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Geography and Peoples of Italy
• city-state
• Because of its
geography Italy was
much easier to unify
than Greece.
• + broad fertile plains
• +Apennine and Alps
The Etruscans
• Before 509 B.C. the Etruscans ruled much of
central Italy including Rome itself.
• Romans learned a lot from Etruscan
civilization like their alphabet, how to use
the arch in construction, and engineering
Rome’s beginnings
The Roman Republic
• The Romans drove out their
Etruscans ruler in 509 B.C.
• This is generally accepted as
the year of the founding of the
Roman state.
•Determined to never again be ruled by a king,
the Romans set up a new type of government
called a republic.
•In a republic officials were chosen by the
•They thought it would keep any individual from
gaining too much power.
The myth
of Romulus
and Remus
is very
The Establishment of a Republic
The Roman Republic
• The senate was the
most powerful
governing body.
• It was made up of 300
patricians or nobles.
• Each year the
senators elected two
• In the event of a war
the senate might
choose a dictator,
however the dictator
could not rule longer
then 6 months
• Cincinnatus, an
early Roman
dictator, was
regarded by the
Romans as one
of the heroes of
early Rome and
as a model of
Roman virtue
and simplicity.
With one hand he returns the fasces, symbol of
power as appointed dictator of Rome. His other
hand holds the plow, as he resumes the life of a
citizen and farmer."
• Plebeians were the
middle class of Rome.
• They were often
farmers, merchants,
artisans, and traders who
made up the bulk of the
• They had little say in
government affairs.
• A breakthrough for the plebeians came
in the form of the laws of the twelve
• Similar to Hammurabi’s code, the
government of Rome had the laws of
the land inscribed on 12 tablets in the
• This made it possible for the first time
for plebeians to appeal a judgment
handed down by a patrician judge
• In time, plebeians gained the right
to elect their own officials to
protect their interests.
• These officials were called
• Tribunes could veto laws that they
felt were harmful to the plebeians.
Although the
senate still
dominated the
government, the
common people
had gained access
to power and won
safeguards for
their rights
without having to
resort to war or
Early Roman Republic
Expansion in Italy
• Roman armies expanded Roman power and
influence across Italy.
• Roman armies consisted of citizen-soldiers who
fought without pay and supplied their own
• They conquered the Etruscans and then the
Greek city-states in the south 270 B.C.
• Roman soldiers were well trained, loyal, and
• Conquered peoples had to acknowledge Roman
leadership, pay taxes, and supply the soldiers
for the Roman army.
• In return Rome let them keep their own
customs, money, and local government.
War with Carthage
• Rome’s conquest of the Italian peninsula
brought it into contact with a new rival –
• Carthage was a Phoenician city-state on the
Northern coast of Africa
• Between 264 B.C. and 146 B.C. Rome fought
three wars against Carthage called THE PUNIC
Punic War
•During this war Rome defeated Carthage,
forcing it to surrender Sicily, Corsica, and
2nd Punic War
• In 218 B.C. Hannibal, general of the Carthage military,
embarked on one of the most daring expeditions in
• Hannibal took almost 40 elephants and his massive
army across the Alps and down towards Rome.
• Hannibal had great success for 15 years. But was
never able to capture Rome. This is because as
Hannibal had his massive force located on the Italian
Peninsula, Roman Armies attacked Carthage.
• Hannibal rushed back to Carthage to defend his
• It was here that Rome finally defeated Hannibal.
Punic War
• This war was much smaller
in scale but much larger in
its end results.
• Rome attacked Carthage
and completely destroyed
the 700 year old city.
• Survivors were killed or
sold into slavery.
• The Romans poured salt all
over the earth so that
nothing would grow there
Punic Wars
End of Section 1
• With Carthage
destroyed, Rome was
now the sole
dominant power of
the Mediterranean,
free to pursue
whatever it desires