The roman empire- background notes

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  1. Why did the Roman Republic collapse? (pgs. 160-162)



  • Growing gap between rich and poor

  • Caused a giant split between social classes in the Republic that divided people, rich continued to get richer and poorer continued to get poorer which made the economy unstable

  • Both of brother were killed by rich Senators which caused civil wars and furthered the division between rich and poor

  • Soldiers became more loyal to their commander than to the republic which made it very possible that a general could overthrow the government

  • Caesar became more popular than the government as a whole which led to many people being willing to give Caesar nearly unlimited power

  • Caesar’s reforms took power away from the government and rectified many problems of the republic, turning average citizens away from the government.

2. How did Augustus change Roman government? Why was this important? (pg. 162)

Augustus was the first Roman emperor and truly set the stage for the Roman Empire. He stabilized the government and set down the foundation of the Roman Empire, called for public works projects, and set up a civil service which performed the day to day operations of the government.

3. What was the Pax Romana? Why and when did it occur? (pg. 162-163)

The Pax Romana was an era of peace in Rome that lasted from 27 BCE to 180 CE, a span of 207 years. It happened as a result of Rome having good leadership during this time period and stable government.

4. List and explain how Rome changed during the Pax Romana. Include at least 5 changes (there are at least 10 in your book!) (pg. 162-165)

a. Transportation and trade was made much safer and easier. As a result, more cultural diffusion occurred and Rome’s economy improved.

b. Ideas, such as Christianity, spread quickly throughout the empire. This will lead to Christianity’s popularity.

c. As the frontiers of the empire became safer, the population of the Roman Empire increased and life on the Roman frontier became much easier.

d. The social class system changed (no more plebeians and patricians)- though the gap between rich and poor began to become even wider.

e. Rome became more dependent on slave labor and trade to drive its economy.

5. Why were agriculture and trade particularly important to ancient Rome? (pg. 163)

Agriculture was particularly important to ancient Rome because 90% of its economy was based upon farming. Local farmers were responsible for feeding the majority of other Romans. Trade was important to Rome because it was the only way they could obtain certain natural resources and connect to far-away civilizations.

6. How did slavery exist in ancient Rome? (pg. 164)

Slaves in ancient Rome were conquered people that made up 1/3rd of the Empire’s population. They performed a good portion of the Empire’s work and worked in cities as well as on farms.

How were slaves treated? (pg. 164)

Slaves were usually treated very harshly and could be bought and sold as property. They usually worked at hard labor all day. Some slaves were even forced to become gladiators.

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