Origins of Rome, The Roman Kingdom and The Roman Republic


- Origins of Rome and the Etruscan influence
- The Roman Kingdom
- The Roman Republic
- Julio Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic

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1) Origin of Rome and the Etruscan influence: 

Ancient Rome was a civilization that grew out of a small agricultural community founded on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 10th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it became one of the largest empires in the ancient world.

In its centuries of existence, Roman civilization shifted from a monarchy to an oligarchic republic to an increasingly autocratic empire.

The city of Rome grew from settlements around a ford on the river Tiber, a crossroads of traffic and trade.According to archaeological evidence, the village of Rome was probably founded sometime in the 8th century BC, though it may go back as far as the 10th century BC, by members of the Latin tribe, on the top of the Palatine Hill.

The origin of the city's name is thought to be that of the reputed founder and first ruler, the legendary Romulus. It is said that Romulus and his twin brother Remus, orphans who were suckled and raised by a she-wolf, decided to build a city. After an argument, Romulus killed Remus and named the city Rome, after himself.

Capitoline Wolf traditionally believed to be Etruscan, 5th century BC, with figures of Romulus and Remus added in the 15th century by Antonio Pollaiuolo

Rome was founded within or adjacent to Etruscan territory, and there is considerable evidence that early Rome was dominated by Etruscans until the Romans sacked the Etruscan city Veii in 396 BC.

The Etruscans were Italy’s first major civilization and they had previously settled to the north in Etruria, a region of Central Italy. They seemed to have established political control in the region by the late 7th century BC, forming the aristocratic and monarchical elite and they apparently lost power in the area by the late 6th century BC, and at this point, the original Latin and Sabine tribes reinvented their government by creating a republic, with much greater restraints on the ability of rulers to exercise power. The Etruscans absorbed Greek influence, apparent in many aspects closely related to architecture. The Etruscans gave Rome writing (an alphabet they in turn had taken from the Greeks) and a new political, social and military organization. The Architecture of the ancient Etruscans adapted the external Greek architecture for their own purposes, which were so different from Greek buildings as to create a new architectural style. The two styles are often considered one body of classical architecture. Their  frescoes, jewelry, and pottery found in their tombs are evidence of a highly artistic, cultured people and the Etruscans had much influence over Roman architecture. In fact Rome took almost everything from Etruscans, including the brutality of human sacrifices.

The origins of the Etruscans are lost in prehistory. Historians have no literature, no texts of religion or philosophy; therefore much of what is known about this civilization is derived from grave goods and tomb findings. Those who subscribe to an Italic foundation of Rome, followed by an Etruscan invasion, typically speak of an Etruscan “influence” on Roman culture; that is, cultural objects that were adopted at Rome from neighbouring Etruria.

The Etruscans were a monogamous society that emphasized pairing. The walls of these same tombs are often decorated with murals depicting revelry of nude or semi-nude persons sometimes sexually embracing. Prostitution and homosexuality are shown as well on murals and vase paintings. The Romans viewed Etruscans as promiscuous and had a low opinion of their women.

It is also possible that Greek and Roman attitudes to the Etruscans were based on a misunderstanding of the place of women within their society. In both Greece and Republican Rome, respectable women were confined to the house and mixed-sex socialising did not occur. Thus the freedom of women within Etruscan society could have been misunderstood as implying their sexual availability. In any case, women were considered logically and morally inferior: They couldnt vote or choose their husbands and they were in charge of raising children and keeping house. Many of the marriages in Rome were arranged by the parents of the couple and the favorite month for marriage was in June. The girl was often around thirteen years old at marriage, while the boy was a couple of years older on average.  Many women embraced later Christianity as this was a way to for them to have a more active presence in society. We know that a few women became doctors or teachers, but these were rare. Cornelia Africana  (190 – c. 100 BC) is one of only four Roman women whose writings survive to present day. In Cornelia's letters, it documents how Roman women wielded considerable influence in a political family. Rome worshipped her virtues and, when she died at an advanced age, the city voted for a statue in her honour.

Divorce in Rome was frequent and easily obtained by both sexes, and remarriage by widows and divorcées generally expected. Nevertheless, the persistent moral ideal, however little honoured in practice, was the univira, the 'one-man woman', that is, the one who sent straight from girlhood's virginity into marriage, and had relations with no other man for the rest of her life. In a society where all the women were univirae the men would no doubt have been able to feel more secure.

The Etruscans left a lasting influence on Rome. The Romans learned to build temples from them, and the Etruscans may have introduced the worship of a triad of gods — Juno, Minerva, and Jupiter — from the Etruscan gods: Uni, Menrva, and Tinia. However, the influence of Etruscan people in the evolution of Rome is often overstated. Rome was primarily a Latin city. It never became fully Etruscan. Also, evidence shows that Romans were heavily influenced by the Greek cities in the South, mainly through trade.

2) The Roman Kingdom:

The Roman Kingdom (Latin: Regnum Romanum) was the monarchical government of the city of Rome and its territories. Little is certain about the history of the Roman Kingdom, as no written records from that time survive, and the histories about it were written during the Republic and Empire and are largely based on legend.

However, the history of the Roman Kingdom began with the city's founding, traditionally dated to 753 BC, and ended with the overthrow of the kings and the establishment of the Republic in about 509 BC.

Romulus established the Senate after he founded Rome by personally selecting the most noble men (wealthy men with legitimate wives and children) to serve as a council for the city. As such, the Senate was the King’s advisory council as the Council of State. The Senate was composed of 300 Senators, with 100 Senators representing each of the three ancient tribes of Rome: the Ramnes (Latins), Tities (Sabines), and Luceres (Etruscans) tribes.

According to the Roman Myth The Rape of the Sabine Women (The English word "rape" is a conventional translation of Latin raptio, which in this context means "abduction" rather than its prevalent modern meaning of sexual violation), in order to provide his citizens with wives, Romulus invited the neighboring tribes to a festival in Rome where he abducted the young Sabine women from among them. The Romans ended up in a war with the Sabines, as they were obviously outraged that their women were forcibly taken by the Romans. After the allies of the Sabines were defeated, the Romans fought the Sabines themselves. By this time, the Sabine women had accepted their role as the wives of the Romans, and were quite distressed at the war between the two peoples. Finally, in one of the battles, the Sabine women stood between the Roman and Sabine armies, imploring their husbands on one hand, and fathers and brothers on the other to stop fighting. According to Livy, the Sabine women placed the blame for the war on themselves and said that they would rather die than to see bloodshed on either side of their families. Affected by their speech, the Romans and Sabines concluded a peace treaty, and the two peoples were united under the leadership of Rome, hence further strengthening the city of Rome.

Recounted by Roman historians Livy and Plutarch (Parallel Lives II, 15 and 19), it provided a subject for Renaissance and post-Renaissance works of art that combined a suitably inspiring example of the hardihood and courage of ancient Romans with the opportunity to depict multiple figures, including heroically semi-nude figures, in intensely passionate struggle.

The Intervention of the Sabine Women by French Painter Jacques-Louis David..
The painting depicts Romulus's wife Hersilia — the daughter of Titus Tatius, leader of the Sabines — rushing between her husband and her father and placing her babies between them. A vigorous Romulus prepares to strike a half-retreating Tatius with his spear, but hesitates. Other soldiers are already sheathing their swords.
David himself had been imprisoned as a supporter of Robespierre. After David’s estranged wife visited him in jail, he conceived the idea of telling the story, to honor his wife, with the theme being love prevailing over conflict. The painting was also seen as a plea for the people to reunite after the bloodshed of the French revolution.
The characteristic myths of Rome are often political or moral, that is, they deal with the development of Roman government in accordance with divine law, as expressed by Roman religion, and with demonstrations of the individual's adherence to moral expectations (mos maiorum) or failures to do so.

Major sources for Roman myths include the Aeneid of Roman poet Vergil and the first few books of Livy's history. The Aeneid and Livy's early history are the best extant sources for Rome's founding myths. Other important sources are the Fasti of Roman poet Ovid, a six-book poem structured by the Roman religious calendar, and the fourth book of elegies by Propertius. Scenes from Roman myth also appear in Roman wall painting, coins, and sculpture, particularly reliefs.

The Romans usually treated their traditional narratives as historical, even when these have miraculous or supernatural elements. The stories are often concerned with politics and morality, and how an individual's personal integrity relates to his or her responsibility to the community or Roman state.

Some other Roman Myths:

- Story of Mucius:

In 508 BC, during the war between Rome and Clusium, the Clusian king Lars Porsena laid siege to Rome. Mucius, with the approval of the Roman Senate sneaked into the Etruscan camp and attempted to murder Porsena. His plot failed because he misidentified Porsena and killed instead Porsena's secretary. Mucius was captured, and famously declared to Porsena: "I am Gaius Mucius, a citizen of Rome. I came here as an enemy to kill my enemy, and I am as ready to die as I am to kill. We Romans act bravely and, when adversity strikes, we suffer bravely." He also declared that he was one of three hundred other Romans willing to give their own life to kill Porsena.

To prove his valour, Mucius thrust his hand into one of the Etruscan camp fires, thereby earning for himself and his descendants the cognomen Scaevola, meaning 'left-handed'. Porsena, shocked at the youth's bravery, dismissed him from the Etruscan camp, free to return to Rome. At the same time, the king also sent ambassadors to Rome to offer peace.

Mucius was granted farming land on the right-hand bank of the Tiber, which later became known as the Mucia Prata (Mucian Meadows). It is not clear whether the story of Mucius is historical or mythical.

Mucius Scaevola in the Presence of Lars Porsenna', oil on canvas painting by Matthias Stomer

- Lucretia: According to legend, Lucretia was the beautiful wife of the early Roman army commander Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus (one of the first consuls of the Roman Republic in 509 BC). During a military expedition, Lucius and the other Roman leaders talked about how moral and good their wives were. They decided to return to Rome to see if the women were actually as faithful as each man claimed. They found only Lucretia at home; the other wives were misbehaving while their husbands were away. One of the men in the group, Sextus Tarquinius, was the son of the Roman king. Fascinated by Lucretia's beauty and goodness, he went to see her again and raped her at knifepoint. Lucretia made her husband and father swear to avenge the deed and then killed herself. According to Roman legend, people were so outraged by the incident that they overthrew the monarchy and founded the Roman Republic. The story of Lucretia appears in works by the Italian artists Botticelli and Titian and in Shakespeare's poem The Rape of Lucrece. 

Lucretia suicide by Philippe Bertrand

3) The Roman Republic:

The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by a republican form of government. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, c. 508 BC, and lasted 482 years until its subversion, through a series of civil wars, into the Principate form of government and the imperial period.

According to tradition and later writers such as Livy, the Roman Republic was established around 509 BC, when the last of the seven kings of Rome, Tarquin the Proud, was deposed by a group of Roman noblemen led by Lucius Junius Brutus, and a system based on annually elected magistrates and various representative assemblies was established. A constitution set a series of checks and balances, and a separation of powers. The most important magistrates were the two consuls, who together exercised executive authority as imperium, or military command.The consuls had to work with the senate, which was initially an advisory council of the ranking nobility, or patricians, but grew in size and power.The republic of Rome was then ruled by the Senate and the assembly which were put in place as far back as the beginning of the monarchy.

To replace the leadership of the kings, a new office was created with the title of consul. Initially, the consuls possessed all of the king’s powers in the form of two men, elected for a one-year term, who could veto each other’s actions. Later, the consuls’ powers were broken down further by adding other magistrates that each held a small portion of the king’s original powers. First among these was the praetor, which removed the Consuls’s judicial authority from them. Originally the chief-magistrates, the consuls, appointed all new senators. They also had the power to remove individuals from the Senate. Around the year 318 BC, the "Ovinian Plebiscite" (plebiscitum Ovinium) gave this power to another Roman Magistrate, the Roman Censor, who retained this power until the end of the Roman Republic and stripped from the consuls the power to conduct the census. Every five years two censores were chosen from the former consuls. Censores served for 18 months. They revised the membership of the Senate, removed unworthy members, and enrolled new senators. They were also responsible for making the state's contracts for public works and tax collection. Each year 20 financial administrators called quaestores were chosen. They did not have to be senators to be elected. After 80BC anyone elected as quaestor also became a senator.

Citizens: The evolution of the constitution was heavily influenced by the struggle between the aristocracy (the patricians), and other Romans who were not from famous families, the plebeians. Also citizens were the equites (businessmen) who were descendants of the first Roman calvary officiers. According to Livy, the first 100 men appointed as senators by Romulus were referred to as "fathers" (Latin "patres"), and the descendants of those men became the patrician class. The patricians were distinct from the plebeians because they had wider political influence, at least in the times of the early Republic. As the middle and late Republic saw this influence stripped, plebeians were granted equal rights on a range of areas, and quotas of officials, including one of the two consulships, were exclusively reserved for plebeians. Although being a patrician remained prestigious, it was of minimal practical importance. Excepting some religious offices, plebeians were able to stand for all the offices that patricians could, and plebeians of the senatorial class were no less wealthy than patricians at the height of the republic.Slaves and provincials were not entitled to be citizens and therefore they didnt have the full rights of Romans. The distinction between patricians and plebeians in Ancient Rome was based purely on birth. Although modern writers often portray patricians as rich and powerful families who managed to secure power over the less-fortunate plebeian families, most historians argue that this is an over-simplification. As civil rights for plebeians increased during the middle and late Roman Republic, many plebeian families had attained wealth and power while some traditionally patrician families had fallen into poverty and obscurity.

The first plebeian consul, Lucius Sextius,  was elected in 367BC. According to tradition, the consulship was initially reserved for patricians and only in 367 BC did plebeians win  the right to stand for this supreme office. But during the Carthaginan wars, plebeian generals misused their power. Many people thought that only the patricians had the ability to run the country during a war. So the patricians kept political control. Plebeians could vote in the assembly, but only patricians could hold office and therefore enter the Senate for life.

The Romans instituted the idea of a dictatorship. A dictator would have complete authority over civil and military matters within the Roman Empire, what we might refer to as martial law today. He was not legally responsible for his actions as a dictator and therefore was unquestionable. However, the power of the dictator was so absolute that Ancient Romans were hesitant in electing one, reserving this decision only to times of severe emergencies. Although this seems similar to the roles of a king, dictators of Rome were limited to serving a maximum six-month term limit. Contrary to the modern notion of a dictator as an usurper, Roman Dictators were freely chosen, usually from the ranks of consuls, during turbulent periods when one-man rule proved more efficient. For example, Cincinatus (519–430 BC) was a humble farmer who became roman dictator (elected by the people for a period 6 months) and then after his period he was back to his farmer. George Washington represented himself as Cincinatus. He wanted to do as Cincinatus during American Civil War, wait until enemy is defeated and leave his position.

Though it technically had no official role in the management of military conflict, the Senate ultimately was the force that oversaw such affairs. The senate also managed the civil administration in the city and the town. Initially the requirements for becoming a senator included having at least 100,000 denarii worth of land, being born of the patrician (noble aristocrats) class, and having held public office at least once before. New Senators had to be approved by the sitting members.

SPQR is an initialism from a Latin phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus ("The Senate and People of Rome"), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official signature of the government. SPQx is sometimes used as an assertion of municipal pride and civic rights.

During the first two centuries, the Republic saw its territory expand from central Italy to the entire Mediterranean world. In the next century, Rome grew to dominate North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, Greece, and what is now southern France. During the last two centuries of the Roman Republic, it grew to dominate the rest of modern France, as well as much of the east

By 390 BC, several Gallic tribes had begun invading Italy from the north as their culture expanded throughout Europe. The Romans were alerted of this when a particularly warlike tribe invaded two Etruscan towns from the north. These two towns were not far from Rome's sphere of influence. These towns, overwhelmed by the size of the enemy in numbers and ferocity, called on Rome for help. The Romans met them in pitched battle at the Battle of Allia River around 390–387 BC. The Gauls, under their chieftain Brennus, defeated the Roman army of around 15,000 troops and proceeded to pursue the fleeing Romans back to Rome itself and sacked the city.
("Brennus and His Share of the Spoils", also known as: "Spoils of the Battle"), by Paul Jamin, 1893
Now that the Romans and Gauls had bloodied one another, intermittent warfare was to continue between the two in Italy for more than two centuries. The Celtic problem would not be resolved for Rome until the final subjugation of all Gaul by Julius Caesar at the Battle of Alesia in 52 BC.

The Romans secured their conquests by founding Roman colonies in strategic areas, establishing stable control over the region. In the second half of the 3rd century BC, Rome clashed with Carthage in the first of three Punic Wars. These wars resulted in Rome's first overseas conquests, of Sicily and Hispania, and the rise of Rome as a significant imperial power. After defeating the Macedonian and Seleucid Empires in the 2nd century BC, the Romans became the dominant people of the Mediterranean Sea.

The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 to 146 BC. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place. The First Punic War (264-41 BC) was fought for control of Sicily. The Carthaginians were defeated by the Romans in a number of naval engagements and by the end of war Sicily was reduced to the status of Roman province, becoming indeed Rome's first overseas possession. In 219 BC Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar Barca (the city of Barcelona could have been named after this name), attacked Saguntum in Hispania, a city allied to Rome, sparking the Second Punic War. Hannibal surprised the Romans in 218 BC. by leading the Iberians, and three dozen elephants through the Alps. This move had a double edged effect. Although Hannibal surprised the Romans and thoroughly beat them on the battlefields of Italy, he lost his only siege engines and most of his elephants to the cold temperatures and icy mountain paths. In the end it allowed him to defeat the Romans in the field, but not in the strategically crucial city of Rome itself, thus making him unable to win the war.Realizing that Hannibal's army was outrunning its supply lines quickly, Rome took countermeasures against Hannibal's home base in Africa by sea command and stopped the flow of supplies. Hannibal quickly turned back and rushed to home defense, but was soundly defeated in the Battle of Zama (near Carthage).  In this battle, Rome General Scipio ordered his cavalry to blow loud horns to terrify the charging elephants. The panicked elephants turn at the Carthaginian left wing and disordered it. When Rome waged a Third Punic War on Carthage 70 years later, the Carthaginians had little power, and could not even defeat the by-then very aged Masinissa, King of Numidia (what is now Algeria and a smaller part of Tunisia in the Maghreb).They could, however, organize a defense of their home city, which, after an extended siege, was captured and completely destroyed. Only 55,000 survived.

Battle of Zama (202 BCE) by Henri Paul Motte

[Hannibal Barca: 

The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place. The term Punic comes from the Latin word Punicus (or Poenicus), meaning "Carthaginian", with reference to the Carthaginians' Phoenician ancestry.

The main cause of the Punic Wars was the conflict of interests between the existing Carthaginian Empire and the expanding Roman Republic. The Romans were initially interested in expansion via Sicily (which at that time was a cultural melting pot), part of which lay under Carthaginian control

During the mid-3rd century BC, Carthage was a large city located on the coast of modern Tunisia. Founded by the Phoenicians in the mid-9th century BC, it was a powerful thalassocratic city-state with a vast commercial network. Of the great city-states in the western Mediterranean, only Rome rivaled it in power, wealth, and population. While Carthage's navy was the largest in the ancient world at the time, it did not maintain a large, permanent, standing army. Instead, Carthage relied mostly on mercenaries

The First Punic War (264–241 BC) was fought partly on land in Sicily and Africa, but was largely a naval war.

Save for the disastrous defeat at the Battle of Tunis in Africa, and two naval engagements, the First Punic War was a nearly unbroken string of Roman victories. In 241 BC, Carthage signed a peace treaty under the terms of which they evacuated Sicily and paid Rome a large war indemnity.

Hamilcar Barca commanded the Carthaginian land forces in Sicily during 247–241 BC during the later stages of the First Punic War. He kept his army intact and led a successful guerrilla war against the Romans in Sicily. After the defeat of Carthage in 241 BC Hamilcar retired to Africa after the peace treaty.

When the Mercenary War burst out in 239 BC, Hamilcar was recalled to command and was instrumental in concluding that conflict successfully.  During that war Rome seized Sardinia and Corsica. Rome was now the most powerful state in the western Mediterranean

Hamilcar commanded the Carthaginian expedition to Spain in 237 BC, and for 8 years expanded the territory of Carthage in Spain before dying in battle in 228 BC.

Carthage spent the years following the war improving its finances and expanding its colonial empire in Hispania under the militaristic Barcid family. Rome's attention was mostly concentrated on the Illyrian Wars.  His premature death in battle (228 BC) denied Carthage a complete conquest. He founded the port of Barcino (deriving its name from the Barca family), which was later adopted and used by the Roman Empire and is, today, the city of Barcelona. In 219 BC Hannibal, the son of Hamilcar Barca, attacked Saguntum in Hispania, a city allied to Rome, starting the second Punic War.

After assaulting Saguntum, Hannibal surprised the Romans in 218 BC by leading the Iberians and three dozen elephants through the Alps.

Hannibal defeated the Roman legions in several major engagements, including the Battle of the Trebia, the Battle of Lake Trasimene and most famously at the Battle of Cannae, but his long-term strategy failed.

In the battle of Cannae (southeast Italy),216BC, Hannibal, with much inferior numbers, managed to surround and destroy all but a small remnant of his enemy. Depending upon the source, it is estimated that 50,000 -70,000 Romans were killed or captured.

This makes the battle one of the most catastrophic defeats in the history of Ancient Rome, and one of the bloodiest battles in all of human history (in terms of the number of lives lost within a single day).

In consequence many Roman allies went over to Carthage, prolonging the war in Italy for over a decade, during which more Roman armies were destroyed on the battlefield. Despite these setbacks, the Roman forces were more capable in siegecraft than the Carthaginians and recaptured all the major cities that had joined the enemy, as well as defeating a Carthaginian attempt to reinforce Hannibal at the battle of the Metaurus. In the meantime in Iberia, which served as the main source of manpower for the Carthaginian army, a second Roman expedition under Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major took New Carthage by assault and ended Carthaginian rule over Iberia in the battle of Ilipa (206 BC).

The final showdown was the battle of Zama in 202BC in Africa between Scipio Africanus and Hannibal, resulting in the latter's defeat and the imposition of harsh peace conditions on Carthage, which ceased to be a major power and became a Roman client-state.

When Rome waged a Third Punic War on Carthage 70 years later, the Carthaginians had little power and they They could, however, organize a defense of their home city, which, after an extended siege, was captured and completely destroyed.

Seven years after the victory of Zama, the Romans, alarmed by Carthage's renewed prosperity, demanded Hannibal's surrender. Hannibal thereupon went into voluntary exile. He journeyed to Tyre, the mother city of Carthage, and then to Ephesus, where he was honorably received by Antiochus III of Syria, who was preparing for war with Rome. Hannibal soon saw that the king's army was no match for the Romans.

The Romans were determined to hunt him down, and they insisted on his surrender. At Libyssa on the eastern shore of the Sea of Marmara, he took poison, which, it was said, he had long carried about with him in a ring.  Before dying, he left behind a letter declaring, "Let us relieve the Romans from the anxiety they have so long experienced, since they think it tries their patience too much to wait for an old man's death"

It was written that Hannibal taught the Romans the meaning of fear. It has been said that for generations, Roman housekeepers would tell their children brutal tales of Hannibal when they misbehaved. In fact, Hannibal became such a figure of terror that whenever disaster struck, the Roman Senators would exclaim "Hannibal ante portas" (“Hannibal before the Gates!”) to express their fear or anxiety.


Rome's preoccupation with its war with Carthage provided an opportunity for Philip V of the kingdom of Macedonia, located in the north of the Greek peninsula, to attempt to extend his power westward. Philip sent ambassadors to Hannibal's camp in Italy, to negotiate an alliance as common enemies of Rome. However, Rome discovered the agreement when Philip's emissaries were captured by a Roman fleet.The First Macedonian War saw the Romans involved directly in only limited land operations, but they ultimately achieved their objective of pre-occupying Philip and preventing him from aiding Hannibal. Macedonia began to encroach on territory claimed by Greek city states in 200 BC and these states pleaded for help from their newfound ally Rome. Rome gave Philip an ultimatum that he must submit Macedonia to being essentially a Roman province. Philip refused, and Rome declared war against Philip in the Second Macedonian War. Ultimately, in 197 BC, the Romans defeated Philip at the Battle of Cynoscephalae, and Macedonia was forced to surrender.

The Fourth Macedonian War, fought from 150 BC to 148 BC, was the final war between Rome and Macedonia. The Romans swiftly defeated the Macedonians at the Second battle of Pydna. Another Roman army besieged and destroyed Corinth in 146 BC, which led to the surrender and thus conquest of Greece.

The Pons Aemilius, the first stone bridge across the Tiber, was built in 142 BC. All that survives today is an arch known as the "Ponte Rotto".

Ponte Rotto (1690) by Dutch painter Van Wittel, showing the damage wrought by severe floods.

[Spartacus (Greek: Spártakos; Latin: Spartacus) (c. 109 BC – 71 BC) was the most notable leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about Spartacus beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory and may not always be reliable. He was an accomplished military leader.

According to the differing sources and their interpretation, Spartacus either was an auxiliary from the Roman legions later condemned to slavery, or a captive taken by the legions. Spartacus was trained at the gladiatorial school (ludus) near Capua belonging to Lentulus Batiatus. In 73 BC, Spartacus was among a group of gladiators plotting an escape. The plot was betrayed but about 70 men seized kitchen implements, fought their way free from the school, and seized several wagons of gladiatorial weapons and armor. The escaped slaves defeated a small force sent after them, plundered the region surrounding Capua, recruited many other slaves into their ranks, and eventually retired to a more defensible position on Mount Vesuvius.

Once free, the escaped gladiators chose Spartacus and two Gaul slaves — Crixus and Oenomaus — as their leaders. Although Roman authors assumed that the slaves were a homogeneous group with Spartacus as their leader, they may have projected their own hierarchical view of military leadership onto the spontaneous organization of the slaves, reducing other slave leaders to subordinate positions in their accounts. The positions of Crixus and Oenomaus — and later, Castus — cannot be clearly determined from the sources.

Classical historians were divided as to what the motives of Spartacus were. While Plutarch writes that Spartacus merely wished to escape northwards into Cisalpine Gaul and disperse his men back to their homes,Appian and Florus write that he intended to march on Rome itself.Appian also states that he later abandoned that goal, which might have been no more than a reflection of Roman fears. None of Spartacus' actions suggest that he aimed at reforming Roman society or abolishing slavery, as is sometimes depicted in fictional accounts, such as the 1960 film Spartacus.

The eventual fate of Spartacus himself is unknown, as his body was never found, but he is accounted by historians to have perished in battle along with his men. Six thousand survivors of the revolt captured by the legions of Crassus were crucified, lining the Appian Way from Rome to Capua.

Spartacus (1960 film)

Karl Marx listed Spartacus as one of his heroes,and described him as "the most splendid fellow in the whole of ancient history" and "great general ([though] no Garibaldi), noble character, real representative of the ancient proletariat."

Spartacus has been a great inspiration to revolutionaries in modern times, most notably the German Spartacist League, a forerunner of the Communist Party of Germany, as well as an Austrian anti-fascist organisation in the 1970s.

Noted Latin American Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara was also a strong admirer of Spartacus.

European communist regimes in the twentieth century encouraged the image of Spartacus as a fighter against oppression :

- Numerous Bulgarian football clubs bear the name of Spartacus: the most popular are PFC Spartak Varna, FC Spartak Plovdiv and PFC Spartak Pleven.
- One of the oldest and the most popular football teams in Slovakia is Spartak Trnava.
-  Russian sports clubs named FC Spartak, of which FC Spartak Moscow is the most well-known, and Spartak sport society are named in honor of Spartacus

In 146 BC, the Romans finally defeated and destroyed their main rival in the Mediterranean, Carthage, and spent the following months in provoking the Greeks, aiming to a final battle that would also strengthen their hold in this area. Cassius Dio reported that it was the Achaeans (Greeks) who began the quarrel. In the winter of that year the Achaean League rebelled against Roman predominance in Greece. Marching from Macedonia, the Romans defeated the first Achaean army under Critolaos of Megalopolis at the Battle of Scarpheia, and advanced unhindered onto Corinth.

The Achaean general Diaeus camped at Corinth with 14,000 infantry and 600 cavalry (plus possibly some survivors of another army that had been defeated earlier). The Achaeans made a successful night attack on the camp of the Roman advance guard, inflicting heavy casualties.

Encouraged by this success they offered battle the next day but their cavalry, heavily outnumbered, did not wait to receive the Roman cavalry charge and instead rapidly dispersed. The Achaean infantry, however, held the legions until a picked force of 1,000 Roman infantry charged their flank and broke them and the Achaeans retreated with order in the city walls. Some Achaeans took refuge in Corinth but no defense was organized because Diaeus fled to Arcadia. Corinth was utterly destroyed in this year by the victorious Roman army and all of her treasures and art plundered. The annihilation of Corinth, the same fate met by Carthage the same year, marked a severe departure from previous Roman policy in Greece.

Violent gangs of the urban unemployed, controlled by rival Senators, intimidated the electorate through violence. The situation came to a head in the late 2nd century BC under the Gracchi brothers, a pair of tribunes who attempted to pass land reform legislation that would redistribute the major patrician landholdings among the plebeians. Both brothers were killed, but the Senate passed some of their reforms in trying to placate the growing unrest of the plebeian and equestrian classes. For this legislation and their membership in the Populares party the Gracchi have been considered the founding fathers of both socialism and populism.

[ Tiberius Gracchus

Tiberius was born between 168 and 163 BC (his birthdate cannot be confirmed); he was the son of Tiberius Gracchus the Elder and Cornelia Africana.

Tiberius's military career started in the Third Punic War, as military tribune appointed to the staff of his brother in law, Scipio Aemilianus. In 137 BC he was appointed quaestor to consul Gaius Hostilius Mancinus and served his term in Numantia (Hispania province). The campaign was part of the Numantine War and was not successful; Mancinus's army suffered a major defeat. It was Tiberius, as quaestor, who saved the army from destruction by signing a peace treaty with the enemy.

The Numantine War was the last conflict of the Celtiberian Wars fought by the Romans to subdue those people along the Ebro. It was a twenty year long conflict between the Celtiberian tribes of Hispania Citerior and the Roman government. In 134 BC, the Consul Scipio Aemilianus was sent to Hispania Citerior to end the war. He recruited 20,000 men and 40,000 allies, including Numidian cavalry under Jugurtha. Scipio built a ring of seven fortresses around Numantia itself before beginning the siege proper. After suffering pestilence and famine, most of the surviving Numantines committed suicide rather than surrender to Rome.

Rome's internal political situation was not peaceful. In the last hundred years, there had been several wars. Since legionaries were required to serve in a complete campaign, no matter how long it was, soldiers often left their farms in the hands of wives and children. Small farms in this situation often went bankrupt and were bought up by the wealthy upper class, forming huge private estates. Furthermore, some lands ended up being taken by the state in war, both in Italy and elsewhere. After the war was over, much of this conquered land would then be sold to or rented to various members of the populace.

According to Plutarch, "when Tiberius on his way to Numantia passed through Etruria and found the country almost depopulated and its husbandmen and shepherds imported barbarian slaves, he first conceived the policy which was to be the source of countless ills to himself and to his brother."

When the soldiers returned from the legions, they had nowhere to go, so they went to Rome to join the mob of thousands of unemployed who roamed the city. As only men who owned property were allowed to enroll in the army the number of men eligible for army duty was therefore shrinking; and hence the military power of Rome. Plutarch noted, "Then the poor, who had been ejected from their land, no longer showed themselves eager for military service, and neglected the bringing up of children, so that soon all Italy was conscious of a dearth of freemen, and was filled with gangs of foreign slaves, by whose aid the rich cultivated their estates, from which they had driven away the free citizens."

In 133 BC Tiberius was elected tribune of the people. Soon he started to legislate on the matter of the homeless legionaries. Speaking before a crowd at the Rostra, Tiberius said, "The wild beasts that roam over Italy have their dens, each has a place of repose and refuge. But the men who fight and die for Italy enjoy nothing but the air and light; without house or home they wander about with their wives and children"

Seeking to improve the lot of the poor, Tiberius Gracchus proposed a law known as Lex Sempronia Agraria. The law would reorganize control of the ager publicus, or public land; meaning land conquered in previous wars that was controlled by the state. Previous agrarian law specified that no one citizen would be allowed to possess more than 500 iugera (that is, approximately 125 hectares) of the ager publica and any land that they occupied above this limit would be confiscated by the state. However this law was largely ignored and rich landowners continued to acquire land, then to work it with slave labour, alienating and impoverishing free Roman citizens.

Tiberius Gracchus called for the redistribution of the re-confiscated public land to the poor and homeless in Rome, giving them plots of 30 iugera upon which to support themselves and their families, not to mention that the redistributed wealth would make them eligible for taxation and military service.

The Senate and its conservative elements were strongly against the Sempronian agrarian reforms, with most of their hostility due to Tiberius’ highly unorthodox method of passing the reforms.

However, any Tribune could veto a proposal, preventing it from being laid before the Assembly. So, in an effort to stop Tiberius, the Senate persuaded Marcus Octavius, another tribune, to use his veto to prevent the submission of the bills to the Assembly. Gracchus then moved that Octavius, as a tribune who acted contrary to the wishes of his constituents, should be immediately deposed. Octavius remained resolute. The people began to vote to depose Octavius, but he vetoed their actions. Tiberius had him forcefully removed from the meeting place of the Assembly and proceeded with the vote to depose him. These actions violated Octavius' right of sacrosanctity and worried Tiberius' supporters, and so instead of moving to depose him, Tiberius commenced to use his veto on daily ceremonial rites in which Tribunes were asked if they would allow for key public buildings, for example the Markets and the Temples, to be opened. In this way he effectively shut down the entire city of Rome, including all businesses, trade and production, until the Senate and the Assembly passed the laws. The Assembly, fearing for Tiberius's safety, escorted him home.

The Senate gave trivial funds to the agrarian commission that had been appointed to execute Tiberius' laws. However, late in 133 BC, king Attalus III of Pergamum died and left his entire fortune (including the whole kingdom of Pergamum) to Rome. Tiberius saw his chance and immediately used his tribunician powers to allocate the fortune to fund the new law. This was a direct attack on Senatorial power, since it was traditionally responsible for the management of the treasury and for decisions regarding overseas affairs. The opposition of the Senate to Gracchus increased. Quintus Pompeius addressed the Senate and said that he "was a neighbour of Tiberius, and therefore knew that Eudemus of Pergamum had presented Tiberius with a royal diadem and a purple robe, believing that he was going to be king in Rome." Pompeius's fears were reflective of a growing number of senators who were afraid that Tiberius was claiming too much power for himself.

Tiberius Gracchus' overruling of the tribunician veto was considered illegal, and his opponents were determined to prosecute him at the end of his one year term, since he was regarded as having violated the constitution and having used force against a tribune. To protect himself further, Tiberius Gracchus sought re-election to the tribunate in 133 BC, promising to shorten the term of military service, abolish the exclusive right of senators to act as jurors, and admit allies to Roman citizenship.

As the voting proceeded, violence broke out on both sides. Tiberius' cousin, Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica, saying that Tiberius wished to make himself king, led the senators down towards Tiberius. In the resulting confrontation, Tiberius was beaten to death with the chairs of the senators and thrown into the Tiber. Several hundred of his followers, who were waiting outside the senate, perished with him. Plutarch says, "Tiberius' death in the senate was short and quick. Although he was armed, it did not help him against the many senators of the day."

The Aftermath was that The Senate sought to placate the plebeians by consenting to the enforcement of the Gracchan laws. An increase in the register of citizens in the next decade suggests a large number of land allotments. Nonetheless, the agrarian commission found itself faced with many difficulties and obstacles.

Tiberius' heir was his younger brother Gaius, who would share Tiberius' fate, a decade later, while trying to apply even more revolutionary legislation.

In 107 BC, all citizens, regardless of their wealth or social class, were made eligible for entry into the Roman army. This move formalized and concluded a gradual process that had been growing for centuries, of removing property requirements for military service.The denial of Roman citizenship to allied Italian cities led to the Social War of 91–88 BC. The military reforms of Gaius Marius, a military commander, resulted in soldiers often having more loyalty to their commander than to the city, and a powerful general could hold the city and Senate ransom. This led to civil war between Marius and his protegé the Roman general Sulla, and culminated in Sulla's dictatorship of 81–79 BC.  Sulla and his supporters then slaughtered most of Marius' supporters. Sulla, having observed the violent results of radical popular reforms, was naturally conservative. As such, he sought to strengthen the aristocracy, and by extension the senate. Sulla made himself dictator, passed a series of constitutional reforms, resigned the dictatorship, and served one last term as consul. He died in 78 BC.

By 100BC the army had been reorganized by a commander called Marius. In each legion, there were 10 cohorst. One cohort (the prima cohors) was larger than the others. It contained 10 centuries (800 men, a century was made of 10 contubernia which is a tent shared by 8 people). In the prima cohors were horseback messengers, cooks or clear and did not normally fight. The other 9 cohorts each contained 6 centuries (480 men), making a total of 4320 legionaries.
 By 100BC the army had been reorganized by a commander called Marius. In each legion, there were 10 cohorst. One cohort (the prima cohors) was larger than the others. It contained 10 centuries (800 men, a century was made of 10 contubernia which is a tent shared by 8 people). In the prima cohors were horseback messengers, cooks or clear and did not normally fight. The other 9 cohorts each contained 6 centuries (480 men), making a total of 4320 legionaries.

Each legion was led by a senior officer called a legatus. Each cohort was led by a junior officer called a tribunus militum.  Each century was led by a centurion.

Each legion owned an eagle made of silver, called an aquila. It was carried in battle by a soldier called an aquilifer. The eagle was a symbol of the legion's power. If the enemy captured it the legion was disbanded.

If a legion disobeyed its rations were reduced; if mutiny was suspected, every tenth man was executed. The word for this was decimatio. It is the origin of the english word decimate (which can have 2 meanings: reduce by tenth or to destroy a great number or portion of)

In 77 BC, the senate sent one of Sulla's former lieutenants, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus ("Pompey the Great"), to put down an uprising in Spain. By 71 BC, Pompey returned to Rome after having completed his mission. Around the same time, another of Sulla's former lieutenants, Marcus Licinius Crassus, had just put down the Spartacus led gladiator/slave revolt in Italy. Upon their return, Pompey and Crassus found the populares party fiercely attacking Sulla's constitution. They attempted to forge an agreement with the populares party. If both Pompey and Crassus were elected consul in 70 BC, they would dismantle the more obnoxious components of Sulla's constitution. The two were soon elected, and quickly dismantled most of Sulla's constitution.

Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
4) Julio Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic:

Julio Caesar was born into a patrician family, the gens Julia, which claimed descent from Iulus, son of the legendary Trojan prince Aeneas, supposedly the son of the goddess Venus.

Sulla returned to Rome and had himself appointed to the revived office of dictator.Sulla's proscriptions saw hundreds of his political enemies killed or exiled. Caesar, as the nephew of Marius and son-in-law of Cinna, was targeted.

Caesar left Rome and joined the army, where he won the Civic Crown for his part in an important siege. On a mission to Bithynia to secure the assistance of King Nicomedes's fleet, he spent so long at his court that rumours of an affair with the king arose, which Caesar would vehemently deny for the rest of his life. This allegation was made much of by Caesar's political enemies later in his life.

Hearing of Sulla's death in 78 BC, Caesar felt safe enough to return to Rome. Lacking means since his inheritance was confiscated, he acquired a modest house in a lower-class neighbourhood of Rome.Instead he turned to legal advocacy. He became known for his exceptional oratory, accompanied by impassioned gestures and a high-pitched voice, and ruthless prosecution of former governors notorious for extortion and corruption

On the way across the Aegean Sea, Caesar was kidnapped by pirates and held prisoner. He maintained an attitude of superiority throughout his captivity. When the pirates thought to demand a ransom of twenty talents of silver, he insisted they ask for fifty.After the ransom was paid, Caesar raised a fleet, pursued and captured the pirates, and imprisoned them. He had them crucified on his own authority, as he had promised while in captivity —a promise the pirates had taken as a joke. As a sign of leniency, he first had their throats cut. He was soon called back into military action in Asia, raising a band of auxiliaries to repel an incursion from the east.

On his return to Rome he was elected military tribune, a first step in a political career. He was elected quaestor for 69 BC, and during that year he delivered the funeral oration (Laudatio Iuliae amitae) for his aunt Julia. His own wife Cornelia also died that year:

 "The family of my aunt Iulia is descended by her mother from the kings and on her father's side is akin to the immortal gods. For the Marcii Reges go back to Ancus Marcius, and the Iulii, the family of which ours is a branch, to Venus. Our stock therefore has at once the sanctity of kings, whose power is supreme among mortal men, and the claim to reverence which attaches to the gods, who hold sway over kings themselves."

After her funeral, in the spring or early summer of 69 BC, Caesar went to serve his quaestorship in Spain.

On his return in 67 BC, he married Pompeia, a granddaughter of Sulla, and whom he later divorced.

After his praetorship, Caesar was appointed to govern Spain, but he was still in considerable debt and needed to satisfy his creditors before he could leave. He turned to Marcus Licinius Crassus, one of Rome's richest men. In return for political support in his opposition to the interests of Pompey, Crassus paid some of Caesar's debts and acted as guarantor for others.

Marcus Licinius Crassus

In Spain he conquered two local tribes and was hailed as imperator by his troops, reformed the law regarding debts, and completed his governorship in high esteem. Being hailed as imperator entitled Caesar to a triumph. However, he also wanted to stand for consul, the most senior magistracy in the republic. Faced with the choice between a triumph and the consulship, Caesar chose the consulship.

Caesar was already in Crassus' political debt, but he also made overtures to Pompey. Pompey and Crassus had been at odds for a decade, so Caesar tried to reconcile them. Between the three of them, they had enough money and political influence to control public business. This informal alliance, known as the First Triumvirate (rule of three men), was cemented by the marriage of Pompey to Caesar's daughter Julia. Caesar also married again, this time Calpurnia, who was the daughter of another powerful senator.

In 60 BC, Caesar sought election as consul for 59 BC. Two other candidates stood for the consulship, and the election was dirty. Even Cato, with his reputation for incorruptibility, is said to have resorted to bribery in favor of one of Caesar's opponents. Caesar won, along with conservative Marcus Bibulus.

During the Roman Republic, the consuls were the highest civil and military magistrates, serving as the heads of government for the Republic. New consuls were elected every year. There were two consuls and they ruled together by mutual consensus, i.e. only when they agreed with each other could they exercise the authority of their office. However, after the establishment of the Empire, the consuls were merely a figurative representative of Rome’s republican heritage and held very little power and authority, with the emperor acting as the supreme leader.

Caesar proposed a law for the redistribution of public lands to the poor, a proposal supported by Pompey, by force of arms if need be, and by Crassus, making the triumvirate public.

Cesar was instead appointed to govern Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy) and Illyricum (southeastern Europe), with Transalpine Gaul (southern France) later added, giving him command of four legions. The term of his governorship, and thus his immunity from prosecution, was set at five years, rather than the usual one.When his consulship ended, Caesar narrowly avoided prosecution for the irregularities of his year in office, and quickly left for his province

Caesar had four legions under his command, two of his provinces bordered on unconquered territory, and parts of Gaul were known to be unstable. Some of Rome's Gallic allies had been defeated by their rivals, with the help of a contingent of Germanic tribes. The Romans feared these tribes were preparing to migrate south, closer to Italy, and that they had warlike intent. Caesar raised two new legions and defeated these tribes.

In response to Caesar's earlier activities, the tribes in the north-east began to arm themselves. Caesar treated this as an aggressive move, and, after an inconclusive engagement against the united tribes, he conquered the tribes piecemeal. Meanwhile, one of his legions began the conquest of the tribes in the far north (directly opposite Britain). During the spring of 56 BC the Triumvirate held a conference, as Rome was in turmoil and Caesar's political alliance was coming undone. The meeting renewed the Triumvirate and extended Caesar's governorship for another five years.The conquest of the north was soon completed, while a few pockets of active resistance remained. Caesar now had a secure base from which to launch an invasion of Britain.

In 55 BC Caesar repelled an incursion into Gaul by two Germanic tribes, and followed it up by building a bridge across the Rhine River and making a show of force in Germanic territory, before returning and dismantling the bridge. Late that summer, having subdued two other tribes, he crossed into Britain, claiming that the Britons had aided the one of his enemies the previous year. His intelligence information was poor, and although he gained a beachhead on the coast he was unable to advance further, and returned to Gaul for the winter. He returned the following year, better prepared and with a larger force, and achieved more. He advanced inland, and established a few alliances. But poor harvests led to widespread revolt in Gaul which forced Caesar to leave Britain for the last time

While Caesar was in Britain his daughter Julia, Pompey's wife, had died in childbirth. Caesar tried to re-secure Pompey's support by offering him his great-niece in marriage, but Pompey declined. In 53 BC Crassus was killed leading a failed invasion of the east. Rome was on the edge of civil war. Pompey was appointed sole consul as an emergency measure, and married the daughter of a political opponent of Caesar. The Triumvirate was dead.

In 52 BC another, larger revolt erupted in Gaul, led by Vercingetorix. Caesar’s retaliation in Gauls' land was swift and ruthless.  By his own account there were 40,000 Gauls in Avaricon and only 800 survived.  In Latin, this was called the vae victis or woe to the vanquished ones.  No one was spared; not women, children, infants, the elderly, &c.  Caesar’s tactics had all his ambition in mind: there was a military message, a political message, and a message of subjugation to all.Vercingetorix managed to unite the Gallic tribes and proved an astute commander, defeating Caesar in several engagements, but Caesar's elaborate siege-works at the Battle of Alesia finally forced his surrender.

Vercingetorix Throws Down his Arms at the Feet of Julius Caesar
by Lionel Noel Royer
Vercingetorix was to receive a special punishment and was brought back to Rome.  He was kept in a dungeon for 6 years.  He would later be dragged behind Caesar’s chariot through the city where his final stop would be a public strangulation in downtown Rome. 

After the Roman victory, Gaul (very roughly modern France) was subdued and became a Roman province.

The refusal of the Roman senate to allow Caesar the honour of a triumph for his victory in the Gallic Wars eventually led, in part, to the Roman Civil War of 49–45 BC which he won.

Political tension increased, and in January 10, 49 BC, Caesar crossed with his army the river Rubicon in Northern Italy pronouncing according to Suetoniusto the words "Alea iacta est" (Latin: "The die has been cast"). With this step, he entered Italy at the head of his army in defiance and began his long civil war against Pompey and the Optimates. The phrase is still used today to mean that events have passed a point of no return, that something inevitably will happen. Despite greatly outnumbering Caesar, who only had his Thirteenth Legion with him, Pompey had no intention of fighting. Caesar pursued Pompey, hoping to capture him before his legions could escape. Pompey managed to escape before Caesar could capture him. Caesar decided to head for Spain, while leaving Italy under the control of Mark Antony. Caesar made an astonishing 27-day route-march to Spain, where he defeated Pompey's lieutenants.

After having been elected consul, for each of the years of the war, and appointed to several temporary dictatorships, he was finally made dictator perpetuus (dictator for life), by the Roman Senate in 44 BC. His ever increasing personal power and honours undermined the tradition bound republican foundations of Rome, and led to the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.

At that time Egypt was a vassal state of Rome. Pompey fled to Egypt in 48 B.C. following his defeat by Julius Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalia. Pompey had been friends with Egypt's prior king, Ptolemy XII Auletes, and so hoped to find aid; however the advisers of the child successor Ptolemy XIII believed they could win Caesar's favor by killing his foe. Septimius and the Egyptian general Achillas met Pompey at the shore in Alexandria under a pretense of friendship, killed him upon the landing, and then beheaded his corpse

Caesar then pursued Pompey to Egypt, where Pompey was soon murdered. Caesar then became involved with an Egyptian civil war between the child pharaoh and his sister, wife, and co-regent queen, Cleopatra. Perhaps as a result of the pharaoh's role in Pompey's murder, Caesar sided with Cleopatra; he is reported to have wept at the sight of Pompey's head, which was offered to him by the pharaoh as a gift. In any event, Caesar defeated the pharaoh's forces in 47 BC and installed Cleopatra as ruler. Caesar and Cleopatra celebrated their victory with a triumphant procession on the Nile in the spring of 47 BC. The royal barge was accompanied by 400 additional ships, introducing Caesar to the luxurious lifestyle of the Egyptian pharaohs.

Caesar and Cleopatra never married, as Roman Law only recognized marriages between two Roman citizens. Caesar continued his relationship with Cleopatra throughout his last marriage, which lasted 14 years – in Roman eyes, this did not constitute adultery – and may have fathered a son called Caesarion. Cleopatra visited Rome on more than one occasion, residing in Caesar's villa just outside Rome across the Tiber.

After spending the first months of 47 BC in Egypt, Caesar went to the Middle East, where he annihilated the king of Pontus Pharnaces II; his victory was so swift and complete that he mocked Pompey's previous victories over such poor enemies.  Caesar himself, in a letter to a friend in Rome, said of the short war:  “Veni, vidi, vici”(“I came, I saw, I conquered”). Thence, he proceeded to Africa to deal with the remnants of Pompey's senatorial supporters. He quickly gained a significant victory in 46 BC over Cato, who then committed suicide. After this victory, he was appointed Dictator for ten years. Nevertheless, Pompey's sons escaped to Spain. They took control of almost all Hispania Ulterior, including the important Roman colonies of Italica and Corduba (the capital of the province). Caesar gave chase and defeated the last remnants of opposition in the Battle of Munda in March 45 BC.

The two armies met in the plains of Munda in southern Spain. The Pompeian army was situated on a gentle hill, less than one mile (1.6 km) from the walls of Munda, in a defensible position. Caesar led a total of eight legions (80 cohorts), with 8,000 horsemen, while Pompeius commanded thirteen legions, 6,000 light-infantrymen and about 6,000 horsemen. Many of the Republican soldiers had already surrendered to Caesar in previous campaigns and had then deserted his army to rejoin Pompeius: they would fight with desperation, fearing that they would not be pardoned a second time (indeed Caesar had hitherto executed prisoners).

The Battle of Munda took place on March 17, 45 BC in the plains of Munda, modern southern Spain. This was the last battle of Julius Caesar's civil war against the republican armies of the Optimate leaders. After this victory, and the deaths of Titus Labienus and Gnaeus Pompeius (Pompey's oldest son), Caesar was free to return to Rome and govern as dictator.

The exact location of Munda remained a mystery for a long time. Some Spanish historians asserted that Munda was the Roman name for modern-day Ronda, where the battle of Munda may have been fought. Some experts asserted that Munda was fought just outside of Osuna, in the province of Seville. This was corroborated by ancient slingshot bullets from the battle that were excavated near La Lantejuela, halfway between Osuna and Écija. The theory is further supported by ancient inscriptions found in Écija and Osuna that honor the town of Astigi (Écija) for standing firmly on Caesar's side during the battle

This defeat ended the Roman Civil War.

While he was still campaigning in Spain, the Senate began bestowing honors on Caesar. Caesar had not proscribed his enemies, instead pardoning almost all, and there was no serious public opposition to him. Great games and celebrations were held on April to honor Caesar’s victory at Munda. Plutarch writes that many Romans found the triumph held following Caesar's victory to be in poor taste, as those defeated in the civil war had not been foreigners, but instead fellow Romans. On Caesar's return to Italy in September 45 BC, he filed his will, naming his grandnephew Gaius Octavius (Octavian) as the heir to everything, including his name. Caesar also wrote that if Octavian died before Caesar did, Marcus Junius Brutus would be the next heir in succession.

The "Tusculum portrait", possibly the only surviving bust of Caesar made during his lifetime.
Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger: his mother was the half-sister of Cato the Younger, and later Julius Caesar's mistress. Some sources refer to the possibility of Caesar being his real father

During his early career, Caesar had seen how chaotic and dysfunctional the Roman Republic had become. The republican machinery had broken down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing political goals. With a weak central government, political corruption had spiraled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system which had made its members rich.

Caesar established a new constitution, which was intended to accomplish three separate goals. First, he wanted to suppress all armed resistance out in the provinces, and thus bring order back to the empire. Second, he wanted to create a strong central government in Rome. And finally, he wanted to knit together the entire empire into a single cohesive unit. The first goal was accomplished when Caesar defeated Pompey and his supporters. To accomplish the other two goals, he needed to ensure that his control over the government was undisputed, and so he assumed these powers by increasing his own authority, and by decreasing the authority of Rome's other political institutions.

He passed a law that rewarded families for having many children, in an effort to speed along the repopulation of Italy. Then he passed a law which outlawed professional guilds, except those of ancient foundation, since many of these were subversive political clubs. He then passed a term limit law applicable to governors. Next he passed a debt restructuring law, which ultimately eliminated about a fourth of all debts owed. The Forum of Caesar, with its Temple of Venus Genetrix, was then built among many other public works

The most important change, however, was his reform of the calendar. The calendar at the time was regulated by the movement of the moon, and this had resulted in a great deal of disorder. Caesar replaced this calendar with the Egyptian calendar, which was regulated by the sun. He set the length of the year to 365.25 days by adding an intercalary/leap day at the end of February every fourth year.To bring the calendar into alignment with the seasons, he decreed that three extra months be inserted into 46 BC (the ordinary intercalary month at the end of February, and two extra months after November). Thus, the Julian Calendar opened on January 1, 45 BC. This calendar is almost identical to the current Western calendar. the month July is named after Julius Caesar. Originally the first month of the year it was March. Then in 153 BC the start of the year was moved from March to January.

January -- Janus's month
Janus is the Roman god of gates and doorways, depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions

February -- month of Februa
Februa is the Roman festival of purification, held on February fifteenth. It is possibly of Sabine origin.

March -- Mars' month
Mars is the Roman god of war. He is identified with the Greek god Ares.
March was the original beginning of the year, and the time for the resumption of war.

April -- Aphrodite's month
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She is identified with the Roman goddess Venus

May -- Maia's month
Maia (meaning "the great one") is the Italic goddess of spring, the daughter of Faunus, and wife of Vulcan.

June -- Juno's month
Juno is the principle goddess of the Roman Pantheon. She is the goddess of marriage and the well-being of women. She is the wife and sister of Jupiter. She is identified with the Greek goddess Hera*.

July -- Julius Caesar's month
Julius Caesar reformed the Roman calendar (hence the Julian calendar) in 46 BC. In the process, he renamed this month after himself.

August -- Augustus Caesar's month (previously it was called 'Quintilis')
Augustus Caesar clarified and completed the calendar reform of Julius Caesar. In the process, he also renamed this month after himself.

September -- the seventh month (previously it was called 'Sextilis')
October -- the eighth month
November -- the nineth month
December -- the tenth month

(* Many of the Roman goddess were identified with Greek goddess. Jupiter (Zeus), Juno (Hera), Minerva(Athene), Apollo(Apollo), Neptune (Poseidon), Diana (Artemis), Pluto (Hades)...)

Shortly before his assassination, Caesar passed a few more reforms. He established a police force, appointed officials to carry out his land reforms, and ordered the rebuilding of Carthage and Corinth. He also extended Latin rights throughout the Roman world, and then abolished the tax system and reverted to the earlier version which allowed cities to collect tribute however they wanted rather than needing Roman middlemen. His assassination prevented further and larger schemes. He wanted to build an unprecedented temple to Mars, a huge theater, and a library on the scale of the Library of Alexandria.

On the Ides of March (15 March; the day of the full moon, see Roman calendar) of 44 BC, Caesar was due to appear at a session of the Senate.

According to Eutropius, around 60 or more men participated in the assassination. He was stabbed 23 times. According to Suetonius, a physician later established that only one wound, the second one to his chest, had been lethal. The dictator's last words are not known with certainty, and are a contested subject among scholars and historians alike. Suetonius reports that others have said Caesar's last words were the Greek phrase "Kai su, teknon?": "You too, child?" in English). However, Suetonius himself says Caesar said nothing. Plutarch also reports that Caesar said nothing, pulling his toga over his head when he saw Brutus among the conspirators. The version best known in the English-speaking world is the Latin phrase "Et tu, Brute?" ("And you, Brutus?", commonly rendered as "You too, Brutus?"); this derives from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, where it actually forms the first half of a macaronic line: "Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar." It has no basis in historical fact.

“Death of Julius Caesar,” a 1798 painting by Vincenzo Camuccini
In the ensuing chaos Mark Antony, Octavian (later Augustus Caesar), and others fought a series of five civil wars, which would end in the formation of the Roman Empire.

Mark Antony tried to take Caesar's place. However many senators disliked him. One of them Cicero, made speeches, opposing Antony and persuaded the Senate to declare him an outlaw. Antony was dismissed and replaced by another consul.

[Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC; sometimes anglicized as Tully), was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, orator, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists
He introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary (with neologisms such as humanitas, qualitas, quantitas, and essentia). Though he was an impressive orator and successful lawyer, Cicero thought his political career was his most important achievement.

Oratory was considered a great art in ancient Rome and an important tool for disseminating knowledge and promoting oneself in elections, in part because there were no regular newspapers or mass media at the time. Cicero was neither a patrician nor a plebeian noble; his rise to political office despite his relatively humble origins has traditionally been attributed to his brilliance as an orator.

His voluminous correspondence, much of it addressed to his friend Atticus, has been especially influential, introducing the art of refined letter writing to European culture.

During the chaotic latter half of the 1st century BC marked by civil wars and the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero championed a return to the traditional republican government.

Cicero used his knowledge of Greek to translate many of the theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin, thus translating Greek philosophical works for a larger audience. It was precisely his broad education that tied him to the traditional Roman elite.

Cicero started his career as a lawyer around 83-81 BC. His first major case, of which a written record is still extant, was his 80 BC defense of Sextus Roscius on the charge of patricide. Taking this case was a courageous move for Cicero; patricide was considered an appalling crime, and the people whom Cicero accused of the murder, the most notorious being Chrysogonus, were favorites of Sulla. At this time it would have been easy for Sulla to have the unknown Cicero murdered.

Cicero married Terentia probably at the age of 27, in 79 BC. According to the upper class mores of the day it was a marriage of convenience, but endured harmoniously for some 30 years.

Although his marriage to Terentia was one of convenience, it is commonly known that Cicero held great love for his daughter Tullia. When she suddenly became ill in February 45 BC and died after having seemingly recovered from giving birth to a son in January, Cicero was stunned. "I have lost the one thing that bound me to life" he wrote to Atticus. Atticus told him to come for a visit during the first weeks of his bereavement, so that he could comfort him when his pain was at its greatest. In Atticus's large library, Cicero read everything that the Greek philosophers had written about overcoming grief, "but my sorrow defeats all consolation."

His first office was as one of the twenty annual Quaestors, a training post for serious public administration in a diversity of areas, but with a traditional emphasis on administration and rigorous accounting of public monies under the guidance of a senior magistrate or provincial commander. Cicero served as quaestor in western Sicily in 75 BC and demonstrated honesty and integrity in his dealings with the inhabitants.

Nevertheless, he was able to successfully ascend the Roman cursus honorum, holding each magistracy at or near the youngest possible age: quaestor in 75 (age 31), aedile in 69 (age 37), and praetor in 66 (age 40), where he served as president of the "Reclamation" (or extortion) Court. He was then elected consul at age 43

Cicero was elected Consul for the year 63 BC. His co-consul for the year, Gaius Antonius Hybrida, played a minor role. During his year in office, he thwarted a conspiracy centred on assassinating him and overthrowing the Roman Republic with the help of foreign armed forces, led by Lucius Sergius Catilina. Cicero procured a Senatus Consultum de Re Publica Defendenda (a declaration of martial law) and drove Catiline from the city with four vehement speeches (the Catiline Orations), which to this day remain outstanding examples of his rhetorical style. The opening remarks are still widely remembered and used after 2,000 years:
Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?

How long, O Catiline, will you abuse our patience? And for how long will that madness of yours mock us? To what end will your unbridled audacity hurl itself?
Also remembered is the famous exasperated exclamation, O tempora, O mores! (Oh the times! Oh the customs!)

The Orations listed Catiline and his followers' debaucheries, and denounced Catiline's senatorial sympathizers as roguish and dissolute debtors clinging to Catiline as a final and desperate hope.

Cicero Denounces Catiline, fresco by Cesare Maccari, 1882–88
In 58 BC, Publius Clodius Pulcher, the tribune of the plebs, introduced a law (the Leges Clodiae) threatening exile to anyone who executed a Roman citizen without a trial. Cicero, having executed members of the Catiline conspiracy four years previously without formal trial, and having had a public falling out with Clodius, was clearly the intended target of the law. Cicero argued that the senatus consultum ultimum indemnified him from punishment, and he attempted to gain the support of the senators and consuls, especially of Pompey. When help was not forthcoming, he went into exile. He arrived at Thessalonica, Greece, on May 23, 58 BC.Cicero's exile caused him to fall into depression.After the intervention of recently elected tribune Titus Annius Milo, the senate voted in favor of recalling Cicero from exile. Clodius cast a single vote against the decree. Cicero returned to Italy on August 5, 57 BC.

Cicero became a popular leader during the period of instability following the assassination of Caesar. He had no respect for Mark Antony, who was scheming to take revenge upon Caesar's murderers. In exchange for amnesty for the assassins, he arranged for the Senate to agree not to declare Caesar to have been a tyrant, which allowed the Caesarians to have lawful support. But Cicero’s plan to drive out Antony failed. Antony and Octavian reconciled and allied with Lepidus to form the Second Triumvirate after the successive battles of Forum Gallorum and Mutina. The Triumvirate began proscribing their enemies and potential rivals immediately after legislating the alliance into official existence for a term of five years with consular imperium. Cicero and all of his contacts and supporters were numbered among the enemies of the state.

Cicero's last words are said to have been, "There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly." He bowed to his captors, leaning his head out of the litter in a gladiatorial gesture to ease the task. By baring his neck and throat to the soldiers, he was indicating that he wouldn't resist. According to Plutarch, Herennius (a centurion) first slew him, then cut off his head. On Antony's instructions his hands, which had penned the Philippics against Antony, were cut off as well; these were nailed and displayed along with his head on the Rostra in the Forum Romanum according to the tradition of Marius and Sulla, both of whom had displayed the heads of their enemies in the Forum.

Cicero's son, Marcus Tullius Cicero Minor, during his year as a consul in 30 BC, avenged his father's death, to a certain extent, when he announced to the Senate Mark Antony's naval defeat at Actium in 31 BC by Octavian and the capable commander-in-chief of his, Agrippa (Agrippa was as responsible for most of Octavian’s military victories, most notably winning the naval Battle of Actium)

Medieval philosophers were influenced by Cicero's writings on natural law and innate rights. Petrarch's rediscovery of Cicero's letters is often credited for initiating the 14th-century Renaissance

While Cicero the humanist deeply influenced the culture of the Renaissance, Cicero the republican inspired the Founding Fathers of the United States and the revolutionaries of the French Revolution. John Adams said of him "As all the ages of the world have not produced a greater statesman and philosopher united than Cicero, his authority should have great weight." Camille Desmoulins said of the French republicans in 1789 that they were "mostly young people who, nourished by the reading of Cicero at school, had become passionate enthusiasts for liberty"

Cicero was declared a “righteous pagan” by the early Catholic Church, and therefore many of his works were deemed worthy of preservation. Subsequent Roman writers quoted liberally from his works "De re publica" (On The Republic) and "De Legibus" (On The Laws), and much of his work has been recreated from these surviving fragments.

De Oratore, a dialogue written by Cicero, is an exposition of issues, techniques, and divisions in rhetoric; it is also a parade of examples for several of them and it makes continuous references to philosophical concepts to be merged for a perfect result..

De Officiis (On Duties or On Obligations) is an essay by Cicero divided into three books, in which Cicero expounds his conception of the best way to live, behave, and observe moral obligations. The work's legacy is profound. Although not a Christian work, St. Ambrose in 390 declared it legitimate for the Church to use (along with everything else Cicero, and the equally popular Roman philosopher Seneca, had written). It became the moral authority during the Middle Ages. Of the Church Fathers, Saint Augustine, St. Jerome and even more so St. Thomas Aquinas, are known to have been familiar with it. Illustrating its importance, some 700 handwritten copies remain extant in libraries around the world dating back to before the invention of the printing press. In the 16th century, Erasmus developed a pocket version of it, since he thought it so important that one should always be able to keep it at handIt continues to be one of the most popular of Cicero's works because of its style, and because of its depiction of Roman political life under the Republic.

After Caesar's assassination, Brutus and his conspirators were in danger, as many Roman citizens loved their emperor. He left the city and went to Crete, where he and Cassius built an army. In 42 B.C., they were defeated by Marc Antony and Octavian in Macedonia, and Brutus committed suicide after.

Afterward, Mark Antony married Caesar's lover, Cleopatra, intending to use the fabulously wealthy Egypt as a base to dominate Rome. A third civil war broke out between Octavian on one hand and Antony and Cleopatra on the other. This final civil war, culminating in the latter's defeat at Actium, resulted in the permanent ascendancy of Octavian, who became the first Roman emperor, under the name Caesar Augustus, a name that raised him to the status of a deity

Julius Caesar was the first historical Roman to be officially deified. He was posthumously granted the title Divus Iulius or Divus Julius (the divine Julius or the deified Julius) by decree of the Roman Senate on 1 January 42 BC. Though his temple was not dedicated until after his death, he may have received divine honours during his lifetime: and shortly before his assassination, Mark Antony had been appointed as his flamen (priest). The cult of Divus Iulius was promoted by both Octavian and Mark Antony. After the death of Antony, Octavian, as the adoptive son of Caesar, assumed the title of Divi Filius (son of a god).

Caesar was considered during his lifetime to be one of the best orators and authors of prose in Rome—even Cicero spoke highly of Caesar's rhetoric and style. In ancient Rome, the art of speaking in public (Ars Oratoria) was a professional competence especially cultivated by politicians and lawyers. As the Greeks were still seen as the masters in this field, as in philosophy and most sciences, the leading Roman families often either sent their sons to study these things under a famous master in Greece (as was the case with the young Julius Caesar), or engaged a Greek teacher (under pay or as a slave). Among Caesar most famous works were his funeral oration for his paternal aunt Julia and his Anticato, a document written to blacken Cato's reputation and respond to Cicero's Cato memorial. Poems by Caesar are also mentioned in ancient sources. His works other than his war commentaries have been lost, although a few sentences are quoted by other authors.

Octavian, the grandnephew and heir of Julius Caesar, had made himself a central military figure during the chaotic period following Caesar's assassination. In 43 BC at the age of twenty he held his first consulship and became one of the three members of the Second Triumvirate, a political alliance with Lepidus, and Mark Antony. In 36 BC, he was given the power of a Plebeian Tribune, which gave him veto power over the senate and the ability to control the Plebeian Council, the principal legislative assembly. These powers made himself and his position sacrosanct. The triumvirate ended in 32 BC, torn apart by the competing ambitions of its members: Lepidus was forced into exile and Antony, who had allied himself with his lover Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, committed suicide in 30 BC following his defeat at the Battle of Actium (31 BC) by the fleet of Octavian commanded by his general Agrippa. Octavian subsequently annexed Egypt to the empire.

The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the Roman colony of Actium in Greece. Octavian's fleet was commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, while Antony's fleet was supported by the ships of Queen Cleopatra of Ptolemaic Egypt.

Cleopatra Selene II daughter to Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Roman triumvir Mark Antony was captured by Octavian along with her brothers and he took them from Egypt to Italy. Octavian celebrated his military triumph in Rome by parading the three orphans in heavy golden chains in the streets. The chains were so heavy that they could not walk, eliciting sympathy from many of the Roman onlookers. Octavian gave the siblings to Octavia Minor to be raised in her household in Rome. Octavia Minor, who became their guardian, was Octavian's second eldest sister and was their father's former wife. However Octavian had Caesarion, son of  Cleopatra's and Julius Caesar's,  later that month so he secured his legacy as Caesar's only 'son'.

Octavian's victory enabled him to consolidate his power over Rome and its dominions. To that end, he adopted the title of Princeps ("first citizen") and as a result of the victory was awarded the title of Augustus by the Roman Senate. As Augustus, he would retain the trappings of a restored Republican leader; however, historians generally view this consolidation of power and the adoption of these honorifics as the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor Augustus

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