The history of early Rome begins with the arrival of three peoples onto the Italian peninsula. First came the Terremare culture in about 1700 BC. These people moved into the Po Valley north of Rome. They built up land away from the shore in lakes and constructed oval huts around a central area which served both as a marketplace and a corral for their animals. The surrounding waters served as defence. In about 1000 BC, the Villanovan culture appeared in the area of Rome on the Tiber River. These people lived in oval huts, cremated their dead and buried them in urns shaped like their huts (one such urn was found buried in the Roman Forum). Then, in about 900 BC, the Etruscans arrived, settling the coastal lands to the northwest of Rome. The later was the most influential on the early Romans.
Rome was founded on the Palatine hill, one of seven, in about 800 BC. Archaeologists uncovered the foundations of oval huts and their hearths on the hill. The Romans also uncovered one such hut and called it the hut of Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome. According to Roman tradition, the Roman race came to Italy (1184 BC) and was founded by Aeneas and the few Trojans who escaped the destruction of their city. Virgil, who wrote the great Roman epic Aeneid, mentioned oval huts on the Palatine when he had Aeneas visit there. Aeneas then proceeded to settle in central Italy and found the city of Lavinium. His son Ascanius founded Alba Longa. His descendants Romulus and Remus later founded Rome. Archaeology suggests nothing of the sort. More likely, Rome was founded by one of the Latin tribes in the area and came under the influence, then domination of the Etruscans.
According to Herodotos, the Etruscans came from Asia Minor. They settled in northwest Italy and built large, heavily fortified cities with a rectangular plan on hilltops overlooking fertile plains near navigable streams. Major Etruscan cities were Tarquinii, Vulci, Veii, Perugia and Arezzo. These cities dominated large territories led by a king and a landed aristocracy. Individually, the cities were independent, but, like the Greeks, were united by their culture and religion. However, their independence eventually left them vulnerable to a growing, expanding Rome.
Traditionally, Rome was founded in 753 BC by Romulus, the first of seven kings. According to legend, a Vestal Virgin of nearby Alba Longa became pregnant, the penalty for which was to be buried alive. To escape death, she claimed Mars (Ares) raped her. Fearful of the god, the people simply exposed the children, Romulus and Remus, on an island out in a flooding river. The children survived and were reared by a wolf. Later the boys decided to found a city on the Palatine. While trying to decide what to name it, the two got into a fight and Remus was killed. The city was named Roma (which is the Etruscan word for "river").
Rome was said to have ruled by seven kings between 753 BC and 509 BC. The first four were of Latin or Sabine origin; the last three were of Etruscan origin. The original government was a king and a council composed of representatives of the various gentes (tribes). The gentes were composed of various familiae (families) linked by a common ancestor. A gens controlled territory around the city. Each had its own army and gained a patron/client relationship with the people of the territory they conquered. The patrons owed their clients political and financial support, when needed, legal aid and the right to participate in the religious life of the gens. The client owed the patron loyalty, cooperation, military service, help in the fields, political support (after offices were established) and, perhaps, monetary help (paying ransom in cases of capture during war).
The army was composed of the sons of the leaders of the familiae which composed the gens. Each family was led by a the eldest male (pater familias). He controlled all family holdings and was legally, politically and socially responsible for every member of the family. It was his responsibility to direct all aspects of the family so as to increase its wealth and power. He had the decision of life and death over every member of his family (the original Brutus was said to have personally killed his own son for treason against Rome). The gens chose from amongst these family leaders to serve on the king's council. As the population increased and land became less available, the landed gentry became the aristocracy or Patricians while the poor, with little or no land, became the lower class, or Plebs. The Patricians filled the offices; the Plebs could only vote and had the right to trial. Early Roman history was a struggle between the Patricians and the Plebs.
During the middle of the seventh century, the Etruscans began to expand their territories. In 575 BC, they crossed the Tiber to the south and seized Rome, where they installed the last three kings of Rome. They continued south to gain control of Latium and Campania. They clashed with the Greeks of southern Italy. Then they competed with the Carthaginians for control of the west Mediterranean. Most of their conquests were simple adventures by exceptional generals. Because they weren't united, they could not exercise effective control over their empire. In fact, most colonies were held by economic and cultural ties rather than through the military or by political legitimacy. Frequent rebellions broke out and the Greeks and Carthaginians were able to attack more and more successfully.
Early on, the Etruscan cities were ruled by a king and a landed aristocracy. The king represented the state, headed the army and navy, was the chief preist and arbitor for the people. He wore a purple robe and golden crown and rode through the streets in an ivory in - laid chariot preceded by lictors carrying fasces (a bundle of reeds with a double-bladed axe which symbolized the authority of the state and justice). Some time during the late sixth century, the kings were stripped of power and republics were established dominated by the landed aristocracy (similar to what happened to the Greeks). Offices were set up for elected magistrates. Over time, power came to be shared by wealthy merchants and craftsmen.
Etruscan rule of Rome was a monarchy with various lesser offices. The king (rex) controlled the military and made all decisions on foreign affairs, levied taxes, laid, interpretted and enforced all laws, and headed the state religion. He was assisted by a praefect who ruled in his absence; by praetors who tried legal cases for the king; by pontiffs who performed the sacred rites, controlled the calendar and judged most civil suits; by augurs who interpretted the will of the gods; by Vestal Virgins who watched the city hearth and fire; by a Senate of the patres (fathers) of the prominent Patrician families who advised the king, ratified acts of the Comitia Curiata and perhaps chose a new king when the old had died; by a Comitia Curiata, an assembly of all free, arms-bearing men who simply deliberated and voted on acts of the king.
According to tradition, the last Etruscan king, Tarquinius Superbus, was expelled from Rome by Lucius Junius Brutus in 509 BC. One night a snake came into Tarquinius' house and feared it was an evil portent. He sent his sons and Brutus to Delphi to discover what it might mean. The oracles told them the king would die. Eagerly they which of them would replace the king: they were told he who kissed mother first. The sons rushed off, but Brutus, realizing the earth was the mother of all, pretended to stumble and fell to the earth face first, thus kissing mother. When they returned to Rome, the city came quickly into an uproar. Tarquinius' son had raped a Roman virgo (maiden, an unmarried young woman, perhaps 12 - 14 years old). Brutus led the Romans in an uprising against the Etruscans and kicked them out. He then established a Republic.
The offices of king was replaced with three elected consuls to act as the chief city magistrates (the number was later dropped to two). Brutus was said to have been one the first consuls. A Comitia Centuriata was established which, based on military divisions and arranged so that the wealthy had the greatest power, deliberated and voted on acts of the Senate and elected the magistrates, as well as declared war and peace. The Comitia Curiata inaugurated the elected officials. The head of the state religion was a Pontifex Maximus, assisted by a College of Pontiffs (always from the wealthy Patricians) who also interpretted the spirit of the laws (rather, customs, as they were still unwritten).
Even after the Etruscans were expelled, the Romans did not escape the Etruscan influences. They had learned their agriculture - based social/political organization (because arable land was at a premium and cattle were expensive to raise, the ord for money, PECUNIA, came from the word for a herd of cattle, PECUS). They also learned metalurgy from them. Iron mines were scattered throughout Italy. At first Rome did not control any significant mines and had to rely on trade to obtain supplies. Iron was such an expensive metal that it was used for marriage rings, and remained so throughout the Republic and Empire. They also got their pantheon and religious practises from the Etruscans. They believed there were spirits who controlled all aspects of nature and they tried to appease them and learn their will. They were taught the art of divination (for instance, watching the flight of birds or examining the entrails of animals to predict the future). They also acquired an alphabet from the Etruscans with heavy influence from the Greeks to the south. However, over the years, they adapted and changed some of the symbols to create the Latin alphabet which is used throughout much of the western world today.
Between 509 and 471 BC, the Patricians had a firm hold on the power in Rome. They controlled the offices, the Senate and the law. In 471 BC, Rome was faced with invasion. The Patricians called on the Plebs to help protect the city. But the Plebs, who many times had served in the military, were tired of the Patricians’ manipulation of the government and law to their own advantage, so they seceded and took up position on a nearby hill. There they created a Council of the Plebs, which created the office of Tribune (eventually 10 in number), whose job it was to protect the life, liberty and property of the Plebs from the arbitrary acts of the Patricians. Their bodies were deemed sacro-sanct and they claimed the right to veto acts of the Senate and the Comitia Centuriata. At a later date they will demand and get a Comitia Tributa, or Assembly of the Tribes, in which the Plebs would have votes equal to the Patricians, the acts of which would be binding on the state. The Senate ratified these acts and the Plebs rejoined the Patricians to fight off the invasion.
In 451 BC, the problem of the Patricians manipulating the law (custom, un-written) to their own advantage created another crisis in the state. A commission of 10 men (decemviral) was appointed to write down the laws. The leader of the commission was Appius Claudius. They first went to Athens to study law. When they returned, they recorded the Law of the Twelve Tables inscribed on 12 bronze stelae (commemorative slabs) which were set-up in the Forum. In 449 BC, the office of aedile was established as keepers of state records and to police individual behavior, including establishing and checking a standard of weights and measures. In 445 BC, the consulship was opened to Plebs, but not the Senate. In 443 BC, the office of censor was set up to keep records of citizenship for purposes of voting, taxation and the military. In 421 BC, the office of quaestor was established as state treasurers, prosecutors of tax delinquents, quartermasters for generals and investigators into murder and crimes against property. There was also the office of dictator designed to serve the state in times of crisis. During these times they had absolute power for 6 months. One of the first dictator was Cincinnatus in 458 BC. It was said he was plowing his field when he was informed a Roman army was in trouble and he had been named dictator. He set his plow aside, picked up his weapons, went to the army and rescued it from the Etruscans, returned to his farm and resumed his plowing. In 396 BC, Camillus was named dictator.
In 390 BC, Rome was sacked and burned by the Gauls, who had crossed the Alps and gained control of the Po Valley. The Romans were forced to pay them off after which they constructed the so-called Servian Wall. Because all records were burned, they had to be re-written. This allowed the Patricians to reconstruct history so that their families and ancestors became the heroes of early Rome. Over time, the barriers between the Patricians and Plebs broke down. They were allowed to intermarry. The Plebs were allowed into the various offices and the Senate. In 287 BC, the Comitia Tributa was established, the acts of which were binding on the whole state. This changed little in Rome. Only the rich Patrician and Plebian families were allowed access to power. And they closed ranks to shut off all offices to anyone else. The state continued to be run by the wealthy. Even the office of Tribune came to be dominated by the Senate through its wealthy Plebian members.
The Senate controlled all foreign policies. Between 352 and 290 BC, she fought with the Samnites, Etruscans and Gauls. Between 281 and 272 BC, she fought with the Greeks of southern Italy, who called upon Pyrrhos of Epiros for help, who, even though victorious, nevertheless was forced to say of the Romans "One more such victory and I am lost". In 280 BC she took Etruscan Veii, so that most of Etruria was then subdued. Then in 264 BC, Rome came into conflict with the Carthaginians, whom they defeated in 241 BC (the First Punic War). As a result, she gained control of the islands of Sardinia, Corsica and Sicily. Before this war, Rome had had little naval experience. They had to learn by practicing rowing on dry land, but they learned well. After this, Rome remained a formidable naval power. Between 225 and 222 BC, Gaius Flaminius conquered the Gauls who had settled the Po Valley after the invasion of Rome in 390 BC, and settled Plebs in the new territories.
In 221 BC, the Carthaginians conquered Spain under Hasdrubal, but he was assassinated in 220 BC. He had instilled a deep hatred for the Romans in his son Hannibal who pledged to conquer Rome. The Second Punic War began in 218 BC. Hannibal crossed the Alps into Italy with Carthaginian, Spanish and Gaulic troops, as well as several elephants. His intent was to devastate Italy and break the Italian League established by Rome. Some cities did give over, but most did not as they preferred the stability and prosperity they enjoyed under Roman domination. In 217 BC, Quintus Fabius Maximus was elected dictator, and engaged in a hit and run warfare against Hannibal, rather than openly attack him. Because of this, he gained the title Cunctator (the Hesitator). In 216 BC, the generals Varro and Paullus were defeated at Cannae. Then Scipio took the war outside Italy and attacked the Carthaginian holdings in Spain. He then took the war to Africa in 204 BC. Hannibal was recalled to defend Carthage. The two generals met with their armies in 202 BC at Zama. Scipio won. The war was over in 201 BC. Scipio was awarded the title Africanus. Carthage was punished with heavy tribute payments, though she was able to pay this quickly.
In 200 BC, Rome was called upon by the Greeks to help them against Philip V of Macedonia. She sent T. Quinctius Flaminius, who defeated Philip in 196 BC. At the Isthmian Games, Flaminius declared "freedom and self-determination for all Greeks." They were made allies of Rome. In 192 BC, Hannibal appeared beside Antiochus rousing some of the Greeks against Rome. Rome, allied with the Achaean League, defeated the general. Between 171 and 146 BC, there was a struggle between the haves and have - nots in Greece. Paullus invaded, conquered and made Macedonia a province in 148 BC. In 146 BC, Korinth was sacked by Mummius and Greece was added to Macedonia as a Roman province.
In 154 BC, Cato the Elder visited Cartage and was alarmed at the potential he saw in Carthage. After this he ended every speech with "Cartgago delenda est (Carthage must be destroyed)". Between 151 and 146 BC, Rome made increasingly unreasonable demands on Carthage looking for an excuse to go to war. Finally Carthage refused. She was forced into a war with the neighboring Jugurtha, which was against Rome's demand that she sanction all Carthaginian military actions. In 146 BC, Publius Cornelius Scipio Aemilianus Africanus, adopted son of Scipio Africanus by Paullus, destroyed the city and sowed salt into her fields. The Carthaginian threat was concludes. Rome controlled all of Italy, much of Spain, north Africa, the islands of the west Mediterranean, and Greece and Macedonia. There was still the threat of the Gauls to the north, the Germans to the northeast, the Antiochids to the east and the Ptolemies in Egypt. Moreover, there was a huge slave population in Rome and throughout Italy. In 136 BC, Eunus led a slave revolt in Sicily.
Throughout all, the Senate with its rich Patrician and Plebian members, was supreme. The Comitiae and Tribunes were puppets. The Senate was controlled by some 15 - 20 families (Fabii, Claudii, Cornelii, Aemilii, Valerii, etc.). They controlled all foreign affairs. They directed the wars and the conquests. Italy was colonized with Romans and many Italian cities were given alliances with varying degrees of rights. However much of the conquered lands was purchased from the state by the senators at extremely cheap prices. The lands outside of Italy were ruled by the Senate through proconsuls, ex-consuls before they were enrolled in the Senate. Those of Patriciate birth usually took the larger, richer provinces while those of Plebian birth got the poorer, less important provinces. Often the proconsuls did favors for the provinces, or cities in the provinces, so that the inhabitants became their clients.
In 218 BC, the Claudian Law was passed in the Comitia Tributa which made it illegal for senators to engage in business and trade overseas directly or indirectly, to keep them from abusing their contacts at the expense of the middle class (the normal merchant class). The senators got around this law by creating huge estates, lata fundia, of the lands they acquired in Italy. These were worked for them by the huge influx of slaves gotten from the conquests and purchased from the state cheaply. The effects of these estates was devastating to the Plebians. Many had been settled in the Italian colonies and given small farms. Then they went to war overseas. When they returned, they found their farms run down from neglect. The lata fundia produced so much that farm prices were depressed. Many moved to Rome rather than restore their farms. Again, other Plebians went to war overseas expecting a land allotment when they returned, but found there was no land to be given, or the land they were given was too poor to compete with vast estates. Disappointed, they too moved to Rome.
By the late second century, Rome was faced with two problems: a swelling mass of landless, jobless poor and a Senate growing in wealth and power and unwilling to share any of it with anyone except the few illustrious Patrician and Plebian families. The responses came in two stages: a constitutional change (blocked by the Senate) and an unconstitutional change (which broke the Senate).
In 140 BC, Gaius Laelius tried to limit the size of land - holdings, but he was faced with much resistence. In 135 BC, C. Licinius Crassus tried the same thing, but the bill was vetoed by a Tribune. In 133 BC, the Plebian Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus was elected Tribune. He introduced a bill into the Comitia Tributa which would limit the size of the land - holdings of the Senate and divide the extra lands amongst the Plebs. Although he met much resistence, the bill passed. A commission was established to study and enforce the law, but the Senate resisted. In 132 BC, he ran a second time for the Tribunate even though this was illegal. When he was about to win, the Senate took the drastic step of issuing a Senatus Consultum (Senatorial Resolution, non-binding) declaring Tiberius a tyrant of the people. A mob stormed the Forum and Tiberius and 300 of his followers were clubbed to death. His body was thrown into the Tiber and many of followers were executed. But the commission was allowed to continue its work, though it never completed its work.
In 131 BC, Rome was faced with another problem. Her Italian allies sought Roman citizenship. Many felt they deserved it for their loyalty during the Hanniballic invasion. Moreover, they supplied many of the armies which had made Rome an empire and they paid taxes. P.C. Scipio A. Africanus became their patron. A mob confronted him in the Forum opposing the idea. He called them step-children of Italy and said he intended a speech before the Senate on the next day. It seems that if the allies were given citizenship, this somehow would have interferred with the land redistribution to the poor. He was found murdered in his bed the next morning (129 BC).
In 123 and again in 122 BC, Gaius Gracchus was elected tribune. He passed 17 bills in the Comitia Tributa which damaged Senatorial power. He continued his brother's policy of land redistribution. He began a road-building policy which would help the small farmer get their produce to market. He passed a bill subsidizing the grain dole to the poor in Rome. He arranged for secret ballots (which lessened the power of patrons on their clients). He took the power of trying officials for misconduct from the Senate. He even tried to extend citizenship to the allies, but the senate and the people refused. The Senate reacted by passing their own, more sweeping reform bills. This worked as Gaius was not re-elected Tribune in 121 BC. In the same year, L. Opimius instigated a mob against Gaius and got the Senate to issue a Senatus Consultum against him. Gaius and many of his followers were killed on the Aventine.
The second, unconstitutional reform, a reform which broke the power of the Senate, came from within the Patricians themselves. Some of the families who were locked out of power turned their armies against the state and wrested control of the state. Beginning in 101 BC and lasting until 31 BC, the state descended into a civil war from which the Republic would not re-emerge.
The years 90 - 80 BC were violent for Rome. During this time, Rome entered her period of civil wars which would put an end to the Republic at the hands of her generals.In 90 BC, the Italian allied seceded from Rome (called the Social or Marsic Wars, 90 - 88 BC). Led by the Marsi and the Samnites,they established their own state. Rome sent general after general against them, but they were unable to defeat the allies. The Senate capitulated and, through a series of laws, extended full citizenship rights to the Italian allies south of the Po River. This created a truly Roman culture in Italy. Taking advantage of the conditions in Italy, Mithridates led a revolt against Rome in Asia Minor in 89 BC. Both Marius and Sulla vied for the command. The Senate, fearing Marius, issued an emergency decree giving the command to Sulla, who organized an army and set out. After Sulla departed, a Tribune, Sempronius Rufus, proposed and passed a bill through the Comitia Tributa giving the command in Asia Minor to Marius. Sulla returned to Rome with his army, while Marius and his army fled to north Africa. Sulla entered Italy and Rome, burning and destroying as he went. In Rome, Sulla thoroughly reorganized the state, putting the Senate firmly in control. Before he again set out for Asia Minor, L.Cornelius Cinna tried to undo Sulla's reforms. He was driven from Rome by the Senate. After Sulla returned to Asia Minor, Marius returned to Rome in 86 BC, burning and destroying as he went, and forced his election as consul. He died a few days later. Sulla returned to Rome with his colleagues Pompeius and Crassus. The year 82 BC is called Sulla's "Reign of Terror". While he declared his dictatorship and reorganization of the state before the Senate, 6,000 Samnites were tortured within ear-shot. Many were proscribed (personal and political enemies, especially the rich: all property was confiscated and descendents stripped of their citizenship). The Senate was again firmly placed in power. The office of Tribune was abolished. In 79 BC, Sulla resigned and he died in 78 BC.
Between 87 and 72 BC, Quintus Sertorius led a revolt in Spain against Sulla's government. The Senate appointed Gnaeus Pompeius to oppose him. He won after Sertorius was assassinated in 73 BC. In the same year, a slave revolt broke out in Italy under Spartacus (his original army was composed of gladiators). While Pompeius was in Spain, the Senate gave the command to M. Licinius Crassus. When the revolt was all but defeated, Crassus was replaced by Pompeius, returning from Spain in 71 BC, who completed the war and was given the triumph, an event which set Crassus against the Senate. Pompeius then became disillusioned with the Senate when they refused to pension his veterans and ignored him. Pompeius joined forces with Crassus and entered an amicitia, a friendship (each helped the other to gain their political ends). Both were elected consul in 70 BC. In the same year, a new man from the middle class, Cicero, successfully prosecuted Verres, a patrician proconsul in Sicily, for graft while Pompeius successfully reinstated the office of Tribune.
In 67 BC, Pompeius gained control of the war with general rebellion in Asia Minor through the Comitia Tributa from another senatorial general, Lucullus. He defeated Mithridates and turned south into Syria and Judeah. In 66 BC, he entered the "Holy of Holies" in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and annexed the area for Rome. With Pompeius gone to the east, Crassus, in 66 BC, entered an amicitia with a relatively unknown patrician, Gaius Julius Caesar (Crassus was very rich while Caesar was a very influential speaker). In 65 BC, Caesar was elected aedile and, with Crassus' money, built many public works and entertained the people with many lavish games (therein establishing the principle of entertaining the people through gladiatorial contests, animal shows, etc.). In 64 BC, Caesar, now very popular and influential with the people, gained the right for the Comitia Tributa to elect the state religious leaders, and was then elected the highest state religious leader, the Pontifex Maximus. In the same year, Cicero was elected consul, the first new man allowed into the political process by the "families" in more than 100 years, and later was allowed into the Senate. The Senate had attempted to use Pompeius and Crassus to retain their power, but did not take them seriously, and so lost them. When these two began to challenge the Senate's authority, it turned to Cicero. Unfortunately, Cicero never had control of an army.
But in 63 BC, Rome faced another threat from another patrician excluded from power, who gained an army. Catalina was a bankrupt (financially and morally) patrician who organized others like him into a conspiracy to overthrow the state. They organized their army in Etruria. But one of the conspirator's wives supplied Cicero with a revealing letter. He exposed the plot in the Senate. Some of the conspirators present in Rome were arrested and executed without trial (which came back to haunt Cicero). The Senate sent an army into Etruria where Catlina and his and his army died to a man fighting. This affair earned Cicero the title, "Father of his Country". He tried, through an eloquent defense during a trial, to entice the Greek poet Archias to write an epic commemorating his salvation of the state. This failed, so Cicero tried to write his own, but this too failed as he wasn't the poet he was the orator and philosopher.
In 61 BC, the Senate made an enemy of one man from whom they would not escape. They denied Pompeius and Caesar triumphs they had earned. They refused Crassus the right to renegotiate tax contracts for the middle class which he patronized. In 60 BC the three banded together in what has come to be called the 1st Triumvirate, an agreement between friends to pool their resources to help each other gain their goals. Caesar married his daughter Julia to Pompeius to help seal the pact. They asked Cicero to join, but he refused, preferring the power and prestige of the Senate. In 59 BC, Caesar was elected consul, while the Senate got elected Bibulus to thwart Caesar's intentions. very time Caesar oposed bills to help Pompeius with his goals, Bibulus interfered with religious portents considered nefas (irreligious). Pompeius finally brought troops into the Forum, deposed Bibulus, and forced the passage of the bills. Caesar also helped Crassus, then gained proconsular powers for himself to avoid the prosecutions he knew were coming.
He chose the two Gauls, and had his powers extended for 10 years. Everyone was surprised at this move, as it would take him out of political affairs in Rome. But he knew what he was doing. He used the Gauls as a base to take war into what is now Belgium, France, and Switzerland (he attempted an invasion of Britain, but decided it wasn't worth the effort). He kept himself informed of affairs in Rome through couriers, as well as let his desires be known. What he gained for his efforts were nine well-trained, well-disciplined, very loyal legions, and these would give him control of Rome.
In 58 BC, Cicero was exiled for the illegal execution of the Catalinarian conspirators in 63 BC. In the same year, an unscrupulous member of the Claudian family, Clodius, gained great popularity with the masses by establishing a free grain dole. Caesar enlisted him into the circle of his friends. The Senate was losing its grip on the power of the state while the Triumvirate was losing cohesion. They met again in 57 BC at Luca to plan for the future, but when Caesar's daughter died in 54 BC, the pact between Caesar and Pompeius fell apart. Pompeius went over to the Senate. In 53 BC, Crassus was killed during a campaign against the Parthians at Carrhae in the east. Caesar was now alone with only Clodius against the Senate. In the same year there were riots in Rome so that no consuls were elected that year. Then in 52 BC, Clodius was killed when he tried to kill a senatorial rival Milo. The people rioted and cremated his body in the Curia in the Forum. Then in 51 BC, Pompeius had a bill passed through the Senate stripping Caesar of his legions. Caesar refused while Pompeius kept his troops, so the Senate stripped Pompeius of his legions. Still Caesar refused so the Senate declared him a public enemy.
In 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the northern boundary of Italy, with his legions and the words, "Alea iacta est (The die is cast)." As he advanced, city after city went over to him. Those who opposed were allowed to join after they were subdued. Pompeius, his legions and most of the senators fled to Greece while Caesar entered Rome. In 48 BC, Caesar crossed the Adriatic Sea with his legions and met Pompeius in battle at Pharsalea. Pompeius was defeated and fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar followed and killed Pompeius' assassins. He also found Egypt involved in a civil war between Cleopatra and her brother. Caesar sided with Cleopatra and placed her on the throne. He then turned north and subdued a minor rebellion against Rome in Asia Minor, after which he uttered his famous words, "Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered)". Between 47 - 44 BC, Caesar had declared himself chief magistrate and commander-in-chief of the Roman Empire, the Senate acting as his advisory board. He built the Basilica Iulia in the Forum as a permanent building for the law courts, reformed the Roman calendar on the Egyptian model, a calendar of 365 1/4 days starting on January 1 which, with few minor modifications by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 AD, we still use today, built the Forum Iulium around a Temple of Venus Genetrix, established many Roman colonies in the provinces to relieve population pressures at home and help spread Roman culture and created a new coin, the golden AUREUS, to be the coin of trade in the provinces, and which later became the foundation the Empire's economy. He also planned a campaign against the Parthians in the east. But in 44 BC, Caesar declared himself dictator for life and required the Senate to take an oath declaring his body sacrosanct. As the last of the senators were about to take the oath on the Ides of March (15) in the Theatre of Pompeius, a faction led by Marcus Junius Brutus crowded around him at the base of Pompeius' statue and began stabbing him in the name of freedom and the Republic. Before he fell, he wrapped his toga around him, looked at Brutus and said, "Kai Su, Teknon (You also, child [or bastard])?"
Caesar's body was taken into the Forum for cremation. Marcus Antonius delivered the funeral oration over his dead body and then read his will, which named Caesar's grandnephew, Octavianus, as heir. A temple for the Divine Julius, first of the deified Emperors, was built in the Forum. Within a year, the young Octavianus, 18 or 19, was forced to share the empire with Marcus Antonius and Lepidus, both leaders in Caesar's army, and created the 2nd Triumvirate. Cicero opposed Antonius and wrote the first of several Philippics against him which brought about Cicero's death in 42 BC when the Triumvirs issued their proscription lists, names of those they considered enemies (Cicero was attacked by one of his freedmen, his head and hands cut off and sent to Rome where they were nailed to the Rostra). In 42 BC, the assassins were attacked and killed at Philippi and with them all hope of a return to the Republic.
In 40 BC, through the Pact of Brundisium, the three victors divided the Empire: Antonius took the east and Cleopatra, while Octavianus got the west and Lepidus Africa. In 37 BC, Octavianus married Livia Drusilla, mother of the future Emperor Tiberius. In 36 BC, Octavius stripped Lepidus of his troops by marching into Lepidus' camp and ordering the legionares to come over to his side in the name of Caesar. All 22 legions did while Lepidus went into exile. In the same year, Antonius led a campaign against the Parthians, but was defeated, though not killed. In 34 BC, Octavianus began a propaganda campaign against Antonius, calling him the sex slave of Cleopatra and said that Cleopatra desired to become the Queen of Rome. In 32 BC, Antonius divorced his Roman wife, Octavia, sister of Octavianus. Octavianus used this as an excuse to get a hold of Antonius' will from the Vestal Virgins and read it publicly. In it, Antonius expressed his desire to be buried in Egypt. Octavianus then stripped Antonius of state authority and prepared for war against him. He collected 30 legions and 500 warships. Octavianus and Antonius met for battle in 31 BC at Actium in Greece. But there was very little fighting as Cleopatra deserted Antonius soon after the battle began and Antonius followed. Octavianus entered Antonius' camp and ordered the legionares to come over to his side, which they did. Octavianus now controlled the Roman Empire. In 30 BC, he invaded Egypt, where he found Antonius and Cleopatra suicided. Egypt became a Roman province.
Augustus, first emperor of Rome, supported many literary figures to glorify Rome and the Roman heritage. Among these was Titus Livius, an historian. He was born in 59 BC in Patavium, whence he moved to Rome. At age 30, he began a history of Rome from its origins to his own day. It consisted of 142 books, but only 35 are still extant. He worked on it until his death in 17 AD, three years after the death of Augustus. It was meant to be a piece of patriotic propaganda, contains much of their own folklore, and shows some signs of research (Livius gives alternatives to his version).
The task of writing a history of our nation from Rome's earliest days fills me, I confess, with some misgiving.... My task, moreover, is an immensely laborious one. I shall have to go back more than seven hundred years, and trace my story from its earliest beginnings up to these recent times.... Events before Rome was born or thought of have come to us in old tales with more the charm of poetry than of sound historical record, and such traditions I propose neither to affirm nor refute. There is no reason, I feel, to object when antiquity draws no hard line between the human and the supernatural: it adds dignity to the past ...; so great is the glory won by the Roman people in their wars that, when they declare Mars himself was their first parent and father of the man who founded their city, all the nations of the world might well allow the claim as readily as they accept Rome's imperial dominion.
It is generally accepted that after the fall of Troy the Greeks kept up hostilities against all the Trojans except Aeneas.... Aenaes was forced into exile...: he was, however, destined to lay the foundations of a greater future. He went ... to the territory of Laurentum. There are two versions of what happened next: according to one, there was a fight in which Latinus was beaten; he then came to terms with Aneas and cemented the alliance by giving him his daughter in marriage. The Trojans could no longer doubt at last their travels were over....They began to build a settlement, which Aeneas named Lavinium after hs wife Lavinia. Aeneas' son Ascanius was still too young for as position of authority; Lavinia, however, was a woman of great character, and acted as regent until Ascanius came of age.... Lavinium was by then a populous and, for those days, a rich and flourishing town, and Ascanius left it in charge of his mother and went off to found a settlement on the Alban hills ...Alba Longa.
...[list of kings] Amulus drove out his brother (Numitor) and siezed the throne. One act of violence led to another; he proceedced to murder his brother's male children, and made his niece, Rhea Silvia, a Vestal, ostensibly to do her honour, but actually condemning her to perpetual virginity to preclude the possibility of issue. But it was already written in book of fate that this great city of ours should arise....The Vestal Virgin was raped and gave birth to twin boys. Mars, she declared, was their father .... The mother was bound and flung into prison; the boys, by the king's order, were condemned to drowned in the river. Destiny, however, intervened; the Tiber had overflowed its banks; because of the flooded ground, it was impossibleto get to the river, and the men entrusted to do the deed thought that the flood-water, sluggish though it was, would serve their purpose. Accordingly they .... (left) the infants on the edge of the first flood-water they came to....In those days the country was all wild and uncultivated, and the story goes that when the basket in which the infants had been exposed was left high and dry by the receding water, a she-wolf .... heard the children crying and made her way to where they were. She offered them her teats to suck and treated them with such gentleness that Faustulus, the king's herdsman, found her licking them with her tongue. Faustulus took them to his hut and gave them to his wife Laurentia to nurse.
... Now Faustulus had suspected all along that the boys he wa bringning up were of royal blood.... Now the truth could no longer be concealed, so in his alarm he told Romulus the whole story.... Romulus and Remus, after control of Alba (Longa) had passed to Numitor in the way I have described, were suddenly seized by an urge to found a new settlement on the spot where they had been left to drown as infants and had been subsequently brought up.... Unhappily, the brother's plans for the future were marred by the same source which divided the grandfather and Amulius - jealousy and ambition. A disgraceful quarrel arose from the matter in itself trivial. As the brothers were twins and all question of seniority was thereby precluded, they determined to ask the tutelary gods of the countryside to declare by augury which of them should govern the new town once it was founded, and give his name to it. For this purpose Romulus took the Palatine Hill and Remus the Aventine as their respective stations from which to observe the auspices. Remus, the story goes, was the first to receive a sign - six vultures; and no sooner was this made known to the people the double number of birds appeared to Romulus. The followers of each promptly declared their master as king, one side basing its claim on priority, the other upon number. Angry words ensued, followed all too soon by blows, and in the course of the fray, Remus was killed. There is another story, a commoner one, according to which Remus, by way of jeering at his brother, jumped over the half-built walls of the new settlement, whereupon Romulus killed him in a fit of rage, adding the threat, "So perish whoever else shall overleap my battlements."
This, then, was how Romulus obtained the sole power. The newly built city was called by it founder's name.
Having performed with proper ceremony his religious duties, he summoned his subjects and gave them proper laws, without which the creation of a unified body politic would not have been possible. In his view the rabble over which he ruled could be induced to respect the law only if he himself adopted certain visible signs of power; he proceeded, therefore, to increase the dignity and impressiveness of his position by various devices, of which the most important was the creation of the twelve lictors to attend his person. Some have fancied that he made the number of lictors twelve in number because the vultures, in the augury, had been twelve; personally, however, I incline to follow the opinion which finds this an Etruscan origin. We know that the State Chair - the "curule" chair and the purple-bordered toga came to us from Etruria; and it is probable that the idea of attendants, as well, in this case, as of thier number, came across the border from Etruria too .....
Meanwhile Rome was growing. More and more ground was coming within the circuit of its walls ..... In antiquity the founder of a new settlement, in order to increase its population, would as a matter of course scare up a lot of homeless and destitute folk and pretend they were "born of the earth" to be his progeny; Romulus ... to help fill his big new town, ... threw open ... a place of refuge for fugitives. Hither fled for refuge all the rag-tag ... from the neighboring peoples; some free, some slaves, and all of them wanting nothing but a fresh start.....
Having now adequate numbers, Romulus proceeded to temper strength with policy and turned his attention to social organization. He created one hundred senators fixing that number either because it was enough for this purpose, or because there were no more than a hundred who were in a position to be made "Fathers," as they were called, or heads of clans. The title "Fathers" undoubtedly was derived from their rank, and their descendents were called patricians.
Rome was now strong enough to challenge any of her neighbors, but ... her greatness seemed likely to last only for a single generation. There were not enough women .... Romulus accordingly, on the advise of the Senators, sent representatives to the various peoples across his borders to negotiate alliances and the right of intermarriage for the newly established state ....
Romulus' overtures were nowhere favorably received; it was clear that everyone despised the new community, and at the same time feared, both for themselves and for posterity, the growth of the new power in their midst. More often than not his envoys were dismissed with the question of whether Rome had thrown open her doors to females, as well as to male, runaways and vagabonds, as that would evidently be the most suitable way for Romans to get wives. ... a clash seemed inevitable. Romulus, seeing it must come, set the scene for it with elaborate care. ... he prepared to celebrate the Consuelia, a solemn festival in honour of Neptune, patron of the horse, and sent notice of his intention all over the neighboring countryside. ... his people lavished upon their preparations for the spectacle, all the resources - such as they were in those days - at their command. On the appointed day crowds flocked to Rome, partly, no doubt, out of sheer curiosity to see the new town. The majority were from the neighboring settlements ... but all the Sabines were there too, with their wives and children. Many houses offered hospitable entertainment to the visitors; they were invited to inspect the fortifications, layout and numerous buildings of the town, and expressed their surprise at the rapidity of its growth. Then the moment came; the show began, and nobody had eyes or thoughts of anything else. This was Romulus' opportunity; at a given signal all the able-bodied men burst through the crowd and seized the young women. Most of the girls were the prize of whoever got them first, but a few conspicuously handsome ones had been previously marked down for leading Senators, and these were brought to their houses by special gangs. There was one young woman of much greater beauty than the rest; and the story goes that she was seized by a party of men belonging to the household of someone called Thalassius, and in the reply to the many questions about whose house they were taking her to, they, to prevent anyone else laying hands upon her, kept shouting, "Thalassius, Thalassius!" This was the origin of the use of this word at weddings.
By this act of violence the fun of the festival broke up in panic. The girls' unfortunate parents made good their escape, not without bitter comments on the treachery of their hosts.... ... the young women were no less indignant and as full of foreboding for the future.
Romulus, however, reassured them. Going from one to another, he declared their own parents were really to blame, in that they had been too proud to allow intermarriage with their neighbors; nevertheless, they need not fear; as married women, they would share all the fortunes of Rome, all the priviledges of the community, and they would be bound to their husbands by the dearest bond of all, their children. He urged them to forget their wrath and give their hearts to those to whom chance had given their bodies. Often, he said, a sense of injury yields in the end to affection, and their husbands would treat them all the more kindly in that they would try, each one of them, not only to fulfill their own part of the bargain but also to make up to their wives for the homes and the parents they lost. The men, too, played their part; they spoke honeyed words and vowed that it was passionate love which had prompted their offense .... No plea can better touch a woman's heart.
The women in course of time lost their resentment; but no sooner had they learned to accept their lot than their parents began to stir up trouble in earnest. To excite sympathy they went about dressed in mourning and pouring out their grief in tears and lamentations. Not content with confining these demonstrations within the walls of their own towns, they marched in mass to the house of Titus Tatius the Sabine king ....
It seemed to the people of Caenina, Crustumium and Antamnae ...that Tatius and the Sabines were unduly dilatory, so the three communities resolved to take action on their own. ...the men of Caenina invaded Roman territory without any support. ... Romulus, at the head of his troops, appeared on the scene. A few blows were enough .... The Romans pursued the routed enemy; Romulus himself cut down their prince and stripped him of his arms.... The victorious army returned.... ...he took the armour ..., fixed it on a frame made for the purpose, and carried it in his own hands up to the Capital where, by an oak which the shepherds regarded as a sacred tree, he laid it down as an offering to Jupiter.... At the same time ... he uttered this prayer, "Jupiter Feretrius, to you I bring these spoils of victory, a king's armour taken by a king; and within the bounds already clear to my mind's eye I dedicate to you a holy precinct where, in days to come, following my example, other men shall lay the 'spoils of honour', stripped from the bodies of commanders or kings killed by their own hands." Such was the origin of the first temple consecrated in Rome [the temple Jupiter Capitolinus]. [More attacks which the Romans defeated and during which Romulus' wife Hersilia suggested he pardon the girls' parents and nvite them to live in the city of Rome.] The last to attack Rome were the Sabines, and the ensuing struggle was far more serious than the previous ones. .... their plans were carefully laid, and backed by treachery. SpuriusTarpeius, the commander of the Roman citadel, had a daughter, a young girl, who, when she had gone outside the walls to fetch water for a sacrifice, was bribed by Tatius ..., to admit a party of his soldiers into the fortress. Once inside, the soldiers crushed her to death under their shields ....
The Sabines were now in possession of the citadel. Next day, the Roman troops occupied all the ground between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills .... ...they pressed forward to attack. This was the signal for the enemy to move down to meet them. The first blows were struck by the rival champions Mettius Curtius, the Sabine, and Hostius Hostilius of Rome. ... when he [Hostilius] fell their resistance at once collapsed and they retreated.... Romulus himself was swept along by the fugitive rabble .... ... he waved his sword above his head and shouted, "Hear me, O Jupiter! At the bidding of your eagles I laid the foundations of Rome here on the Palatine. Our fortress is in Sabine hands, basely betrayed. ... father of gods and men, suffer them not to set foot on the spot where we now stand. Banish fear from Roman hearts and stop their shameful retreat. I vow a temple here - to you, O Jupiter, Stayer of Flight - that men may remember hereafter that Rome in her trouble was saved by your help.".... A moment later, "Turn on them, Romans," he cried, "and fight once more. Jupiter himself commands it." .... They rallied ....
Mettius Curtius had led the Sabine advance .... "Comrades," he cried, "we have beated our treacherous hosts - our feeble enemy. They know now that catching girls is a different matter from fighting against men!" [Mettius was mounted and when Romulus attacked him, he retreated. This encouraged the Romans to redouble their efforts. He almost perished in the swamp of the future Forum, but was saved. Still, the Romans had gained the upper hand.]
This was moment when the Sabine women, the original cause of the quarrel, played their decisive part. The dreadful situation in which they found themselves banished their natural timidity and gave them courage to intervene. With loosened hair and rent garments they braved the flying spears and thrust their way in a body between the embattled armies. They parted the angry combatants; they besought their father on one side, their husbands on the other, to spare themselves the curse of shedding kindred blood. "We are mothers now," they cried, "our children are your sons - your grandsons: do not put on them the stain of parricide. If our marriage - our relationship between you - is hateful to you, turn your anger against us. We are the cause of strife; on account of our husbands and fathers lie wounded or dead, and we would rather die ourselves than live either widowed or orphaned." The effect was immediate and profound. Not a man moved. A moment later the captains stepped forward to conclude a peace. Indeed, they went further: The two states were united under a single government, with Rome as the seat of power. Thus the population of Rome was doubled, and the Romans, as a gesture to the Sabines, called themselves Quirites, after the Sabine town of Cures. In memory of the battle the stretch of shallow water where Curtius and his horse struggled from the deep swamps into safety was named Curtius' Lake.
This happy and unlooked-for end to a bitter war strengthened the bond between the Sabine women and their parents and husbands. Romulus moreover marked his own special awareness of this deepened feeling by giving the women's names to the thirty wards into which he divided the population. No doubt there were more than thirty women; but it is not known on what principle they were selected to give their names whether by lot, or age, or their own or their husband's rank.... As a result of these measures the jont rule of the two kings was brought into harmony.