Rome is a city in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula along the shores of the Tiber river. It is the capital city of modern-day Italy. The `Vatican City`_ is an independent country geographically located within the city boundaries of Rome.

The Roman civilization lasted from 753 BC to 476 AD. It is important to political scientists not because of its fall but because of its longevity.


1   History

Rome's history spans more than two and a half thousand years. Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at only around 735 BC, but the site has been inhabited much longer.

The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem written by Virgil_ between 29 and 19 BC that tells the legendary story of Aeneas. The Aeneid is a cornerstone of the Western canon, and early (at least by the 2nd century AD) became one of the essential elements of a Latin education, usually required to be memorized.

Titus Livius (Livy) was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people - Ab Urbe Conditia Libri (Books from the Foundation of the City) - covering the period from the earliest legends through the reign of Augusts in Livy's own time.

Latins did not seem innovative. Excelled at warfare, engineering, and administrating. Their gods are adaptation of Greek pantheon. Bound by common language.

1.1   Founding

The founding of Rome begins with the end of the `Trojan War`_. After the Greeks sacked Troy_, Aeneas_, the chief lieutenant of Hector_, fled the city with a few followers. They boarded ships and set out into the Mediterranean to find a new home. The first arrived in Carthage_, in the north cost of Africa, where Aeneas sowed the seeds of the three `Punic wars`_ by seducing Dido, the queen, and then abandoning her. Before she committed suicide, Dido cursed the descendants of both Rome and Carthage to eternal enmity.

Aeneas sailed to west coast of Italy where he and his followed hoped to make a settlement. Arriving in the territory of Laurentum, the Trojans were immediately met by armed locals who tried to drive them off. However, their king Latinus, decided to make peace and offered his daughter Lavinia to Aeneas. This angered Turnus, prince of the Rutuli, a nearby tribe, who attacked the combined Latin and Trojan forces. The Rutuli were defeated, but King Latinus was killed in the fighting leaving Aeneas in control of both people. Vanquished, Turnus looked north to powerful Etruscans for help, who decided to attack. However, Aeneas, in his final act, led the Latins to victory, establishing the Tiber river as the boundary between the Latins and the Etruscans.

After Aeneas died, his young son Ascanius grew to be king. The town built by the Trojan settlers had become too small for the exploding population, and Ascanius led a group east to found a new settlement called Alba Longa near the future site of Rome.

The kingship was passed from father to until the reign of Numitor. Numitor had a brother named Amulius who seized the throne from Numitor. Numitor was driven from Alba Longa, his sons were killed, and his daughter, Rhea Silvia, was forced to become a `Vestal Virgin`_ to ensure she would would bear no children who could threat Amulius. However, Rhea was raped and consequently gave birth to twin boys. Rhea declared that Mars was the father, but to no avail, and was imprisoned for the crime of allowing herself to be raped.

The twins were sent to be drowned in the Tiber, but the men entrusted with the task found the river flooded and left the boys in the flood water rather than slogging their way to the river itself. When the water receded, the babies were alive and well. Legend states a she-wolf found them and let them suck from her teat. A herdsman came upon the scene and gathered the children and took them home with him. They raised the boys as their own.


The boys took a liking to fighting local brigands, and took the fight to the robbers. In one fight, the brigands captured Remus and took him to the local land owner, who turned out to be Numitor, claiming Remus was stealing cattle. Numitor realized the twins were the right age and became convinced. The herdsman, knowing Remus was in Numitor's custody and having long suspected the boys were of royal blood, told Romulus the story of his discovery. From this a plan was hatched. Romulus and Remus surprised and killed Amulus. The people shouted for Numitor to become king.

Romulus and Remus decided to find a new settlement at the location of where they were abandoned. There are two stories for what happened next. In one, the question of who would be senior arose. They decided to let the gods decide and each retired to the top of a hill to await a sign. Six vultures landed at Remus, and then twelve at Romulus. A fight broke out with one side claiming primacy of arrival and the other primacy of number. In this fight Remus was killed. The other, more famous story, is that Remus, mocking his brother, jumped over the partially completed walls and Romulus in a fit of anger killed him, saying "So perish whoever shall overleap my battlements". Either way, Romulus became its first king. The legendary date of foundation is April 21, 753 BC.

Doubtful site of Rome was chosen because of Romulus and Remus. Easy river crossing, natural defenses because of nearby hills, and the site laid on a trade road.

Aeneas connects city to the Greek civilization.

Established at the bend in the Tiber.

1.2   Kingdom (753 BC - 509 BC)

"Oath of the Horatii". Jacques-Louis David. Oil on canvas, 1784.

1.3   Republic (509 BC - 27 BC)

1.3.2   Pompey (56 - 52 BC)


Prior to Pomey's rule, the city was in a state of anarchy. The radical senator Claudius had transformed himself into a man of the people and through the use of street gangs disrupted public life in the city. Another senator, a conservative named Milo, had responded by raising street gangs of his own. Public life had slowly returned to normal but at the cost of violence on the streets and political uncertainty. Milo looked to the courts to bring an end to the violence. He brought a case against Claudius accusing him of inciting violence. Everybody knew that Claudius was guilty, but he was able to bribe and threaten his way to a not guilty verdict. Claudius then brought an identical case against Milo. Everybody knew Milo was guilty too, but that didn't stop the Senate from coming to his defense.

At the trial, as Pompey was speaking on Milo's behalf, Claudius turned to his supporters in the crowd and together they drowned out Pompey with an obnoxious chant. Claudius would shot "Who is starving the people to death?" and the crowd would answer "Pompey", referencing the fact that Pompey had been put in charge of Rome's grain supply. Then Claudius would shot "Who wants to campaign in the east?" and the crowd would answer Pompey. There were rumblings that the Senate was going to pick somebody to lead an army to Egypt and Pompey was definitely interested in the job. Then Claudius would shot "Who should go instead?" and the crowd would answer Crassus. There had always been unsubstantiated was secretly funding Claudius's street violence, and this seemed to confirm that there was some sort of arrangement between the two men.

The chant soon died away and Claudiu's supporters changed tactics, spitting at Pompey. Before too long, this caused a fight mostly because it's bad manners. In the struggle that followed, Pompey was pulled down off the speaking platform. He escaped injured, and the trial was called off.

After the brawl, Crassus started to make a series of public speeches arguing that the Senate should put him and not Pompey in charge of the expedition to the East. Pompey's fears were confirmed: the two men were coordinating. This was dangerous. Pompey, privately confessed to Cicero that he feared Crassus would send assassins when it was time for candidates to declare themselves for next year's consulship.

The Conservatives put forward Cato's brother in law, Domitius. It was in this context that Caesar summoned Pompey and Crassus to meet with him at what we now call the Conference of Lucca. With Pompey and Crassus opposed, Caesar's command was in jeopardy. The secret alliance between three men, the triumvirate, was splintering. Caesar's political survival depended on Domitius going down in defeat. Caesar suggested that Pomepy should run against Domitius on a joint ticket. If they won, they would have the power to extend Caesar's governorship and secure prestigious governorships for themselves. The three men agreed. As we know, Pompey would get Spain and Crassus would get Syria The two men returned to Rome with their alliance renewed.

Around this time, Caesar sent a message to Claudius to negotiate a side deal. If Claudius would agree to throw his support behind Pompey and Crassus this year, the triumvirate would agree to support his older brother's bid consul next year. Claudius agreed.

It was spring now and the election were scheduld for the summer. Pompey and Crassus immediately declared their candidacies and started campaigning, but they needed more time so Claudius summoned his street gangs and did everything he could to disrupt public business. It worked, and the elections were postponed for public safety.

Claudius' tactics made him enemies. At one point when the Senate was scheduled to meet, a bunch of his fellow senators physically blocked him from entering the building. Claudius promised that if they didn't let him in he'd have the Senate house burned down.

Summer turned to autumn, and then winter, and still no elections. When the snows cam in Gaul, Caesar allowed his men to travel to Rome as private citizens to vote. Coincidentally the street violence stopped when the soldiers arrived. Elections were scheduled for January on the last day of the year. Rome's two consuls stepped down and there was nobody to replace them.

On the day of the election, before dawn, a group of conservatives led by Cato showed up at the voting ground to make sure there was no funny business. But there was. A bunch of supporters of Pompey and Crassus were already there and armed. They attacked the Conservatives, killing some and driving the rest away. Cato was wounded defending Domitius. After the sun rose, Caesar's soldiers and Claudius's gang members came forward to cast their votes. Pompey and Crassus won their elections easily.

Since the election was taking place in January, the two men assumed office immediately. When elections happened, they were supposed to be overseen by consults. This led to the weird scenario where Pompey and Crassus were immediately responsible for overseeing the election that they had just participated in. The elections for prateor happened next, and this year Cato was a candidate. As Cato was winning his election, Pompey arbitrarily dissolved the assembly citing "bad omens". Then after his thugs made their rounds, he started up the voting again. This time, people switched their votes and Cato did not win. Pompey repeated the process for electing the Aediles.

This was too much for some people to handle, and there was a physical struggle in the election pens. Both factions had secretly brought weapons and things got deadly quickly. At the end of the day, Pompey returned home victorious but covered in blood. When his pregnant wife saw him, she fainted and would later have a miscarriage. (His wife was Caesar's daughter, Julia. The marriage had been arranged years earlier to cement Caeasar and Pompey's alliance through the triumvirate.)

Once the dust had settled, Pompey and Crassus had an ally in the Senate introduce legislation giving five-year governorships to Pompey and Crassus and a five-year extension to Caesar. As agreed, Pompey would get Spain, Crassus would get Syria, and Caesar would stay in Gaul. The legislation also gave the governors authority to unilaterally declare war without consulting the Senate. This legislation passed.

In the fall, elections were held for the year 54 BCE. Pompey and Crassus supporter Claudius's older brother for consul as they promised. He won the election, but so did Domitius. Crassus departed for Syria and would never return. Pompey decided to ignore his previous agreement with Caesar and stayed in Rome instead of going to Spain. His reasoning was that his military career was already unparalleled; he had nothing left to prove. He would stay in Rome free from Caesar and Crassus and establish himself as the most powerful man in the city. His subordinates would govern Spain in his absence. He ended the year by throwing expensive public games. (Apparently the big draw was elephant versus elephant fights.)

In 54 BCE, his wife unexpectedly died in childbirth. Pompey was genuinely heartbroken and spent a good portion of the year in mourning. (Caesar would off campaigning in Britain that summer, and wouldn't learn about his daughter's death until he returned to the Gaulic coast in the fall.) Now the legal bond between Pompey and Caesar was severed and the triumvirate was back to being as fragile as ever.

When the elections for that year rolled around, there was a massive corruption scandal. All of the candidates for council were caught bribing the consuls, who would be overseeing the election. (Last year, Pompey had shown everybody how easy it was to pick winners and losers and everybody was interest in replicating his success.) Everybody was disqualified and the election was pushed back six months so that new candidates could be found.

With violence on the streets and corrupt elections, Romans were feeling like the political system was becoming more and more unstable. People began to whisper that Pompey should step up and reestablish order. The word "dictator' started to be thrown around.

Before too long, brand new candidates were campaigning for consul. One of candidates was Milo. Claudius decided this was unacceptable and decided that if Milo was running there would be no election he took to the streets and Rome descended into anarchy. Their gangs clashed all over the city, and businesses grounded to a halt. This continued for months and elections kept on being pushed back.

One day in late January, Milo was leaving Rome on business and just happened to meet Claudius returning to the city on the same road. Each man was flanked by armed body guards. The groups almost passed in peace, but two gladiators working for Milo started taunting Claudius and fighting broke out. In the confusion, Claudius was hit in the shoulder with a javelin. Claudius's men tried to rush him into a building but Milo's men overpowered them and killed Claudius. His body was left on the road.

A traveler recognized Claudius' body and had it sent to Rome. When it got to Rome, new spread of Claudius' death. An angry mob gathered, took his body and marched toward the forum. They had intended to hold a funeral, but instead the mob stormed the Senate house. They piled tables, chairs, and anything else that would burn and piled it in the center of the Senate chamber. Claudius' body was laid atop the makeshift pyre and the wood was ignited, burning down the Senate house.

If an angry mob could burn down the Senate house, they could overthrow the government. They people wanted Pompey to restore order, but the Conservatives had an understandable aversion to dictators. They struck a compromise: Pompey would be allowed to rule as sole consul in the year 52. This was illegal for multiple reason. First, there had to be a ten year gap between consulships and Pompey had served only three years earlier. Second, there was no election. Nevertheless, Pompey assumed power.

A senator put forward legation for the Senatus Consultum Ultimum ("The Final Act"). This special piece of legislation gave the consuls unrestricted power to defend the Republic. It was the Roman equivalent to martial law. The bill passed without much debate.

Pompey immediately raised an army and had it enter the city. Legionairees fought the street gangs wherever they were found. Eventually, with soldiers on every street corner people began to go about their daily lives. As an olive branch, Pompey had Milo arrested for Claudius' murder. Milo was found guilty was exiled. Finally, Pompey decided the crisis had passed and that it was time to relinquish his extra-legal authority.

Somewhere in this period Pompey remarried and invited his new father-in-law, a lead Conservative, to service with him as consul for the remainder of the year. The two passed a string of conservative reforms such as prohibition on candidates standing for office in absentia. This was an indirect attack on Caesar, since it would force him to give up his command early and get dragged into court over his illegal actions during his term as consul.

1.3.3   Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar was captured by Cilician pirates, who infested the Mediterranean sea. The Romans had never sent a navy against them, because the pirates offered the Roman senators slaves, which they needed for their plantations in Italy. As a consequence, piracy was common.

In chapter 2 of his Life of Julius Caesar, the Greek author Plutarch of Chaeronea (46-c.120) describes what happened when Caesar encountered the pirates. The translation below was made by Robin Seager.

First, when the pirates demanded a ransom of twenty talents, Caesar burst out laughing. They did not know, he said, who it was that they had captured, and he volunteered to pay fifty. Then, when he had sent his followers to the various cities in order to raise the money and was left with one friend and two servants among these Cilicians, about the most bloodthirsty people in the world, he treated them so highhandedly that, whenever he wanted to sleep, he would send to them and tell them to stop talking. For thirty-eight days, with the greatest unconcern, he joined in all their games and exercises, just as if he was their leader instead of their prisoner. He also wrote poems and speeches which he read aloud to them, and if they failed to admire his work, he would call them to their faces illiterate savages, and would often laughingly threaten to have them all hanged. They were much taken with this and attributed his freedom of speech to a kind of simplicity in his character or boyish playfulness.

However, the ransom arrived from Miletus and, as soon as he had paid it and been set free, he immediately manned some ships and set sail from the harbor of Miletus against the pirates. He found them still there, lying at anchor off the island, and he captured nearly all of them. He took their property as spoils of war and put the men themselves into the prison at Pergamon. He then went in person to [Marcus] Junius, the governorof Asia, thinking it proper that he, as praetor in charge of the province, should see to the punishment of the prisoners. Junius, however, cast longing eyes at the money, which came to a considerable sum, and kept saying that he needed time to look into the case.

Caesar paid no further attention to him. He went to Pergamon, took the pirates out of prison and crucified the lot of them, just as he had often told them he would do when he was on the island and they imagined that he was joking.

Caesar supposedly wore a laurel wreath to hide his baldness.

Caesar had a child with Cleopatra_, named Caesarion.

When Julius Caesar died, he left today's equivalent of about $270 to each Roman citizen.

1.3.4   Crossing the Rubicon

Caesar had been consul in 59 BC, during which he had ignored the law several times, taking advantage of his legal immunity.

After Caesar conquered Gaul, it was expected he would run for consul a second time, in 48 BC. Caesar was governor of Gaul for five years after his first consulship, which granted him legal immunity.

The senate was divided into two groups: reform and conservatives. The reform group supported Caesar and the conservatives supported Pompey.

The conservatives repeatedly asked Caesar to step down. Caesar refused unless Pompey stepped down first. Pompey refused unless Caesar did so first, since he was worried that would leave Rome undefended.

The conservatives passed martial law. Caesar responded by crossing the Rubicon with a legion. The Roman senate declared him an enemy of republic.

1.3.5   Caesar vs. Pompey (49 BC - 48 BC)

Caesar conquered Pompey's three legions in Spain immediately at the start. At the Battle of Illerda, Pomepy's forces surrendered to Caesar which in turn caused the rest to to surrender.

Caesar defeated Pompey's forces in Greece and then chased him to Egypt.

Caesar was under siege at Alexandria by Ptolmey.

1.4   Empire (27 BC - 395 AD)

The Roman Republic had a representative form of government that divided power bentate the Senate and two consuls presiding over an array of lesser magistrates. It lasted from its traditional beginning in 509 BC until 31 BC, when it was reorganized by Octavian (later called Augustus) after many years of brutal civil war.

Augustus installed a form of government which kept the Senate and consuls, but place power effectively in the hands of a supreme ruler, the emperor, who was to hold that power for life. He himself ruled for 45 years. Fifty-one emporers followed August, some ruling for decades, others for only days. The Roman Empire lasted for over three and a half centuries. Imperial rule may be divided into five dynatisties, separated by periods of disruption on anarchy.

The Julio-Claudians (31 BC - AD 68)

The reign of the Julio-Cluadian emperors began with the restoration of order under Octavius. Heir of his great-uncle Julius Caesar, Octavius spent 13 years eliminat his rivals and taking sole control of the Roman state. In 27 BC, he took the tiel of August (revered). This completed the dismantlement of the Republic and Augustu's transition to emperor. After his death the Senate awarded him divine honors. August's successors are among the famous or notorious of the ROman emperors - Tiberius, Caligula, Calduius, and Nero.

A civil war occured during 68-69.

The Flavians (AD 69-96)

Vespasian was the first of the Flavian emperors. Raised to power by the legions in the east, he was successful in his campaigns on the norther frontier, naturally industrious, and pointedly simple in his personal habits. These equalities led the Senate to proclaim him a god after his death. He was succeded his sons Titus and Domitian.

The "Adoptive Emperors" (AD 96-180)

The emporers who succeede the Flavians were related not by blood, but through adoption. Among them are the so-called Five Good Emperors, including Trajan and Hadrian. Hadrian's notable successors, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, are also counted among the "good" emepoers. The dynasty came to a bad end with e reign of an incompetent youth, Marcus Aurelius's son Commodus.

Commodus and the Severans (AD 180 -235)

The disastrous reign of the cruel Commodus ended in assassination. One of his successors, a NOrth african military professional called Septimus Severus, was proclaimed emperor after the murder of Didius Julianus. He died of natural causes in York. The murder of the last of the Severeans, Alexander Severus, ended the dynasty and ushered in the next period, a half century of neat total anarchy.

Sounds similar to the way succession worked in the Roman Empire. Emperors tended to adopt the people they wanted to succeed them, regardless of their age or lack of relation. The Emperor Trajan, for example, was adopted by his predecessor Nerva while in his 40s, allowing him to take the mantle of Emperor relatively smoothly on Nerva's death.

1.5   Ancient Rome


Traditional stories handled down by the ancient Romans themselves explain the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth.

The most famous of these is the story of the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. Their mother was Rhea Silvia, daughter of Numitor. Before their conception, Numitor's brother Amulius seized power, killed Numitor's male heirs, and forced Rhea Silvia to swear to chastity. When Rhea conceived the twins by Mars, Amulius had them abandoned to die at the Tiber river because of a prophecy they they would overthrow him. By miracle, the river carried them to a place of safety where they were nurtured by a she-wolf until a shepherd and his wife found them and took them in as their sons. When they became adults and discovered the truth of their birth, they killed Amululis and restored Numitor. Rather than wait to inherit the throne, they chose to found a new city at their place of their upbringing. They agree to determine the site through augury_, but when each claims the results in his own favor, they quarreled and Remus is killed. Romulus founds the new city, names it after himself, and create its first legions and senate. The new city grows rapidly, and swelled by landless unmarried men, Romulus arranges the abduction of women from the neighboring Sabines. The ensuing wars ends with the joining of Sabins and Romans as one Roman people.

An antiquated definition of rape is "to kidnap". Like the Rape of the Sabines. It comes from the Latin rapere- "to seize".

After the legendary foundation by Romulus, Rome was ruled for a period of 244 years by a monarchial system, initially with soverigns of Latin and Sabine origin, later by Etruscan kings.

In 509 BC, the Romans expelled the last king from their city and established an oligarchic republic. Rome then began a period characterized by internal struggle between patricians (aristocats) and plebians (small landowners).

The third and second century BC saw the establishment of Roman hegemony over the Mediterranean and the East through the three `Punic Wars`_ fought against the city of Carthage_ and the three Macedonian Wars against Macedonia_.

The continuous warfare made necessary a professional army, which was more loyal to its general than to the republic... To this followed a major slave revolt under Spartacus_, and then established of the first Triumvirate with Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus.

The three big slave rebellions, the last of which was led by Spartacus, all took place between 135-71 BC when slaves were cheap and expendable, thanks to rapid Roman conquests, and so were treated appallingly.

The conquest of Gaul made Caesar immensely powerful and popular, which led to a second civil war against the senate and Pompey. After his victory, Caesar established himself as dictator for life. His assassination led to a second Triumvirate among Octavian (Caesar's grandnephew and heir), Mark Antony, and Lepidus, and to another civil war between Octavian and Antony. Octavian in 27 BC got the title Augustus. Rome was established as a de facto empire_.

Lepidus was a ranking politician in Rome, and was intimately connected to the families involved in the post-Sulla power struggle. He was married to Junia, sister to Brutus and also sister to the wife of Longinus. Brutus and Longinus famously murdered Caesar, but Lepidus was a major ally of Caesar's and fought against the "Liberatores" after the assassination. Lepidus was known as a skilled negotiator and military commander, who managed to keep the peace and keep Rome from falling apart after the assassination. Without going into too much detail, the power grab ended up a pitched struggle between Octavian/Antony (Caesar's heir/one of Caesar's foremost military commanders) and Cassius/Brutus (Caesar's rival, absurdly wealthy and politically powerful/Caesar's adopted son). Lepidus turned over control of most of his legions to Octavian/Antony during the war, and as a result began to fade from power. He has been treated poorly by historians for seeming to be so easily bullied by Octavian/Antony, and he did agree to execute Cicero, as well as his own brother Paullus, for being supporters of Caesar. Later, Lepidus was removed from office and a few poor political moves led to his wife and son being implicated in a plot to assassinate Octavian. More recently, some historians believe he was capable and a good commander, but simply lost to the juggernaut that was Octavian. It should be noted that Antony also lost out to Octavian, and even though he was known as a bit of an idiot with a bully complex, he was no slouch as a military commander.

Lepidus was not only a ranking politician at the time of Caesar's assasination, but his Master of Horse and the controller of the only legion near Rome. In the aftermath of the assasination, in order to solidify Lepidus' cooperation, Antony strong-armed the Pontifical college into naming Lepidus Pontifex Maximus His biggest misstep was one of negotiation. He allowed Octavian and Antony to appropriate several of his legions to gain glory in the east, while he had the unenviable job of maintaining a grain supply to Rome which was being besieged by Sextus Pompey. In 36, after helping Octavian defeat Sextus Pompey, and having been put out by the young politician's attitude toward him, Lepidus marched against Octavian. Famously Octavian managed to get all of Lepidus' troops to desert him without a fight and banished Lepidus. Lepidus lived out his days in exile but was occasionally called back to Rome after Octavian had assumed power to fulfill his function as Pontifex and to be belittled by Octavian.

Much of the hostility towards Lepidus in the ancient sources likely stems from Augustus' influence. Augustus was likely annoyed that Lepidus, whom he deemed had claimed the Pontifex illegally (Res Gestae, 10) did not die until 12 BC. Furthermore, modern historians such as Ronald Syme condemn Lepidus

for allowing the proscription of his brother, but ignore the fact that Lepidus was bargaining names and helped his brother escape proscription.

While Lepidus was not the demagogue that Octavian or Antony was, he was a powerful politician in his own right.

The rulers commonly known as the "Five Good Emperors" were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian_, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius. Antoninus Pius (86 CE - 161 CE) had the most peaceful rule of any ruler in antiquity; there is no record of any major events or conflicts during his 23 year reign. He was a skilled administrator and was praised by his contemporaries for his effective style of governance.

In AD 79, Mount Vesuvius erupted destroying the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Christianity became the official religion of the empire, thanks to an edict issue in 380 by Theodosius, who was the last emperor of a unified empire. After his death, his sons, Arcadius and Honorius, divided the empire into a western and an eastern part.

The deposition of Romulus Augustus on August 22 476 marked the end of the Western Roman Empire and the beginning of the `Middle Ages`_.

1.6   Middles Ages

Bernini was a famous marble sculptor. At 23 he made "The rape of Persephone". He sculpted in marble which is exorbitantly expensive, so it's doubtful anyone will ever rival his talent again.

2   Written History

Roman writers had every reason to ramp up the terrifying nature of the Gaulish Celts because the Romans defeated the Celts. It was in their best interest to call them barbaric and terrifying warriors in order to claim a greater victory. You can tell it was exaggerated because despite all of the building up of Celtic ferocity Rome handily beat them.

3   Military

There were two main types of Roman soldiers: legionaries and auxiliaries. A legionary is a Roman citizen. An auxiliary is not. Each must supply his own equipment and swear and oath of loyalty to the Emperor.

Legionaries join an infantry unit as part of a group eight men who all share sleeping quarters (a "cohort"). New soldiers are stuck with dirty jobs until they secure a specialist post. 10 cohorts (80 men) form a century with it's own standard bearer, commander of the watch, second-in-command, and a Centurion, to lead them all. Six centuries together make up a cohort and ten cohorts plus a small calvary unit make up the biggest roman army unit: the legion. The legion symbol is the Roman Eagle born aloft by the Aquilifer. Cohorts in a legion are number one to ten. Cohort one is extra large with five double-centuries. Its Centurions are the senior ranking primi ordines and the most senior of all is primus pilus or "first file". He can be promoted to camp prefect, in charge of the daily running of the legion. Outrank this campp prefect are seven men: six staff officers (the tribuni, members of the equestrian order) and the commander of the entire legion, a future senator.

Auxiliaries are the specialist of the Roman army, such as slinger, archer, or horsemen. Auxiliary cohorts are organized like legionary cohorts, but cohorts are not part of a bigger unit. When an auxiliary solider has served the Roman army for 25 years, a great reward awaits: he gets a plot of land, a pension, and all the rights of a Roman citizen, for him, his children, and the generations to come. [2]

3.1   Weapons

The Roman pilum was a javelin that primarily used as a range weapon to break up enemy charges. It could also be used against shielded enemies, where it would embed itself in a shield making it unwieldy.

4   Religion


Statue of Roma, a female deity who personified the spirit or genius of Rome.

Roma takes the form of a woman dressed like an Amazon and wearing a helmet. Her images appears on coin by the first half of the 3rd century BC. Although honored with temples throughout the empire, she does not seem to have received her shrine on the Capitoline Hillin ROme until the 4th century AD.

The interior of the Pantheon in the 18th century, painted by Giovanni Paolo Panini.


Statue of Coelia Concordia circa 385 AD. She was the last chief vestal virgin when the Temple of Vesta was closed in 391 AD by Theodosius. She later converted to Christianity.

Goddess of "harmonnious agreement". Her temple was on the lower slopes of the Capitoline Hill facing the Forum. Consecrated in 367 BC, it commemorated the success of the common people in breaking the upper class monopoly on the annual consulship, chief office of the Roman state.
Goddess of health.
The Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike (Victory). Her most famous Roman monument was her altar and statue in the Senate house. She appears repeatedly in official art and on coins to advertise the military success of the Roman state and its leader.

5   Further reading

6   References

[1]Mike Duncan. The History of Rome: 1 - In the Beginning.
[2]Vindolanda Museum. Oct 26, 2016. Roman Army Structure.
[3]Historia Civilis. Apr 4, 2017. His Year(s): Pompey (56 to 52 B.C.E.).

In Germania by Tacitus and works by Pliny the Elder, both mention the great size, strength, and bravery in battle of the Germans. They also mention their powerful blue-eyed gazes and tawny hair. Many believed that the Germans were the most formidable of Rome's enemies. The Graeco-Roman ethnographic tradition was deeply entrenched in the concept that geography determined physical, mental, and cultural properties. The arid weather in Africa meant that Carthaginians and Egyptians were smaller and dark skinned but were very intelligent and capable of great engineering and battle tactics, while the Scythians, Celts, and Germans were large, fair-skinned, and not very intelligent because of the lack of food and cold, harsh weather. For this reason, some Romans, like Tacitus, writing after the fact, did not fear an invasion by the Germans as they did not believe them intelligent or unified enough to mount a well-supplied invasion and beat the Romans in the open field of battle. As others have pointed out in this thread, this is quite untrue, from the Cimbrian War, the Batavian Uprising, the Great Illyrian Rebellion, and the invasion of Italy during the Marcomannic Wars (see the excellent post by /u/PapiriusCursor below for more information), as well as countless skirmishes where the Germanic peoples showed their military prowess over the Romans.

One of the greatest military blunders against the Germans was the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, where Varus was betrayed and tricked by the Germanic Tribes under Arminius, a Cherusci prince raised in Rome, and wiped out by a series of guerrilla ambushes. This was the straw that broke the camels back after a series of wars, and no great pushes into Germania were made afterwards. The greatest extent into Germania by Rome was a bit east of the Rhine and north of the Danube, where there was a buffer region and a large amount of trade for Germanic gold, furs, and amber.

What is dubious about many of the reports on the appearance of the Germanic peoples and attempts to categorize them as separate from the Celts, is that the same stereotypes that I mentioned above regarding the Germans are the exact same stereotypes attributed to the Gauls before they were conquered and pacified. They were seen as wild, suicidally brave, strong, fair-haired, and not as intelligent as the mediterraneans. The primitive, nomadic culture and noble aspects of Germanic society (the Romans glorified their rustic past and many historians and intellectuals were disgusted by contemporary Rome's greedy, lustful, and petty ways) were also the same that were attributed to the Scythians.

So there is definitely some truth to reports of the Germans, but take them with a large grain of salt because much of what was written was written by authors who had never met a native German and were basing their works off of reports and stories and was heavily distorted by stereotypes so that they could match their ideas and views of the world.

In the 1st century AD Rome developed glass which allowed farmers to grow plants from warmer climates and raise indigenous plants out of season.

Empress Theodora of the Byzantine empire was a hooker, and came to power by hooking up with the emperor of the time.

Rome wasn't built in a day.

All roads lead to Rome.

When in Rome, do as the Romans.