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The Rise of Rome

What is Rome’s Geographic Setting?

• Peninsula- land surrounded by water on three sides

• Rivers, hills, and fertile soil
• Italy was in the center of the Mediterranean Sea
• Rome was in central Italy, near the Tiber River
• Rome was the main, central city of the Western
Roman Empire 110 AD
Roman Empire 117 AD
The Origin of Rome
The foundation of Roma goes back to 753 BC.
But this date comes from a myth, so it represents
tradition rather than the truth.
But in the first 200 years, it was a relatively small and
unimportant monarchy.
There was no defined urban core.
There were autonomous communities.
There were extreme ethnic, political, religious, social,
economic and linguistic diversity.

There were Etruscans on the north, in Tuscany.

Rome developed under the influence of Etruscans.
Etruscans spoke a foreign language and they were
kings of Rome.
In late sixth century BC the Romans established their
independence from Etruscans.
But the Romans borrowed ideas from the Greeks and
the Etruscans.


Political Evolution of Rome

The Romans have had almost every type of

They had a kingdom, a republic, a dictatorship, and
an empire.
Their democracy would be the basis for most modern

Monarchy (753 – 509 BC)

Republic (509 – 29 BC)
Empire (29 BC – 476 and 1453 )

Roman Expansion

Roman expansion was particularly rapid under the

later Republic and early Empire.
It established itself in north-west Europe, and in the
Danube Basin.
It established control over Spain, Greece and
Carthaginian North Africa in (509 – 218 BC).
The expansion of Rome slowed during the 1th and
2nd centuries AD.
The only significant gains had been the annexation of
lowland Britain, Armenia and Kurdistan on the
Black Sea.


The population of Roman Italy reached to 5 million by

100 AD.
Roman society had militaristic nature.
The big population with militaristic character led
Romans to political expansion, conquest and
But the result of rapid expansion was the losses of
manpower during wars.
The Romans Society

 The Roman population was divided into two groups: Patricians

and plebeians.
 The patricians were the descendants of the most ancient and
powerful families (nobles), they were landowners, lived in
large houses, and they had political power in the senate.
 The plebeians were mainly artisans or peasants who worked the
patricians' land; they lived in apartments and they had very
limited political rights.
 The two classes were quite divided: the patricians married and
did business only with the people of their class.
 Senate was made up of 300 upper class men, patricians.
Political Domination

Both Patricians and plebeians had the right to vote.

But only patricians had the right to hold any
political, military or religious offices.
Basically all the power was in the hands of the
Although the plebeians had fewer rights than the
patricians they still had to serve in the army and pay
taxes to the people that were oppressing them.
A comparison of two classes

Slaves: If they could gain it, both classes had slaves to do

the work.
Citizenship: The citizens of Rome were adult freemen
from both classes - plebs and patricians. Women,
children, and slaves were not citizens. People from all
classes considered themselves as Romans.
Religion: Both classes worshiped the same gods and
attended religious festivals.
Language: Both classes spoke the same language, Latin.
Forum: Both classes enjoyed the activities in the Forum,
including the many free activities such as jugglers.


Slavery in the ancient world and in Rome was vital to

both the economy and even the social fabric of the
The Romans established their hegemony on Italy and
Sicily. And they transported millions of slaves to
Rome, the Italian countryside and Latin colonies all
over Europe.
They borrowed this tradition of slavery from Hellenic
For Marxist historians, the big reliance on slavery was
the main reason of the Roman decline.
More Territory, More Slaves

In each war, the Republic acquired additional

territory and slave.
According to Marxist historians, to gain slave was so
important like to gain territory.
Rome’s slave population was not self-reproducing.
In each conquest, Rome gained new territories.
To exploit new territories, it demanded more slaves.
Roman Slavery
Roman Settlement

In about 200 BC, the Eastern Mediterranean was

under Greek domination.
This region possessed the best institutions such as;
assembly, gymnasium, theaters and agoras.
But there was despotism and enlightenment at the
same time.
Roman Economy

Roman economy remained predominantly based on

Roman towns and cities remained as the centers of
consumption rather than production.
The estimated number of Roman towns and cities in
the 2nd Century AD.
Over 600 in Greece and Italy
150 in Iberia
50 in Mediterranean France and
60 in Dalmatia

Roman Urbanism: Rome

Rome was the focus of urbanism.

It provided political leadership.
It inspired morality and religious belief.
It established conceptions of taste and fashion.
Rome as a city was imitated by other provincial cities
throughout the Republic and Empire.
There were different cultural traditions like
Hellenistic, Near Eastern, Eastern and European.
And these different cultures were fusing under the
leadership of Rome.
Rome as Megapolis

Rome was the chief-city in a federation of city states.

In the 1st Century AD, it had become a megapolis.
Its population was about 5 million.
There was no other city like Rome both in terms of
size and importance.
Alexandria’s population was around 300,000 and
Carthage’s was about 20,000
Rome’s Trade Network

Rome was dependent on a wide range of economies,

efficient communications and transport technologies for
the resources required for its growing population.
Grain trade is a good case point.
Corn was the single most important food item for the
Rome required 200,000 tonnes of corn for a year.
This huge amount was coming from Campania, Etruria,
Umbria and later from Sardinia, Sicily and North Africa.
The corn was sent from these regions as payment in kind
for imperial taxation.

Life in Rome

The citizens of Rome lived in a congested and

stressful urban environment like 21 the century
urban man.
Like Athens before it, it had complex topography and
irregular city plan.
Roman urbanism developed on the basis of
Hellenistic and Carthaginian cultures of the Eastern
and Southern Mediterranean.
In these cultures, urbanism was more ancient.
The Differences Between Roman and Greek Cities

Roman and Greek cities were quite similar.

The difference was the scale and elaboration of cities.
Hellenistic cities were refurbished by the Romans.
For example, agora was enlarged as a Roman forum.
At Ephesus, an Ancient Hellenistic city, all the major
buildings were constructed or rebuilt during the first
and second centuries AD.

The 2nd Century AD was the peak of Roman imperial

The Romans became the master of the
• Roman expansion led to the conquering of Northern
• They conquered Carthage, Spain, Greece, and Gaul
Roman Republic

 The reasons of decline:

 For Marxists, slave trade, decline in slave trade.
 Political fragmentation between big geography. It had
expanded behind its capacity.
 The long distance for trade, difficulty in the transportation of
 Big migrations of different tribes.
 In 395 AD, the Empire was divided as Eastern and Western
 The Western Empire was collapsed shortly after in 476 AD.
 The Eastern Empire became more successful and continued
until the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople.