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Ancient Rome

The Three Eras of Ancient Rome Kingdom... Republic... Empire... Ancient Roman history may be divided into three major periods: the monarchy (753 to 509 B.C.), the republic (509 to 27 B.C.) and the empire (27 B.C to 476 A.D.).

Cover photo by Sarah Mooney
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The records of Roman history before the 3rd century B.C. are scanty. Pontifical records, familial traditions, and Greek hypotheses are mingled. In consequence, the story of the city's rise and its conquest of Italy is a combination of legend, conjecture, and fact. The legends of early Rome were taught and believed by Romans for centuries, giving rise to the belief that Rome was destined to conquer and rule an empire. Early in the 2nd century B.C. two Roman senators, Fabius Pictor and Cincius Alimentus, wrote in Greek histories of Rome from its foundation. A little later, Cato the Elder in his Origines wrote in Latin of the early period. None of these accounts is extant, but they are reflected in later Roman writings, such as those of the poet Virgil, the historian Livy, and the biographer Plutarch. According to tradition, Aeneas fled from ancient Troy after its destruction and made his way to Italy, where he settled in Latium. Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, descendants of Aeneas and supposedly twin sons of the god Mars. They were born near Alba Longa, abandoned at birth, and reared by a she-wolf. The two brothers built a city on Palatine Hill, the central hill of several along the Tiber River. However, they at once began to quarrel about which of them was to rule the city. Romulus killed Remus, made himself ruler, and gave Rome its name. According to tradition the city was founded on April 21, 753 B.C. This date was celebrated in ancient Rome and is a national holiday in modern Italy.

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Rome Under the Kings
753 B.C. to 509 B.C. As the Romans built up a great state, they felt compelled to explain their origin by ascribing it to the divine intervention of Venus and Mars. In actual fact, the heroic legends concerning Aeneas and Romulus, which were subsequently embellished by Roman poets, obtained credit only in the 3rd century B.C. The story went that the Trojan hero Aeneas, son of Venus, was taken to Latium, where his son Julus (Ascanius) became the progenitor of the gens Julia. Julus was the ancestor of Rhea Silvia, and she and Mars were in turn the parents of Romulus and Remus. According to historical research, Rome, like the other cities of Latium, rose from an agglomeration of several villages within a single enclosure. The earliest nucleus was on the Palatine Hill, a natural stronghold on which arose Roma Quadrata, the quadrangular city supposed to have been built by Romulus. During the 8th century B.C., it combined with two other settlements on the Palatine, three on the Esquiline, and one in a valley between the two hills to form a league called the Septimontium (seven regions). In the course of time all of these settlements, as well as those on the Capitoline, Quirinal, Caelian, Aventine, and Viminal hills, were incorporated in Rome

Rome was at first of no greater importance than such other Latin towns as Alba Longa (site of the modern Castel Gandolfo), Fidenae, Laurentum, Ardea, Gabii, Tibur (modern Tivoli), and Lanuvium (modern Lanuvio). Indeed, as late as the 7th century B.C., the chief town was Alba Longa, on the slopes of the Alban Hills. Tradition supposed it to be the mother of Rome, and it was honored as the sanctuary of the Latin League. Gradually, however, Rome was able to outstrip Alba Longa and the other towns of the league. For this development, the city's geographical situation was largely responsible. Rome commanded the easiest ford.of the Tiber River on the route connecting Campania and Etruria, the most highly developed regions of Italy. Moreover, its situation at a short distance from the Tiber's contact with the sea was a. great advantage. Since the earliest times the
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Romans had mastered this stretch of the river, and they owned the natural saltbeds along the shore near its mouth. Salt was in great demand in central Italy, and the Romans set up a market at the foot of the Palatine in that commodity and in farm produce which brought great prosperity to the city. Political supremacy came about from geographical proximity to the Etruscans on the opposite bank of the Tiber. By defending their own independence against the Etruscans, the Romans were at the same time defending all of Latium and thereby winning primacy over the other Latins.

The political history of the monarchical period of Roman history is largely legendary, and the dates assigned to its duration (753 - 509 B.C.) are merely traditional. The legends, however, are but a fanciful disguise of actual events. In the legend of the asylum established on the Capitoline Hill by Romulus, followed by the rape of the Sabine women and war, then by peace and the mingling of the Romans with the Sabines, we can perceive the way in which Rome rapidly grew in importance by accepting other peoples. According to the same tradition, the three tribes supposed to have made up the original population of the city, the Ramnes (Ramnenses), Tities (Titienses), and Luceres- must have been formed on the conclusion of peace between the Romans and Sabines by the followers of Romulus (Ramnes), the Sabine Titus Tatius (Tities), and the Etruscan tribe of the Luceres. The last named, in return for support offered by their chief Caelius (Coeles), are supposed to have been admitted to the city and granted the hill which bears his name. This tradition proves that Etruscan elements should not be excluded from the foundation of Rome. Similar evidence is given by several religious, family, and social institutions, as well as by the ceremony of the foundation. The lictorian fasces (the insignia of the imperium, or power to command) are also of Etruscan origin. The three tribes formed the primitive Populus Romanus Quiritium (that is, the Roman and Sabine people), an agricultural aristocracy based on the ownership of land and cattle. Each tribe was divided into curiue, and each curia into gentes, comprised of varying numbers of families claiming a common male ancestor. At the head of each gens was an elder (pater), and the patres of the leading gentes formed a council of elders called the Senate. At the death of the king, the Senate chose a regent, who selected a new king in consultation with the Senate. (The election was
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confirmed by the curiae, and their acceptance was in turn ratified by the Senate.) The king, who served for life, was the civil, military, and religious head of the state, as well as the supreme judge, and through his possession of the imperium he commanded the army. The Senate assisted him as a sort of royal council. The militarily fit men of the curiae met in the Comitia curiata , where they voted on political matters and elected magistrates; the decisions of this body were enforced upon ratification by the Senate. In modern parlance, we may say that the Senate and the Comitia shared legislative power, the king had executive power, and the king and the elected magistrates shared judicial power. The right to vote and the right to hold public office were dependent on military service and landownership and were the privilege of the citizens, who in the beginning were only patricians. In the course of time the population was divided into two distinct groups: the patricians (descendants of the Quirites, or Roman citizens) and the plebs, or plebeians, who, though freemen, lacked political rights and were excluded from military service. Some historians believe that the patricians were descended from Italic-speaking immigrants, whereas the plebs were descended from the ancient pre-Italic population and had been admitted into the city gradually, or as groups of conquered people, under the protection of the king or by attaching themselves as clients to some patrician.

Tradition records seven kings: Romulus (753-716); Numa Pompilius (715-673); Tullus Hostilius (673-641); Ancus Marcius (r. 641-616); (Lucius) Tarquinius Priscus (616-578); Servius Tullius (578-534); and (Lucius) Tarquinius Superbus (534-510). The fact that tradition ascribes to them alternately the qualities of a warlike ruler who enlarges the city's territory, and of a peaceful one who promotes civic welfare, symbolizes the actual progress of Rome both in her relations with other peoples and in her domestic government. The period of the earliest expansion of Rome in Latium was also the period of Etruscan influence and, for a limited time, of Etruscan dominion over the Romans, an influence and dominion confirmed by the tradition which describes the last three kings as being of Etruscan stock. The Etruscans were driven from Latium at about the same time as aristocratic, republican rule was being
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established in Rome. It is possible that the change from a monarchy to a republic did not take place violently, as legend would have it, through the expulsion of Tarquinius Superbus in 510 B.C., but as the final step in the gradual limitation of the power of the king, to whom the patricians may have left in the end only religious authority, with the title of rex sacrorum. By the time the monarchy disappeared, Rome had spread and prospered remarkably. She ruled over the territory on the left bank of the Tiber as far as the sea and had acquired in Ostia (traditionally founded by Ancus Marcius) the first port of any of the Latin towns. By this time, too, the patricians, in order to resist the Etruscans and Latins, who objected to Roman predominance, had been obliged to increase the military by admitting the plebs. This change, the so-called Servian Reform, is ascribed traditionally to King Servius Tullius, but it may not have taken place until the early 5th century B.C. All Romans, with no distinction between patricians and plebs, were divided into five classes, based on wealth (essentially land and cattle) and not on birth. The new division formed the basis both for levying taxes and for military service. The first class furnished a certain number of centuriae (that is, hundreds) of soldiers, while the other classes supplied a lesser number. Plebeian property owners were consequently admitted to citizenship. They acquired limited political rights by their admission to the Comitia centuriata (centuriate assembly), which was established on the same level as the old Comitia curiata. Under the republic the Comitia centuriata elected the chief officials, the consuls, who were endowed by the Comitia curiata (later represented by 30 lictors) with the powers formerly enjoyed by the king. Since voting in the Comitia centuriata was by hundreds and not by individuals, the wealthier citizens, who had a greater number of centuriae, controlled the elections. As a matter of fact, the patricians, as the richest property owners, continued in power. Nevertheless, the Servian Reform, though it benefited only property owners and though its voting system was not democratic, did broaden the basis of citizenship and limit the privileges of patrician birth. Recognizing the economic progress made by part of the plebs, it subordinated political rights to military service and to wealth. Its emphasis on landownership helped to maintain the original agrarian features of Roman society.

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The Republic
509 B.C. to 27 B.C. With the advent of the republic the authority of the Senate was increased. It dealt with all important public affairs, directed business, controlled foreign relations, and, with the Comitia, made laws. The chief executives were the two consuls, who were elected annually. Subsequently, it was provided that, in times requiring unity of command, they could be superseded by a dictator for a maximum period of six months. By 366 B.C., four other major offices had been established: the quaestorship, aedileship, censorship, and praetorship. The quaestors, originally assistants to the consuls, later became the collectors of revenue and administered the aerarium , or public treasury. The aediles had charge of the city's streets and public buildings, traffic, transportation, and markets. The censors were elected every five years to take the census; they also farmed taxes, let contracts, regulated military service, and watched over public order. The praetors administered justice, at first between Roman citizens and later also in suits between citizens and foreigners.

The first two centuries of the republican period were marked by a political struggle between the patricians and the plebs. The first episode occurred in 494 B.C., when the plebs are said to have seceded and gathered outside the city on the Mpns Sacer, in a protest against the overwhelming power of the patrician magistrates. It resulted in the establishment of the plebeian tribunate. The powers of the tribunes were gradually increased until they could, by the use of the intercessio (veto), block the action of any magistrate.

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The establishment of the tribunate was followed, in 471 B.C., by the Publilian law, which created a new body, the Comitia tributa, or tribal assembly. Voting in this assembly was by individuals, giving it a popular character which the Comitia centuriata lacked, and it succeeded to the legislative and elective prerogatives of the Comitia curiata. The basis of citizenship was further extended, and the plebs obtained the right to vote comitial laws, although public office was still limited to the patrician class. To curb arbitrary officials, the plebs also demanded written law, and the tribunes consequently obtained the appointment of 10 (later 12) magistrates (the decemvirs) who were invested with full powers to draw up a law code. In 451 the law known as the Twelve Tables was compiled, engraved in bronze, and hung in the Forum. It was ratified by the Comitia centuriata in 449. A few years later, in 445, the Canuleian law removed a great barrier between the classes by permitting the intermarriage of patricians and plebs. The plebs continued their struggle until they obtained the right to hold any public office. The consulship was opened to them in 367, and in the following year, as a sign of peace between patricians and plebs, the Temple of Concord was erected on the slope of the Capitoline Hill. The last restriction on officeholding was removed in 300, when the plebs were admitted to sacerdotal offices. While the distinction between the two old classes was thus removed, a new distinction, one based on membership in an officeholding family (whether patrician or pleb) developed, and it became difficult thereafter for a man whose ancestors had not held office (a so-called novus homo, or new man) to obtain an office for himself. Meanwhile, Rome had embarked on a series of wars of conquest which were to enable her to complete the unification of Italy south of the Rubicon by 272 B.C., and to control the entire Mediterranean by the end of the republic in 27 B.C. The unification of Italy was accomplished in three stages: (1) the subjection of all of Latium in the 5th century; (2) the conquest of central and southern Italy from Etruria to Molise through wars against the Samnites and their allies (343-290 B.C.); and (3) the conquest of the rest of southern Italy in a struggle with the Italiote city of Tarentum (modern Taranto) and Pyrrhus, king of Epirus (281-272 B.C.). When the republic was established, Rome did not as yet rule over all of Latium. Not far from the city were the Volsci to the south, the Aequi to the east, and the Etruscans to the north, all hostile to Rome. To subdue these peoples, Rome engaged in a succession of wars lasting from approximately 490 to 396 B.C., about which the ancient historians told us only legends. The hero of one of them is Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, victor over the Aequi in 458, who became almost a symbol of the old Roman patriciate- rustic, energetic, and direct. As a preliminary, the city made a treaty with the Latin League in 493, and another in 486 with the Hernici. The Aequi were defeated in 431 B.C., and the Volsci were driven back and made peace early in the 4th century. Both peoples acknowledged Roman sovereignty and garrisons were sent into their territories. With the south secure, Rome turned to the north and renewed its wars against the Etruscans. In 396, after a long siege, the Etruscan stronghold of Veil, 12 miles north of Rome, fell to the dictator Marcus Furius Camillus. A few years later, in about 390, the Gauls, urged on by the Etruscans, moved against the Romans and defeated them on the Allia River. The city itself was invaded and destroyed, only the Capitol holding out. Soon after, however, the Gauls left. Either because of a victory which legend ascribes to Camillus, or because they had been paid a large ransom. And the city rose from its ruins and regained its strength so rapidly that it was able to achieve the conquest of Italy within a century. Rome's program met with firm resistance from the Samnites, a farming and pastoral people living
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on the slopes of the southern Apennines, who were subdued only after three hard-fought wars (343-341; 326-304; 298-290 B.C.) in which they received aid from the Gauls and Etruscans. Major Roman victories were won by Quintus Fabius Maximus, surnamed Rullianus, at Sentinum (modern Sassoferrato) in 295, and by Lucius Papirius, surnamed Cursor, at Aquilonia in 290. Through the new territories a highway, the Appian Way (so called because it was built as far as Capua in 312 by Appius Claudius) was opened linking Rome and Brundusium (modern Brindisi), and colonies were established to accommodate Rome's excess population. The great Greek colonial cities along the Ionian coast, however, still remained outside the Roman orbit, In 281 war broke out between Rome and Tarentum. the most powerful of these cities, over the capture of some Roman ships. Tarentum received aid from King Pyrrhus of Epirus, and the war lasted for nine years. After several defeats, Rome won a victory over Pyrrhus at Beneventum (modern Benevento) in 275, and three years later Tarentum itself was taken. Roman expansion outside Italy began with the Punic Wars. Carthage, a great African commercial and maritime power, aimed at controlling the coasts of the Tyrrhenian Sea, while Rome, having reached the southern tip of Italy, looked across the Mediterranean to Africa. The First Punic War (264-241 B.C.) broke out in Sicily, where both powers had intervened in 265 in a civil war, and which was partly under Carthaginian control. In the first important action of the war, Rome took Agrigentum (modern Agrigento), in 262. Since Carthage was essentially a sea power, the Romans found it necessary to build a fleet, and with it they won a major victory at Mylae (modern Milazzo) in 260. After an unsuccessful attempt by Marcus Attilius Regulus to carry the war to Africa in 256-255, the Romans, under Gaius Lutatius Catulus, won another naval victory, off the Aegadian Isles, in 241, and induced the Carthaginians to come to terms, leave Sicily, and pay a large indemnity. In 227 the island (with the exception of Syracuse (modern Siracusa) which was not acquired until 211) became the first Roman province.

In 238, Sardinia and Corsica were taken (though Corsica was not entirely conquered until about 230), and in 227 they were constituted the second province. Meanwhile, in 229-228, a Roman force crossed the Adriatic Sea to subdue the Illyrian pirates then infesting the sea. (Illyria, modern Dalmatia, was finally brought under Roman control in 168 B.C., and it was made a province some time in the 1st century B.C.) The Gauls invaded Roman territory again in 225; three years later they were defeated, and in 191 the new province of Cisalpine Gaul was formed in the Po Valley (it became an integral part of Italy in 43 B.C.). The Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.) began in Spain, where the great Carthaginian general Hannibal had, in 219, seized the town of Saguntum (modern Sagunto), an ally of Rome. Leaving
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his brother Hasdrubal in charge of the Carthaginian forces in Spain, Hannibal in 218 crossed the Ebro River, passed over the Pyrenees and through Gaul, and entered Italy, probably via the Little St. Bernard Pass. Reaching the plain of the Po, he defeated one consular army on the Ticino River and another on the Trebbia. In 217 he crushed a third Roman army at Lago Trasimeno. He enslaved the Roman soldiers whom he captured, but he set free their Italian allies, hoping to turn the Italians against Rome. With few exceptions, however, the Italians remained loyal. In the emergency the Romans assigned the dictatorship to Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus, who, adapting his tactics to Hannibal's greater strength, avoided decisive battles and wore down the enemy through a series of small actions. In Rome the people, anxious for a brilliant victory, mistook his methods for incapacity and nicknamed him Cunctator, meaning "delayer". When the period of dictatorship ended, Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paulus were elected consuls. To please the peopie, Varro attacked Hannibal at Cannae in 216. The issue was at first in doubt, but the battle ended in the complete rout of the Romans, who left on the field 40,000 men, including Aemilius Paulus. Hannibal then went south and captured several cities. In 211 he set up his camp near Rome but did not attack the city, which was strongly fortified. His victories had cost him the better part of his army, and he withdrew to Lucania to await reinforcements from Hasdrubal in Spain. Meanwhile, a new general, Publius Cornelius Scipio, later surnamed Africanus, had come to the fore in Rome. He obtained from the Senate authorization to take an army to Spain (Hispania), where in five years of fighting (211-206 B.C.) he drove out the Carthaginians. The conquest of all of Spain but Numantia and the extreme northwest was completed in 201, and in 197 the peninsula was divided into the two provinces of Hither and Farther Spain. The army that Hasdrubal was leading to the aid of his brother was defeated at the Metauro River in 207, and four years later Hannibal was recalled to Africa, where Scipio had landed in 204. At Zama , southwest of Carthage, a decisive battle was fought in 202 between the two generals; the Carthaginian army was destroyed, though Hannibal himself escaped. By the terms of peace, negotiated in the following year, Carthage was forced to surrender Spain and all the Mediterranean islands which it held, pay an indemnity, and agree to wage no wars outside Africa and none in Africa itself without Rome's permission. To a greater extent than previous conflicts, the Second Punic War gave the Romans self-confidence and encouraged them to extend their conquests. First they resolved to punish Philip V, king of Macedonia (r. 221-179 B.C.), who, as Hannibal's ally, had engaged Rome in the First Macedonian War (215-205 B.C.). In the Second Macedonian War (200-197), they defeated Philip at Cynoscephalae, in 197, and deprived him of his Greek possessions. After the Third Macedonian War (171-168), Philip's son, Perseus (r. 179-167), was dethroned and Macedonia was split into four republics under Roman suzerainty. A revolt brought about the Fourth Macedonian War (149-148), and, in 146, Macedonia was made a province. At the same time, the Greek cities, which had been dominated by Rome since the end of the second war, were placed under the authority of the governor of Macedonia. (Finally, in 27 B.C., Greece, under the name of Achaea, or Achaia, was made a separate province.) Roman interest in Asia Minor originated with the Syrian War (192-189), which broke out when Antiochus III the Great (r. 223-187) of Syria invaded Greece. Defeated by the Romans at Magnesia (modern Manisa) in 190, he was forced in the following year to give up all his territory in Asia Minor, which was divided between Pergamum and Rhodes. Pergamum was in turn bequeathed to Rome by its last king, Attaius III (r. 138-133), and in 129 it became the province of Asia.
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Meanwhile, in 149 B.C., Rome initiated the Third Punic War, charging that Carthage had violated the peace of 201. After a long siege, a Roman army captured Carthage, destroyed the city, and created from its territory the province of Africa (146 B.C.). Thirteen years later, the Romans captured Numantia , rounding out the conquest of Spain. This rapid growth of Roman territory had marked social and political consequences. Since Rome was now the commercial and administrative center of a vast dominion, a new class of merchants, contractors, and financiers arose. Its prominence was based on wealth rather than on birth; gradually it came to form a new aristocracy parallel to the old. Much of the new wealth was derived from the ager publicus, as the lands confiscated from conquered peoples were called. In theory, these lands belonged to the state, but they were gradually acquired by private citizens, who built up large estates. The estates were tilled by slaves, mostly war prisoners, whose numbers constantly increased. The use of slave labor enabled the large landowners to sell grain cheaply, and this development, coupled with imports from the provinces, undermined the small freeholders, formerly the backbone of the Roman community. In many cases they were obliged to sell their lands (thereby increasing still further the size of the large estates) and to join the urban lower classes.

This diminution of the middle class increased friction between poor and rich, between the democratic popular party (called the populares) and the wealthy senatorial class (the optimates). Among the privileged classes, however, there were those who favored adequate remedies to alleviate the condition of the growing numbers of landless poor. Such men were Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and his brother, Gaius Sempronius Gracchus, grandsons of Scipio Africanus the Elder. Tiberius, who was tribune in 133 B.C., proposed a law limiting the ownership of estates on the ager publicus to 311 acres (with 155.5 acres in addition for each of two sons) and dividing the surplus land into small freeholds. Although the law was passed by the Comitia, Tiberius had
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aroused the opposition of the wealthy landowners, and when he was killed in an election riot, its enforcement was hampered. The struggle was renewed by Gaius, tribune in 123-122, who reintroduced his brother's agrarian law and proposed other reforms, including the extension of full Roman citizenship to the Latin allies and of private rights to all Italians. Violent opposition was aroused, and Gaius and his followers, retiring to the Aventine, were overwhelmed. Gaius himself ordered his slave to kill him (121 B.C.). Within a few years the land reforms were nullified. Domestic difficulties did not prevent the republic from expanding abroad, and in 121 B.C., southeastern Gaul was conquered and formed into the province of Gallia Narbonensis. At the close of the Jugurthine War (111-105) against King Jugurtha (r. 113-104 B.C.) of Numidia, that kingdom was taken by a plebeian general, Gaius Marius. Numidia was divided and was later (25 B.C.) incorporated in the province of Africa (it was made a separate province in the 2nd century A.D.). Shortly after the Jugurthine War, the republic was menaced by two Baltic tribes, the Cimbri and the Teutones, who had invaded Gallia Narbonensis. The Teutones were defeated by Marius at Aquae Sextiae (modern Aix) in 102 B.C., and in the following year he crushed the Cimbri at Campi Raudii, near Vercellae (modern Vercelli). By this time it had become apparent that the traditional army of citizens armed at their own expense was no longer adequate. In 107, when the Senate refused Marius an army for the Jugurthine War, he recruited one from volunteers among the poor and unemployed. Two years later the military system was overhauled, and a professional army grew up. The new system strengthened the republic's military forces and improved the condition of the plebs by giving them regular employment. It had unfortunate political consequences, however, since the soldiers no longer fought for an ideal but for the chief who enrolled them. Thereafter soldiers were embroiled by their chiefs in party disputes, turning these into civil wars. In 91 B.C., a law granting citizenship to all Italians was rejected. Angered at this denial of their legitimate claims, the Italians (except for the Latins, Etruscans, Umbrians, and some of the southern cities) revolted and formed a separate confederacy with a capital at Corfinium on the Pescara River. In a hard-fought conflict, known as the Social War (90-88 B.C.), the confederacy was overwhelmed by forces led by a patrician general, Sulla. When the Italians had laid down their arms, however, the Senate wisely granted their demand for citizenship. No sooner was the Social War over than the first of a series of civil wars began; it lasted from 88 to 82 B.C. The chief protagonists were Marius and Sulla, leaders, respectively, of the populares and the optimates, and rivals for political control of the republic. After Marius' death, in 86, Lucius Cornelius Cinna became the leader of the populares. The basic cause of the political crisis was the fact that Rome had developed its political institutions when it was a small city-state and had not adapted them to the needs of a large empire. The Senate, the chief of these institutions, was torn by discord and had come to represent the interests of a class (the optimates) rather than those of the republic, let alone those of its far-flung territories. The old patriciate, which for centuries had filled the Senate and the high offices of the republic, had suffered great losses in the long series of wars. Vacancies in the Senate had been filled by noin homines, who, while they copied the old patrician way of life, did not have the same high conception of duty and readiness to sacrifice themselves for the public welfare. Thus, although the first civil war ended in the restoration of the authority of the Senate, that body was unable to retain its powers and preserve the republic.

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The first civil war was interwoven with a foreign conflict, the First Mithridatic War (88-84), against Mithridates VI Eupator (r. 120-63), king of Pontus, rival of Rome's power in Asia Minor. When Sulla left for the east in 87 to assume command of the Roman forces, the populares seized control in Rome and proscribed the optimates. Sulla defeated Mithridates in 84, and in the following year returned to Italy, where, after an 18-month struggle, he defeated the populares. He then ruled Rome as a dictator, from 82 to 79, when he retired. During his tenure of office he put through a series of laws removing various encroachments on the powers of the Senate. Meanwhile, the Second Mithridatic War (83-81) also ended in a Roman victory. When Sulla died, in 78, the leadership of the aristocratic faction, passed to his protege, Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus). In actual fact, Pompey often opposed the Senate, and he had its powers curbed in 70, when he was consul, but in general he was identified politically with the senatorial party.

While Rome was preoccupied with civil war and the conflicts with Mithridates, pirates had increased their activities in the Mediterranean. To remove one of their strongholds, Rome made Cyrenaica a province in 74. Then, in 68, Quintus Caecilius Metellus, later surnamed Creticus, seized another pirate center, Crete, which was made a province in the following year (later it was joined to Cyrenaica). Further territorial acquisitions followed as a result of the Third Mithridatic War (74-64), in which Pompey thoroughly defeated Mithridates and consolidated the eastern frontier. Three new provinces were created: Bithynia-Pontus, excluding eastern Pontus, which remained a client state; Cilicia; and Syria. Cyprus was added to Cilicia in 58, and made a separate province in 31.

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Meanwhile, in Rome, Marcus Licinius Crassus , a wealthy financier, and Gaius Julius Caesar had become the leaders of the populares. When Pompey returned to Italy in 62, he became estranged from the Senate because it delayed in ratifying his eastern settlement and in granting pensions to his veterans. Approached by Caesar and Crassus, he entered into an alliance with them, called the First Triumvirate, in 60, and in the following year he married Caesar's daughter Julia. As consul in 59, Caesar had himself made proconsul in Illyria and Cisalpine Gaul for five years (Gallia Narbonensis was later added to his jurisdiction, and he also received authorization for action in the rest of Gaul; his authority was renewed for another five years in 55). In this capacity, Caesar embarked on the conquest of Gaul. In 58 he defeated the Helvetii and the Suevi, in 57 the Belgae, and in 56 the Veneti. He made two landings in Britain (55 and 54) and two demonstrations against the Germans (55 and 53). In 52, Vercingetorix, chief of the Arverni, raised all of Gaul in revolt; Caesar defeated him in the decisive battle of Alesia, near the source of the Seine, and then spent the year 51 in consolidating Rome's authority in the new territories. (In 27 B.C., these were divided into the three provinces of Aquitania, Lugdunensis and Belgica.) Crassus died in 53, and relations between the two surviving triumvirs became strained. The Senate, fearing Caesar's growing power, had Pompey elected sole consul in 52. Then, in 49, when Caesar was on his way back to Rome, the Senate, at Pompey's suggestion, ordered Caesar to disband his army. When he defied the order by crossing the Rubicon (the boundary between Italy and Cisalpine Gaul) with his legions, Pompey and most of the Senate fled to Greece. The second civil war, fought between Caesar and Pompey and his sons, Gnaeus and Sextus Pompeius Magnus, lasted from 49 to 45 B.C. Caesar was uniformly victorious, defeating Pompey's generals at Ilerda (modern Lerida) in Spain in 49; Pompey himself at Pharsalus (modern Pharsala) in Thessaly in 48; Sextus Pompeius at Thapsus, near modern Sousse, Tunisia, in 46; and, in the final battle of the war, both Sextus Pompeius and Gnaeus Pompeius at Munda in Spain in 45. Pompey fled to Egypt after Pharsalus and was killed; Gnaeus Pompeius lost his life at Munda. In 46, Caesar had been made dictator for 10 years; he was confirmed in this office when he returned to Rome after Munda, and in the following year he was made dictator for life. As dictator, Caesar introduced various reforms. He revised the calendar, extended Roman citizenship, founded colonies, and made changes in the agrarian laws. He also weakened the power of the Senate, and this action, and rumors that he planned to revive the monarchy, led to the formation of a conspiracy against him, headed by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, and Decimus Junius Brutus. On March 15, 44 B.C., he was killed in the Senate. The conspirators had no program, however, and when Caesar's will, which benefited the people, was published, and when his friend Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius) had aroused popular passions with a funeral oration, they were forced to flee to the provinces. The third civil war, fought between Caesar's supporters and the conspirators, lasted from 44 to 42 B.C. Caesar had made his young grand-nephew Octavian (Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus) his heir, and when Antony refused to acknowledge him, he looked to the Senate for support. The Senate gave Octavian a command and sent the consuls with an army to relieve Decimus Brutus at Mutina (modern Modena), where Antony was besieging him. Antony was defeated (43) and went to Gaul. When Antony obtained the support of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, governor of Transalpine Gaul, and Decimus Brutus had been killed, however, Octavian allied himself with Antony and Lepidus. The Second Triumvirate, as it was called, was formed in November 43. The three men formed a dictatorship in Rome, proscribed their political enemies. Among them, Marcus Tullius Cicero, who was killed by Antony's order, and had Caesar deified and his laws confirmed. Leaving Lepidus to govern the city, Antony and Octavian determined to crush Marcus Brutus and Cassius, as well as the surviving supporters of Pompey and the exiles and outlaws who had gathered around them. In 42 at
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Philippi in Macedonia, they defeated Brutus and Cassius, who committed suicide. The victory at Philippi marked the end of effective opposition by the republican and aristocratic party to the authority of the triumvirs. (Sextus Pompeius, who held out the longest, was defeated in 36 by Octavian's fleet.) Octavian and Lepidus ruled in the west, and Antony in the east, where he remained for a year after Philippi and made the acquaintance of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. Antony returned to Italy in 40 and the triumvirate was renewed in a pact at Brundusium and cemented by Antony's marriage to Octavia, sister of Octavian. Lepidus, who was the weakest of the three, was reduced to the command of Africa, and four years later he was deprived of all authority by Octavian. Relations between Octavian and Antony remained good for several years, and in 37 they renewed the triumvirate at Tarentum. Octavian consolidated his authority in the west, while Antony fought the Parthians in the east. In 36, however, after sustaining a defeat by the Parthians, Antony joined Cleopatra at Antioch and later accompanied her to Egypt. He repudiated Octavia and assigned Roman provinces to Cleopatra's children. The fourth and last civil war, waged between Octavian and Antony for control of the Roman world, began in 32, when the Senate declared war on Cleopatra and deprived Antony of his command in the east. On Sept. 2, 31 B.C., Octavian defeated Antony in the naval battle of Actium , at the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf. Antony and Cleopatra took refuge in Egypt, where, in the following year, they committed suicide. Octavian declared Egypt a Roman province, and in 29 returned to Rome, where he was welcomed with triumphal honors. Two years later, the Senate gave him the title of Augustus, by which he is generally known. The republic had come to an end, and the empire was inaugurated.

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The Roman Empire
27 B.C. to 476 A.D. The reign of Augustus lasted 41 years, from 27 B.C. to 14 a.d. The old republican constitution was formally preserved, but Augustus held most of the major offices and retained all real power. In addition to holding the honorary title of Augustus, he was consul each year until 23 B.C., censor, pontifex maximus (or chief priest, after 13 B.C.), and tribune (from 36 B.C.). Within the city itself he derived his authority from the tri-bunicia potestas, and in the empire from the imperium proconsulare maius infinitum, or perpetual proconsular command, which he received in 23 B.C., and which was renewed periodically. As proconsul he governed the provinces, and as imperator (emperor, or chief of the army) he commanded all armed forces. As princeps, or first citizen, he represented the government in international relations. This is the title he himself favored, and his government is often called the principate. Under his successors the title of imperator lost its original meaning and came to signify "ruler of the state". While the Comitia and the Senate still had their functions, the former was gradually reduced to a local body in charge of city administration, while the latter, though it remained important for nearly two more centuries, was always subordinate to the emperor. In general, Augustus used his powers with moderation, and the Romans, tired of civil strife, welcomed a period of stable government. He instituted a number of legal reforms, set up an imperial treasury (fiscus), revised the tax system, and created new offices. Among the latter, the ones which were to prove the most important were those of the pracfectus urbis (prefect of the city), who acted as the emperor's representative in his absence from the city; and the prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Augustus also had the privilege of nominating candidates for office. He favored art and letters, and his reign has been traditionally called the golden age of Latin literature. During Augustus' reign a number of new provinces were acquired: Galatia and Pamphylia in 25 B.C. (Pamphylia was later joined to Lycia) ; Raetia (Rhaetia) and Noricum in 15 B.C.; Moesia, probably in 6 A.D. (it was later divided into two provinces, Moesia Inferior and Moesia Superior) ; and Pannonia (later divided into two provinces) in 10 A.D. Judea, formerly a client kingdom, was placed under an imperial procurator as part of the province of Syria (6 A.D.). In addition, also in 6 A.D., Thrace was made a client state. In 9 A.D., however, Rome suffered a serious defeat, when three legions led by Publius Quintilius Varus were destroyed by Arminius, chief of the Cherusci. To provide for the administration of the old and new provinces, Augustus divided them into two categories 1) senatorial provinces, the older acquisitions, which continued to be governed by proconsuls appointed by the Senate as they had been under the republic (the number in this category was reduced under later emperors); and 2) imperial provinces, the newer acquisitions on the frontiers, exposed to the danger of attack, which were governed by the emperor through legates or procurators. In actual fact, however, since the proconsuls were subordinate to the emperor's imperiunt proconsulare, the emperor also had power over the senatorial provinces. In establishing what was actually a monarchy, Augustus did not provide a law for the succession to the throne. The Romans were hostile to the principle of hereditary succession, and they considered the principate as a form of judicial, elective office. Succession did sometimes occur, however, as in
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the case of Augustus, when the ruler had acquired prestige; at other times the new ruler was adopted by his predecessor, or he might be elected by the Senate, the people, or the army. In all cases, the approval of the Senate was necessary to authorize the legitimate appointment of the new ruler. In general, the system of succession prevailed in the 1st century A.D., the system of adoption in the 2nd century, and election thereafter. Tiberius (in full Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar), the second emperor of the Julio-Claudian family, was the stepson of Augustus and had been adopted by him in 4 A.D. He was a good administrator, but his rule became increasingly absolute, and during the last 10 years, which he spent in seclusion in a villa in Capri, his officials were in control in Rome. One of them, Lucius Aelius Sejanus, commander of the Praetorian Guard (which he quartered, for the first time, just outside Rome), through his cruelty and his use of informers to obtain information concerning persons hostile to the emperor, made his name a synonym for an evil counselor. In 23, Tiberius' son Drusus Caesar was poisoned, probably by Sejanus. Finally, in 31, the emperor denounced him to the Senate and he was executed. One new province, Cappadocia, was added during the reign, in 17. In addition, from 14 to 16, Tiberius' nephew Germanicus Caesar waged a successful war in Germany, defeating Arminius and recovering the standards of Varus' legions. In 17 the military districts of Upper and Lower Germany were created in the Rhineland. It was in Tiberius' reign that Jesus was crucified in Judea, probably in 29.

Germanicus' son Caligula (real name Gaius Caesar) succeeded Tiberius in 37. At first his government was good, but in 38 he became seriously ill and his mind was unbalanced. He committed many cruel and irrational acts, and in 41 he was murdered by an officer of the Praetorian Guard. Caligula was succeeded by his uncle, Claudius I (in full Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus), a good ruler whose character was maligned by later historians. He extended Roman citizenship, built aqueducts and other public works, reformed the civil law, and, by entrusting increasing responsibility to the officials of his household, created an imperial service. During
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Claudius' reign the territory of the empire was increased by the creation of several new provinces. Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Tingitana in 42; Lycia in 43; Thrace in 46. In addition, in 43, he began the conquest of what was to become the province of Britain. Claudius' stepson and grandnephew Nero (in full Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus), the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, ruled from 54 to 68. A cruel and dissolute man, he murdered his mother and his wife; persecuted the Christians as scapegoats for a fire which had destroyed much of Rome in 64; and, in 65, following the failure of a conspiracy against him, killed many prominent Romans or, as in the case of the philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca, forced them to commit suicide. Two major revolts broke out in Nero's reign; the first, in 61, occurred in Britain and was put down by Suetonius Paulinus, governor of the province; the second, in Judea, began in 66 and continued after Nero's death. In 63 the remainder of Pontus was incorporated with Galatia (later it was placed under Cappadocia). A renewal of the struggle with Parthia ended in a compromise in 66, when the Parthian-sponsored king of Armenia, though allowed to keep his throne, was crowned in Rome. Opposition to Nero finally came to a head in Gaul, where a revolt broke out in 68. It was put down, but in the meantime the legions in Tarraconensis had recognized the governor, Servius Sulpicius Galba, as emperor. When he also received the endorsement of the Praetorian Guard, the Senate declared Nero a public enemy and he committed suicide. Galba was unable to obtain universal support, however, and he was followed as emperor, within a year, by two other provincial officers, Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius. Finally, in December 69, Vespasian (in full Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus), legate of the Roman forces in Judea, was chosen emperor with the support of the eastern legions. Vespasian, the first of the three Flavian emperors, returned to Rome in 70, leaving his son and namesake Titus to continue the siege of Jerusalem, begun in 69. The city fell in September 70, and in the following year Titus celebrated a triumph in Rome. Vespasian's 10-year rule was generally good. He treated the Senate with respect, overhauled the financial system, built many public works, enlarged the franchise, and reorganized the army after repressing (69-71) a dangerous revolt in Germany and Gaul. The further conquest of Britain was begun in 78 by the general Gnaeus Julius Agricola. Vespasian also increased Roman territory along the Rhine, and'in the east added Commagene to the province of Syria (72). Titus, who succeeded his father in 79, was also a good ruler. Mis short reign, however, was marked by two disasters: the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79, which overwhelmed Herculaneum and Pompeii; and another large fire in Rome, in 80. His brother Domitian (in full Titus Flavius Domitianus Augustus) became emperor in 81. During Domitian's reign, in 84, Agricola completed the conquest of Britain into what is now southern Scotland; his deeds were celebrated by his son-in-law, the historian Cornelius Tacitus. In 83, after defeating the Chatti, Domitian began the construction of a series of forts along the Rhine. Two years later, he repelled a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Domitian was a good administrator, but he was also a tyrant with tendencies toward the absolutism of an Oriental monarch; he insisted, for example, that he be called dominus (lord). In 89 he expelled the Stoic philosophers, and he subsequently executed a number of leading citizens. Finally, in 96, he was killed in a conspiracy and replaced by an elderly senator, Marcus Cocceius Nerva. Nerva was the first of a series of five rulers, known collectively as the good emperors, who honored the throne from 96 to 180. In 97, Nerva adopted his successor, Trajan (in full Marcus Ulpius Trajanus), a general of Spanish birth, who ruled from 98 to 117. Trajan built many public works,
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encouraged learning, and endeavored to alleviate the financial difficulties into which many cities and provinces had fallen. He completed the fortifications along the Rhine and enlarged the Roman Empire to its greatest extent, annexing five new provinces. Arabia Petraea was acquired in 106; Dacia, after two successful campaigns (101-102; 105-106), in 107 (it was divided into two provinces by Hadrian). In a war with Parthia (113-117), Trajan acquired Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Assyria. As he was about to return to Rome, a revolt in the newly acquired territories held him in the east, and he died in Cilicia in 117, after adopting his cousin Hadrian (in full Publius Aelius Hadrianus) as his successor. Hadrian (r. 117-138) abandoned Assyria and Mesopotamia and restored Armenia to its previous status of client kingdom. His object was to preserve the empire, not to enlarge it, and to this end he built a wall (called Hadrian's Wall) across Britain from Solway Firth to the mouth of the Tyne, abandoning advance posts in Scotland; and strengthened the Rhine and Danube fortifications. In 132-135 he suppressed a revolt of the Jews; Jerusalem was made the Roman colony of Aelia Capitolina and Judea became Syria Palaestina. Highly educated, Hadrian favored learning throughout the empire. He also reorganized the imperial service and had the Praetor's Edict (Perpetual Edict) codified by Salvius Julianus (131). The reign of Hadrian's adoptive successor, Antoninus Pius (138-161), was peaceful and prosperous, with only one short war, against Parthia in 155. To protect the frontier of Britain against the Picts and the Scots, he built a new wall, the Antonine Wall, farther north, between the Forth and the Clyde, but it was abandoned before the end of the century. In contrast, the reign of his nephew, the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (161-180), was spent in constant wars. His colleague, Lucius Aurelius Verus, who shared his powers until his death in 169, led an expedition against Parthia (162-166) in which part of northern Mesopotamia was made a Roman dependency. In 166 the Marcomanni and other tribes crossed the upper Danube; after several years of fighting, Marcus Aurelius settled with them by permitting some of them to live within the empire. In 178, the Marcomanni, Quadi , and other tribes reopened hostilities, and Marcus Aurelius and his son, Commodus (in full Lucius Aelius Aurelius Cornmodus), led an army to the frontier.
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Marcus Aurelius died during the war, in 180; Commodus, who succeeded him, made peace with the barbarians. Commodus was one of the worst rulers Rome ever had. He exhausted the treasury through his extravagance, neglected the government of the empire, and perpetrated many cruelties. In 192 he was killed by a group of conspirators. The 3rd century, which may be considered to run from the death of Commodus to the abdication of Diocletian (305), has been called the period of military empire. In contrast to the relatively orderly years of the preceding century, it was marked by disturbances both at home and abroad. Publius Helvius Pertinax, who was chosen emperor by the Senate, ruled for only a few months in 193, when he was murdered by the Praetorian Guard, who sold the office to Marcus Didius Severus Julianus. There then ensued a struggle among the candidates proposed by the various legions; it was won by Lucius Septimius Severus (r. 193-211), the governor of Pannonia, but all opposition to him was not eliminated until 197. Septimius Severus, an excellent soldier, gave the government a marked military character. He disciplined the army and made it a privileged body. Diarchy (or joint rule by Senate and emperor) came to an end, and a number of senators were executed. Italy was reduced almost to a status of a province, Rome and an area within 100 miles of the city being placed under the jurisdiction of the prefect of the ctiy, and the rest of the peninsula under that of the praetorian prefect. The empire became an absolute military monarchy, with the military and provincial element taking precedence over the civil and Italian. The chief merit of Septimius Severus' reign was his firm protection of the frontiers. In 197-198 he defeated the Parthians and revived the province of Mesopotamia. His last years (208-211) were spent in Britain, where he defeated the Caledonians; he died at Eboracum (modern York). The most important event of the reign of his son and successor Caracalla (real name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus) was the Constitutio Antoniniana, or Edict of Caracalla, by which in 212 he extended the rights of Roman citizenship to all free subjects of the empire. This law was the culmination of the process of unification of the Roman dominions begun by Caesar and Augustus. Because of the military character given to the monarchy by Septimius Severus, however, the law actually raised the more warlike and less Roman provinces over those most responsive to Roman traditions. It therefore accelerated the decadence of the empire. Caracalla was a cruel and dissolute man. In 212, for example, he murdered, with many others, his brother and colleague Publius Septimius Geta, and his reign was marked by many excesses. On the frontiers he campaigned against the Alamanni, in 213, and against the Goths on the lower Danube, in 214; in 216 he annexed Armenia. In the following year he was assassinated while leading an expedition against the Parthians. Armenia was given up by his successor, Marcus Opelius Macrinus, who was defeated by the Parthians. Heliogabalus (Elagabalus), who succeeded Macrinus in 218, had a short and dissolute reign, and in 222, Marcus Aurelius Alexander Severus came to the throne. Alexander Severus favored the poorer classes and endeavored to restore the financial condition of the empire, a task which required checking the mounting costs of the imperial bureaucracy and reducing military expenditures. These measures were thwarted by Persian and barbarian pressure on the frontiers and by the arrogance of the military, who had become accustomed to a privileged position. An event of great importance had occurred in Persia in 226, when the last Parthian ruler was overthrown by the new Sassanian dynasty. The Sassanians were to prove even more formidable rivals to Rome than the Parthians had been. Alexander Severus defeated the Persians in 231-233, however, and in 234 he dealt with the Alamanni on the Rhine. To check them he was forced to purchase peace, and this action, as well as his economy measures, led the soldiers to murder him in
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235. The troops in the provinces mutinied, and there followed a period of 33 years of military anarchy, in which one emperor after another came to the throne. Moreover, in addition to the emperors acknowledged by the Senate, there were many who claimed power and indeed ruled for a short time over some part of the empire. The general pattern of this period was for an army to proclaim one of its leaders emperor so that it might receive what benefits he had to bestow. His reign was spent in fighting the barbarians or a rival emperor proclaimed by other legions, and he usually met a violent end in war or at the hands of his own troops, who hoped for greater benefits from another ruler. The administration of the empire disintegrated, the Christians (always scapegoats in troubled times) were persecuted, and the frontiers were broken on all sides. The Franks and the Alamanni crossed the Rhine, and the Goths reached the Aegean. Conditions improved under Claudius II, surnamed Gothicus (r. 268-270), the first of a series of capable Illyrian emperors, who endeavored to restore the state and drive back the barbarians. He defeated the Alamanni in 268, and the Goths in 269. His successor Aurelian (in full Lucius Domitius Aurelianus), called Restitutor Orbis (Restorer of the City), built the Aurelian Wall around Rome. He was a good ruler, and he settled, at least temporarily, the problem of the frontiers by driving the Goths across the Danube, relinquishing Dacia, and settling the Roman inhabitants of the province in Moesia. He recovered Britain and Gaul from pretenders and, in 271-273, defeated Zenobia, queen of Palmyra. Unfortunately, he was killed by conspirators in 275, and a period of fresh disorders followed. It was brought to an end in 284 by the accession of Diocletian.

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The size of the Roman dominion had made it difficult to govern and defend. Diocletian introduced a major constitutional reform by dividing the empire into two parts, East and West, on a line running from the Danube to the Adriatic south of Dalmatia. He kept the East for himself and entrusted the West, in 286, to a colleague, Maximian (Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus). Each emperor added the title of Augustus to his name. The division was suggested by the difference between the two parts. Rome had not been able to absorb the East, which was already civilized, as thoroughly as she had absorbed the West, where she herself was the civilizing influence. To avoid the disorders which had attended the beginning of each new reign, Diocletian further devised a system, called the tetrarchy, whereby each Augustus appointed a colleague, called Caesar, who would succeed him as Augustus on his death. Internally, the empire was divided into four prefectures: Gaul, Italy, Illyricum, and the East, which were subdivided into dioceses, and these in turn into provinces, which usually followed the boundariees of the subdivisions of the old provinces. The co-emperors ruled absolutely, issuing joint edicts. Diocletian reorganized the army, built up a new civil service, and revised the tax system. By calculating land taxes on the basis of labor, he paved the way for the later development of a caste system in which the majority of the inhabitants of the empire were bound to their land or trades. Although the new taxes helped for a time to finance the armies necessary to preserve the frontiers, their heavy burden, as well as the lack of freedom, eventually made the great mass of the people of the empire indifferent to its survival. The new system of succession failed at its first trial, for when Diocletian and Maximian abdicated in 305, violent strife broke out among various claimants, to which was added a great persecution of the Christians, lasting in the West from 303 to 306, and in the East from 303 to 316. Constantine I, called the Great, finally prevailed in 312, when he defeated Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius, and in the following year he issued his Edict of Milan, granting freedom of worship to all religions. After 250 years of persecution, Christians were free to profess their faith, and pagan Rome, which was losing its political and military power, was succeeded by Christian Rome as a spiritual and religious force. Religious differences among Christians were settled for a time by the First Council of Nicaea (modern Iznik), held in 325. Constantine temporarily reunited the empire in 324, when he defeated his colleague, Valerius Licinianus Licinius. He set himself to completing Diocletian's task of restoring imperial power. In 330 he moved the capital to Byzantium, called after him Constantinople. His son and successor Constantinus II (in full Flavius Julius Constantius, r. 337-361), who for a time ruled jointly with his two brothers, was cruel and incapable. He in turn was succeeded by his cousin Julian (in full Flavius Claudius Julianus, r. 361-363), known as the Apostate because of his abandonment of Christianity and his vain attempt to reestablish pagan worship. Julian defeated the Alamanni in 357 and checked the barbarian advance on the Rhine; he was killed in a battle against the Persians. Julian's successors were all Christians. Jovian (in full Flavius Claudius Jovianus) made peace with the Persians and gave up all territory beyond the Tigris. Valentinian I (r. 364-375) redivided the empire, assigning the East to his brother Valens (r. 364-378). Both brothers were harried by barbarian invasions. Valens waged a successful war against the Goths (367-369). In 376, however, he permitted the Visigoths to settle in Thrace, and he was killed in a war with them. The empire was briefly reunited by Theodosius I, called the Great (in full Flavius Theodosius, r. 379-395), who increased the prestige of the church by establishing Christianity as the state religion and by banning paganism. In 379-382 he made peace with the Visigoths and Ostrogoths , permitting
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them to settle within the empire. Before he died, in 395, he divided the empire between his two sons, Arcadius, who received the East, and Honorius, who received the West. This time the division was permanent, and the two parts formed separate states. The Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, with Constantinople as its capital, comprised Greece, Macedonia, Asia Minor, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt, and Cyrenaica. The Western Roman Empire, with Milan as its capital (it was soon superseded by Ravenna), included Italy, Illyria, Pannonia, Npricum, Gaul, Britain, Spain, Mauretania, Numidia, as well as Libya as far as the Gulf of Syrte.

Under the rule of Honorius (r. 395-423) and his successors the Western Roman Empire continued through 80 more years of difficult life, marked by invasions, disturbances, and the loss of territory to the barbarians. Early in the 5th century the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britain, and in about 406, Gaul was overrun by Vandals, Alani, Suevi, and Burgundians. In 402 a Visigothic army led by Alaric was defeated at Pollentia, and in 405 or 406, the Visigoths and other peoples were defeated at Florence by Flavius Stilicho, Honorius' guardian and chief minister. In 408, Honorius killed Stilicho, and in the same year Alaric invaded Italy; two years later he sacked Rome. In 412 the Visigoths also invaded Gaul; they passed over the Pyrenees into Spain in 415.

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Under Honorius' successor, Valentinian III (in full Flavius Placidus Valentinianus, r. 425-455), the African provinces were taken by the Vandals, who landed in Africa in 429 and six years later were recognized as the legal rulers. Valentinian's general, Flavius Aetius, defeated the Visigoths in 436 and drove them from Gaul. In 451, he won the last great Roman victory, over the Huns led by Attila, on the Catalaunian Plains south of the modern Chalons-sur-Marne. Attila invaded Italy in the following year, but he withdrew soon after. In 455, however, Rome was again sacked, this time by the Vandals under Genseric (Gaiseric). Valentinian had come to the throne as a child, and until about 440 the actual ruler was his mother, Galla Placidia. He never really ruled himself, and in 454 he killed Aetius, the one strong figure in the the Western Empire. He himself was killed by Aetius' guards. For a few more years a series of men unfit for the office, who were at the mercy of barbarian chiefs in imperial service, were formally invested with imperial authority. One of these chiefs was Ricimer, a Suevian who successively deposed and raised five emperors. Another was Orestes, former equerry of Attila, who in 475 placed the crown upon the head of his own son, Romulus Augustulus, a child of 14. By this time little remained of the Western Empire except Italy, and the peninsula itself fell in 476, when another barbarian general, Odoacer (Odovacar or Odovakar), king of the Heruli, overthrew Orestes and deposed Romulus. The event was little remarked at the time and indeed had only slight significance, since the empire in the West had fallen apart long before but the date does mark the traditional end of the Western Roman Empire. The Eastern Empire was to continue until 1453.

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Page: 4. Stephen Eastop 5. Victor Iglesias 6. Filipe Samora 7. Igor Badalassi 8. Djalma Nascimento 10. Jose Fernando Carli 12. Ali Taylor 14. Jacqueline Fouche 16. Paola 18. Ali Taylor 20. Mario Sanchez 22. Marcin Mycielski 24. Michael Stocks 25. Eva Schuster Cover: Sarah Mooney

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