Monday, March 14, 2016

The Roman Republic

Greece → decline; Rome → develop 
Small settlement → mighty civilization (conquered Mediterranean world)
One of the most famous and influential empires in history

The Origins of Rome
- founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus
- twin sons of god Mars and Latin princess but were abandoned and raised by she-wolf
- found by men
- chose spot because of strategic location and fertile soil

Rome's Geography
Built on seven rolling hills at a curve on the Tiber River
Midway between the Alps and Italy's southern tip
Near the midpoint of Mediterranean Sea
Near enough for convenience (sea-borne commerce) but not so near as to bring danger from foreign fleets

The First Romans
The earliest settlers on the Italian peninsula arrived in prehistoric times
Latins, Greeks and Etruscans battled for control (100-500 BC)
Latins: built settlement at Rome (Palatine Hill) ← first Romans
Greeks: established colonies along southern Italy and Sicily (750-600 BC)
↑ commercially active, brought Italy closer with Greek civilization
Etruscans: northern Italy; skilled metalworkers and engineers
↑ influenced Rome: writing, alphabet and architecture (arch)

The Early Republic
Around 600 BC an Etruscan became king of Rome → became a big city
Forum: the heart of Roman political life
The last king of Rome: Tarquin the Proud (509 BC) a harsh tyrant
↑ Romans would never be ruled by a king
Established a republic (res publica: public affairs)
A republic is a form of government in which power rests with citizens who have the right to vote for their leaders (free-born male citizens)

Patricians and Plebeians
In the early republic different groups struggled for power
Patricians: the wealthy landowners who held most of the power
↑ inherited power and social status, 
"their ancestry gave them the authority to make laws for Rome"
Plebeians: the common people that made up the majority of the population
↑ citizens with right to vote 
but were barred by law from holding important government positions
Tribunes: representatives elected by plebeians
↑ protected the rights of plebeians

Twelve Tables
Important victory for plebeians: force the creation of a written law code
↑ patricians interpreted the law to suit themselves
In 451 BC 10 officials began to write and carved them on twelve tablets and hung in the Forum
Basis for later Roman law
Twelve Tables: idea that all free citizens had a right to the protection of the law

Government Under the Republic
In the first century BC Roman writers boasted Rome had achieved a balanced government
↑ took the best features of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy
Consuls: two officials of Rome (like kings)
- term was only 1 year long
- cannot be elected again for ten years
- one consul could always veto the other's decisions
Senate: the aristocratic bench of Rome's government
- had both legislative and administrative functions
- 300 members were chosen from upper class
Later plebeians were allowed in senate
Assemblies: democratic side of the government
- example: the Tribal Assembly
- elected the tribunes and made laws for common people later for republic itself
Dictator: a leader who had absolute power to make laws and command the army
- could be appointed in times of crisis
- lasted only 6 months
- chosen by consuls and then elected by senate

The Roman Army
All citizens who owned land were required to serve in army
Seekers of certain public offices had to perform 10 years
Legions: a large military units that Roman soldiers were organized into
- made up of 5000 infantry and a group of cavalry
- divided into smaller groups of 80 men (century)
The military organization and fighting skill of Roman army were key factors in Rome's rise to greatness

Rome Spreads Its Power
For hundreds of years after the founding of the republic, Rome sought to expand its territories through trade and conquest

Rome Conquers Italy
Power grew as legions battled for control of the Italian peninsula 
By the fourth century BC Romans dominated central Italy
Eventually defeated Etruscans and Greeks (265 BC)
Had different laws for different parts of its conquered territory
Latins: full citizens of Rome
Farther: enjoyed all rights except vote
Others: allies of Rome (did not interfere as long as supplied troop and did not make treaties of friendship with other state)
Lenient policy toward defeated enemies helped build long-lasting empire

Rome's Commercial Network
Location → easy access to the riches of the lands ringing the Mediterranean Sea
Merchants traded Roman wine and olive oil for foods, raw materials and manufactured goods from other lands
Other cities interfered with Roman access to the Mediterranean (Carthage)

War with Carthage
In 264 BC Rome and Carthage went to war (began with Punic Wars)
Between 264 and 146 BC Rome and Carthage fought 3 wars
- for control of Sicily and western Mediterranean
- lasted 23 years (264-241 BC)
- ended in the defeat of Carthage
Second (Punic War)
- began in 218 BC
- mastermind was a 29-year-old Carthaginian general named Hannibal
- brilliant military strategist who wanted to avenge defeat
- 50000 infantry, 9000 cavalry and 60 elephants
- wanted surprise the Roman
- Spain → France → Alps (lost more than half of his army)
- won his greatest victory at Cannae in 216 BC (Romans lost a lot)
- Roman finally regrouped and with the aid of allies stood firm

Rome Triumphs
Scipio: Roman military leader who devised a plan to attack Carthage
- forced Hannibal to return to defend native city
In 202 BC Romans finally defeated Hannibal at Zama near Carthage
Third Punic War (149-146 BC):
- Rome laid siege to Carthage
- In 146 BC the city was set afire and 50000 inhabitants sold into slavery
- became a Roman province
Victories in Punic Wars gave Rome dominance over the western Mediterranean
Then went on to conquer eastern
About 70 BC stretched from Anatolia to Spain

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