This soon became the focus of my postgraduate research. After completing a doctorate in Cambridge in , I then held post-doctoral fellowships in both Oxford and Cambridge, before returning in to a lectureship in Oxford, shared between the Faculty of History and the Faculty of Theology and Religion.
I was delighted to join St Peter's in At undergraduate level I teach for both the Faculty of History and the Faculty of Theology and Religion, and my teaching ranges from the third to fifteenth centuries. For History I lecture and give tutorials for a survey course on the period c. I am interested above all in the transition from the ancient Roman-Persian to the medieval Byzantine-Islamic worlds within the Near and Middle East, and in particular in the experiences of Christian communities during that process.
My first book, Crisis of Empire University of California Press , followed the careers of a group of dissident Palestinian monks who traversed the eastern Mediterranean in the first half of the seventh century, and reconnected the shifting political and theological ideas within their various texts to the cultural and geopolitical crises brought about by the so-called 'Last Great War of Antiquity' between the Romans and Persians and the subsequent rise of Islam. My new book also looks to reconnect religious narratives to wider historical contexts.
Under the provisional title Egypt at the Dawn of Islam Princeton University Press, forthcoming , it explores the formation of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt in the period from the sixth to ninth centuries, during the collapse of the ancient world order and the formation of the Islamic caliphate. Ultimately I plan to write a book, on a much broader canvas, on the formation of eastern Christendom in the period c. Convincing all Greeks of the skill of their soldiers, the superiority of their cultural values, and the value of the citizen army, the Athenians' victory bolstered the development of Greek democracy on the model of Cleisthenes' reforms.
Soon the Athenians took the offensive and laid the foundations of an Athenian empire by liberating the Ionian cities in Asia Minor. The Athenian Empire Internal dissension and domestic concerns prevented Sparta from capitalizing on its military preeminence in the Persian Wars, as Athens moved swiftly to accept control of the Delian League in B.
The Delian League.
The revenues of the League, which were Initially intended to be used to protect Greece from a new Persian attack, supported the Athenian economy and rebuilt Athens. Athenian Imperialism. As the Persian threat receded after about B. Heavy taxation, colonization, and Athenian domination of both legal and political institutions followed as Athens established garrisons throughout Greece; opposition to Athenian leadership was met with brutality.
Although Athens is now remembered for its contribution to the development of democratic government, most Athenians were excluded from public life in the classical age. More than one-fourth of the population was composed of slaves, of both sexes and of all races and backgrounds, who were under the complete control of their owners.
Athenians considered slaves to be property. Half of the free population was Metoikoi, or metics, foreigners who could neither own land nor participate in politics. Citizen women were similarly excluded from politics: considered citizens only for the purposes of transferring property from man to man and the production of legitimate offspring. Women were always in the custody of a male guardian. Women, responsible for running households, could expect arranged marriages and limited mobility. Freedom in the Community. Male citizens enjoyed an unprecedented degree of selfgovernment. Grounded in his active participation in public life, the citizen's political freedom entailed a perpetual balancing act between the conflicting obligations of the family, tribe, and deme.
But, economic and social equality were nonexistent in fifth-century Athens. Although sovereignty formally resided in the citizens' assembly ekklesia , actual leadership rested with generals and demagogues, who used their oratorical skills, friends, and awareness of governmental operations to further the interests of the city.
Although he never ruled Athens, Pericles, a gifted orator and military leader, dominated Athenian 24 politics for thirty years, overseeing the city during a period of cultural and democratic brilliance. Pericles and Athens Pericles acquired political experience by participating in several public works projects, including the construction of the Parthenon.
He worked to extend political rights to all free citizen men by abolishing the requirement that public officials possess private property. Pericles was also determined to safeguard Athenian imperial interests; his foreign policy precipitated a conflict with Sparta over Megara in B. Treaties delayed major conflicts between the two powers for more than a decade, but failed to prevent the outbreak of the destructive Peloponnesian War.
The Peloponnesian War Although the war began in B. The Archidamian War. The initial phase of the Peloponnesian War, the Archidamian War, was indecisive, though a third of Athens' population died from the plague. Alcibiades and the Sicilian Expedition. Initially successful in staving off Spartan attacks, the Athenians suffered defeat when Alcibiades rose to power and encouraged Athens to invade Syracuse.
This disastrous expedition weakened Athenian forces substantially at a time when Persian support strengthened Sparta. The Examined Life Athenians developed new traditions of moral philosophy and history by the use of critical thinking and reason. The Sophists. As rhetoric became crucial to secure political power and to develop 25 reason-based ethics, teachers known as sophists traveled throughout the Greek city-states offering young citizens a specialized education in rhetoric.
Socrates, who opposed the superficiality of the sophists, urged his students to cultivate moral enlightenment by critical examination of their own lives, choices, and characters. Found guilty of heresy and of corrupting Athenian youth, Socrates committed suicide. Understanding the Past Two noteworthy historians introduced different ways to understand the past. In The Persian Wars, Herodotus, "the father of history," emphasized the significance of personal choice in his analysis of the achievements of Greek and Persian civilizations and the causes of the Persian Wars in the "first true history.
For Thucydides, the contemporary historian of the Peloponnesian War, history demonstrated the ability of individuals and social groups to conduct their affairs according to rational political self-interest. Athenian Drama Greek dramatists increasingly emphasized secular problems and solutions instead of mythical subjects. Drama gained popularity during this period because of the three types of plays that were staged: tragedies, comedies, and satyrs.
The tragedies of Sophocles were character studies that underlined the timeless and fatal tensions between human reason, emotions and passion. Euripides was a tragedian renowned for plot twists. Greek Comedy. Comic playwrights such as Aristophanes, in contrast, used wit, vulgarity, and satire to mock the contemporary institutions. The Human Image Artists, too, responded to Greek culture's new interest in the individual, embracing new techniques of perspective, balance, depth, molding, and coloring to render their images more lifelike. Sculpture also demonstrated a concern with balance and the realistic portrayal of human 26 forms, a tradition Phidias initiated in Athens.
Here artistic and architectural ingenuity created an overwhelming image of perspective, order, and balance. The Peloponnesian War caused the Greeks to question the validity of both democratic and oligarchic political structures. The war also created a power vacuum that fundamentally and permanently altered relations between city-states. Politics After the Peloponnesian War Mercenary soldiers, who gradually replaced the citizen hoplites in the course of the Peloponnesian War, weakened the democratic institutions in many city-states as the importance of the hoplites declined.
War became more vicious as professional soldiers began to dominate the battlefields. Spartan Imperialism. Victorious Sparta sought to rule its new empire with tyrannical oligarchies, a policy that precipitated decades of civil warfare in the Greek world. Thebes destroyed the Spartan armies B. Although Athens formed several military alliances that were directed against Sparta and later Thebes, by the s, political instability had fractured political life above the level of the polis.
Philosophy and the Polis Athenian philosophers responded to the disruption of political life by elaborating new theories that questioned the virtue of democratic institutions. Platonic Forms. Distrusting the political judgment of the common people, Plato argued that the best government was one where political leadership rested in the hands of philosophers who were capable of governing on the basis of lasting ideals rather than petty or immediate interests. Aristotlean Empiricism.
Less idealistic than his teacher, Aristotle based his philosophy on systematic observation sof the natural world and a careful use of terms and logic. Surveying more than constitutions, from which he drew general theories, he concluded that moderation, a balance between democracy and oligarchy, was the key to good government. Philip's army of mercenary soldiers and elite cavalry initiated a relentless campaign against the southern city-states in B.
Philip's League of Corinth established a monarchical empire supported by a wealthy aristocracy, a form of government that persisted until modern times in the Mediterranean region. Philip's assassination left the task of extending the Macedonian empire to his son Alexander. Alexander's military campaigns brought territories from Asia Minor to India under Macedonian rule from to B. Alexander turned back after crossing the Indus River. Binding Together an Empire. Intending to rule as well as to conquer, Alexander sought to consolidate his empire by respecting local customs and religions and encouraging marriages between his Macedonian leaders and the daughters of local elites.
Alexander built some thirtyfive cities that became both commercial and cultural centers and the key element in transmitting Greek culture to non-Greek peoples. The Hellenistic Kingdoms. Alexander's death shattered the Macedonian empire, however, as it soon split into kingdoms governed by Ptolemy I, Seleucus, and Antigonus Gonata, whose dynasties governed until they were conquered by the Romans. First, the territories had originally been governed by Mesopotamian rulers who established centralized administrative structures and systems of taxation.
Second, cities encouraged the cultivation of Greek urban culture, making established Greek cities the political, economic, and cultural foci of the Hellenistic world. Urban Life and Culture Eager to attract Greek citizens to their territories, Hellenistic rulers sought to transplant elements of Greek culture to their new cities, building temples, theaters, and gymnasia to provide urban dwellers with the amenities of Greek life. Koine, a Greek dialect, became universally used. The 28 absence of political independence distinguished Hellenistic cities from the independent polei of earlier Greek civilization.
So, too, did Hellenistic cities' relatively greater social mobility. Hellenistic citizenship embraced all "Hellenes," regardless of their city of origin, and often accommodated indigenous elites willing to adopt Greek culture. Women in Public Life Women enjoyed new power and independence in Hellenistic cities. Controlling their own property, women now entered public and political life, and in some regions were equal to men. The romance, pastoral poems, and epigrams were new literary genres. Political leaders competed in building large, elaborate public buildings and decorating public squares with statues, murals, and mosaics.
The Egyptian custom of pharaohs marrying their sisters enabled women to wield extensive political power.
Sailing to Byzantium:
Alexandria Following its founding by Alexander, Alexandria became a leading Egyptian commercial and cultural center. Ptolemy was especially important in bringing artists, scientists, and philosophers to the city, where the Museum served as a major repository of Greek literature. Hellenistic Literature Three new literary genres—the romance, the epigram, and the pastoral poem— began in the Hellenistic era.
Callimachus was an especially prolific author. Menander was a talented comedic writer who was exceptionally skilled in demonstrating the frailties of human character and the underlying humanity of man. Art and Architecture Architecture benefitted from the rivalry of Hellenistic kings who wished to out-do their peers in the construction of large ornate public buildings. Older cities, like Rhodes and Pergamum, were rebuilt. Hellenistic Philosophy Less concerned than their classical predecessors with political issues, Hellenistic philosophers focused on personal morality and the uncertainties in life.
The Cynics sought to foster freedom through renunciation of material objects, 29 arguing that evil originates in preoccupation with secular affairs and material goods. Epicureans emphasized the rational pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain as a way to achieve freedom. Eliminating desires and political ambitions and focusing on friendship and the enjoyment of simple pleasures were seen as appropriate activities.
Stoics, too, underlined the rational basis of human society and of happiness, but urged their followers to accept active roles in an orderly universe.
Mathematics and Science Mathematics and science flourished in Ptolemaic Egypt. Euclid and Apollonius of Perga approximated the value of pi and established logical proofs of theorems as the basis of geometry. Mathematical Astronomy. Archimedes and Apollonius used their mathematical skills to evaluate the astronomical data the Babylonians and Egyptians had collected earlier. Erastothenes calculated the diameter of the sun. Hipparchus of Nicea proposed a geocentric theory of the universe.
Human dissection advanced the study of anatomy. Herophilus appreciated the importance of the brain and distinguished between motor and sensory nerves. Cultural Resistance Despite the cultural advances of the Hellenistic period, the government faced resistance and hostility. Violent internal opposition to the Hellenistic rulers was commonplace.
What is the Greek notion of the "heroic"? Herodotus is often called the "father of history. Discuss the causes and course of the Peloponnesian War. Discuss the meaning of citizenship for men and women in the Greek world from the Hellenic to the Hellenistic period. In what ways did Greek society become less democratic? In what ways did it become less exclusive? Trace the changes in Greek philosophy from Socrates to the Epicureans. How did changing philosophical beliefs reflect structural changes in Greek society and politics in these centuries?
Compare life in democratic Athens with that in Hellenistic Greece. In looking at the changes in Athens after the Persian War and in Sparta after the Peloponnesian War, what can one conclude about the corrupting influence of power? Uses surviving examples of Greek art to illustrate the nature of Greek civilization. Stresses the Athenians' rise to prominence in the wars against Persia and the development of the ideal of the Athenian citizen. Well-photographed scenes of the most important historical sites in Greece. Considers the relationship between this masterpiece of Greek architecture and the society of Athens in the fifth century B.
Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age 13 min; color; 16mm CC,16 A brief examination of the career of Alexander the Great and the empire that he created that stretched from Greece to India. Considers the philosophical, artistic, and architectural accomplishments of the era. Intended for a high-school audience. E B. The Capitol provided Rome with its religious center.
The Forum served as a public meeting place. The Comitium and Curia housed the citizens' assembly and the Senate. The city symbolized the centrality of Rome. The scattered farmers and shepherds of the western Mediterranean experienced civilization later than the Egyptians, Mesopotamians, and Greeks. Bronze Age culture developed slowly between and B. Like the eastern Mediterranean civilizations the people of the western Mediterranean also experienced the crisis of the twelfth century as they migrated into Italy.
An Iron Age culture emerged in northern Italy from ca. Speaking Indo-European languages and bearing iron weapons, and distinguished by the practice of cremating their dead, Villanovan warriors had seized control of central Italy by B. Merchants of Baal Beginning around B. Phoenician traders and colonists established a chain of trading posts along the coast of North Africa and on the islands of the Mediterranean.
Few Carthaginians became involved in the political process. Supported by commercial and agricultural wealth, the Phoenicians successfully integrated their colonies into a truly cosmopolitan empire. Their mercenary army, which drew troops from numerous lands, was separated from the civil authority, which empowered the merchant aristocracy. Carthaginian Empire. Carthage, protected by a double harbor and massive fortifications, became the hub of the Phoenicians' western empire.
Carthaginians differed greatly from the Greeks because of their apolitical nature, aristocratic generosity towards the poor, and lack of unity. The Gods of Carthage.
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Carthaginians adopted Phoenician deities, especially Baal Hammon and Tanit. The sacrifice of first-born sons was apparently a common practice. Greek colonies began to threaten Carthage's empire by the end of the next century. Commercial rivalry led to war between Phoenician and Greek powers starting in the sixth century B.
Syracuse challenged both Punic and Greek control in the fifth century B. Although Carthage was unable to defeat Syracuse decisively in the next century, it benefited from its alliance with the Etruscans of western central Italy. Mysteries surround both the origins and the language of the Etruscans. Etruscan Origins. The Etruscans, united in a loose religious and military confederation, expanded both to the north and to the south. Key elements in Etruscan religion included underground gods and fertility cults. At first kings ruled the Etruscans. An Archaic Society.
The Etruscans used hydraulic systems to drain swamps, produced a delicious wine, and constructed large, fortified cities. Etruscan slaves labored in the mines and on farms that supported aristocratic landlords. Women played a central role in urban public and political life. Polytheistic Etruscans believed in an afterlife and the important role the fates played in day-to-day life.
Etruscan Dominance. The Etruscans developed their naval strength and utilized it in a military alliance with Carthage against their commercial rivals, the Greeks. Etruria consequently dominated much of the Italian coast from the seventh to the fifth century B. When their fleet was destroyed at Cumae in B. A Celtic invasion accelerated Etruscan decline. Etruscan cities fell to Roman forces. Roman myths convey the values of practicality, courage, hard work, and honor of the Roman farmer-soldier.
Emphasizing the simplicity and steadfastness of Roman life, the legends of Cincinnatus, Horatius, Romulus and Remus, Aeneas, and Lucretia were central in developing the Roman perspective on life. Latin Rome 35 Founded in a marshy region of western central Italy by Latin and Sabine peoples in the eighth century B. Families were under the total authority of the paterfamilias. Some forty Latin villages joined the Alban League confederation, an informal military alliance that also served religious and political purposes.
Both plebeian men as well as the men of families belonging to gentes clans participated in the curia or village council. Heads of households belonged to the Senate, which selected kings, who were essentially religious leaders, for approval by the curiae. Clientage was a key way for patrician and plebeian families to extend their power. In the mid-seventh century B. Etruscan Rome Etruscan political, economic and social organizations, and institutions incorporated Latium, introducing Rome to a wider world.
Under Etruscan rule kings gained military, judicial and political responsibilities. Etruscan influence endured in the transformation of Roman life and commerce. Urban Growth. Etruscans were largely responsible for transforming Rome into a major city. The introduction of hoplite tactics under King Servius Tullius led to a twofold division of Roman society that sharpened distinctions between patricians and plebeians.
Political rights and military duties came to reside exclusively with the landowners, or classis, whose richest and oldest members monopolized the new centuriate assembly. The reorganized political and military structure favored the conservative and wealthy patricians.
Class Divisions. The divisiveness grew between the patricians and plebeians when the plebeians were denied a political role. Roman patricians overthrew the last Etruscan king, Tarquin the Proud, in B. Rome and Italy The creation of the Roman Republic followed Etruscan decline, allowing Rome to create its own unique institutions and customs. The Early Republic. The Roman Republic followed the expulsion of the last Etruscan king. The substitution of consuls for kings initiated a period during which a patrician oligarchy dominated republican institutions characterized by the tradition of two men sharing the power of each office.
Initially, only the two consuls wielded the imperium, that is the supreme power to command, administer the law, and execute the condemned. Patricians, Plebs, and Public Law. Patrician control of political institutions through the 36 cursus honorum antagonized the plebeian order, which established an alternative political structure responsible for ruling the plebeians. Plebeian refusal to perform military service forced the patricians to compromise by recognizing plebeian claims to political power through the creation of the Council of Plebs. The Struggle of Orders resulted in the codification of Roman law known as the Law of the Twelve Tables , the creation of Tribunes, and the application of all laws enacted by the Council of Plebes to patrician and plebeian.
Political Expansion. United in their expansionist ambitions, both plebeians and patricians benefited from the military campaigns that had brought all of Italy under Roman control by B. Successful military campaigns resulted in the distribution of lands to plebeians and an increased military role for the plebeians. Poverty and landlessness remained perennial problems, however. Incorporating the Conquered. The Romans viewed their military successes as evidence of their moral superiority.
Rome extended citizenship to many conquered peoples. The Romans thus faced few serious revolts against their authority. Rome and the Mediterranean Rome and Carthage shared a common enemy in the Greeks. But, expansion in southern Italy brought Rome into a bitter conflict with Carthage. The First Punic War. The First Punic War was a prolonged, expensive conflict that saw Rome outlast rather than out-fight Carthage. Although the Romans were a land power, they were able to use their land tactics at sea.
Rome would soon conquer Sardinia. Securing Western Hegemony. The loyalty of Roman allies, the solidarity of its social classes, and the military leadership of Scipio the Elder secured Rome's hard-fought victory over Hannibal, who had invaded Italy in B. Despite his victories, Hannibal was unable to exploit his successes. After a prolonged campaign Scipio secured a final Roman victory at Zama. Rome secured a large tribute, a new province in Spain, and a dramatic reduction in Carthaginian power. The Final Destruction. Cato the Elder encouraged a resumption of hostilities.
The short-lived Third Punic War B. Expansion in the Hellenistic East. Rome turned its attention to the east. In the west, Rome governed through former magistrates or proconsuls; in the east, Rome worked through existing local oligarchies. Farmers and Soldiers Roman farmers, typically owners of small homesteads, formed the backbone of the victorious Roman legions. Discipline, preparation, and dedication to duty resulted in victory. But constant warfare in distant lands, far from enriching the farmer-soldier, impoverished him instead.
Prevented by prolonged, distant wars from tilling their soil, farmers often mortgaged their lands to aristocratic moneylenders. As wealthy aristocrats became wealthier, ordinary Roman soldiers lost their farms, and thus were no longer qualified for military service. The Roman Family The paterfamilias governed the persons and property of the Roman family with absolute authority. Fathers could command the death of unwanted newborns or the adoption of sons as heirs, important considerations in regulating the most revered institution of Roman society, the family.
Slaves, considered personal property as well as family members, remained under obligation to the paterfamilias even if they had been freed. Women lived under the legal guardianship of fathers and then of husbands, but exerted indirect power through household management, the moral education of children, and control of their dowries.
Social Effects of Expansion Roman women increased their public roles as territorial expansion occurred. Increasingly, fathers refused to transfer their authority over their daughters to their sons-in-law. Marriage, important in the creation of political alliances, increasingly ended in divorce as fathers sought different political allies; divorce thus became commonplace. Roman housing also changed from small, simple buildings to larger and more elaborate ones, symbolizing the changes that were taking place in the Roman family.
The housing situation of the poor worsened, however, as many of them were only able to afford cramped, multi—storied apartment buildings. Roman Religion Polytheistic Romans believed that household gods were responsible for every aspect of daily life. Both men and women had personal powers. Power, piety, and duty reinforced Roman virtues of order and authority. Public worship was the responsibility of state-sponsored colleges of aristocratic priests, who were responsible for divination and for public sacrifices.
Imperial conquest expanded the diversity of Roman deities, however, as Romans gave foreign gods familiar characteristics and quickly accepted them into their religious life. Some religions like the cult of Dionysus Bacchus threatened traditional Roman values and thus were persecuted by Roman officials.
Republican Letters The Etruscans provided the Romans with an alphabet. Romans displayed little interest in literature, however, until encountering Greek civilization in the third century B. Greek Historians of Rome. Timaeus was the first Greek historian to note Roman expansion in his history of the Pyrrhic War.
Polybius used his personal experience tp describe Roman campaigns in Africa and Spain. The Origins of Latin Literature. Romans displayed little interest in literature until encountering Greek civilization. Roman playwrights Plautus and Terence adapted Hellenistic dramatic forms to Roman themes. The changes brought about by imperial conquest exacerbated social tensions. Cato the Elder, who is often seen as a defender of traditional values, reflects the clash of traditional Roman values with new entrepreneurial and Hellenistic ones. It is ironic that Cato, the defender of traditional Roman virtues, himself took advantage of the opportunities provided by the changing times.
Evaluate the military significance of the elephant as a weapon of war. Compare and contrast the political life of the Athenian polis and the Roman city. Which 40 was more democratic and why? Discuss the similarities and differences of the military empires of Macedon and Rome. Relations between patricians and plebeians changed substantially in the course of the Roman Republic.
Discuss the nature of these changes and assess the nature of social relations in second-century Rome. What factors are responsible for the transition from the Republic to the Empire? Discuss the causes and consequences of the Punic Wars. Was Roman success due more to military prowess or the ability to adapt to changing circumstances? Includes scenes of battle reenactments along with archaeological digs at Carthage. The Romans 24 min; color; 16mm CC,16 Describes the construction of the Roman Empire as Rome changed from a small city-state in central Italy to a power controlling the Mediterranean world.
Considers the factors leading to the eventual collapse of the western half of the empire by the close of the fifth century A. Pompeii and Vesuvius 11 min; color; 16mm GC ,16 Describes one of the most famous events in Roman history: the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius and the destruction of the nearby city of Pompeii.
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Shows the ancient Roman city as uncovered by archaeologists. While claiming to restore traditional Roman virtues, Augustus actually oversaw a political and social revolution. Although the Altar of Peace promised peace and harmony and the simplicity of an earlier age, the Pax Romana instead meant the pacification of people throughout the empire. The empire brought Romans great disparities in wealth and cost them their republican institutions.
Roman military success consequently led to the end of the Republic. Winners and Losers Optimates, members of the traditional Roman oligarchy, benefited most from the empire, for they controlled landed wealth and government administration. The nouveau riche equites also gained from the state's expansion, though they were usually excluded from the highest political offices. Slave Revolts. Maltreatment often led to rebellion.
Although the slave revolts were initially successful, ultimate victory went to the Roman soldiers, who brutally suppressed the revolts. It took eight legions to defeat the revolt that the gladiator Spartacus led from 74—71 B. Provincial Revolts. Unhappy peasants and provincials also rebelled against Roman authority. Aristonicus led a rebellion in Pergamum that lasted three years. Rome also faced uprisings among previously loyal Italian cities. The Social War 91—89 B. Optimates and Populares The extensive use of slavery drove many average Romans from their farms into the cities where 43 they swelled the ranks of the unemployed.
Although wealthy Romans could have ameliorated the situation, they preferred to retain their extensive landholdings instead. Tribune Tiberius Gracchus, a populares, initiated land reform programs to redress the social and economic grievances of the common people. Tiberius Gracchus. Relying on the plebeian assembly for support, Tiberius Gracchus flouted aristocratic political conventions in order to redistribute land and limit the amount of land an individual could hold.
He was assassinated as he attempted to serve an unprecedented second term as tribune. Gaius Gracchus. He also extended citizenship to all Latins and Italian allies, and shifted political power from the patricians in the senate to the equestrians. He offered a truly comprehensive political program that aspired to address the problems of inequality of wealth and domination of Senatorial power.
Gaius Gracchus was also assassinated following his second consecutive term as tribune. The deaths of the Gracchi brothers inaugurated a period of political violence. The Crisis of Government In B. The Civil Wars. In the Social War that began in 91 B.
Sulla's ensuing dictatorship bolstered senatorial control, weakening the power of both tribunes and magistrates. Despite the introduction of political reforms, Sulla failed to resolve the fundamental issues dividing the Optimates and the Populares. Republican Crisis. The growing political and military strength of military commanders undermined the stability of Roman government. Marcus Cicero, a skilled orator, gave the elite an alternative choice as consul. The First Triumvirate.
Infighting among the Roman political elite generated a shift in alliances that created a triumvirate, uniting Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar. Together they undermined the changes that Sulla had introduced and made reforms that favored the Populares. The Second Triumvirate. Upon his return to Rome, Caesar initiated a program of political reforms that greatly increased political participation. But when he declared himself perpetual dictator, Caesar infuriated the Senate. His assassination by some sixty senators initiated a second civil war. This situation did not last long, however, as Lepidus was soon forced to retire.
Meanwhile, Mark Antony became increasingly dependent upon Cleopatra for support. Octavian emerged as the sole ruler of the Roman Empire in 31 B. A Life Worth Leading The final decades of the Republic saw new, unique cultural traditions and a new model of conduct. Cicero's Stoic philosophy emphasized reason, duty, morality, and divine providence. The historian Sallust saw moral corruption in Rome as being responsible for political chaos and civil war.
The poet Lucretius transformed Greek Epicurean materialism by emphasizing the virtues of a thorough understanding of the physical world to secure a dispassionate understanding of death. The lyric poems of Catullus departed from Greek precedents in conveying real emotions and human distinction. Roman artists also expressed this new interest in individualism through the emerging popularity of busts and portraiture. Utilizing the political institutions of the Republic, he formally ruled first as a consul and later as a tribune.
Rome entered an extended period of peace and political and social stability known as the pax Romana. The Empire Renewed 45 Augustus introduced extensive social, political, and cultural reforms on his own authority. The Senate. Augustus's reform of the Roman state relied heavily upon the Senate, which he subordinated to his interests. The senate became a member hereditary body that was open to leaders from the Italian cities and colonies.
The Equites. Expanding the ranks of the equites with wealthy merchants, publicans, and speculators, Augustus often employed them in administrative posts or as army officers. Augustus made it easier for people to become an equite and also easier for them to progress to become a patrician and senator. The Army. By granting land and cash payments to retiring soldiers, enrolling provincials in auxiliary units, and establishing the elite praetorian guard, Augustus resolved the Roman military crisis. Colonies of veterans, established in the provinces, also helped to Romanize the provinces.
Urban poverty and unemployment, however, were increasingly important concerns, which encouraged Augustus to placate the poor with free food, fresh water, and entertainment. Divine Augustus. Augustus strengthened Roman society by restoring Roman religious traditions of piety and morality, rebuilding temples, encouraging religious festivals, and recreating the link between traditional Roman gods and the destiny of Rome.
He also promoted a new cult of emperor worship. In the east, Augustus himself was considered to be a living god. Seeking to bolster the declining authority of the paterfamilias and reestablish traditional Roman values, Augustus encouraged marriage, procreation, marital fidelity, and wives' submission to their husbands.
Poetry and Patronage. But the emperor exiled Ovid, another notable poet, for his irreverence and wit, and for his encouragement of sexual immorality. After the Flavian emperors, the Antonines ruled Rome for the remainder of the pax Romana, reportedly a time of happiness and prosperity. Breaking the Peace. Although Roman armies contended with sporadic revolts and border wars, Trajan oversaw the final expansion of the empire's boundaries into Darcia, Armenia, and Mesopotamia.
The resulting Roman Empire was noteworthy for its prosperity, heterogeneity, and stability. Administering the Empire. Imperial government was oppressive. Emperors delegated most of the administrative responsibilities to local officials, who received Roman citizenship for their service.
Where the emperor's rule was more immediate, the role of the army was far more evident, as the army began to play an increasingly important role in politics. Other administrators came from the extended households of the Roman elite. Government officials generally left people alone as long as they paid their taxes and obeyed the law. Because of the openness of provincial government, subject peoples who became Romanized could aspire to power and public office.
Jewish Resistance Roman officials left Judaism essentially alone. The Sadduccees were willing to accept some aspects of Hellenistic religions in exchange for toleration. Yet within Judaism the Hasidim rejected the polytheism of Hellenistic culture. Though he taught peace and love, the Jewish scholar Hillel rejected collaboration with polytheistic powers. Another Hasidim faction, the Zealots, periodically led armed rebellions against the Romans. The Romans responded with force. The Origins of Christianity Although Jesus of Nazareth left no religious texts, his followers compiled a selection of Gospels, Epistles, a book on the activities of the early Christian community, and a book of revelations.
Jesus taught love and peace, performed miracles, and his followers claimed him to be the promised Messiah. Because the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, saw Jesus as a threat to Roman government, he authorized Jesus's crucifixion. Spreading the Faith. The apostles and disciples of Jesus reported his resurrection, which they saw as evidence of his promise of salvation. Initially a Jewish sect, Christianity became a growing and separate religious tradition when Paul of Tarsus preached that God had created man and had intended him for eternal life.
Salvation was possible through belief in Jesus 47 and could be shared through baptism and church membership. Christianity gradually spread throughout Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy. Ironically, the persecutions enhanced the popularity of Christianity. Christian Institutions. As the church grew in membership, its organization became more formalized with bishops becoming key clerical officials. Presbyters or priests, deacons, and deaconesses assisted the bishops. A clear distinction emerged between clergy and laity. As disagreements arose over differing interpretations of the Gospels, the bishops' authority increased as they sought to resolve theological differences.
Imperial officials and Hellenistic philosophers meanwhile criticized the immorality of the Christians who had refused to recognize Roman gods or the divinity of the emperor. Although Christianity spread rapidly in the first and second centuries, its impact was not fully revealed until the third and fourth centuries. A complex road network connected the towns, allowing Emperor Hadrian to conduct an extended tour of his domains. The Western Provinces Hadrian experienced the harsh life his soldiers led along the primal German frontier.
He also constructed a wall protecting northen England from Celtic attacks. His visit to Spain noted a highly Romanized and wealthy province whose citizens increasingly avoided military service. The Eastern Provinces In the prosperous east, Hadrian noted civic rivalry, strong non-Roman traditions, and the great differences of urban and rural populations. Hadrian established a number of new cities to undermine Hellenistic values. Although helping to bolster Roman control of this vast region, Hadrian's ten-year tour was unable to eliminate threats that hostile tribes, corrupt officials, declining interest in military service, and the persistent cultural gap between the city and the countryside posed to the empire.
The Culture of Antonine Rome The historian Tacticus and biographer Plutarch recorded and analyzed public virtue in the late empire. Plagued by barbarian invasions, Emperor Marcus Aurelius embraced Stoicism, which 48 encouraged people to ignore secular honors and material possessions. But, by the time of the assassination of Commodus, his son and successor, the long pax Romana had ended. After years of Empire, Rome faced civil war and the threat of invasion, along with a disintegrating power structure. By incorporating the wealthy and powerful into its political system, Rome was able to fight off the forces that had defeated the earlier Republic.
Discuss the changes in Roman intellectual life from the early republic to the late empire. Why was civil conflict endemic in the Roman world before the pax Romana? What mechanisms contributed to the reestablishment of order? Augustus was concerned about the erosion of traditional Roman values and sought their restoration. What are some of these values? Was Augustus right in trying to reintroduce these values? Religious life changed substantially as the Roman Empire expanded.
Discuss the major changes in pagan and monotheistic religions in this period and their political implications. Elites dominated many aspects of Roman life under the empire. Did the basis of their power change as the empire grew or did it remain fundamentally unaltered? Are there elements in Stoicism that anticipate the collapse of the Roman empire? Jerome: Map of the Near East, c. The Roman Arena 50 minutes; color Examines the Roman use of violence as public entertainment. Takes advantage of primary accounts and computer—regenerated events. Caesar appears as a young soldier, a rising political figure, an established state leader, and a man in the throes of old age.
Considers the situation at the start of Caesar's career, the bases for his military successes, and his rise to political power. Concludes with his assassination at the hands of other Roman notables in whom he had aroused distrust and hatred. C The Roman World 22 min; color; 16mm CC,16 51 A description of the ancient world as it existed under the authority of Rome. Demonstrates with scenes of present-day ruins the scope of the Roman Empire, stretching from Britain to Turkey and from Germany to Africa. Considers the Jewish roots of Christianity, the role of St.
Paul as a leading apostle for the new religion, and the change in Christianity's status after the conversion of Emperor Constantine. Town and Country 26 min; color; 16mm Examines the urbanization of the Roman Empire under Augustus. Rome Under Augustus 26 min; color; 16mm Explores the extensive building program in Rome undertaken by Augustus. Nevertheless, a dramatic cultural change was taking place in the face of barbarian invasions. An over—extension of imperial boundaries, an archaic economic system, a shortage of ready cash, inflation, the uncertainty of imperial succession, and the inefficient collection of taxes worsened imperial problems.
The fate of Rome was increasingly based on military success and the personal presence of the emperor.
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Enrich the Army and Scorn the Rest Military defeats encouraged soldiers to elevate their own commanders as emperor, a practice that Septimius Severus introduced. Financed by the confiscation of senatorial wealth and a devalued currency, the reforms of these military emperors entailed substantial increases in soldiers' pay, a greater governmental role for soldiers, and a rapid expansion of the army.
The Rise of the Military. Increased pay enabled soldiers to improve their living conditions and to climb the social ladder. Frontier settlements also prospered because of imperial largesse. Economic Disaster. Economic and political stability spread as soldiers supported and then overthrew a succession of emperors. External Threats. The empire faced increased attacks by Berbers, Persians, and Germanic tribes like the Alemanni and Franks.
An Empire on the Defensive Barbarian invasions show the weakness of the central imperial administration. In the power 53 vacuum provincial aristocrats often supported separatist movements like that of Postumus. Tax Burdens. Sharp social divisions followed the growing political chaos as the senators, urban gentry, and military who constituted the honestiores evaded the growing burden of taxation, which fell increasingly on the rest of the population, or humiliores. High taxes drove many into banditry not only on the periphery of the empire but throughout the empire.
The government brutally suppressed resistance movements or bacaudae. Nevertheless, Bulla the Lucky was popular for his efforts to help the poor. Another bandit, Maximinus, actually became emperor in The Barbarian Menace No longer peaceful bands of farmers, Germanic barbarians organized into powerful military tribal confederations and launched numerous attacks upon the empire.
Germanic Society. Living in patriarchal households loosely organized into clans, German barbarians structured their social relations around regular individual and group warfare. One key element of personal conflict was the feud, each act of which required retribution. Feuding and Peacemaking. Tribal leaders would later encourage the voluntary cash payment, or wergeld, in lieu of blood vengeance.
German tribes also encouraged unity through common cults, myths, and rituals, especially drinking bouts. Warrior Bands. Barbarians used the institution of comitatus, or warrior band, where warriors would form a personal bond with a leader who would lead them in battle and share the spoils of victory. Pursuing booty, these bands would break truces when they raided their neighbors.
Occasionally, the comitatus served as the nucleus of a new tribe. Roman Influence in the Barbarian World The Roman Empire itself helped strengthen the tribes when it disrupted the balance of power between them. The Lure of Roman Culture. Barbarian leaders traded their cattle for Roman gold and grain and entered into military alliances with the Romans.
The West Germanic Revolution. The demand for military leadership encouraged the barbarians to transform their political institutions, so that war lords replaced traditional tribal kings. The resulting West Germanic Revolution saw tribes become armies and create pro- and anti-Roman factions.
The Gothic Confederation. Political change culminated with the Goths, who gave their 54 king more military power. Germanic, Slavic, and Scythian peoples followed Gothic kings, allowing them to challenge Roman authority. The early third-century wars with the Goths proved to be more destructive to the Roman Empire than the later ones. Diocletian, the God-Emperor Diocletian emphasized the autocratic power and divinity of the emperor, while limiting the geographical territory under his oversight by creating a tetrarchy that divided the empire into eastern and western portions, each under the rule of an augustus and his subordinate caesar.
The Tetrarchy. Diocletian stabilized the currency by fixing wages and prices and by increasing the silver content of coins. He also separated military from civilian administration. Smaller provinces and a larger bureaucracy were two other important governmental improvements that Diocletian introduced. A Militarized Society. Expanding the army and militarizing society, Diocletian created a loyal and effective military system. Fiscal Reform. Diocletian failed, however, to reform the Roman economy, and in the process destroyed the authority of local officials.
His practice of binding hereditary tenants coloni to the land to ensure their payment of taxes laid the groundwork for the subsequent institution of serfdom. Diocletian also began the Great Persecution of Christians in that resulted in the destruction of churches and religious texts and the death of numerous Christians.
Constantine, the Emperor of God In , Diocletian and his co-augustus Maximian abdicated, turning power over to their caesars, Galerius and Constantius. Victory and Conversion. Constantine killed Maxentius and won the battle of Mulvian Bridge in Constantine's conversion to Christianity led to his ending the persecution of Christians, starting the toleration of their religion. Constantine altered both the structure and the political center of the Roman state when he moved the imperial capital to Constantinople.
His conversion to Christianity paved the way for the new 55 religion to become the official religion of the Empire. The Triumph of Christianity Christianity quickly emerged as the official religion within the empire. Constantine used Christianity to strengthen his political control over the empire as he sought to become the head of the church.
Bishops rose to political eminence, ruling lavish churches that the emperor had constructed.
Emperor and Church. Miracles, itinerant preachers, and even coercion encouraged large-scale conversions in the fourth century. The nature of Christ and the role of individual righteousness in personal salvation were particularly contentious issues. Divinity, Humanity, and Salvation In the early Christian church individual communities endorsed different interpretations concerning the nature of Christ.
Questions concerning the nature of Christ were key to the so-called Christological controversy. Different interpretations existed, however. Monarchians favored the oneness of God. Gnostics denied the human nature of Christ, claiming that he was fully divine. Arians maintained that Jesus was a man and had no divine nature. Origen of Alexandria. Origen synthesized the Neoplatonism of the period with Christianity by arguing that the Father and the Son were co-eternal.
Arius denied this notion, however, claiming that Jesus was not equal to God the Father. The challenges Arius and his followers, known as Arians, raised resulted in the Council of Nicaea in At Nicaea the council denied Arius's views. Nevertheless, many Goths soon adopted Arianism. Later, the Council of Chalcedon rejected the claims of the Monophysites by reiterating its belief in the Trinity.
Meanwhile, the Pelagians believed perfection was possible on earth through the imposition of individual wills. Augustine of Hippo. Augustine of Hippo denied allegations that Christianity was responsible for the decline of Rome. Christians, moreover, expected to co-exist with sinners. The Call of the Desert Hermits, monks, and recluses urged the Christian population to reject secular values for devotion to God.
The decision of Anthony to dispose of his possessions and live in the desert encouraged others to reject a secular life for one of ascetic monasticism. Monastic Communities There were two basic forms of monasticism: communal and solitary. Monastic communities sought spiritual growth through mortification of the flesh and submission to the abbot, their leader. In the east, monasteries, following the organization of Basil the Great and Pachomius, exerted considerable political influence. Basil encouraged a communal life of work, prayer, and social service. In the west, where the rule of Benedict of Nursia dominated, monks were more isolated from public affairs, though their monasteries served as religious, educational, and economic centers.
Jerome, a monk, translated into Latin the official version of the Bible, known as the Vulgate. Solitaries and Hermits Solitary monastic life attracted Christians to the Syrian desert even as monastic communities grew elsewhere. Extreme self-mortification dominated the ascetic lives of hermits like Simeon Stylites. Rejecting civilized life, Christian hermits wielded political power, by serving as arbitrators in the disputes of surrounding communities.
Western hermits normally did not serve as mediators. But, greeted with Roman brutality, the Visigoths successfully rose up against the empire and defeated the Roman army at Adrianople in This forced Emperor Theodosius to grant them land and self-government within the empire. In the Visigoths sacked Rome before retiring to Spain and southern Gaul. The Barbarization of the West Rome's relations with the Visigoths began a process of accommodation in which barbarian soldiers served in the Roman army and their kings came to rule in the name of the emperor in the west.
As a consequence of a series of invasions by Visigoths, Vandals, and Huns, the western emperors disappeared altogether after Theodosius led the Ostrogoths in taking over Italy.