The Romans would look to their empire as the instrument that brought law and justice to the rest of the world; in some sense, the relative peace and stability they brought to the world did support this view. They were, however, a military state, and they ruled over this vast territory by maintaining a strong military presence in subject countries. An immensely practical people, the Romans devoted much of their brilliance to military strategy and technology, administration, and law, all in support of the vast world government that they built. Rome, however, was responsible for more than just military and administrative genius. Culturally, the Romans had a slight inferiority complex in regards to the Greeks, who had begun their city-states only a few centuries before the rise of the Roman Republic.
The Romans, however, derived much of their culture from the Greeks: art, architecture, philosophy, and even religion. However, the Roman changed much of this culture, adapting it to their own particular worldview and practical needs. It is this changed Greek culture, which we call Greco-Roman culture, that was handed down to the European civilizations in late antiquity and the Renaissance. Our journey through this remarkable history begins with the land itself and the various peoples that inhabited it. Unlike most of the regions dealt with, Italy was a multicultural landscape that came to be dominated by this small village, Rome. Expansion overseas made Rome a mighty Empire during the 200’s and 100’s BC Rome came into conflict first with Carthage, a sea power and trading center on the coast of northern Africa.
Hooker author of The Punic Wars 1996, stated that: Carthage was the greatest naval power of the Mediterranean in the third century BC. The Carthaginians were originally Phoenicians and Carthage was a colony founded by the Phoenician capital city of Tyre in the ninth century BC; the word Carthage means, in Phoenician, The New City. The Phoenicians, however, were conquered by the Assyrians in the sixth century BC, and the conquered by the Persians; an independent Phoenician state would never again appear in the Middle Ease. Carthage, however, remained; it was no longer a colony, but a fully functioning independent state. While the Romans were steadily increasing their control over the Italian peninsula, the Carthaginians were extending their empire over most of North Africa. By the time that Rome controlled all of the Italian peninsula, Carthage already controlled the North African coast from western Libya to the Strait of Gibraltar, and ruled over most of southern Spain, and the island of Corsica and Sardinia in Europe as well.
Carthage was a formidable power; it controlled almost all the commercial trade in the Mediterranean had subjected vast numbers of people all whom sent soldiers and supplies, and amassed tremendous wealth from gold and silver mines in Spain. These two mighty empires came into contact in the middle of the third century BC when Romes power had reached the southern tip of Italy. The two peoples had been in sporadic contact before, but neither side felt threatened by the others. The Romans were perfectly aware of the Carthaginian heritage: they called them by their old name, Phoenicians. In Latin, the word is Phoenix, which gives us the name for the wars between the two stated, the Punic Wars. These conflicts, so disastrous for Carthage, were inevitable.
Between Carthage and Italy lay the huge island of Sicily; Cartage controlled the western half of Sicily, but the southern tip of the Italian peninsula put the Romans within throwing distance of the island. When the city of Messana revolted against the Carthaginians, the Romans intervened, and the first Punic War erupted. First Punic War: Boise author of webpage The Punic Wars 1996 stated that: Carthage had in the 260’s, control of much of Sicily. This mattered little to Rome, for it had few direct interests there. Thus, when a complicated little dispute arose in the city of Messana in 264, and one side appealed to Carthage while the other appealed to Rome, no one thought it was any more than a local quarrel. Messana was a port city controlling the Straits and so when a Carthaginian fleet was invited in by one side, Rome felt it had to respond in some way.
An expeditionary force caused the Punic (the Roman word for Carthaginian) fleet to withdraw and that would well have been that. The Punic admirals retreat was ill-received at home, and Carthage responded with a larger force, prying out the Romans. Now the issue was more serious, and Rome responded with a consular army. Again Rome won an easy victory so easy, in fact, that the consul decided to press into the interior in search of more. The Line of this story should be obvious by now.
Carthage responded with a still-larger army, about 50,000. And Rome answered in kind, winning such quick victories in 262 that they won nearly the entire island. Further victories however, were much harder to win, as it became apparent that Rome would have to win control of the sea if it was to keep its gains in Sicily. The war, so thoughtlessly begun, would last 20 years. Neither side had sought a major conflict, but neither side had sought a major conflict, but neither side knew how to withdraw once the issue was joined. This was was fought on a scale much larger than Rome had before attempted.
The main battles were fought at sea, to support key sieges and expeditions, for Carthage was a first-rate naval power. But land battles were fought in Corsica, Sardinia, Africa and Sicily. Both sides regularly kept fleets of 100 to 200 ships and armies of 50,000 to 70,000 in the field for year after year. Rome made many mistakes in this war, and suffered terrible losses for it. Romans were not sailors, and they lost more ships in the war than did Carthage 600 ships lost over the course of 20 years.
Every time Rome won a significant victory, the advantage was frittered away by incompetent generals or a timid Senate. One of the greatest weaknesses of the Republic was that it elected new generals every year, a system that served well enough except in times of extended crises. Rome prevailed at last in 241. Carthage, exhausted more than beaten, sued for peace and accepted harsh terms. The city itself, however, remained unconquered. And her merchant fleets continued to generate wealth.
Rome imposed a heavy indemnity in Carthage, to compensate her for her losses. She also forced Carthage to give up all claims to Sicily. Thus, as the result of this war, Rome won an easy income and a new province. It was the first step in the creation if the Roman Empire. Rome also learned some important lessons in this war.
For one thing, Romans learned how to make war at sea. It is too much to say they learned to be sailors even at the end of the Republic, they were still hiring Greeks to captain their ships but they learned how to conduct naval warfare in an eminently Roman fashion. The conflict was still not over. And both sides knew it.
Second Punic War: The peace treaty had put Carthage in an impossible position. Carthage had to fight to regain her position or wither away to insignificance, a fate she would not accept willingly. Moreover, Rome continued to be aggressive acquiring Corsica in the 220’s. Soon after, the results of the First Punic War were apparent.
Boise 1996 stated: Not long after the end of the First Punic War, Carthage acquired a genuine hero: Hamilcar Barca. This member of a noble Carthaginian family conquered much of Spain, acquiring in the process great quantities of Spanish bullion, gaining Spanish cavalry as auxiliaries, and forging in the process a field army of great skill and experience. Hamilcar hated Rome and longed to be the man who would avenge the shame of the First Punic War. As the years went by, however, he began to realize it was not fated for him, and taught his son both his skills in battle and his hatred of Rome. His sins name was Hannibal.
Hamilcar died when Hannibal was still young man. The son spent some time dealing with the inevitable rebellions, but quickly established himself as an even greater leader than his gather. Hannibal was, by all accounts both ancient and modern, a military genius. Because he eventually was on the losing side, he is also rather a figure of tragedy. When he marched on Rome, at the age of 25, he cast a shadow over the entire history of the Roman Republic. Hannibal was determined to fight Rome, a war that he viewed as inevitable.
He was concerned to fight at a time propitious to himself and to Carthage, and he was determined to fight the war on Carthaginian terms. Hannibals plan was both desperate and brilliant. Romes great strength was her nearly endless reserves of manpower, the result of her system of alliances throughout Italy. But those alliances were exploitative; Romes allies were unhappy with their treatment and unhappy with Romes seemingly endless wars.
So, Hannibal would invade Italy itself. His army would by itself be fat too small to achieve victory, but he believed the Italian allies were so deeply disaffected that he would only have to win a few early victories and proclaim the liberty of the Italian allies, and they would desert Rome. Without her allied reserves, Romes armies could not stand against Hannibals superior generalship. Everything depended on those two elements: early and convincing victories and the defection of the Italian allies. Hannibal was gambling everything on these. War came in 218, when a quarrel broke out over the Roman colony of Saguntum.
The Romans believed they could easily contain Hannibal in Spain, but he gave the Roman army the slip and was across the Pyrenees almost before the Romans know what had happened. The end of the Second Punic War: In 202 BC Romes second war with Carthage came to an end. Tome again forced Carthage to pay a terrible price: this time, Carthage had to give up her entire empire. Spain, the islands, North Africa, her navy, her army, all if it was either gone or drastically reduced. All that was left to her was the city itself, a hinterland of some thirty miles, and a miniscule army to protect against desert tribes.
Carthage was allowed no foreign policy but became a client of Rome. Indeed, a ditch marked the limits of Carthaginian territory, and it was part of the peace treaty that should armed Carthaginians cross that border it automatically ment war with Rome. Hannibal himself went east, forbidden to live in his native city. He took service with various eastern kings, and for some years rumors shook Rome that Hannibal was conspiring with this or that king to raise an army and march again on Italy. When Hannibal finally died, somewhat mysteriously, and before this time, it was believed that he had been poisoned, either at the behest of the Senate or by an eastern king seeking to curry favor with the Senate.
Third Punic War: The Third Punic War was a brief, tawdry affair, unworthy of the heroism if the heroism of the previous conflicts. If ever there was a war that could be called unnecessary, this one would qualify. Despite all the penalties and all the impediments, Carthage recovered economically. Rome had taken away her empire and the financial burden that went with it, but had left her free to pursue trade as she willed. Carthage paid off her war indemnity and by the middle of the second century, was flourishing. This did not set well with many Roman senators.
Rome had acquired a good deal of fertile land along the coast of fertile land along the coast of North Africa, and a number of senators had invested in olives and grain there. But these were goods in which Carthage traded as well, and Carthage was rather better at it. A faction within the Senate, led by Cato the Elder, began to agitate against Carthage. Was it right, they asked, that Carthage should prosper while Romans toiled Was Carthage new prosperity not potentially dangerous After all, the city had twice troubled Rome. And, in any case, Carthage was harming Roman mercantile interests. Cato took the lead in these arguments.
He was a prestigious statesmen with a prestigious reputation. He was the classic virtuous Roman and he didnt mind that others knew it. His public career was spotless, his marriage was perfect, his oratory was compelling, his values were conservative, and all in all he got on some peoples nerves. Cato began to urge that the only sure defense against resurgent Carthage was to destroy it.
Rome would never be safe so long as Carthage stood. He made a campaign of it: Carthago delenda est! Carthage must be destroyed! In the 150’s this was Cato slogan, repeated endlessly. At parties he would bring it up- Carthago delenda est! In the Senate he might be speaking on any subject, but always found a way to work in his slogan: the harbor t Ostia should be expanded and a Carthage must be destroyed!
The appointment of Gaius Gaius to provincial governor should be approved and Carthage must be destroyed! A vote of thanks to a loyal tribal chieftain and Carthage must be destroyed! In the end, Cati got his wish. I might claim that Rome went to war simply to hush the old boy up, but alas Carthage gave Rome all the excuse it needed. Romes Expansion not only caused the Punic Wars but also the breakdown of the republic.
Nardo 1994, author of The Roman Republic stated that: Julius Caesars sudden death left a power vacuum in Rome. The Senators who had murdered the dictator assumed that the Senate would quickly regain its traditional powers and undo the damage to the republic that Caesar and other power generals had done. But this did not happen. To their surprise, the conspirators found little popular support for their violent act. This was partly because Caesars two strongest allies, Mark Antony, now serving as consul, and Marcus Lepidus, a powerful general, were still in Rome. They enjoyed the support of both the army and a large number of citizens, rich and poor.
Caesar had also left an heir, his eighteen-year-old grandnephew Gaius Octavius, known as Octavian. The constantly shifting intrigues, alliances, and power struggles among these three men would keep Rome entangled in destructive civil strife for another fifteen years. Eventually, one of them would emerge from the fray and restore order, but under a system far different from the one that had guided Rome for centuries. The Rise of Octavian: After Caesars death Antony wasted no time in establishing his authority. Using the army to intimidate the senators, as Caesar had done, Antony kept the senators from repealing any of Caesars laws. In addition, he made the senators approve several other laws that Caesar had only recently proposed.
Then, on the day of Caesars funeral, standing before a huge crowd that had come to see the dead leaders body, Antony delivered a stirring speech. Sixteen centuries later the English playwright William Shakespeare would give Antony the immortal opening words, Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me youre ears. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The wily Antony not only ended up praising Caesar but also revealed to the crowd the contents of Caesars will. The dictator had left his private gardens as a public park and also granted a small sum of money to every Roman citizen.
The rest of his fortune Caesar had left to Octavian, whom he had recently adopted as his son… Antony went on to point out all the great deeds Caesar had accomplished for Rome and reminded the people that they had once proudly supported him. Fearing for their lives, the conspirators fled the city. It now seemed that Antony was all-powerful in Rome. But his expectation of taking Caesars palace was short-lived. When Octavian arrived to collect his inheritance, Antony who was handling Caesars will, refused to hand over the money.
Antony assumed that the rather sickly youth was weak and could easily be manipulated. But he had completely underestimated Octavian. The young man immediately raided a small army composed of Caesars veterans and joined forces with Cicero, who wanted to keep Antony from becoming a dictator like Caesar. In 43 BC it was Antony who had to flee Rome. With Antony out of the way, Octavian now nineteen, demanded the office of consul. But Cicero and his fellow senators refused.
They had only been using Octavian to get rid of Antony and had no intention of letting him hold such a powerful post. But they too, had underestimated Octavian abilities. He swiftly marched his army into Rome, and the surprised senators had no choice but to make him consul. Antony Bewitched: With Octavian the supreme power in the west and Antony in charge of the ease, a clash between the two ambitious men was inevitable. To justify the civil war he desires with Antony, Octavian charged Antony of shirking his duties and wavering in his allegiance to Rome as a result of being led astray by Egypt queen, Cleopatra. To some degree, this charge was true.
Antony had first met Cleopatra in 41 BC when she paid him a visit in Cilicia in southern Asia Minor. The two became notorious lovers, and in the years that followed Antony spent much of his time in Egypt visiting Cleopatra. He frequently adopted Egyptian habits and dress and of ten did neglect his duties. Octavian took full advantage of the situation, convincing the Roman people that Cleopatra wanted to be queen of Rome and that Antony planned to seize the empire for her. Though these stories were exaggerated, some evidence suggests that Cleopatra. In the fall of 33 BC Octavian finally felt the time was right and declared war on Antony.
Once more, Roman would be forced to fight Roman. Defeat and Suicide: The new civil was consisted largely of a single battle. Antony and Cleopatra managed to raise ninety thousand troops and five hundred ships, with which they intended to invade Italy. These forces spent the winter of 32-31 BC in southern Greece. In the spring of 31 BC Octavian, aided by skilled general named Agrippa, approached Greece with land and sea forces slightly smaller than Antony. In the Bay of Actium on the western coast of Greece, the fleets met in a great battle in which many ships burned and thousands on both sides lost their lives.
From Octavian to Augustus: At the age of thirty-two Octavian had triumphed over all adversaries and emerged as the sole power in Rome and its vast empire. In 29 BC he returned to Rome, where he enjoyed a lavish three-day victory celebration. Soon afterward he imposed a new government on Rome. On the surface it appeared similar to the old system. There were still the Senate, the courts, the assemblies, and various public officials, and Octavian allowed these to carry on most of the normal business of state. But, in reality, the republic no longer existed, because the government was no longer in the hands of the people.
Octavian still controlled the armies. Though he wisely did not use his military power openly to threaten the government, as his predecessors had, he was in a very real sense a military dictator, and everyone know it. He also exercised his own direct rule over Egypt, as well as Gaul and many other provinces, thus limiting the administrative powers of the government mainly to Italy. In addition, Octavian skillfully maneuvered the Senate into granting him a number of important powers. He held authority similar to that of a consul or tribune, so he could both propose a veto and law or policy he desired.
He also reserved the rights to make war or peace without having to consult the Senate, to call meetings of that body, and to nominate many of the candidates for office voted on in the assemblies. In these and other ways, Octavian assumed dictatorial powers while wisely avoiding titles like dictator or king, which he realized the Roman people had come to despise and mistrust. He chose instead to project the benevolent image of savior and protector of the people. In 27 BC he took the title of Imperator Caesar Agustus, The Great Victor and Ruler.
But Octavian himself never used the title of emperor, preferring to be called either Augustus or princeps, meaning first citizen. Whatever he chose to call himself at the time, he was in fact the first in a long line of Roman Emperors. Beginning with his reign, Rome and its provinces became known as the Roman Empire. Agustus enjoyed a long, successful, and peaceful reign.
After more than a century of bloodshed, power struggles, and civil strife, the Roman people were thankful for the order and stability he brought. In time, most people remembered the days of the republic as a time of troubles and chaos and the idea of restoring it steadily died out. Though the system that had brought Rome power and prestige for five hundred years was gone, Romes days of glory were not over. The Romans were embarking on a new era of accomplishments that would profoundly affect the many lands and peoples they would encounter and thereby help to shape the next two thousand years of world history. As a result of the Republic falling, the empire grew but for only a short period of time. Hooker R, 1996 author of Rome the Late Empire stated that: While people like to talk about the decline of the fall of Rome, no such thing really happened.
Although Rome underwent several shocks in the fourth and fifth centuries, some of them violent with a transfer of the imperiate to non-Romans, Rome really did remain in existence. Its impossible to say when the history of Rome with the assumption of the imperiate by foreigners. But the empire really does end, for all practical purposes, with the restricting of the empire by Diocletian. Diocletian (284-305) came to the throne after a century of disorganization, internal dissent, economic collapse, and foreign incisions.
A tough and practical soldier he had one ambition: to retire from the imperiate alive. And he managed to do it (an exceptional feat). To stem the descent into chaos, he decided that the Empire was too large to be administered by a central authority, so he divided it in half. A colleague, Ma ximian would rule the western half, and the seat of government was in Nicomedia. Maxima recognized Diocletain as Agustus, or the senior ruler of the Roman emperor. Beneath these two were appointed to each two officials, called Caesars, no only to help manage the administration, but to assume their respective empires on the death of the emperor.
In this way, the succession was always guaranteed and the successors had already spent much of their career administering the empire. This would prevent both the possibility of the ambitious seizing of the imperiate by provincial generals and would prevent incompetence from assuming control of the Empire. This was a brilliant strategy and, with other innovations, stabilized the Empire. Diocletian was the first emperor to manifestly break with Roman tradition. He shifted the seat of power to the east, on Nicomedia in Turkey. He also adopted eastern ideas of monarchy; he no longer called himself princeps or even imperator, but dominus, or Lord.
He took a crown and wore royal clothing; he demanded and got out and out worship by his subjects. In 305, Diocletian retired to farm to raise cabbages; he forced Maxmiam also to retire. So the imperiate passed without fuss to their two Caesars. This brilliant system, so promising in its inception, fell apart immediately as the two emperors began feuding.
Within a year, the sin of one of the original Caesars gained the throne: Constantine (396-337). Like Diocletian, he ruled only half of the Roman Empire, the western half. But in 324, he abandoned the system and ruled over a single, united empire. However, he shifted the seat of government east to his own city in Turkey, Constantinople. Constantine was like Diocletian his affection for eastern ways of life and eastern views of monarchy. He took on himself all the trappings of an eastern king, as Diocletian had done, and declared the imperiate to be hereditary.
After eight hundred years without a monarch, Rome had finally returned back to monarchy. Constantine, however, is one of the most noted rulers in Rome for he was the first emperor to convert to Christianity. Although he didnt make Christianity a state religion, his conversion provoked a wild proliferation of the faith, particularly in the Eastern Empire. Constantine, however never really became a Christian ruler. He retained all the trappings of power including the demand that he be venerated as a god, as Diocletian had done. Constantine, however, had several problems with his new faith.
The first was that there was no established doctrine. In fact, there were as many forms of Christianity as there were communities of Christians. The second was more pressing, for foundational Christianity was manifestly anti-political. Its founder, Jesus of Nazareth, consistently condemned worldly authority and insisted that the Christian siege is a non-worldly, individualistic, non-political life. As a result, the foundational Christian texts are not only anti-Roman, but consistently dismissive of human worldly authority. If Christianity were going to work as a religion in a state ruled but a monarch that demanded worship and absolute authority, it would have to be changed.
To this end, Constantine convened a group of Christian bishops at Nice a in 325; there, the basic orthodoxy of Christianity was instantiated in what came to be called the Nicene Creed, the basic statement of belief for orthodox Christianity. Constantine accomplished more, however, for the Nicene council also ratified his own power and Christianity would begin the long struggle, lasting to this day, between the anti-political ideas of Jesus of Nazareth and the Christianity that is compromised to allow for human authority and power. When Constantine died, he divided the Empire between his three sons who, as you might expect, began fighting one another over a complete control of the Empire. His sons all adopted Christianity as well, but the emperor, Julian the Apostate (361-363), opposed the religion and tried to undo it by dismissing all the Christians from the government. He was little too late and reigned a little too briefly, though, to have any real effect.
The government of Rome during the fourth century essentially traces out a history of dynastic squabbles and constant internal fractiousness; it wasnt until the end of the century, in the rule of Theodosius (379-365), that Rome was again united under a single emperor. Theodosius made his mark in history by declaring Christianity the state religion of Rome; he made all pagan religions illegal. The Christian Roman State had entered the stage; however history was about to dramatically change the character of Rome. In 410, the Visigoths, a Germanic tribe that had migrated into northern Italy under the pressure of migrations of the Huns, captured and sacked Rome. From 451 to 453 Rome was overrun by the Hunnish leader, Attila, and finally, in 476, Odoacer deposed the Roman emperor and made himself emperor. Power had passed from the Romans to the barbarians war-chiefs; the Middle Ages had begun.
Rome now passed to two heirs: Europe in the east and, to the west, the Byzantines, who carried on the government structure, the social structure, the art and the thought of classical Rome and Greece. In conclusion, the expansion of Rome led to the Punic Wars, breakdown of the Republic, and in the end the fall of the empire. Although this paper is only a brief outline of these events, not all information can be refereed as new knowledge. Green, E 1994 again states: Most of our knowledge about ancient Rome comes from written records of the Romans. These records include such documents as law codes, treaties, and decrees of the emperors and the Roman Senate. Other written records are masterpieces of Latin literature.
In many works, the authors wrote about events the lived through. Such works include the letters and speeches of Cicero and the letters of Plane the Younger. These are only a few examples of where the information stated in this paper came from. In the end the moral proves to show, what goes up must come down.
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