Objectives for this section: • Know the shift of Rome’s government from monarchy to republic and what the cause of this shift was. • Know the differences among the classes (patrician, plebian, et al) • Know the basic structure of the Roman republican government and the checks and balances each division had on the others. • Know what the Punic Wars are and between whom they were fought and why. • What caused each war and what was the aftermath? • Who’s Hannibal? • Why was Cannae important? • What’s the overall result of all the Punic Wars?
509 B.C.Rome becomes a republic. 218 B.C.In the Second Punic War, Hannibal invades Italy. A.D.284 Diocletian, who will divide the Roman Empire, becomes emperor. 500 B.C. 264 B.C.The First Punic War with Carthage begins. 44 B.C.Conspirators kill Julius Caesar. A.D.476 Western Roman Empire falls with the ouster of the last emperor, Romulus Augustulus.
According to legend, Rome was founded Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Mars • Mars raped their mother who happened to be a Vestal virgin. She was buried alive as punishment. R and R were supposed to be exposed, but the servant left them on the bank of the Tiber instead. It flooded and they floated away. • Went downriver, were rescued and raised by she-wolf.
In a dispute over where to put the city, Romulus slew Remus. • Romulus proceeded to name it after himself, set up all of its institutions, and attracted to it people who needed a fresh start… which typically meant criminals. • When women ran short, he just kidnapped 700 from the neighboring Sabines. • According to the Roman historian Livy, though, they were treated well and weren’t assaulted.
In reality, people had been living in the region for a while. • The area where Rome was defensible due to the hills and was surrounded by a fertile plain • The Tiber river was also navigable from the sea to there and had a low point where it could be forded • According to legend, Romulus founded Rome in 753 BC. Probably not Romulus, but archaeology suggests it was indeed founded in the middle of the 8th century BC.
The early Romans were strongly influenced by those around them. • There were Etruscans to the north, Latins to the east, and Greeks along the coast.
Rome, in the beginning, was a monarchy • According to ancient sources, there were only seven kings in 243 years, which gives an average reign of 35 years – far longer than the norm. • There were probably more kings, but contemporary records no longer exist. • He was apparently elected (proposed by the Senate and voted on by the Assembly) and the line wasn’t entirely hereditary. • King was the head of the religion and held most of the power. • There was the Senate and the Curiate Assembly, but they had little power.
The kings were of varying quality, but most decent. • They gradually expanded Rome’s power and territory. • One king, Tarquinius Priscus, put in the first sewer system, drained a swamp, and built the Circus Maximus. • The last king was Tarquinius Superbus. He was a jerk. • He was Priscus’s son, but wasn’t elected to the throne. He eventually had the elected king, Servius, assassinated with the help of his wife, Servius’s own daughter. After he was dead, she drove over his body with a chariot. • He also repealed popular reforms and was rather violent. The Senate finally succeeded in expelling him in 510 BC.
Tarquin the Proud equals Grand Moff Tarkin?! Some speculate so (but probably a coincidence).
After getting rid of Tarquin the Jerk, the Senate decided it had had enough of kings and reformed Rome into a Republic 509 BC. • Some speculation this was a backdate so that republican Rome predated Cleisthenes’ Athens. • That way, Rome (which had a cultural inferiority complex towards Greece) could claim it was the first democracy.
There were several classifications of people in Rome: patricians, plebians, allies, and slaves. • The patricians were the traditional wealthy aristocrats. • Plebians were the average joe farmers and artisans. Both patricians and plebians were citizens. • Allies were native people of conquered territories. They had a limited form of citizenship • Slaves had no rights at all. They were purely property.
The patricians initially formed a kind of a republican oligarchy. • The plebians didn’t like this and threatened to secede from Rome on several occasions and so established the tribunes, who were tasked with protecting plebian rights. If they thought a pleb was being oppressed, they could say, “Veto,” which means, “I forbid it.”
So instead of a king, they had two consuls • Kinda like the two Spartan kings, by having two men in charge instead of one, you resist tyranny. • Each consul had to consult the other before acting and one could veto the other. • Were patricians elected to one year terms
Supreme commanders of the military • Took care of daily affairs and kept other officials in line. Also presided over the Senate. • Would join the Senate at the expiration of their term, so it was in their interests to cultivate good relations with that body. • Later, proconsuls were created – consuls whose terms could be extended due to military matters, such as leadership continuity during a war.
A dictator could be appointed to a six month term. • Had supreme power and could override the consuls. • Appointed in times of crisis.
The Senate • A body of 300 patricians from the wealthiest families. • Served for life. • Advised consuls, approved projects, did foreign policy. • Was the main power in Rome.
Centuriate Assembly • Composed of citizen-soldiers by class. • Appointed consuls. • Votes weren’t individual votes. Individual votes contributed to how the class decided. The upper classes’ votes had more weight. Thus, it was still patrician-controlled.
Tribal Assembly • Included both patricians and plebians. • People were split up depending on where they lived – into one of 35 different tribes. • The tribes were determined by geography and not by population.
Each tribe had one vote. • Since the majority of people lived in one of Rome’s four urban tribes, that meant the 31 rural tribes had more influence. • The tribal assembly grows in power and eventually makes most of the laws. • Also elected the tribunes.
The Twelve Tables • The first codification of Roman law. • Made around 450 BC in response to plebians’ complaints that the patricians were forming and interpreting laws to their own benefit. • They were written down on 12 bronze tablets that were posted in the Roman forum. • More a listing of rights than formal laws. • For something so important, we oddly don’t know what the exact text was, but we can piece a lot of it together from fragments.
Here’s a sampling from the Twelve Tables: • If someone is called to go to court, he is to go. If he doesn't go, a witness should be called. Only then should he be captured. If he shirks or flees, he should be captured. If illness or old age is an impediment, let him be given a carriage. If he doesn't want it, it should not be covered. • An obviously deformed child must be put to death. • If a father sells his son into slavery three times, the son shall be free of his father. • If a person dies intestate without heirs, the nearest male kinsman shall inherit. If there is no near male kinsmen, his clansmen shall inherit. • If one has maimed another and does not buy his peace, let there be retaliation in kind.
Someone who breaks another's bone by hand or club must pay 300 sesterces; for a slave, 150; if he has done simple harm against another, 25. • No dead man may be cremated nor buried in the City. • Marriages between plebeians and patricians are forbidden. • Men in the army may not wed until training is complete. • Someone who has brought a false claim shall be brought before three judges, and shall pay a double penalty.
The Roman system had a series of checks and balances among the different entities. • This carries over today.
Punic Wars • In 390 BC, however, Rome was sacked by the Gauls. • In response, Rome gradually expanded its power over Italy and conquered its neighbors. By 265 BC, it controls Italy and has a significant trade empire in the Mediterranean. • Its growing power naturally puts it in conflict with Carthage, the dominant Mediterranean city at the time. When interests among power conflict, war happens. • Rome and Carthage fought three different wars, called the Punic Wars because the Latin term for a Carthaginian was Punici.
Then Merchant harbor Warship harbor Now
The warship island. A warship slip
It ain’t just ancient. Compare… German U-Boat pens from World War II
First Punic War • 264-241 BC • While war between Rome and Carthage was probably inevitable, the spark was a power struggle in Sicily. • It was under the control of Carthage, but Rome backed a rebellion and sent in its forces.
Fighting was initially restricted to Sicily, but Rome then took the fight to Carthage. The Romans built a huge naval force of warships and troop transports and began attacking Carthage’s North African cities and countryside. • This force was eventually defeated by a Spartan mercenary general. That and Carthage regained control over Sicily. But the key was the naval battles.
Carthage was master of the seas. Rome, though, as usual, adapted nicely. • They copied some Carthaginian designs and also introduced the corvus. • The corvus was a rotating bridge with spikes on the end. The Romans would maneuver close to an enemy ship, drop the bridge into the deck of the enemy, locking the two ships together. • Roman marines would then cross over the bridge and get to fighting. • It did cause some problems, though, since it made the ship more unstable.
Despite the naval copying and innovation, and because of some bad luck from the weather, Roman fleets were destroyed and Carthage took the upper hand. • The Carthaginians, thinking the war over, started demobilizing. Rome took advantage, rebuilt its fleets and annihilated Carthage’s fleet. • Both sides were ready for the war to be over as they both suffered heavily. Over 50,000 Romans had died and a great deal of money spent.
Rome, however, had the upper hand and could dictate terms to Carthage… and the terms were heavy. • Carthage had to cede Sicily and most other of its Mediterranean islands to Rome. • Roman prisoners were to be returned while Carthaginians prisoners had to be ransomed. • Carthage had to pay Rome an exorbitant sum of money (2,200 talents of gold).
Aftermath • Rome was ruler of the seas. • Carthage was now second-rate. It was also humiliated. • The victor’s peace imposed upon Carthage hindered its recovery and fueled resentment, which led to the Second Punic War.
Second Punic War • 218-202 BC • Carthage was angry over its treatment by Rome after the First Punic War. • Also, to pay off the reparations, it had to get the money from somewhere, so it expanded its power in Spain.