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Research paper topic: Rome, History Of The Accounts Of The Regal Period Have Come Down Overlaid With Such A Mass Of Myth And Legend That Few Can Be - 2893 words
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.. life in 79 BC. In addition to proscription, Sulla employed confiscation of lands as a method of suppressing his political enemies. Confiscated lands were either given to the veterans of his legions, who neglected them, or abandoned to become wasteland; Rome's former rich agricultural economy began to decline, and thenceforth more and more of the city's food was imported, Africa becoming the major source of Rome's grain supply. The Rise of Caesar In 67 BC the statesman and general Pompey the Great, who had fought the Marian party in Africa, Sicily, and Spain, cleared the Mediterranean of pirates and was then put in charge of the war against Mithridates. Meanwhile his rival Gaius Julius Caesar rose to prominence, and his political ability had full scope during the absence of Pompey.
As leader of the popular party Caesar strengthened his hold on the people by avenging the injured names of Marius and Cinna, pleading for clemency to the children of the proscribed, and bringing to justice Sulla's corrupt followers. In Marcus Licinius Crassus, a man of great wealth, Caesar found a tractable auxiliary. Catiline's conspiracy in 63 BC (see CATILINE), exposed and defeated by the famous orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero during his consulship, involved Caesar in the ill will in which the middle classes held popular adventurers. Pompey returned from the east and asked the Senate for the ratification of his measures in Asia and the bestowal of land on his legionnaries. His demands met with determined opposition, until Caesar, posing as his friend, formed with him and Crassus the coalition known as the first triumvirate. The triumvirate in 59 BC fulfilled its compact.
Caesar obtained the consulship and the satisfaction of Pompey's demands, conciliated the equestrians, many of whom were wealthy members of the mercantile class, at the expense of the Senate, and had enacted an agrarian law enabling him to reward the troops. His crowning success, however, was his obtaining for five years the military command of Cisalpine Gaul, Illyricum, and late of Transalpine Gaul, where he could gain glory by military conquests, and from which he could watch every political move in Italy. The triumvirs renewed their alliance, and Caesar procured his command in Gaul for five years more. Pompey and Crassus were elected consuls for the year 55 BC, and in the following year Pompey received as his province the two Spains, with Africa, while Crassus received Syria. The death of Crassus in 53 BC brought Pompey into direct conflict with Caesar. Rome, in the absence of efficient government, was in turmoil until the Senate induced Pompey to remain in Italy, entrusting his provinces to legates; it elected him sole consul for the year 52 BC and made him its champion against Caesar.
The Senate, wishing to terminate Caesar's military command and defeat his second stand for the consulship in 49 BC, demanded either Caesar's disbanding of his legions, and his presence in Rome at the time of the election, or his continued command and his renunciation of claims to the consulship. Negotiations failed to solve the deadlock, and in 49 BC Caesar with his legions boldly crossed the Rubicon River, the southern boundary of his province, and advanced on the city, thereby beginning the civil war that continued for five years. Pompey and the leading members of the aristocracy withdrew to Greece, allowing Caesar to enter Rome in triumph. Caesar's victory, unlike those of the other generals who had marched on Rome, was not followed by a reign of terror; neither proscriptions nor confiscations took place. A policy of economic and administrative reforms was put into effect, in an attempt to overcome corruption and restore prosperity to Rome. Continuing the war against Pompey, Caesar hurried to Spain, where he was victorious over the powerful armies of Pompey's legates.
Returning to Rome, having meanwhile been appointed dictator in his absence, he almost immediately renounced that post and was elected consul. Early in 48 BC he crossed into Greece and dealt Pompey a crushing blow at Pharsalus. Pompey was killed soon after in Egypt, but the Pompeian cause struggled on until 45 BC, when it collapsed at Munda in Spain, and Caesar was made dictator for life. Caesar's assassination by Republican nobles on March 15, 44 BC, was followed by Cicero's attempt to restore the old Republican constitution, but Mark Antony, who had been appointed consul with Caesar, now, at the head of 17 legions, combined forces with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Caesar's grandnephew, the youthful Octavian, later Emperor Augustus, to form the second triumvirate. The triumvirs began operations by proscribing and assassinating their opponents, including Cicero.
A stand made at Philippi by Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius, two of Caesar's assassins, was crushed by Octavian and Antony, and subsequently the triumvirs divided the control of the empire, Octavian taking Italy and the west, Antony the east, and Lepidus Africa. Antony, going to the east, was captivated by the charms of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and formerly mistress of Caesar, and with her planned an eastern empire. Lepidus, summoned to Sicily by Octavian to assist in the war against Sextus Pompeius, son of Pompey the Great, attempted to seize Sicily for himself and was deprived of his province and his position in the triumvirate. The death of Sextus Pompeius, after the destruction of his fleet in the Mediterranean, left Octavian, who had been sagaciously strengthening his position in the west, with only Antony as rival. After the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the subsequent suicide of both Antony and Cleopatra, the victorious Octavian became, in 29 BC, master of the east also and the undisputed ruler of the entire Roman Empire.
In spite of the series of disastrous civil wars, during the last years of the Republic a remarkable development of literary activity took place. This period, known as the Ciceronian period, extended from about 70 to 43 BC and forms the first part of the so-called Golden Age of Rome's literary development; the remainder of the Golden Age, extending from 43 BC to AD 14, is known as the Augustan period. Caesar and Cicero brought Latin prose to its peak of achievement, and Terence was the greatest scholar of the age. The poetry of the period is best represented by the work of Gaius Valerius Catullus and Lucretius. The Empire Octavian received the title of Augustus in 27 BC and began the new regime by an apparent restoration of the Republic, with himself as princeps, or chief citizen.
Augustus and the Julio-Claudian Emperors (27 BC-AD 68) The Republican constitution was retained, although until 23 BC as princeps Augustus held the real authority, which thereafter was vested in the tribunitian power and the military imperium, or final authority of command. The Senate retained control of Rome, Italy, and the older, more peaceful provinces; the frontier provinces, where legions were necessarily quartered, were governed by legates appointed and controlled by Augustus alone. The corruption and extortion that had existed in Roman provincial administration during the last century of the Republic was no longer tolerated, and the provinces benefited greatly. Augustus introduced numerous social reforms, especially those calculated to restore the ancient morality of the Roman people and the integrity of marriage; he attempted to combat the licentiousness of the times and sought to restore the ancient religious festivals. He adorned the city with temples, basilicas, and porticoes, transforming it from a city of brick to a city of marble. To the Romans an era of peace and prosperity seemed to have dawned, and the Augustan period represents the culmination of the Golden Age of Latin literature, distinguished in poetry by the achievements of Vergil, Horace, and Ovid, and in prose by Livy's monumental History of Rome. With the establishment of the imperial system the history of Rome became largely identified with the reigns of individual emperors.
The emperor Tiberius, who succeeded his stepfather Augustus in AD 14 and ruled until the year 37, was a capable administrator but the object of general dislike and suspicion. He relied on military power and in Rome had his Praetorian Guard, the only organized troops allowed legally in Rome, within ready call. He was followed by the insane and tyrannical Caligula, who reigned from 37 to 41; Claudius, whose rule (41-54) was distinguished by the conquest of Britain, and who continued the public works and administrative reforms instituted under Caesar and Augustus; and Nero, whose rule was at first moderate, as a result of the wise guidance and counsel of the philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca and of Sextus Afranius Burrus (died 62), prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Nero's overthrow, which was caused by his later excesses, and his subsequent suicide in 68 marked the end of the line of Julio-Claudian emperors. The Flavians and the Antonines (69-192) The brief reigns in 68-69 of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius were followed by that of Vespasian, who ruled from 69 to 79. He and his sons, the emperors Titus and Domitian, are known as the Flavians.
They revived the simpler court of the early imperial days and tried to restore the authority of the Senate and promote the welfare of the people. During the reign of Titus (79-81) occurred the famous eruption of Vesuvius that devastated an area south of Naples, destroying the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Domitian, in whose reign (81-96) lived the best writers of the Silver Age of Latin literature, became a cruel and suspicious tyrant in the later years of his rule, and the period of terror associated with his name ended with his murder. The brief reign (96-98) of Marcus Cocceius Nerva initiated a new era, known as that of the five good emperors, the others being Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. Each emperor was chosen and then legally adopted by his predecessor, being selected for his ability and his integrity. Trajan, emperor from 98 to 117, expanded the borders of the empire by the campaigns against the Dacians and the Parthians, and was noted for his excellent administration. Under him the empire reached its greatest extent. The satirist Juvenal, the orator and letter writer Pliny the Younger, and the historian Cornelius Tacitus all flourished during Trajan's reign. The 21 years of Hadrian's rule (117-38) were a period of peace and prosperity; giving up some of the Roman territories in the east, Hadrian consolidated the empire and stabilized its boundaries.
The reign of his successor, Antoninus Pius (reigned 138-61), was likewise orderly and peaceful. That of the next emperor, the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius (reigned 161-80), who was coruler with Lucius Aurelius Verus (130-69) until the latter's death, was troubled by incursions by various migrating tribes into different parts of the empire. Marcus Aurelius was succeeded by his profligate son Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus, who was considered one of the most sanguinary and licentious tyrants of history and was murdered in 192. Decline and Fall (193-476) The brief reigns of Publius Helvius Pertinax (126-93) and Didus Severus Julianus were followed by that of Lucius Septimius Severus, who ruled from 193 to 211; his short-lived dynasty included the emperors Caracalla, who reigned from 211 to 217; Heliogabalus, from 218 to 222; and Alexander Severus (208-35), from 222 to 235. Septimius was an able ruler, but Caracalla was noted for his brutality and Heliogabalus for his debauchery. Caracalla, who in 212 granted Roman citizenship to all freemen living in the Roman Empire, is said to have so decreed in order to impose on them the taxes to which only citizens were liable.
Alexander Severus was noted for his wisdom and justice. After the death of Alexander Severus, a period ensued during which great confusion prevailed in Rome and throughout Italy. Of his 12 successors who ruled in the next 33 years, nearly all came to a violent death, usually at the hands of the soldiers who had established them on the throne. A temporary revival of peace and prosperity was brought about by the Illyrian emperors, natives of the area now known as Dalmatia, namely, Claudius II, surnamed Gothicus, who in a short reign (268-70) drove back the Goths; and Aurelian, who, ruling from 270 to 275, was victorious over both the Goths and the Germans and defeated and captured Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, who had occupied Egypt and Asia Minor. For a brief period the unity of the empire was restored. Aurelian was followed by a rapid succession of historically unimportant emperors, of whom six ruled in the 9-year period before the accession of Diocletian, also an Illyrian, who ruled from 284 to 305. An able administrator, Diocletian introduced many social, economic, and political reforms.
He removed the political and economic privileges that Rome and Italy had enjoyed at the expense of the provinces. He sought to regulate rampant inflation by controlling the prices of provisions and many other necessities of life, and also the maximum wages for workers. To provide a more efficient administration, uniform throughout the empire, he initiated a new system of government by selecting a capable colleague, Maximian, who, like Diocletian, took the title of Augustus. He further reinforced this dual control by associating with him and Maximian two able generals, Galerius (242?-311) and Constantius, whom he proclaimed as Caesars, below the two Augusti in rank but with the right of succession to their posts. Diocletian himself had control of Thrace, Egypt, and Asia; to Maximian he gave Italy and Africa, to Constantius Gaul, Spain, and Britain, and to Galerius the Danubian provinces. This system created a stronger administrative machinery but increased the size of the already huge governmental bureaucracy, with the four imperial courts and their officials proving a great financial burden on the resources of the empire.
Diocletian and Maximian abdicated in 305, leaving the new Augusti and Caesars involved in a conflict that resulted in civil wars, not ended until the accession of Constantine the Great in 312. Constantine, who had previously become Caesar of the army in Britain, overcame all rivals and reunited the Western Empire under his rule. In 314 the defeat of Licinius (270?-325), emperor in the East, made Constantine sole ruler of the Roman world. Christianity, which had risen during the reign of Augustus and spread during that of Tiberius and of later emperors, had triumphed over Diocletian's attempts to crush it by persecution, and the politic Constantine, adopting it as his own religion, made it also the official religion of the Roman Empire, an event of far-reaching significance. The other important event of Constantine's reign was the establishment of a new seat of government at Byzantium, which was refounded as Nova Roma and subsequently called Constantinople (now Istanbul).
The death of Constantine in 337 was the signal for civil war among the rival Caesars, which continued until Constantine's only surviving son, Constantius II, succeeded in 353 in reuniting the empire under his rule. He was followed by Julian, known as the Apostate because of his renunciation of Christianity, who ruled from 361 to 363, and by Jovian (331?-64?), who ruled in 363-64. Thereafter the empire was again split in two. Theodosius I, the Great, was Eastern emperor on the death of the Western emperor Valentinian II in 392. Three years later, when Theodosius died, the empire was divided between his two sons, Arcadius (337?-408), emperor of the East, and Honorius (384-423), emperor of the West.
During the last 80 years of the Western Roman Empire the provinces, drained by taxes levied for the support of the army and the bureaucracy, were visited by internal war and by barbarian invasions. At first the policy of conciliating the invader with military commands and administrative offices succeeded. Gradually, however, the barbarians established in the east began to aim at conquest in the west, and Alaric I, king of the Visigoths, first occupied Illyricum, whence he ravaged Greece. In 410 he captured and sacked Rome, but died soon after. His successor, Ataulf (reigned 410-15), drew off the Visigoths to Gaul, and in 419 a succeeding king, Wallia, received formal permission from Honorius to settle in southwestern Gaul, where at Toulouse he founded the Visigothic dynasty.
Spain, already divided between the Vandals, the Suebi, and the Alans, was in like manner formally made over to those invaders by Honorius, whose authority at his death in 423 was nominal in the western part of the continent. His successor, Valentinian III, witnessed the conquest of Africa by the Vandals under their king Gaiseric and the seizure of Gaul and Italy by the Huns under their famous leader Attila. The Vandals, having taken Carthage, were recognized by Valentinian in their new African kingdom in 440, and the Huns, the rulers of central and northern Europe, confronted the emperors of east and west alike as an independent power. Attila marched first on Gaul, but the Visigoths, being Christian and already half-Romanized, opposed him out of loyalty to the Romans; commanded by Flavius Atius, they signally defeated the Huns at Chalons in 451. The following year Attila invaded Lombardy but was unable to advance further, and he died in 453.
Two years later Valentinian, the last representative of the house of Theodosius in the west, was murdered. The 20 years after the death of Valentinian saw the accession and the overthrow of nine Roman emperors, but the real power was General Ricimer (died 472), the Suebe, called The Kingmaker. The last Western Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was overthrown by the mercenary Herulian leader Odoacer (circa 435-93), who was proclaimed king of Italy by his troops. The history of Rome would subsequently merge with that of the papacy, the Holy Roman Empire, the Papal States, and Italy. For the history of the Eastern Empire from the time of Theodosius the Great, (see BYZANTINE EMPIRE).
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