Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Roman Empire

A Vast and Powerful Empire
Peak of power: from 27 BC to AD 180 (207 years, from the beginning of Augustus's rule)
↑ Pax Romana (Roman peace): no fighting except with tribes along the borders
- 3 million square miles
- between 60 and 80 million people

A Sound Government
Effective government and able rulers (Augustus)
- created a system of government (civil service)
Paid workers (plebeians) to manage the affairs of government
↑ maintained the empire's stability
Control: from Spain to Mesopotamia, from North Africa to Britain
↑ different languages, cultures and customs

Agriculture and Trade
90% people engaged in farming → local produce
Denarius (a silve coin) was in use throughout the empire → trade easier
Vast trading network: from east to Mediterranean → many cities grew wealthy
Roads linked the empire to far-flung places
- originally built by army for military purposes

The Roman World
Gravitas: discipline, strength and loyalty (Roman virtue)
Most people lived in countryside and worked on farms
Different people came together to create a diverse society

Slaves and Captivity
Widespread and important to the economy
made more use of slaves than any previous civilization (1/3 population)
Slaves: conquered people, slaves' children
- can be bought and sold
- the property of their owners
- can be punished, rewarded, set free or put to death
Worked both in the city and on the farm
- treated cruelly
- worked at hard labor all day long
Forced to be gladiator (strong healthy males)
None of the slave revolts succeeded (more than million died for freedom)

Gods and Goddesses
Numina: powerful spirits or divine forces (worshiped)
↑ resided in everything around them
Lares: the guardian spirits of each family
- honored through rituals → gain favor and avoid misfortune
Government and religion were linked
- deities were symbols of the state
- expected to honor them in public ceremonies
Jupiter: father of gods
Juno: Jupiter's wife, watched over women
Minerva: wisdom and art and craft
Worship of the emperor also became part of the official religion of Rome

Society and Culture
Wealth and social status made huge differences in how people lived
- spent a lot of money on homes, gardens, slaves and luxuries
- banquets
- much of the population was unemployed
- government supported daily ration pf grain
- crowded into risker, sprawling tenements (fire)
Government provided free games, races, mock battles and gladiator contests
→ to distract and control the masses of Romans
- 150 holidays a year (AD 250)
Colosseum: a huge area that could hold 50,000 people
↑ animal shows/ people vs. animals/ people vs. people
Until one of them was killed
Christianity slowly emerged during the time of Pax Romana
- early followers meet with much brutality and hardship

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