Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Roman Empire

Territory became larger → republican for of government grew unstable
Eventually mighty dictator-ruled empire

The Republic Collapse
Serious problems with developing:
- growing discontent of lower classes
- breakdown of military order
→ shakeup of republic
→ emergence of new political system

Economic Turmoil
The gap between rich and poor wider
Rich → lived in estate; Poor → forced work here (enslaved people 1/3 population)
Small farmers could not compete with estate
Farmers: former soldiers, sold land to rich and were homeless/jobless
→ worked in countryside as seasonal migrant laborers
Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus attempted to help poor (tribunes)
Reforms: limiting the size of estates; giving land to the poor
→ made enemies of senators
→ both met violent deaths
Civil War followed their deaths

Military Upheaval
The breakdown of the once-loyal military
General began seizing greater power for themselves
Recruited soldiers from landless poor by promising then land
Soldiers fought for pay and were loyal to their own generals replaced who were loyal to the republic

Julius Caesar Takes Control
Elected counsel with the help of Crassus and Pomory
Then dominated Rome as a triumvirate (a group of three rulers) for next ten years
Caesar only served 1 year as counsel, then appointed himself governor of Gaul
During 58-50 BC, Caesar conquered all of Gaul and won his men's loyalty in the war
Pompey → became his political rival
In 50 BC the senate ordered Caesar to disband his legions and return home, at Pompey's urgings
Caesar defied and marched his army toward Rome, Pompey fled
Defeated Pompey's armies in Greece, Asia, Spain and Egypt
In 46 BC senate appointed him dictator, in 44 BC named for life

Caesar's Reforms
- granted Roman citizenship to many people in the provinces
- expanded the senate, adding friends and supporters
- helped the poor by creating jobs
- started colonies where people without land could own property
- increased pay for soldiers
Senators and nobles feared losing their influence
On March 15,  44 BC, stabbed Caesar to death in the senate chamber
→ led by Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius

Beginning of the Empire
Civil war broke out again and destroyed Roman Republic
Octavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus took control of Rome and ruled for ten years as the Second Triumvirate
Alliance ended → Octavian forced Lepidus to retire and became rivals with Antony
Antony fell in love with Queen Cleopatra of Egypt
Octavian accused him of plotting to rule Rome from Egypt → another civil war erupted
Defeated them at the naval battle of Actium in 31 BC → suicided
Octavian → Augustus, imperator (unchallenged ruler of Rome)

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