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Chapter 7 –
The Roman World
(1000 BC – AD 476)
Section 1:
Founding the Roman Republic
Geography and Location
Sheltered by Alps to north
Peninsula made it easy to control
east and west in region
Apennine Mountains run length of
Italy, but are not very rugged –
made trade and travel easy
Long coastline made it open to sea
Rome was built on Tiber River, about
15 miles inland from coast
Protected city from invasion by
Economic advantages – river
shallow here, easy to cross; Rome
at center of trade routes that
spread in all directions
Founding of Rome
 2000 BC – waves of invaders overran
peninsula from north
 mid-700s BC – Latins moved into westcentral Italy
 Their villages later united to form Rome
 late 600s BC – Rome came under rule of
Etruscan kings from northern Italy
 Romans adapted Etruscan written language
 Etruscans were skilled craftsmen
 Knew how to pave roads, drain marshes, and
construct sewers
Under Etruscans, Rome grew large
and prosperous
Greeks also settled in southern Italy
and Sicily
Greek culture strongly influenced
Early Roman Republic
509 BC – wealthy landowners
overthrew Etruscan king
Established a republic where
adult male citizens could vote
and take part in government
Rome: Democracy or
 Rome was different from Athens because
male citizens elected representatives
(Consuls, Senators, Tribunes, Assemblies)
who ran the government, made the laws
and elected the judges.
 These people “represented” the wishes of
the people in a system called a republic.
So the people did not directly vote for
what they wanted – it was a
representative democracy.
Romans were divided into 2
1.Patricians (5%)
powerful landowners who
controlled government
inherited power
2.Plebeians (95%)
most of the population
mainly farmers
could vote but were barred from
holding office
Conflict of the Orders
Over time, Plebeians increased power
through demands and strikes
Gained rights to join army, hold office,
form assembly, and elect tribunes
Forced government to write down laws
(“Twelve Tables”)
By 300 BC, there was no longer
distinction between the two groups
Twelve Tables:
Procedure: for courts and
Trials, continued.
Rights of fathers
(paterfamilias) over the
Legal guardianship and
inheritance laws
Acquisition and possession
Land rights
Torts and delicts (Laws of
Public law
Sacred law
Supplement I
Supplement II
The Republic Grows
By 265 BC, Romans controlled
southern ¾ of Italy
Granted full citizenship to inhabitants
of nearby cities
Allowed distant allies to remain
independent, but required them to
provide soldiers for Roman army
Conquered people were required to
provide land for Roman farmers
helped Romans maintain control
spread Latin language, Roman law, and
Section 2:
Rome Expands
Its Borders
 Carthage (Phoenician colony) was a
great commercial power on coast of
North Africa
had colonies and markets on Sicily
empire spanned western Mediterranean
 Carthage feared Romans would take Sicily
 Romans feared Carthage would control
Mediterranean and prevent expansion
These fears led to 3 conflicts called
the Punic Wars
Punic is Latin version of Phoenician
The Punic Wars
All three wars were Rome vs. Carthage
First Punic War: Rome won and gained
Second Punic War: Rome won and
gained Spain
Rome also defeated Macedonia (Greece),
making it the most powerful force in the
western Mediterranean
Third Punic War: Rome won and gained
Rome became the supreme power in the
Section 3:
The Birth of the
Roman Empire
Social War
Allies grew tired of serving Roman army
and not getting benefits or citizenship
91 BC – Allies rebelled in the Social War
Rome won, but Senate agreed to
grant allies citizenship and political
People throughout Italy began to see
themselves as “Romans”
The First Triumvirate (60 BC)
Triumvirate means “rule of three”
Political alliance
Unofficial reorganization of Rome’s power
All were popular generals:
1. Julius Caesar
2. Gnaeus Pompey
3. Marcus Licinius Crassus
Crassus died in battle
Pompey tried to kick Caesar out of
Rome so he could rule alone
Caesar marched his troops back on
Rome and defeated Pompey
Caesar stood alone as leader of
Rule of Caesar
44 BC – Senate declared him dictator
for life
Increased Senate to 900 members but
reduced its power
This began the demise of the Roman
Republic and the rise of the Roman
“Beware the Ides of March”
Caesar became too powerful and
many senators formed a conspiracy
against him
March 15, 44 BC (Ides of March) – the
Senators, including Cassius and Brutus
(Caesar’s friends), assassinated Caesar
at a Senate meeting
The Second Triumvirate
 Formed to avenge Caesar’s murder
1. Octavian (Caesar’s adopted
grandnephew and heir)
2. Marc Antony (general and ally of
3. Lepidus (Caesar’s second in
Antony led his army east;
reconquered Syria and Asia Minor
Antony joined Cleopatra in Egypt
Octavian forced Lepidus to retire
Antony and Octavian divided the
Roman world
Octavian declared war on Antony
and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra could not
escape – committed suicide
Octavian now stood alone
Determined to avoid Caesar’s fate
He called himself “first citizen”
Given new name of Augustus, “the
revered one”
First Roman emperor
With his reign, Roman Republic
became Roman Empire
Octavian (Augustus)
Greatly expanded empire
Established outward façade of a free
Republic and working Senate
In reality, he was an autocratic
dictator – he reduced power of Senate
and assemblies
Always remained a threat that an
emperor would abuse his powers (like
Pax Romana
 200-year period began known as “Roman
 Established by Augustus
 Lasted from 27 BC to 180 AD
 Roman empire was mostly free of large-scale
conflict for 200 years
 Augustus died in AD 14
 For next 54 years, relatives of Caesar, the JulioClaudian Emperors, ruled the empire
“Five Good Emperors”
Began AD 96
Roman empire was at its height
People of the empire had been
“Romanized” in culture and language
Emperors had complete control
Antonius Pius
Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius’ death led to civil war
among provinces in AD180
 "The Senate and the People of Rome".
 First appears in inscriptions of the Late
Republic, starting in 80 BC
 This signature continued to be used in the
Roman Empire.
 The Romans believed that all authority
came from the people
 During the regime of Benito Mussolini, SPQR
was written on a number of public buildings
and manhole covers in an attempt to
promote his dictatorship as a "New Roman
Section 5: The Rise of Christianity
Romans allowed people in their
provinces to practice different
religions, as long as they honored the
gods of Rome and the “divine spirit”
of the emperor
This helped keep peace among
the people
Christianity arose…
Jesus of Nazareth was a Jewish
carpenter and teacher
Jesus taught:
Love God above all else
Love others as themselves
God cares more for people
than for laws and rituals
Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate
(Roman governor)around AD 30
Romans feared he would lead an
He was considered an enemy of the
Jesus' resurrection was the central
event that led to the formation of
Showed all people could be saved
Christianity spread because…
Life in empire became more
Christianity appealed to both
rich and poor
Promised hope and freedom
Spread of Christianity
by AD 300 (dark blue) and 600 (light
Romans outlawed Christianity because:
Recognized that Christians were different
from Jews (not just a Jewish sect)
Christians spoke out against polytheism
Christians converted others
Saw Christianity as an attack on Roman
religion and law
Persecution of Christians
Christians were first targeted for
persecution by the emperor Nero in
64 AD.
A fire broke out in Rome, and
destroyed much of the city.
Nero blamed the Christians and
ordered that they should be rounded
up and killed.
Roman law eventually accepted
Christianity because…
After Five Good Emperors, there was
violence and unrest in the empire
Turned to Christianity for hope
Christian church had become so large
that government couldn’t punish
AD 312: Emperor Constantine declared his
support for Christianity
AD 337: Constantine was baptized on his
death bed
AD 391: Emperor Theodosius made
Christianity the official religion of the
Section 6: The Fall of the
Western Empire
Problems arose after the death of
Marcus Aurelius (last of the “Five Good
Rising inflation (economic crisis)
Attacks on borders
Poor leadership
The Germans (Goths, Vandals, Franks)
invaded from the North:
Set up separate kingdoms (many
Impossible to rule a united empire
People left for food and safety
Crops destroyed
Schools and libraries destroyed
Emperor Constantine
Became emperor in AD 324
Supported Christianity
Created new capital city in the
east called Constantinople
Empire remained stable for about
50 years after his death
By AD 400, two empires existed –
West and East
There was no single fall of the Roman
The West gradually declined.
The East became the new center of
power and wealth
The East remained until AD 1453,
when it was conquered by the
Ottoman Empire (Turks)
Political and Military Weakness
Grew too fast, got too big
Government was designed for a smaller
Corrupt courts
Army interfered with emperor choice
German invasions
Loss of soldiers’ loyalty
Division of empire and growing power of
Economic Decline
Defense was expensive
No more expansion meant no
more wealth (plundered war
Inflation (lack of gold)
Farmers forced to sell farms
High taxes (to pay for army)
Expensive to maintain such a large
Social Change
Division between rich and poor
Loss of moral values
Loss of patriotism
Lack of political honesty (corrupt
Rise of Christianity