sacrifices and libations, myths to explain the origins of mankind and give the gods a
human face, temples which dominated the urban landscape, city festivals and national sporting and artistic
competitions, religion was never far from the mind of an ancient Greek, because they considered that the
gods existed, they could influence human affairs, and they welcomed and responded to acts of piety and
worship.
The most important gods, though, were the Olympian gods led by Zeus. These were Athena, Apollo,
Poseidon, Hermes, Hera, Aphrodite, Demeter, Ares, Artemis, Hades, Hephaistos, and Dionysos. These gods
were believed to reside on Mt. Olympos and would have been recognised across Greece.
The main academic contributions that formed the core of Western civilisation developed subjects such as
philosophy, literature or science. They tried to observe and explain the world in a reasonable way, far
away from religion, and this was the origin of philosophers (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle among them). In
addition to Herodotus (historian) and Pythagoras (maths), we must highlight Archimedes (physic). As the
5
main rhapsodist we can find Homer, whose epic poems gathered tradition of the Dark Ages and help us to
understand the time of heroes mixed with real History: Iliad (the Troy war) and Odyssey (the return of
Ulysses to Ithaca). But we cannot forget the origin of theatre, with comedies and tragedies (Aristophanes
and Sophocles) which criticised the humankind and their relationships.
5- Greek art
Ancient Greek created the base of Western Art until the present days, so we can consider that all the History
of Art in Europe is based in their creations. Something similar happens with urbanism, because Greek cities
were the sceneries where all buildings and sculptures acquired the correct significance. Poleis were fortified
cities with special public places. The Agora was the heart of public life, an arcaded square surrounded by the
main public buildings. We could find many other buildings such as the gymnasium, the theatre or the
stadium. Sacred point of poleis was the Acropolis, which were fortified to protect the temples and sculptures
of divinities. In the case of Athens, the Acropolis had the Erecteion and the Parthenon as the most
important sacred temples.
Both balance and harmony were considered the ideal beauty and they looked for those aspects in all
artistic creations. We must have into account that all the temples and sculptures were completely painted
with vivid colours, although today many if this colours are lost.
An architectural order describes a style of building. In Classical architecture, each order is readily
identifiable by means of its proportions
and profiles as well as by various aesthetic
details. The classical orders are described
by the labels Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian.
Sculpture is the other Greek artistic
representation whose heritage arrived until
present days. Human body was the
subject of many of their creations and represented heroes and winners as well as divinities or mythological
fights. First sculptures of Archaic Era (VII- VI century B.C.E.) reminded Egyptians ones, with rigid
postures and archaic smiles typical of Kouros and Korai. In the Classical Age (V- IV century B.C.E.) we
know the name of many authors who created their own canon or perfect proportion. First, Polykleitos,
Myron and Phidias and later Scopas or Praxiteles obtained the perfect technique. The figures are completely
in calm, they represent the serenity of Classic Era. But in the
Hellenistic Age bodies and faces are more expressive, even pathetic,
in accordance to new times of crisis.
To sum up, we can say that like in many other aspects, Greek art
survived the disappearance of poleis and Hellenic kingdoms thanks
to the acquisition of their values and techniques by the Roman
civilisation.
6
II- ANCIENT ROME
1- Origin of Rome
The classical world was the cradle of European civilization: if Greece shaped Europe's culture, Rome laid its
practical foundations. Throughout Rome's mighty empire, science was applied for utilitarian ends, from
under floor heating to watermills, aqueducts and an impressive road network. Rome bequeathed to posterity
its efficient administration, codified laws, widespread literacy and a universally understood language. It also
adopted and spread Christianity, for which it provided the institutional base.
The city of Rome developed in the 7th and 6th centuries BC from a number of settlements spread over seven
low, flat-topped hills. Ruled by kings until about 500 BC, it then became a republic governed by two
annually-elected consuls and an advisory body, the Senate. Around the same time
Rome defeated the tribes in the surrounding area and gradually expanded through Italy: in the Latin War
(498-493 BC) it crushed a rebellion of the Latin tribes, incorporating them in a pro-Roman League, and by
the 3rd century BC it had overrun the Greek-influenced civilization of the Etruscans, famous for their fine
pottery. Victory over the Samnites in 290 BC led to a confrontation with the Greek colonies in southern
Italy, whose defeat in 275 BG gave Rome control of the entire Italian peninsula.
To strengthen its grip on the conquered territory, colonies were founded and settled by both Roman citizens
and Latin allies. Swift access to these colonies was provided by an extensive road network, created from the
late 4th century BC and greatly extended during the 2nd century BC.
7
2- Expansion beyond Italy
The first confrontation outside Italy was against the Carthaginians, who saw their commercial interests in
Sicily threatened by Rome's expansion. During the three Punic Wars (264-241, 218-201, 149-146 BC) Rome
seized territory formerly held by the Carthaginians (Sardinia, Corsica, Spain and the tip of northern Africa),
but also suffered its worst defeats. In 218 BG the Carthaginian general Hannibal crossed the Alps and
obliterated the Roman army at Lake Trasimene (217 BC) and at Cannae (216 BC). To withstand the
Carthaginians, Rome had constructed its first fleet around 260 BC and became a maritime power with
control over a Mediterranean empire that incorporated the former Hellenistic kingdom of Macedonia from
148 BC and Pergamum from 133 BC. As a result, Greek culture began to exert a powerful influence on
Roman life and art.
The newly acquired provinces created the opportunity for individuals to make a fortune and forge a
loyal army. One of these new powerful commanders, Pompey (106-48 BC), conquered Syria, Cilicia,
Bithynia and Pontus, while Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) annexed Gaul and expanded the African province.
Caesar's influence had grown to such an extent that the Senate saw its
position threatened and ordered him to disband his army in 49 BC. Caesar
disobeyed and crossed the Rubicon River – in defiance of the law that forbade
a general to lead his army out of the province to which he was posted - and
ruled Rome as a dictator until he was assassinated in 44 BC.
Caesar's adoptive son Octavian (63 BC-AD 14) officially restored the Senate's
powers, nominally taking up the position of princeps (first citizen) while
gradually increasing his authority. In 27 BC he was awarded the title
"Augustus" ("revered one"), and this date is usually taken as the start of the
imperial period.
Augustus's reign brought a period of peace and stability, the so-called Pax Romana, which would last until
AD 180. His main military efforts were aimed at creating a fixed and easily defensible border for his empire
Augustus conquered the entire area up to the River Danube, which, together with the River Rhine, formed
his northern border. In the east the frontier was less well defined and was controlled more by political
means, such as alliances with neighboring kingdoms. Augustus also annexed Egypt, Judaea and Galatia and
reorganized the legions left by his predecessors, keeping a firm grip on those provinces that required a
military presence by awarding them the status of imperial province. The emperor himself appointed the
governors for these provinces, while the Senate selected the governors for the others. Augustus also
reorganized the navy: he based his two
main fleets at Misenum and Ravenna to patrol the Mediterranean against pirates, while smaller fleets were
stationed within the maritime provinces to guard the borders.
3- Roman trade
Trade flourished under Augustus's rule. The military infrastructure such as sheltered harbours, lighthouses
8
and roads greatly benefited commercial
activity, and the presence of Roman
soldiers in faraway provinces further
encouraged long-distance trade.
Gradually, however, the provinces
became economically independent: they
started to export their own products and
eventually, during the 3rd
century, began
to deprive Rome of its export markets.
4- The Empire after Augustus
Some of Augustus's successors
attempted to enlarge the empire, others
to consolidate existing territory. Whereas
Tiberius (AD 14-37) refrained from any
expansion, Claudius (41-54) annexed
Mauretania, Thrace, Lycia and parts of Britain, while Vespasian (69-79) conquered the "Agri Decumates"
region. Under Trajan (98-117) the empire reached its maximum extent, including Arabia and Dacia by 106.
Trajan subsequently subjugated Armenia, Assyria and Mesopotamia, but these conquests were soon
abandoned by Hadrian (117-138). Under Diocletian (284-305) the empire was divided into Eastern and
Western parts, each ruled by an "Augustus", while the provinces were replaced by a massive new
bureaucracy and the army was greatly extended.
However, the resignation of Diocletian in 305 was followed by chaos - out of which, in 312, Constantine
(306-337) emerged victorious in the West. In 324 he reunited the empire and made Christianity the official
religion, and in 330 he established a new capital at Constantinople.
Following his death in 337 the empire was divided and reunited several times before it was permanently
split in 395. The sacking of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 signaled the end of the Western Empire; to the
east, the empire was to continue in the guise of the Byzantine Empire until 1453.
5- Conclusion
The Roman Empire was the first state to bring unity to much of Europe. From the cold hills of southern
Scotland to the deserts of North Africa, Rome introduced a common culture, language and script, a political
system that gave equal rights to all citizens, a prosperous urban way of life backed by flourishing trade and
agriculture, and technical expertise that created roads, bridges, under floor heating, public baths and
impressive public buildings, some of which survive today. Roman culture also spread to lands beyond the
imperial frontier, influencing among others the Germanic barbarians who later overran the empire -but who
would eventually perpetuate many of its traditions and institutions, notably through the medium of the
Christian Church.

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2 eso summary_the_classical_ world

  • 1. 1 The Classical World I- Ancient Greece II- Rome 1- Geography of Greece 1- Origin of Rome 2- History of Greece 2- Expansion beyond Italy 3- Society 3- Roman trade 4- Religion and culture 4- The Empire after Augustus 5- Greek art 5- Conclusion
  • 2. 2 I- ANCIENT GREECE 1- Geography of Greece The Mediterranean Sea offered an easily adaptable climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers, while the mountainous terrain, allowed for multiple easily defensible positions. The surrounding sea offered an environment conducive to developing and sustaining an enduring culture that was relatively safe from incursions while able to communicate and exchange large quantities of goods and ideas with ease through the sea lanes. It is not by accident that the ancient Greek civilization developed around a significant maritime power. While today’s Greece is confounded within the modern borders, in ancient Hellenic civilization it expanded throughout the Mediterranean. Besides the traditional mainland, the islands, and the coast of Asia Minor, Hellenic colonies existed in Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Libya, and all around the Black Sea. With the conquests of Alexander the Great Hellenic civilization attained its widest reach. During the Hellenistic era Greek culture expanded to include Asia Minor, the Middle East, Egypt, and the land further East to the Western parts of India. 2- History of Greece The ancient Greeks lived in many lands around the Mediterranean Sea, from Turkey to the south of France. They had close contacts with other peoples such as the Egyptians, Syrians and Persians. The Greeks lived in separate city-states (poleis), but shared the same culture, language and religious beliefs, so we can talk about the Hellas to refer to the whole territory. Greek history is generally divided into the following eras: a) Bronze Age (circa 3300 – 1150 BCE) Minoan (circa 2600 – 1200 BCE) Mycenaean (circa 1600 – 1100 BCE) b) Dark Ages (circa 1100 – 700 BCE) c) Archaic (circa 700 – 480 BCE) d) Classical (480 – 323 BCE) e) Hellenistic (323 – 30 BCE) Minoan civilization was born in Crete, where we can find several palaces which show us the enrichment of this commercial culture, such as Cnossos (the mythical Minotaur’s labyrinth). Mycenaean culture flourished on the Peloponnese peninsula in the Late Bronze Age, from about 1600 to 1100 B.C.E. The name comes from the site of Mycenae, where the culture was first recognized after the excavations in 1876 of Heinrich Schliemann. The Mycenaean period of the later Greek Bronze Age was
  • 3. 3 viewed by the Greeks as the "age of heroes" and perhaps provides the historical background to many of the stories told in later Greek mythology, including Homer's epics. The collapse of Mycenaean civilization around 1100 B.C.E. brought about a period of isolation known as the Dark Age. During the Dark Ages of Greece the old major settlements were abandoned (with the notable exception of Athens), and the population dropped dramatically in numbers. They left no written record behind leading to the conclusion that they were illiterate. Notable events from this period include the occurrence of the first Olympics in 776, and the writing of the Homeric epics the Iliad and the Odyssey. Around 800 B.C.E. the revival had begun as trade with the wider world increased, arts, crafts and writing re-emerged and city-states (poleis) developed. c) Archaic era The next period of Greek History is described as Archaic and lasted for about two hundred years from (700 – 480 BCE). During this epoch Greek population recovered and organized politically in city-states (poleis) comprised of citizens, foreign residents, and slaves. Greek city-states of the Archaic epoch spread throughout the Mediterranean basin through vigorous colonization Through domination of commerce in the Mediterranean, aggressive expansion abroad, and competition at home, several very strong city-states began emerging as dominant cultural centers, most notably Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, among other. d) Classical Greece Between 480 and until 323 BCE Athens and Sparta dominated the Hellenic world with their cultural and military achievements. These two cities, with the involvement of the other Hellenic states, rose to power through alliances, reforms, and a series of victories against the invading Persian armies (Persian Wars). They eventually resolved their rivalry in a long, and particularly nasty war, Peloponnesian War, that concluded with the demise of Athens first, Sparta second, and the emergence of Macedonia as the dominant power of Greece. Sparta was a closed society governed by an oligarchic government led by two kings, and occupying the harsh southern end of the Peloponnesus, organized its affairs around a powerful military that protected the Spartan citizens from both external invasion and internal revolt of the helots (the lowest social class). Athens on the other hand grew to an adventurous, open society, governed by a Democratic government that prospered through commercial activity. The period of Perikles’ leadership in Athens is described as the “Golden Age”. It was during this period that the massive building project, that included the Acropolis, was undertaken. e) The Hellenistic period Through diplomacy and might, Philip II who became king in 359 BCE, managed to consolidate the areas around northern Greece under his power, and until his assassination in 336 BCE had added central and southern Greece to his hegemony. In 334 BCE, Alexander the Great led his army across the Hellespont
  • 4. 4 into Asia and scored successive wins against the Persian Empire. in 323 BCE his sudden death of a fever at the age of 32 put an end to a brilliant military career, and left his vast conquered land without an heir. His generals controlled the empire. They fought common enemies and against each other as they attempted to establish their power, and eventually, three major kingdoms emerged through the fights that followed the death of Alexander in 323 BCE and persisted for the most part over the next three hundred years. The battle of Actium is considered the pivotal moment that defines the end of Ancient Greece. After the battle of Actium, the entire Hellenic world became subject to Rome. 3- Society Despite the differences between every poleis, one of the main aspects we study about ancient Greece is the social structure. That is the feature that explains the different political and military systems and the origin of the Athenians democracy. The privilege group was formed by citizens, which are the sons of free parents. This condition excluded women, foreign people (metics) and slaves. They had all the political rights but also the duties of participate in the army and the political institutions. For example, in Athens citizens over 20 years of age could get into the Ecclesia, the Boule or even became a magistrate (such as stratego or archon). Citizens also had a relevant role in poleis ´armies, although hoplites had to pay their own expensive equipment. The military role reached the peak point in Sparta, a military state where children of highest social groups were separated of their families at seven years to received severe military training. Metics (foreign people) didn´t have political rights although they were essential in trading and craftwork. Peasants were found in small villages and slavery was a widespread institution, just like in all the ancient civilizations. Similar to slaves were Spartans´ helots, who are said not to be allowed to dress clothes and even were hunted by young Spartans to reach their adulthood. 4- Religion and culture In the ancient Greek world, religion was personal, direct, and present in all areas of life. With formal rituals which included animal sacrifices and libations, myths to explain the origins of mankind and give the gods a human face, temples which dominated the urban landscape, city festivals and national sporting and artistic competitions, religion was never far from the mind of an ancient Greek, because they considered that the gods existed, they could influence human affairs, and they welcomed and responded to acts of piety and worship. The most important gods, though, were the Olympian gods led by Zeus. These were Athena, Apollo, Poseidon, Hermes, Hera, Aphrodite, Demeter, Ares, Artemis, Hades, Hephaistos, and Dionysos. These gods were believed to reside on Mt. Olympos and would have been recognised across Greece. The main academic contributions that formed the core of Western civilisation developed subjects such as philosophy, literature or science. They tried to observe and explain the world in a reasonable way, far away from religion, and this was the origin of philosophers (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle among them). In addition to Herodotus (historian) and Pythagoras (maths), we must highlight Archimedes (physic). As the
  • 5. 5 main rhapsodist we can find Homer, whose epic poems gathered tradition of the Dark Ages and help us to understand the time of heroes mixed with real History: Iliad (the Troy war) and Odyssey (the return of Ulysses to Ithaca). But we cannot forget the origin of theatre, with comedies and tragedies (Aristophanes and Sophocles) which criticised the humankind and their relationships. 5- Greek art Ancient Greek created the base of Western Art until the present days, so we can consider that all the History of Art in Europe is based in their creations. Something similar happens with urbanism, because Greek cities were the sceneries where all buildings and sculptures acquired the correct significance. Poleis were fortified cities with special public places. The Agora was the heart of public life, an arcaded square surrounded by the main public buildings. We could find many other buildings such as the gymnasium, the theatre or the stadium. Sacred point of poleis was the Acropolis, which were fortified to protect the temples and sculptures of divinities. In the case of Athens, the Acropolis had the Erecteion and the Parthenon as the most important sacred temples. Both balance and harmony were considered the ideal beauty and they looked for those aspects in all artistic creations. We must have into account that all the temples and sculptures were completely painted with vivid colours, although today many if this colours are lost. An architectural order describes a style of building. In Classical architecture, each order is readily identifiable by means of its proportions and profiles as well as by various aesthetic details. The classical orders are described by the labels Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. Sculpture is the other Greek artistic representation whose heritage arrived until present days. Human body was the subject of many of their creations and represented heroes and winners as well as divinities or mythological fights. First sculptures of Archaic Era (VII- VI century B.C.E.) reminded Egyptians ones, with rigid postures and archaic smiles typical of Kouros and Korai. In the Classical Age (V- IV century B.C.E.) we know the name of many authors who created their own canon or perfect proportion. First, Polykleitos, Myron and Phidias and later Scopas or Praxiteles obtained the perfect technique. The figures are completely in calm, they represent the serenity of Classic Era. But in the Hellenistic Age bodies and faces are more expressive, even pathetic, in accordance to new times of crisis. To sum up, we can say that like in many other aspects, Greek art survived the disappearance of poleis and Hellenic kingdoms thanks to the acquisition of their values and techniques by the Roman civilisation.
  • 6. 6 II- ANCIENT ROME 1- Origin of Rome The classical world was the cradle of European civilization: if Greece shaped Europe's culture, Rome laid its practical foundations. Throughout Rome's mighty empire, science was applied for utilitarian ends, from under floor heating to watermills, aqueducts and an impressive road network. Rome bequeathed to posterity its efficient administration, codified laws, widespread literacy and a universally understood language. It also adopted and spread Christianity, for which it provided the institutional base. The city of Rome developed in the 7th and 6th centuries BC from a number of settlements spread over seven low, flat-topped hills. Ruled by kings until about 500 BC, it then became a republic governed by two annually-elected consuls and an advisory body, the Senate. Around the same time Rome defeated the tribes in the surrounding area and gradually expanded through Italy: in the Latin War (498-493 BC) it crushed a rebellion of the Latin tribes, incorporating them in a pro-Roman League, and by the 3rd century BC it had overrun the Greek-influenced civilization of the Etruscans, famous for their fine pottery. Victory over the Samnites in 290 BC led to a confrontation with the Greek colonies in southern Italy, whose defeat in 275 BG gave Rome control of the entire Italian peninsula. To strengthen its grip on the conquered territory, colonies were founded and settled by both Roman citizens and Latin allies. Swift access to these colonies was provided by an extensive road network, created from the late 4th century BC and greatly extended during the 2nd century BC.
  • 7. 7 2- Expansion beyond Italy The first confrontation outside Italy was against the Carthaginians, who saw their commercial interests in Sicily threatened by Rome's expansion. During the three Punic Wars (264-241, 218-201, 149-146 BC) Rome seized territory formerly held by the Carthaginians (Sardinia, Corsica, Spain and the tip of northern Africa), but also suffered its worst defeats. In 218 BG the Carthaginian general Hannibal crossed the Alps and obliterated the Roman army at Lake Trasimene (217 BC) and at Cannae (216 BC). To withstand the Carthaginians, Rome had constructed its first fleet around 260 BC and became a maritime power with control over a Mediterranean empire that incorporated the former Hellenistic kingdom of Macedonia from 148 BC and Pergamum from 133 BC. As a result, Greek culture began to exert a powerful influence on Roman life and art. The newly acquired provinces created the opportunity for individuals to make a fortune and forge a loyal army. One of these new powerful commanders, Pompey (106-48 BC), conquered Syria, Cilicia, Bithynia and Pontus, while Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) annexed Gaul and expanded the African province. Caesar's influence had grown to such an extent that the Senate saw its position threatened and ordered him to disband his army in 49 BC. Caesar disobeyed and crossed the Rubicon River – in defiance of the law that forbade a general to lead his army out of the province to which he was posted - and ruled Rome as a dictator until he was assassinated in 44 BC. Caesar's adoptive son Octavian (63 BC-AD 14) officially restored the Senate's powers, nominally taking up the position of princeps (first citizen) while gradually increasing his authority. In 27 BC he was awarded the title "Augustus" ("revered one"), and this date is usually taken as the start of the imperial period. Augustus's reign brought a period of peace and stability, the so-called Pax Romana, which would last until AD 180. His main military efforts were aimed at creating a fixed and easily defensible border for his empire Augustus conquered the entire area up to the River Danube, which, together with the River Rhine, formed his northern border. In the east the frontier was less well defined and was controlled more by political means, such as alliances with neighboring kingdoms. Augustus also annexed Egypt, Judaea and Galatia and reorganized the legions left by his predecessors, keeping a firm grip on those provinces that required a military presence by awarding them the status of imperial province. The emperor himself appointed the governors for these provinces, while the Senate selected the governors for the others. Augustus also reorganized the navy: he based his two main fleets at Misenum and Ravenna to patrol the Mediterranean against pirates, while smaller fleets were stationed within the maritime provinces to guard the borders. 3- Roman trade Trade flourished under Augustus's rule. The military infrastructure such as sheltered harbours, lighthouses
  • 8. 8 and roads greatly benefited commercial activity, and the presence of Roman soldiers in faraway provinces further encouraged long-distance trade. Gradually, however, the provinces became economically independent: they started to export their own products and eventually, during the 3rd century, began to deprive Rome of its export markets. 4- The Empire after Augustus Some of Augustus's successors attempted to enlarge the empire, others to consolidate existing territory. Whereas Tiberius (AD 14-37) refrained from any expansion, Claudius (41-54) annexed Mauretania, Thrace, Lycia and parts of Britain, while Vespasian (69-79) conquered the "Agri Decumates" region. Under Trajan (98-117) the empire reached its maximum extent, including Arabia and Dacia by 106. Trajan subsequently subjugated Armenia, Assyria and Mesopotamia, but these conquests were soon abandoned by Hadrian (117-138). Under Diocletian (284-305) the empire was divided into Eastern and Western parts, each ruled by an "Augustus", while the provinces were replaced by a massive new bureaucracy and the army was greatly extended. However, the resignation of Diocletian in 305 was followed by chaos - out of which, in 312, Constantine (306-337) emerged victorious in the West. In 324 he reunited the empire and made Christianity the official religion, and in 330 he established a new capital at Constantinople. Following his death in 337 the empire was divided and reunited several times before it was permanently split in 395. The sacking of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 signaled the end of the Western Empire; to the east, the empire was to continue in the guise of the Byzantine Empire until 1453. 5- Conclusion The Roman Empire was the first state to bring unity to much of Europe. From the cold hills of southern Scotland to the deserts of North Africa, Rome introduced a common culture, language and script, a political system that gave equal rights to all citizens, a prosperous urban way of life backed by flourishing trade and agriculture, and technical expertise that created roads, bridges, under floor heating, public baths and impressive public buildings, some of which survive today. Roman culture also spread to lands beyond the imperial frontier, influencing among others the Germanic barbarians who later overran the empire -but who would eventually perpetuate many of its traditions and institutions, notably through the medium of the Christian Church.