A Brief Outline of Roman History

I. Geography

    A. City
      i. The seven hills
      ii. Tiber river
      iii. Centrally located in Italy
    B. Italy
      i.Central peninsula in Mediterranean
      ii. Not many rugged mountains
      iii. Close to North Africa

II. Republic

    A. Government controlled by aristocrats
      i. Patricians
        a. Senate = 300 patricians who controlled tax monies and foreign policy
        b. Consuls = 2 patricians who ran the government and commanded the army
    B. All others were in the lower class
      i. Plebeians
      ii. Assembly = had very little real power at first but gradually obtained more responsibilities
    C. Twelve Tablets
      i. Engraved with all the laws
      ii. Publicly displayed in the Forum (center of Rome)
    D. Government officials elected by male citizens

III. Expansion

    A. First Punic War (264-259 BCE)
      i. Fought rival Carthage
      ii. Originally a Phoenician colony in North Africa
      iii. Rome won and took the island of Sicily
    B. Second Punic War (218-202 BCE)
      i. Again against Carthage
      ii. Carthaginian general Hannibal won many battles against the Romans
      iii. Crossed the Alps with elephants and overwhelmed several Roman armies
      iv. Forced to return to defend Carthage itself and was defeated
      v.Carthage lost all of Spain and its other colonies to Rome
    C. Third Punic War (149-146 BCE)
      i. Once again against Carthage
      ii. This time, Romans burned the city to the ground and plowed salt into the site
      iii. Domination of Mediterranean: Macedonia and the Greek city-states fell around 197 BCE

IV. Empire

    A. Civil war broke out, and a series of military leaders took over
    B. First Triumvirate: Julius Caesar and 2 other generals joined forces to rule
    C. Julius Caesar became dictator
      i. One of the three was killed in battle; other wanted the Senate to limit Caesar's power
      ii. Romantically linked to Cleopatra (she bore his son) as was Marc Antony (below)
      iii. Introduced reforms
        a. Public lands given to the poor
        b. People in the provinces granted citizenship
        c. Public works programs (roads, etc) were undertaken
        d. New calendar set up with 365 days + extra day for leap year
      iv. Assassinated by jealous/fearful; members of the Senate on March 15, the "Ides of March," in the year 44 BCE
    D. Civil War broke out again
    E. Brutus and Cassius, 2 assassins, were defeated by Marc Antony and Octavian
    F. Antony and Octavian go to war, Octavian's forces prevail
      i. Antony flees to Egypt
      ii. Cleopatra commits suicide over his impending defeat (so the story goes)
    G. Octavian renamed Augustus, becomes first Roman emperor
      i. As emperor, can veto any laws proposed by the Senate
      ii. Had the authority to make laws

V. "Pax Romana"

    A. 200 of Roman peace
    B. Supported the growth of business and a monetary system
    C. Police and Fire departments organized
    D. Emperors were worshipped as gods and allowed to chose successors

VI. Later expansion

    A. Grew to include Britain (Hadrian's wall = emperor Hadrianos)
    B. Under Trajan, expanded to its largest size (about that of the United States!)

VII. Internal decline led to external attack (and eventually the fall of the Roman Empire)

    A. Quarrels between generals and those in power
    B. Later emperors limited freedoms, losing popular support
    C. Empire was simply too large to effectively rule
    D. Emphasis on pleasure and fun
      i. Had to use foreigners in the armies
      ii. Huge free spectacles at the Coliseum and Circus Maximus
        a. Gladiators: usually man against animal
        b. Chariot racing
        c. Naval battles
        d. Used as free entertainment to keep the poor masses complacent
    E. Huns, Goths, Vandals, Angles, Saxons, Franks, and other barbarian tribes from the north overran the empire and destroyed Rome (476 CE)

VIII. Contributions

    A. Government and Law
    B. Architectural
    C. Language
    D. Military