Essay on Romans

This essay has a total of 2292 words and 9 pages.


Decline of Roman Republic / Rewrite

The Beginnings of the mighty Roman empire as we know it today was
actually quite humble. "The Roman heritage can be traced back to an early
civilization of settlers from the Indo-European immigrants who between 2000
B.C. and 1000 B.C. had began to settle around the Northern Italian
peninsula"(World History: The Human Experience). Of all the settlers the
Romans are said to have arose from a mysterious group called the Etruscans,
which ruled northern Italy around 900 B.C. to 500 B.C. The Etruscan society was
made up of upper class families who owned land, or were priests. "The other
class in the society was the slave laborers" (World History: The Human
Experience). During the Etruscan period of rule there soon came constant revolts
from the lower classes and later freeing themselves from the rule of there wealthy
overlords. Among the strongest of the Etruscans were the Latins, who settled in
the city of Rome in the central plains of Latium of Italy. " Thus this is the
beginning of Rome's founding at 753 B.C." (World History: The Human
Experience). The Tarquins were the first ruling monarchy of the Romans. They
quickly developed the Roman empire through constant developments. At 534
B.C. a king named Tarquin the Proud ruled. "This ruler was known to be a cruel
ruler and therefore was driven out by the Etruscans." (World History: The Human
Experience). Under Etruscan rule in 509 B.C. the patricians or Latin nobles
declared that Rome would become a Republic ruled by the people. The republic
consisted of an executive and legislative branch. During this period of history
Rome began to write down laws and pass government assemblies. At this time
Rome was still a small city-state that controlled only a tiny section of Italy. The
size of Rome would be comparable to the size of New York City with a
population of perhaps 260,000. As the republic form of government was in place
Rome would also have constant battles with surrounding tribes such as the
Sabines, Umbrians, Volsci and Aequi. In 396 B.C. the Romans had an all out
assault on the rest of Etruria and captured the town of Veii. During this same
period of time the Gaul, a semicivilized warlike people of central Europe had
swept over Europe and into Italy.
"The Gauls would soon invade much of Etruria" (World history; Human
Experience). On the arrival into Rome the two forces met on July 18, 390, near
the Allia river. The Romans were confused, They panicked and broke away from
ranks and were defeated. "The Gauls burned and ransacked much of Rome, until
a general named Camillus reorganized the army and won back Rome through
small victories and by paying the invaders to return to the Po Valley" (World
History, Human Experience). Weaken by the Gauls, Rome rebuilt itself and
continued to expand. Carthage, of North Africa had also become the strongest
force around the Mediterranean. In 264 B.C. they desired to control the Strait of
Messina between Sicily and Italy. The Romans soon set war on Carthage, setting
off the First Punic war, the Carthaginians quickly defeated and weakened the
Roman armies. War continued until 241 B.C. when Carthage became weaker and
retreated home in defeat. The Second Punic war in 221 B.C. was led by a young
soldier of 26 years old. "His name was Hannibal and he desired to bring the war
into Italy" (Decline and Fall of Rome, Nardo). His goal was to invade and
capture Rome with other rebels who would join him. He led 40,000 soldiers into
Rome but half were lost during the trip. Outnumbered, Carthage still defeated
Rome. By 216 B.C. the Romans had come close to being destroyed, but Rome
stood strong and raised larger armies. " In 202 B.C. general Publis Scipio took the
war bact to North Africa and defeated Carthage" (Destruction of Carthage,
Appian) . Rome gained lands in Spain and won even more indemnities.
Fifty years later Carthage again gained back its power. Although Rome
did decide to finally end Carthage independence and controlled much of western
Mediterranean in the process. At this same period of time, Rome was also
acquiring land in the east. By the year 146 B.C. the Romans had direct rule over
Greece and Macedonia (World History, Human Experience). With a greater
number of provinces the Romans organized local officials in order to collect taxes
and maintain order. These governors also called proconsuls soon stole money
from the government creating greater wealth for themselves (Tacitus, Annals).
These events causes revolts within the provinces.As uproar took place within
Rome's republic senate, troops became tangled between their loyalty to either the
senate or their generals in command. The Senate began to loose control of its
individual provinces due to the continued growth of the latifundia power groups,
groups of a wealthy new class that made money in there businesses, that were
forming as well as the growth of corruption within the senators (Sallust, Decline
of Rome). The history of the generals and troops at the time was that the Roman
army had become the greatest power for Rome and violence soon became greater
in power than the senate. Much of the army put their trust and fellowship with
the generals (Decline and Fall of Rome, Nardo). The senate lost power to the
Roman General Gaius Marius in 107 B.C., who took on reforms to strengthen the
weakening Roman empire (Decline and Fall of Rome, Nardo). In 88 B.C. a new
army formed where the soldiers owed allegiance to their commander and not the
republic. This army under the rule of General Lucius Cornelius Sulla wanted to
end Marius's command so therefore Sulla had his legions capture Rome and
drove Marius out. The result was seven years of civil wars. Sulla, as dictator,
tried to build a more solid senate but failed to take power away from the
Assembly of Tribes (World History, Human Experience). The civil situations in
the senate was also in distraught, members would use violence to solve many
disputes. In 70 B.C. Julius Caesar ,Gnaeus Pompey, and Crassus became consuls.
Later in 60 B.C. the three ruled together, although it proved to be a bad plan
(Decline and Fall of Rome, Nardo). Meanwhile during this time period Crassus
dies in battle leaving Pompey and Caesar to hold power. Pompey then worried
whether Caesar would attempt to gain power by using his legions, and ordered
Caesar to leave the legions in the north and return to Rome. "Caesar ignores
Pompey and crosses the Rubicon River committing treason and another civil war
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