The Romans were a people of genius whose empire dominated the western world for 500 years. (Pg. 7, Ancient Rome) What made the Romans so powerful was their way of government. It was very similar to the one that we have today, except emperors dont rule us. The pax romana, or the Roman Peace, gave millions of people in Italy and surrounding areas peace. Rome fell when it was invaded by overwhelming tribes and groups of barbarians. Rome was first founded on the legendary date of 735 B. C. The myth of Romulus and Remus was how Rome got its name.
The myth was that Mars, god of war, came down to the mortal world and met a human princess. Romulus and Remus were then born shortly after, but abandoned. A She-Wolf nursed them until they were old enough to be on their own. Their dream was to make a beautiful city, and govern it and become powerful. Romulus and Remus had an argument. Which led to a fight to the death. Romulus won, killing his brother Remus. The peoples called his city Rome, after Romulus, who became the founder. Romes Symbol is the She-Wolf that nursed Romulus and Remus nursing them.
Rome started out as just a group of farmers and Romulus as the emperor. Eventually, the small city-state became larger, and the government stronger, and more sophisticated. In 509 B. C. , the Roman Republic was founded. Patricians were the ones who organized the state. Instead of a King, Rome picked 2 magistrates, or consuls, to rule Rome. Eventually, the consuls became too powerful, and the plebeians (peoples of Rome) became angry because they wanted rights equal to those of the consuls in ways. In 494 B. C. the plebs revolted. They elected certain members to be called the Tribunes, and be their leaders.
The plebs wanted the consuls to notice them. Eventually, after a year of rebelling, the 2 consuls let the plebs have the rights they wanted because in the future, Rome would need some of the plebs to become an army for the protection of Rome and the conquering of new territory. Eventually, The 2 consuls decisions became useful. Rome started to wage wars with its neighbors, the Aequi, Volsci, Celts, and Samnites. For 250 years, the Romans were almost at war constantly. The Romans either made alliances with their neighbors or they conquered them. By 280 B. C. , All of Italy was under Romes control.
The Romans were careful not to oppress the rest or Italy for Rome new that they were vital in defending Rome from invaders. Most of the peoples joined the military because they were offered special rights as military citizens. The tribes and cities that were farther away from Rome were allowed protection from Rome’s army and their government. Rome’s sent ex-soldiers to areas in Italy that Rome thought may have trouble, and eventually they became a town over time. This was very smart in Rome’s behalf because a Greek King named Pyrrhus brought a huge army to Rome thinking that he could win a vast and great empire easily.
But he was wrong because the Romans pushed him back to Greece and the southern cities of Italy allied with Rome. Later, Hannibal wanted control of Sicily, so he fought Rome for it. He crossed the Alps with War Elephants and began fighting Rome. He was defeated, and Rome gained control of Sicily. Hannibal reeked havoc on Rome for 13 years, and even though Rome lost 1 battle, they remained fighting in other areas like Spain, Italy, Africa and Sicily. Eventually, Carthage, Rome’s rival, was broken down and under Roman control. A little while later, Rome was yet again at war, and now with Greece.
Macedonia and Syria had powerful rulers who joined powers to attack Greece and Egypt. They defeated both the kings, but this drove Rome to make Greece and Egypt into provinces. In 133 B. C. , Rome controlled all of the Mediterranean and Carthage was destroyed completely due to a new rebelling. From 133 to 30 B. C. , Rome was in a civil war with itself. The rulers of Rome and other provinces became greedy, taxing the people and becoming very affluent. This led the way for military dictators. 4 great Generals tried to become Rome’s new Emperor, but only Julius Caesar was the victor.
Marius, Sulla, Pompey, and Caesar were great Generals who went off and conquered Rome’s enemies and sent back to Rome to receive their prize. Afterwards, Sulla was sent to destroy King Mithridates and his armies. Marius was angry at that decision that the senate had chosen, and he gathered his army and they started to execute masses of Optimates (Senate People). Marius made himself a consul, but he died a little while later. When Sulla marched back to Rome, he found that all of Rome was under the control of Populares. New executions began. Sulla gathered his army and captured Rome, and killing the Populares.
He remained the Dictator of Rome for 3 years; he constricted the powers of the people and made the senate very powerful. But then, he retired. Shortly after, Pompey arrived, and gave the people back their power that Sulla had crushed. Pompey planned to rule Rome with Caesar and Crassus. Caesar and Pompey became Consuls, but every one opposed them. In 59 B. C. , Caesar was given all of Gaul as a reward, but then it was under attack by German Barbarian Tribes And Celts from the north. 8 years later, Caesar conquered all of France. Pompey became scared of Caesars military prowess, and ordered him to recall his army and return to Rome.
Caesar refused and sent his armies to invade Italy. 2 years later, Caesar had crushed Pompeys armies in Spain, Asia, Egypt and Greece. Caesar now ruled. He took the senate and dwindled its numbers to a few that Caesar knew owed him. Caesar knew that they would be loyal to him, but Caesar still had enemies. Some of the senators were afraid that if Caesar ruled any longer, that he would try to make himself a king, so they set up a plan to kill him. After Caesars death, Mark Antony dealt with the Murderers. This didnt help the wars from stopping. Octavian, Caesars nephew, wanted control of the empire just as bad as Antony did.
Octavian won the dispute, and Antony killed himself soon after. The people loved Octavian from stopping the feuds and the wars. They gave him lots of rewards and renamed him Augustus, meaning Revered One. Augustus set aside his powers and he stood alone for the title of consul. He was elected. The Romans were ready to grant him anything he wanted. Augustus brought back the ways of the old Republic. This made him even more loved. Except this time, he kept tabs on the armys powers. Augustus did much during his rain as the 1st Emperor. While he was at home, he thought of ways to improve the government.
He took away all of the bad and unworthy senators, and finned the ones that didnt go to its meetings. All at the same time, Augustus reorganized the Empire. He knew that Italy would be pressured by Barbarian Tribes, so he sent 3 powerful Generals to push them back; Agrippa, Drusus, and Tiberius. Hey pushed back the Germanic Barbarian tribes and at the same time gained vast new territories. This created a Ring of providences in which can aid Rome in defending against Barbarian Tribes. Augustus then allotted paid governors from the ranks of the senators and tried his hardest to make sure that they governed well and properly.
To ensure that Augustus kept in touch with other provinces, he set up a postal system. The messengers could travel 50 miles in 1 day. Augustus wanted the Empire to be worth governing; he spent lots of his own money rebuilding temples and appointing the best architects of the day to help him. He worked very hard to bring back the old fashioned Roman life system; hard work, respect for the gods, and duty. In order to protect himself from any assassinators, he gathered a hand-picked group of men called the Praetorian Guard, who later became a powerful voice in choosing the new Emperor or Rome and its provinces, protected Augustus.