Roman Republic and Empire
Roman Republic and Empire HIST 1010
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Myrissa Webb on Monday September 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1010 at Auburn University taught by Dr. Bohannan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views.
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Date Created: 09/19/16
Roman Republic and Empire Roman Monarchy. (753-509 BC) It wasn’t just a king. There were limits to his power and he shared power with the Senate and the Assembly. This balanced the King. Any male of military age could be a part of the assembly. The Senate include the elders of the various clans/tribes of Rome. Any law that was put into effect had to be put into an examination from them. They made sure it didn’t contradict tradition. Around 509 BC the senate carved out a revolution. They would overthrow and create a republic. Got rid of the king and substituted an executive branch, the Consuls. They were two men ruling. Since the senate was the main person doing the change they became supreme. They had the power. This was sometimes described as an Oligarchy Republic since the senate (made up of mostly aristocrats) had the most power. This leaves the assembly less powerful. There were two social categories. Patricians were the aristocrats, descendants of the older Senate. Plebeians were basically everyone else kind of miscellaneous. There is tension between these because of the government is dominated by the Patricians, so the Plebeians (make up the Assembly) were at a disadvantage. They payed taxes, worked, sons in army, make the economy tick, yet they didn’t have the same political rights. This tension will ultimately result in Plebian Victory. The Patricians finally agree and change two things 1) Writing down the laws, the twelve tables. Roman laws will be one of their greatest cultural achievements. 2) Allowed the election of tribunes. Tribunes watched the consuls to make sure they were doing legal things. They were given some veto power. These two things that tweaked the government were good, but it was still Patrician oriented. Punic Wars. Imperialism is expanding beyond one's homeland. Rome population grew and looked to expand. This expansion brought conflict with Carthage. Carthage functioned as a city-state. It had colonies in large parts of the Mediterranean. They were the descendants of the Phoenician empire. They were major league trades and merchants. Access to the sea was crucial for their trade. The Punic wars was three wars. 1) Over Sicily. Rome tried to expand feeling they had a right since it was at the boot of Italy. It was a 23-year conflict. Rome won. Carthage was forced to back off of Sicily. After losing Sicily, Carthage focuses its expansion on the western part of the Mediterranean (now Spain). This upsets the Romans who saw the expansion to the Mediterranean as a direct threat to them. This produced the second war. 2) This is the most famous war. Carthaginian general, Hannibal, and they almost won. It was a 16-year conflict. Hannibal took troops from the new Carthage, north across the Pyrenees, across the Alps, and down the Peninsula. With them were their animals, elephants. They came close to winning, but in the end Rome pulled out and won. Carthage loss just about everything except their home city-state, Carthage. Carthage recovers a little bit and the Romans are a little full of themselves. The Roman senate said "Back off," literally, 10 miles. Why? They were close to the water and relied on it. If they moved, they would not survive because they were water merchants. They refused so here come the 3rd war 3) Rome sends a Navy and it begins to lay siege to the city-state Carthage. Siege refers to the surrounding a city and cutting off its supplies until it is too weak to fight back. Carthage held out for 3 years. This is one of the most spectacular siege. Then finally the Romans come in street by street and decimate Carthage. They went from 500,000 to 5,500 people. When the general surrendered Rome told the army to Raze it (completely destroy) and sow the ground with salt so that nothing can grow back. The Punic wars changed Rome. They became a huge Mediterranean Empire. As they fought Carthage they also had to fight their allies. One main effect of Punic wars was that the small family farms declined/disappeared. The workers had to fight for years and the family lost their farms. They couldn’t compete with the Latifundia (the huge plantations owned by Patrician government people) Another development was the rise of slave labor. Slaves will work for Latifundia. The slaves came from warfare. The family farms are driven out of business and now Rome economy is based on the huge plantations and slave labor. The families had to go into the city and beg for work. They would sell their political votes to Politicians for "bread & circuses" The bread was food and the circus was entertainment. They wanted relief from poverty and entertainment. This is a highly unstable political environment. This is when two brother who were born into a Patrician family become the Champion of the masses. They think beyond their title and towards the well-being of Rome. Tiberius is the first brother to realize that Rome needed change. Redistribute land to save the family farm. Limit the Latifundia to 620 acres and the excess carved up to the family farms. The Senate loathed this and assassinated him. His brother, Gaius, followed suit and wanted to help the poor by getting the government to regulate the cost of grain. Another thing he helped is getting them political rights. This was not popular so he was assassinated also. The Roman Republic is in trouble. What Rome did (expansion and empire) they have social problems and is not addressing it. The old republic constitutions are not working. So this goes into the decline of the republic and the start of Caesars.