Tuesday, November 6, 2007


1.Beginnings: The Emergence of Rome – The Regal Period (753-509 B.C.)
Etruscan and Greek Influences on Rome
Early Social Organization
2.The Early Republic (509-360B.C.)
3.From City-State to Domination of Italy (360-264 B.C.)
4.Rome Dominates the Mediterranean (264-133 B.C.)
5.Changing Times: Economic, Social, Political, Cultural Changes (264-133 B.C.)
6.From the Gracchi to the Triumvirate (133-60 B.C.)
7.Failure of the Oligarchy: The Rise of Julius Caesar
8.Social Change in the Late Republic
Tiber River
Romulus and Remus
Vergil’s Aeneid – Aeneas – Anchises (Aeneas’ father)
Magna Graecia
Rex = king
Comitia centuriata
Struggle of the “Orders” (494-287 B.C.): patricians vs. plebeianstribunes of the plebs
XII Tables (ca. 450 B.C.)
Consilium plebis (Plebeian Assembly) – plebiscite
Jupiter / Zeus
Minerva / Athena
Punic Wars (264-146 B.C.)
Scipio Africanus
Macedonian wars
Philip V of Macedon
Revolt of Spartacus (73-71 B.C.)
Gracchi brothers: Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus
First Triumvirate
Pompey (106-48 B.C.)
Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.)
Rubicon River
Ides of March (44 B.C.)
November 2, 2007

1- Octavian, Marcus Antonius, Lepidus will take revenge from Brutus, Cassius, Cicero for Julius Ceasar’s death
2- The first confrontation between East-West, Octavian’s victory in Actium 31.
3- The titles used by Octavian: emperor, augustus, princeps
4- Three periods: Principate 27 BC-180 AD, 3rd c. crisis 180-284, Dominiate -610
5- Octavian’s rule retained both the senate and the status of citizen.
6- Reforms in public services, new coinage, tax-farming, colonisation of provinces.
7- From Augustus to Trajan, who conquered Dacia, the expansion of the Empire
8- Hadrian, who founded Adrianople, will preserve territories and organize defense
9- For two centuries period of stability, efficient bureaucracy, no external ennemies
10- Pax Romana, peak at 96-180, five good Emperors, last one being Marcus Aurelius
11- Citizenship extended and conquered populations were integrated. Hadrian, Trajan
12- Frontiers fluid, areas of both cultural interaction and violence.
13- Philosophy: Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius
14- Literature: Golden Age, 1st -2nd c., Virgil, Aeneid, Horace, Odes, Ovid, Metamorphoses
15- Silver Age, 3rd c. Tacitus, Germania, he praises the qualities of Romans’ enemies
16- Architecture, Hellenistic motifs are appropriated.
17- Museum culture, out of the objects imported from conquered lands.
18- Public architecture: Dome, baths, race courses, Pantheon, Colosseum
19- Wall painting, mosaic, the original Roman art
20- Engineering, bridges, aqueducts, roads will mark Roman heritage
21- Women’s role improved, they can be involved in literary or political life
22- Gladiator culture
23- Salvationist religions offering hope for the afterlife.
24- International trade flourishes, despise for manual labor, meager industry.
25- Roman law, pretors’ instructions to judges, decisions that create precedent
26- Civil law, law of the peoples, natural law
27- Decline starting with Commodus and the hereditary right of succession
28- Several dynasty, Septemius Severus, military leader who intervenes and introduces military intervention
29- Eventually civil wars 235-284, where authority was given to the general who could mobilize the greater army
30- Heavy taxation, debasing of coin leads to farmers’ devastation, hunger, disease
31- External enemies, Persians, Germans
32- Neoplatonic Philosophy, Plotinus, matter and the body are the prisons of the soul.
33- Emanationism, mysticism
34- Reasons for collapse i) poisoned by lead in kitchen utensils ii) moral degeneration iii) Germanic attacks iv) Political failures (succession right) v) Economic failures
35- Rome’s achievements: It survived until 476 in the West, until 1453 in the East. large geography politically united for long, communication, trade, travel, stable currency, citizenship to all, thus creating political participation.

November 5, 2007


1. What does the phrase “Fall of Rome” mean? Which event illustrates better this end, or change, of a situation? End of a state or end of a civilization?

2. The possible reasons for that change and for the installation of a new situation (Christianity, decline of morals and values, public health – lead, political corruption, unemployment, inflation, urban decay, military spending).

3. The Roman Empire and the Romans after the “Fall of Rome”.

4. The legacies of the Roman civilization to the modern world.

Vocabulary and dates

From 235 to 284 A.D. political instability in the Empire took the form of a civil war. During these 50 years 26 emperors succeeded one another. Only one of them escaped a violent death.

In 313 an Edict of religious Toleration is signed in Milan, by Constantine and Licinius. The Christian religion can be professed in freedom.

In 324 Constantine defeats Licinius and becomes unique emperor of the Roman state. He founds Constantinople; it is also called the New Rome.

330: Constantinople is inaugurated. The imperial court is installed in the new Roman capital.

337: Constantine becomes the first Roman emperor to be baptized and become Christian, just before to die.

In 391 Theodosius signs an Edict forbidding paganism.

In 410 the Visigoth army, lead by Alaric, sack the city of Rome.

In 476 A. D. the Germanic general Odacer or Odovacar overthrew the last of the Roman Emperors, Augustulus Romulus. From then on the western part of the Empire was ruled by Germanic chieftain.


Engineering, technology, transports, communication

Via EgnatiaRoman legal system

Justinian (emperor: 527-565), summation of all Roman laws.

Corpus Juris Civilis (529), in Latin, 3 parts: Digesta (or Pandectae), Institutiones, Codex.

Later supplement, a collection of new laws issued during Justinian’s reign: the Authenticum or Novellae Constitutiones, in Greek.

Constantinople grew out of the Greco-Roman World (planning, urban environment, display of Greek sculptures in public space). “Universal capital”.

Example: display of two statues of Aphrodite in the bath of Hesychios, in Milet (6th century). Conclusion: as long as life in the Roman cities was maintained, and the economic prosperity of the upper class was assured, and that the educational system was preserved, the antique Roman culture was kept alive in the eastern part of the Empire. It was the big military, demographic and economic catastrophe of the 7th – 8th c. that progressively put an end to the antique culture in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire.