ROMAN HISTORY: Indo-Europeans, ca. 1100 B.C. or possibly as early as 1500 B.C.


1. The Kings: 753 - 509 B.C.

2. The Republic: 509 - 27 B.C.

3. The Empire or Principate: 27 B.C. - A.D. 476

Rome: 753 B.C. - Mythological founding of Rome by Romulus.

The Aeneid by Vergil (Augustan Poet)

1. Purpose: to link the Roman World with the Greek World.

2. Justification of imperial rule.

3. Justification for the Julian Family to rule the Roman World (descendants of Julius Caesar).

The Trojan World:

1. Aeneas: son of Venus and Anchises.

2. Ascanius - son of Aeneas and Creusa (who was left in Troy).

3. Modeled (The Aeneid) after Homers' Iliad and Odyssey (Wandering and War).

4. Landing on the North African Coastline (Carthage). Representing the ultimate defeat of Carthage in the Punic Wars. ie. The Suicide of Dido.

5. Founding of Rome.

a. Aeneas - Lavinium

b. Ascanius - Alba Longa

1.) Numitor and Aemulius (usurper).

2.) Rhea Silvia (daughter of Numitor) ---- Vestal Virgin.

Mars -- visitation, resulting in the birth of Romulus and Remus.

c. Restoration of Numitor in Alba Longa.

d. Founding of Rome: ie. Tiber river surrounded by 7 hills.


1. Little is known of their origin.

2. Theories of Etruscan Origin:

a. Herodotus: came from Asia Minor, Lydian immigrants.

b. Dionysius of Halicarnassus: disagrees with Herodotus and maintains that the Etruscans were indigenous to Italy.

3. Herodotus perhaps more accurate:

a. Architecture appears to be oriental, most likely from Asia Minor.

b. Period of Greek Colonization -- trade with Magna Graecia.

c. Possible dispersion after the Persian Invasion through Greece.

4. At Lemnos: inscription - language is not Indo-European which adds to Herodotus' theory.

5. Archaeological Finds in the baby of Naples -- fragments of Mycenean pottery which indicates there was Mycenean trade.

6. Practice of looking at the liver of sacrificial animals (oriental practice) -- may indicate an eastern migration(Divination).

7. The Etruscans ruled Rome until 509 B.C.

8. Tradition holds that there were six kings after Romulus.

a. Numa Pompilius

b. Tullus Hostilius

c. Ancus Marcius

d. Lucius Tarquinius Marcus

e. Servius Tullius

f. Lucius Tarquinius Superbus (the Proud)

ROMAN REVOLUTION: 509 B.C. - expulsion of the last Etruscan King.

250 Years: Two Struggles

1. Expansion throughout Italy.

2. Plebeian struggle for Political Rights.

THE REPUBLIC: Plebeian Struggle for Equality

1. An Aristocratic Republic was established (Patricians).

a. Two annually elected magistrates, later called consuls (holding imperium).

b. In a National emergency, command could be given to an appointed dictator for six months.

2. Plebeians: landless population, laborers, peasants, merchants, manumitted slaves, artisans.

3. A Sharp Distinction between classes arose early in the Republic - the origin and development of classes is unknown.

4. 494 B.C.: Plebeians established their own officers (Tribunes and Aediles) and assembly (Concilium Plebis) and gradually forced the Patricians to recognize them.

5. 451 - 450 B.C.: appointment of the Decemviri which were responsible for the codification and publication of the XII Tables (it formed the basis for the future development of Roman Law).

* It dealt with debt and marriage.

6. 339 B.C.: the Plebiscita was given the force of law binding on the whole community. Originally only a recommendation to the Patrician Senate.

ie. a vote (law) of the Concilium Plebis.

7. From 445 - 376 B.C.: a new office opened to the Plebeians replacing the consulship.

421 - gained admission to the quaestorship.

366 - admission to the restored consulship.

356 - admission to the dictatorship.

351 - admission to the censorship.

337 - admission to the praetorship.

* By 300 B.C. - all offices of the state were opened to the Plebeians.


1. Popular Assemblies:

a. Assembly of Curias (Comitia Curiata) -- only assembly under the kings. It had no political significance by the time of Cicero and Julius Caesar.

b. Assembly of Centuries (Comitia Centuriata)

1.) Elected Consuls, Praetors, and Censors.

2.) Right to declare an offensive war.

c. Assembly of Tribes (Comita Tributa)

1.) Elected Quaestors and Curule Aediles.

2.) It could legislate on any matter.

d. Concilium Plebis (Assembly or Council of the People)

1.) Strictly a Plebeian Assembly.

2.) Elected the Tribunes and Plebeian Aediles.

3.) It could legislate on any matter except offensive wars.

2. The Senate (Senatus)

a. Advisory Council of State to give advice to magistrates when the needed it.

b. Powers:

1.) Discussion of legislation before it went to the assemblies.

2.) Revision of list of candidates.

3.) Suspension of ordinary law by decree: Senatus Consultum Ultimum (Martial Law power for the Consuls).

4.) Control of Finances: voting appropriations, taxes, and the state religion.

5.) Management of Provinces and Foreign Affairs:

Publicans: farmed system of taxation.

3. Cursus Honorum (established succession of elected offices).

a. Quaestor

b. Praetor

c. Consul

Outside of the Cursus:

a. Tribunes

b. Aediles

c. Censors


1. Rome constantly gained ground by defensive wars over neighboring states.

a. Corner stone of early Republican Foreign Policy: Defensive Alliances.

b. Expansion caused a need for more soldiers -- source, the Plebeian Class.

c. Caused the development of a new Patricio-Plebeian Class.

2. By 270 B.C.: Rome was in control of Central and Southern Italy.

a. Cisalpine Gaul in the North.

b. Carthage in North Africa.



1. Causes:

a. Carthaginians in 264 B.C. occupied Messana in Northeast Sicily.

b. Rome was allied with Greek Cities in Southern Italy who saw a threat to their trade security if Carthage dominated Sicily and the Straits of Messana.

c. Geography was beneficial to Rome (ie. more easily supplied).

2. Results:

a. Carthage was forced to evacuate Sicily.

b. Rome receives Western Sicily.

Importance: First Roman Province.

c. Syracuse: was permitted to retain its kingdom and independence.

d. War Indemnity: 3200 Talents. 

3. 238 B.C.: Corsica and Sardinia are annexed by Rome.

a. Mutiny in the Carthaginian Army (mercenaries).

b. Probably because Rome could not permit a Carthaginian base so close to the Italian Peninsula.

237 - 219 B.C. -- Carthaginian Conquest of Spain.

1. Initiated by Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal.

Purpose: to make up for losses in Sicily.

2. Ebro River Treaty: Carthage could have a free hand south of the river.

* An attempt to limit Carthaginian expansion.

3. Hannibal succeeded to command of Carthaginian forces in 218 B.C.

4. Saguntum:

a. Attacked by Hannibal (south of the Ebro River within the terms of the treaty).

b. Saguntum claimed to have a defensive alliance with Rome.

c. Rome demanded the removal of Carthaginians and Hannibal from Spain.

* Demand was ignored by Hannibal.

d. 218 B.C. - the Roman Senate declared war on Carthage.

SECOND PUNIC WAR: 218 - 202 B.C.

1. Hannibal takes the offensive and crosses the Alps into Italy.

2. Two major Roman Armies destroyed by Hannibal.

3. 212 B.C. - Syracuse revolted in favor of Carthage.

* Captured by Marcellus in 211 B.C., and Syracuse lost its independence.

4. 210 B.C.: Publius Scipio was sent to Spain - Carthaginian Army defeated and destroyed.

a. Scipio the Younger (Africanus) in 206 B.C. had driven the Carthaginians from Spain.

b. The Romans then moved into Africa forcing the recall of Hannibal from Italy.

5. Battle of Zama: 202 B.C.

a. Scipio defeated the Carthaginians and Hannibal forced to flee.

b. Death of Hannibal in 183 B.C.

6. Results of the Second Punic War:

a. Loss of Empire for Carthage.

b. Carthage lost her navy and independence.

c. Carthage was not allowed to contract with a foreign court without the permission of Rome.

d. Nor Army -- they were to rely on Rome for protection.

e. Large Indemnity and Spain becomes a Roman Province.

f. Numidia is created as an independent ally of Rome (area of present day Algeria).


1. Carthage made a remarkable economic recovery after the Second Punic War.

2. Cato: was part of a periodic embassy to Carthage to ensure that the Carthaginians were abiding by the terms of 202.

Fear: if Carthage could make an economic recovery, then why not a military one.

3. On his return to Rome, Cato urged the destruction of Carthage.

ie. "Carthago delenda est." (Cathage Must Be Destroyed)

4. Carthage continued to honor the terms of the Treaty of 202 B.C.

5. Rome agitated the Numidians into War with Carthage.

6. Carthage had no army (ie. Treaty of 202).

a. Carthage sent two embassies (delegations) to Rome. Both were ignored by the Senate.

b. 150 B.C.: Carthage had to take up arms to protect herself.

c. Excuse for Rome to declare war on Carthage in 149 B.C.

7. A Roman Army under Manilius landed in Africa.

a. The Carthaginians surrendered and handed over hostages and arms.

b. Discovered the city was to be destroyed -- Carthage then withstood a Roman Blockade until 146 B.C.

c. Carthage was stormed and sacked by Scipio Aemilianus.

1.) The Carthaginians were sold into slavery and the city was leveled.

2.) Rome rebuilt the city which was destroyed by the Vandals in A.D. 439.


1. Macedonia had allied itself to Hannibal during the Second Punic War.

a. Resulting in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Macedonian Wars.

b. 167 B.C.: Macedonia was divided into four semi-independent Republics.

147 B.C.: annexed as a Roman Province.

2. 146 B.C.: The Achean Confederacy was suppressed (commercial rivalry in the Greek World).

* Greece enjoyed another 50 years of semi-independence until being annexed by Rome.

* Rome's primary concern in the East was peace and order.

3. 133 B.C.: Attalus of Pergamum bequeathed his kingdom to Rome -- it was formed into the Roman Province of Asia.


1. Rome had been brought into contact with the advanced civilization of the Hellenistic World.

2. Trade and Commerce increased as wealthy Romans demanded more from conquered territories.

3. Tribute, forced payment, of large amounts of grain poured into Rome.

a. Created a surplus of grain which lowered prices.

b. Many small farmers were forced to sell their land to pay their debts (once the economic backbone of the Republic).

4. Latifundia: land from small farmers were bought up and created into large estates (ie. cattle and grapes).

a. Large influx of slaves -- cheap labor for these estates.

b. Many individuals forced into the city -- high unemployment.


1. The Gracchi: Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus attempted serious reform in Italy (ie. land food supply).

2. The Tribunate: during the middle of the Second Century B.C. -- began to revive some of its earlier power.

3. Tiberius became Tribune in 133 B.C. attempting land reform.

a. A bill to limit the amount of land a Roman could own.

b. A crowd of senators marched on the Assembly killing Tiberius and 300 of his followers.

4. Gaius Gracchus was elected Tribune in 123 B.C.

a. Legislation to provide wheat at a reasonable price ensured by an official subsidy.

b. A servant of one of the consuls was killed by supporters of Gaius.

* Senatus Consultum Ultimum: Gaius was killed and 3,000 of his followers were executed.

5. Political Factions:

a. Optimates: supporters of the Senate and the emergency decrees.

b. Populares: opposed to the emergency decrees and were willing to by pass the Senate and work directly with the Assembly.

6. Judicial Reform:

* A law had already bee passed providing for juries to be composed only of knights (Equites).

7. The Equites:

a. Originally they had been horsemen in the Roman Cavalry, but in the 3rd Century B.C. they were largely replaced by auxiliaries.

b. Function Changed: became officers in the legions and functioned on the staffs of provincial governors.

c. Not a homogeneous section of society: two basic groups.

1.) Prosperous landowners similar to senators, but a little less wealthy.

2.) Those involved in financial operations which senators were prohibited in a hope to prevent corruption.

Publicans: (tax collectors) contracted to the highest bidder.

Contracts: for construction of public buildings and supplying the army.

d. The New Court: helped to create the "Equestrian Order" whose interests would come into conflict with the Senate.


1. 118 B.C. -- Numidia had been divided between two princes.

2. Jugurtha (one of them) had been given the western, more primitive part of the country.

* He rejected the settlement and ordered the massacre of Italian residents in Numidia.

3. Rome declared war, and the first two armies sent had no success.

* Jugurtha became known as the lion of the desert.

4. Marius (107 B.C.) obtained the Consulship and supreme command from the Assembly over-riding the Senate.

a. Public Opinion brought about the appointment of Gaius Marius as commander.

b. He had amassed wealth as a knight and Publicanus and built up useful political support (ie. the Populares).

5. Recruitment of Troops:

a. Marius ignored property qualifications and recruited propertyless volunteers.

b. New Period: soldiers looked to their generals for reward; as propertyless, they couldn't expect anything from the Senate.

6. Marius: In Numidia

a. Impressive victories but no defeat or surrender of the enemy.

b. Through an African Ally: Jugurtha was captured by Marius' lieutenant, Lucius Cornelius Sulla.

7. Marius was eventually elected consul six times.


1. 90 - 87 B.C.: Social Wars -- Italian allies wanted full citizenship.

* Rome prevailed but citizenship was granted throughout the Peninsula.

* Intensified hostility between the Optimates and Populares.

2. King Mithridates VI of Pontus: first of several wars that would extend over 25 years.

a. Mithridates invaded Asia and eventually crossed over and occupied Athens.

b. Command was given to Sulla over Marius (88 B.C.).

c. Sulla eventually settled the situation in the East.

3. Civil War: 88 B.C.

a. Marius' supporters seized control in Rome killing many Optimates in Sulla's absence.

b. Sulla's Return: Sulla eventually triumphed being made Dictator in 82 B.C.

Proscriptions: (significance) authorized execution of political opponents.

Sulla remained in power until his voluntary retirement in 79 B.C.


1. Consuls: 70 B.C.

a. Gnaeus Pompey: had defeated Sertorius who had held Spain from 80 - 72 B.C. against the Senatorial government.

b. Marcus Licinius Crassus: had suppressed a slave revolt led by Spartacus in Italy.

2. They revoked much of Sulla's legislation restoring the power of the Tribunate.

3. Between 67 - 62 B.C.: Pompey cleared the Mediterranean of pirates, won new provinces in Asia Minor, Syria, and Palestine.

4. Julius Caesar:

a. A nephew of Marius (through marriage) and a supporter of his uncle's reform movement.

b. 61 B.C.: the Senate blocked his efforts to become Consul.

5. 60 B.C.: Pompey, Caesar and Crassus formed the First Triumvirate agreeing to work together for their mutual benefit.

a. Caesar became Consul in 59 B.C. and gained a prolonged command for himself in Gaul.

b. Between 58 - 50 B.C.: Caesar extended the frontier of Rome to the Rhine River and the English Channel.

Importance: Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars.

c. Pompey had remained in Italy while Crassus went to the East.

6. Decline of the Triumvirate:

a. Crassus was killed in 53 B.C. during a campaign against Parthia.

b. Becoming fearful of Caesar's growing power, Pompey allied himself with the Senate.

c. In 49 B.C., Caesar was ordered to disband his armies and return to Rome.


1. Caesar crossed the Rubicon River, the boundary between Gaul and Italy, with his troops.

2. The Senate proclaimed Caesar a rebel -- Caesar continued his march toward Rome forcing Pompey to flee to Greece.

a. Caesar first made sure his position was secure in Italy and Spain before proceeding into Greece.

b. In 48 B.C. - Caesar defeated Pompey at the Battle of Pharsalus in Greece.

c. Caesar pursued Pompey to Egypt (where Pompey had been murdered) and became involved in a struggle between Ptolemy XIII and his sister Cleopatra.

* Caesar eventually placed Cleopatra on the throne of Egypt (she had already become his mistress).

3. In 46 B.C. - Caesar returned to Rome and was made dictator for 10 years.

In 44 B.C. - He became dictator for life, and was given the title of "Pater Patriae".

4. Reforms of Julius Caesar:

a. Citizenship was granted to many provincials.

b. Appointed men of proven ability as Pro Consuls at fixed salaries and sent officials to check on the governors.

c. Land Reform - redistributing much among the landless.

d. The Senate was reduced again to an Advisory Council -- Caesar increased its membership to 900 (increasing it by 300).

ie. Including members from the equites, leading citizens of Italian and provincial cities.

e. He introduced a more accurate calendar: the Julian Calendar which was used in Europe until A.D. 1582.

5. Opposition to Caesar in the Senate: a conspiracy was formed and led by Gaius Cassius and Marcus Brutus.

ie. Caesar was murdered on March 15, 44 B.C. (Ides of March).


1. Caesar had named his grandnephew as his political heir and adopted son, Octavian. (Son of Atia, Julius Caesar's niece.)

a. 18 years old in 44 B.C. -- receiving military training in Illyrian.

b. Decided to return to Italy -- took the name C. Julius Caesar Octavianus.

2. Antony and Lepidus: drove the conspirators out of Rome and took control of the situation.

3. 27 November 43 B.C.: The Assembly of Tribes created the Second Triumvirate of Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus.

a. Proscriptions: 300 senators and 2,000 knights were executed.

b. 42 B.C.: Philippi (in Greece) the Republican Forces of Brutus and Cassius were defeated.

c. Antony was to go to the East to restore order and raise necessary funds -- contact with Cleopatra.

* Antony eventually had three children by Cleopatra.

4. The Treaty of Brundisium: October 40 B.C.

a. The Roman World is divided between the three Triumvirs. Octavian's sister, Octavia, is married to Antony.

b. Lepidus challenges Octavian in Sicily and is forced into retirement (ca. 36 B.C.).

5. Autumn 34 B.C.: The Donations of Alexandria

a. Antony recognized Caesarion (Ptolemy Caesar) as the legitimate son of Julius Caesar.

b. Divides territory in the East between his children by Cleopatra.

c. Octavian eventually persuades the Senate to declare war on Antony and Cleopatra.

6. The Battle of Actium: 31 B.C.

a. Naval defeat of the forces of Cleopatra and Antony.

b. 30 B.C. - unable to defend Alexandria both Antony and Cleopatra commit suicide.

* Caesarion is executed by Octavian.

7. 29 B.C.: Octavian returns to Rome.

a. Declares the wars are over and establishes one man rule.

b. 27 B.C.: Political Maneuver

1.) Announced the Republic was restored, and resigned all his offices.

2.) The Senate realizing Octavian's leadership was necessary for peace and order - granted him the title of Princeps and Augustus.

c. Powers:

1.) Proconsul of all provinces.

Procurators appointed to administer the province in his name.

2.) Commander of all armies with power to declare war and make peace.

3.) Tribune - the right to propose and veto laws.


1. Tiberius: A.D. 14 - 37

2. Gaius Caesar (Caligula): A.D. 37 -

3. Claudius

4. Nero: A.D. 54 - 68

(Galba, Otho, and Vitellus) the year of the three emperors.

The Flavian Emperors established by Vespasian.

THE GOOD EMPERORS (Almost a 100 Years):

1. Nerva: 96

2. Trajan: 98 - 117 (Empire at its greatest extent).

3. Hadrian: 117 - 138

4. Atonius Pius: 138 - 161

5. Marcus Aurelius: 161 - 180

PAX ROMANA: 27 B.C. - A.D. 180, a period of peace and prosperity without Civil War in the Roman World.

1. The Empire: Spain (in the West) to the Hellenistic Kingdoms ( in the East). Northern Africa including Egypt was under Roman control. The Rhine-Danube Rivers marked the boundaries of the Roman Empire.

2. Efficient Administration and Communication were the foundations of the rule Augustus established.

a. Tax collection was placed in the hands of imperial agents.

b. Roads: made communication easier and faster (ie. roads would not be this efficient again until the 19th Century).

c. Roman Legal System: became the basis for judicial decisions throughout the Empire.

1.) Became the basis of law for most European States.

2.) Contributions: Use of professional lawyers, evolution of civil law with rules of evidence, rights of defendants, use of legal precedents, and the concept that one is innocent until proven guilty.

d. Commercial Prosperity was a primary reason for the unity of the Mediterranean World.

3. Government:

a. The Emperor - was the source of law and all authority. Every Citizen had the right to appeal to the emperor.

b. Appointment of Pro Curators (provincial governors) whose term of office was lengthened.

1.) Paid a salary to avoid corruption.

2.) Inspectors sent periodically to ensure proper government.

c. Tiberius established a formal cabinet whose ministers were responsible for specific areas of governmental administration.

4. Results of Roman Rule during the Pax Romana.

a. Brought peace, order, and prosperity to subject kingdoms and municipalities.

b. Ambitious men could rise within the Roman System.

c. Religious toleration was public policy -- success did not depend on religion or nationality.


1. Augustan Literature: purpose to celebrate patriotism, public service, and the benefit of the Roman State to the rest of the world.

2. Authors.

a. Vergil: The Aeneid - celebrated Roman military power and the civilizing benefit of the Pax Romana.

b. Horace: The Odes - same as Vergil, but also critical of the wealth and luxury of the upper classes.

c. Ovid: The Metamorphoses -- inspired by myth and legend.

* His love poetry brought about his exile for life to a desolate area on the Black Sea.

d. Livy: From the Founding of the City (AUC): Ab Urbe Condita

1.) Depicted early Romans as patriotic and self sacrificing.

2.) Became a model of proper conduct.

e. Plutarch (a Greek): Parallel Lives of famous Greeks and Romans.

3. The Latin Language and Culture served as a unifying element to the empire.

4. Education - privileged upper class.

a. Elementary, secondary, and higher education.

b. A Roman entered school at the age of seven.

c. Athens: Philosophy

Alexandria: Medicine

Rhodes: Rhetoric

5. Amusements:

a. Enjoyed the Theater based on Greek plays (Terence and Plautus).

b. Jugglers, dancers, acrobats, and clowns (common at Roman Banquets).

c. Savage Sports:

1.) Boxing (from the Greeks) added brass knuckles.

2.) Chariot Races at the Circus Maximus.

3.) The Colloseum - gladiatorial combat.

d. By the 4th Century: 175 Public Holidays.

6. Science, Engineering and Architecture:

a. Galen: 100's A.D. - summarized the medical knowledge of his day.

b. Ptolemy (Alexandria): studied astronomy/believed the earth was the center of the solar system (belief of Europeans until the 17th Century).

c. Applied the Knowledge of the Greeks:

1.) City Planning.

2. Construction - probably the first to use cement.

d. Architecture:

1.) Based on Greek Models.

2.) Used the Arch and Vaulted Dome.


Crisis of the Third Century:

1. The Economy and Trade:

a. Economic development of the First Century A.D. led to prosperity and increased international trade within the Mediterranean World (benefits of the Pax Romana).

b. Economic Expansion -- led to a high level of demand in Rome.

1.) Reliance on the empire (provinces) for consumer goods.

ie. unfavorable balance of trade.

2.) Goods produced by a domestic system. Growth of provincial economies led not to increased trade but to local self-sufficiency. ie. decline in trade.

2. Agriculture: 2nd and 3rd Centuries A.D.

a. The trend to large farms was accompanied by a decline in the availability of slave labor.

b. Increased use of tenant laborers, called coloni. ie. origin of Medieval Feudalism (serfdom).

c. Landowners spent more time on their estates (converting them from money making enterprises to family homes).

1.) Rich landowners lived on the land rather than the cities of the Empire.

2.) Land not currency increasingly became the basis of wealth.

3. Declining Population:

a. The Plague -- decimating populations in many cities. (explain the origin of the word decimate).

b. Increased poverty resulted in a high rate of infant mortality.

c. Constant warfare on the frontier required a steady flow of recruits to the army.

4. Finances:

a. The necessity of maintaining the army and decreased productivity in the empire -- led to devaluation of currency. (ie. gold and silver plated coins - contemporary comparison).

b. Inflation led to decreased income from taxes.

5. Extension of Citizenship (ie. A.D. 212 - empire wide by Carcalla):

a. The Old Senatorial Order was weakened and gone forever.

b. Extension recognized the equality of Rome and its provinces.

c. The Senate was rendered obsolete by the 3rd Century division of all citizens into two classes based on wealth.

1.) Each class had a different set of rights and duties and received different punishments for similar crimes.

2.) There was a division between rich and poor in both legal status and economic condition.

6. Social Problems:

a. Vast slums and thousands of permanently unemployed. (What is the significance?)

b. The economic vitality of Rome had disappeared -- the mass of the population lived off handouts from the government.

c. Mob violence was used by legions to set up their generals as usurping emperors (explain what a usurper is).

7. External Pressures (the frontier):

a. Marcus Aurelius (middle - late 2nd Century A.D.) was involved in defensive struggles on the frontier especially against the Germans in the North and the Parthians in the East.

b. Roman Armies were less effective against Barbarian Armies.

1.) Barbarians had learned their tactics from the Romans.

2.) Many enemy commanders had received their military training as officers in Roman Auxiliaries.

3.) Middle of the 3rd Century: Germanic tribes were able to break through the Rhine-Danube frontier.


1. Primacy of the Army as seen in the rapid succession of emperors in the 3rd Century.

2. Emperors in the last half of the 3rd Century began to adopt the Oriental idea of divine monarchy. (ie. Became more increasingly absolute in their responses to unstable conditions.)

3. The Division of the Empire became more apparent.

Western - Latin Speaking/ Eastern - Greek Speaking (reasserting its Hellenistic Culture).


Roman Religion:

1. Most Romans had a skeptical view toward their religion.

2. Many felt a need for a guide of ethical conduct and were drawn to the Christian promise of eternal life. (And the idea that everyone was equal in the sight of God.)

3. Roman View and Attitudes:

Mos Maiorum - tradition: If devotion toward the gods is rejected, the best of virtues and justice may disappear.

Religio: Pride in devotion toward their ancestral gods was the basic truth.

Pax Deorum (conceived as a treaty or contract): As long as the gods were given proper worship and devotion, the safety and welfare of the people were secure.

4. Religion: Criteria established by Augustus.

a. Licita: would be permitted as long as it was polytheistic in its orientation and was not in violation of basic Roman morals and principles.

b. Externa: it would be foreign or outside of the state religion.

c. Prava: it would be perverse or offensive to the customs of the Roman People (Illegal such as Christianity).

Emperor Worship: Historical note in terms of Rome's conflict with Christianity.

The development of the Emperor Cult was actually a simple process. The first step was the deification and worship of Julius Caesar by the state. The next step was when the gods of the imperial family began to be worshiped by other families and later officially by the state. The final step i this process was the evolution from worshiping the Genius (divine double) of the master of the household to the homage paid by the whole state to the Genius of the living emperor. All of this was encouraged and permitted by Augustus.

The development of the Emperor Cult did not take the same form throughout the Empire. In the East, Augustus was worshiped as a god and often associated with the goddess Roma. These eventually became the essential elements of the national religion. However, the Emperor Cult in the West worshiped his Genius rather than the living emperor at first. Augustus was deified after his death just as Julius Caesar had been. The cult of the imperial genius provided a bridge between the Roman concept of the divinity and authority of Augustus and the Hellenistic concept of the divine kingship. The Emperor's birthday became the chief festival of the cult. Offering sacrifice to the emperor's's genius also became very important in a symbolic sense. The sacrifice was seen as an act of loyalty. Maybe even more important, this relationship had a centralizing and unifying effect on the Empire. It also had it s effect o Christians when they were asked to make a sacrifice.


1. Nero: A.D. 64: The Great Fire of Rome

a. Seutonius in his Lives of the Caesars, said, "Punishment was inflicted on Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition."

b. Tacitus in his Annales referring to the Fire of Rome and the Christians said, "First, then, the confessed members of the sect were arrested; next on their disclosures, vast numbers were convicted, not so much on the count of arson as for the hatred of the human race."

HISTORICAL NOTE: There is no actual evidence of an official prohibition against Christianity at this time, though a Christian still would have been guilty under the Augustan Law of Association (only sanctioned religions were permitted). Christianity was held in contempt by most Romans of this time. It was a religion whose adherents met at night and in secret. These two elements had definite meanings for the Romans. The Romans believed that a group which did not meet during the day in public view was either a cult with political designs or one which practiced cannibalism and murder.

2. Trajan and Pliny A.D. 112: Pliny as governor of Bithynia and Pontus.

a. The emperor Trajan had sent Pliny to restore order to a province which had suffered from the lack of proper administration.

b. Religious Problems: a charge of Christianity had been brought against many in the province.

Procedures Used by Pliny: The governor put the question to them three times as to whether they were Christians, while at the same time threatening them with punishment. When they persisted in their confession, Pliny condemned to death those who were provincials, while those who were Roman citizens he ordered to be transported to Rome to await the Emperor's decision.

c. Pliny's letter to the Emperor: he was unsure of what the proper procedures were.

"I therefore do not know what offenses it is the practice to punish or investigate, and to what extent. And I have been not a little hesitant as to whether there should be any distinction between young or old; whether pardon is to be granted for repentance, or if a man has once been a Christian, it does him no good to have ceased to be one; whether the name itself, even without offenses, or only the offenses associated with the name are to be punished."

d. Trajan's Response to Pliny: Established an imperial policy which forms Rome's basic attitude toward Christianity up to the time of Decius.

"Christians must not be sought out, and anonymous denunciations are to be ignored, for they create the worst sort of precedent and are quite out of keeping with the spirit of our age. Christians who are accused as such, in due form by a private prosecutor and are convicted must be punished, but anyone who denies he is a Christian, and proves it by offering prayers to our gods, is to receive a pardon and go free."

e. A basic principle of Roman Law was involved that an acknowledged accuser must initiate the trial and face the accused. With the Roman sense of law, it was difficult for the Romans to initiate the type of persecution which could have effectively destroyed Christianity.

3. Hadrian reaffirms Trajan's policy in a letter in A.D. 123 written to the governor of Asia.

I have received a letter from your illustrious predecessor Serenus Gratianus, and I do not wish to leave his inquiry unanswered, lest innocent men be troubled and false accusers seize occasion for robbery. If the provincials are clearly willing to appear in person to substantiate suits against Christians, if, that is, they come themselves before your judgment seat to prefer their accusations, I do not forbid them to prosecute. But I do not permit them to make false accusations and protests. Justice demands that if anyone wishes to bring an accusation, you should make due legal inquiry into the charge. If you such an accusation be brought and it be proved that the charge is true, you will punish them as their misdeed deserve. But in Heaven's name, take the very greatest care if a man prosecutes anyone of these men by way of false accusation you visit the accuser, as his wickedness deserves, with server punishments.


1. He became emperor in September of A.D. 249.

2. He had been the commander of the Danube Army.

3. As a result of constant fighting on the frontiers, he initiated a program for the rival of the state religion -- tradition view.

4. End or 249: Decius Issued an Edict Against Christians.

a. Two Stages: First the leadership and then the membership of the Church.

b. Various bishops were condemned by Decius. Possibly, supporters of the previous emperor.

Primary Purpose: destruction of elements viewed as being disloyal.

c. June 250: All free citizens were ordered to offer sacrifice to the gods. To the genius of the emperor.

Purpose: to expose all Christians.

5. Eusebius, in his Ecclesiastical History, recounts a letter from Dionysius of Alexandria to Fabius of Antioch which showed the disorganization that this edict caused the Church.

And what is more, when the edict arrived, and it was almost like that which was predicted by Our Lord, wellnigh the most terrible of all so as if possible to cause to stumble even the elect. And of many of the more eminent persons, some came forward immediately through fear, others in public positions were compelled to do so by their business, and others were dragged by those around them. Called by name they approached the impure and unholy sacrifices, some pale and trembling, as if they were not sacrificing but rather to be themselves the sacrifices and victims to the idols, so that the large crowd that stood around heaped mockery upon them, and it was evident that they were by nature cowards in everything, cowards to both die and to sacrifice. But others ran eagerly towards the alters, affirming by their forwardness that they had not been Christians even formerly; concerning whom the Lord very truly predicted that they shall hardly be saved. Of the rest, some followed one or other of these, others fled; some were captured, and of these some went as far as bonds and imprisonment, and certain, when they had been shut up for many days, then foreswore themselves even before coming into court, while others, who remained firm for a certain time under tortures, subsequently gave in.

6. Decius' policies were initially very successful. Also there is no evidence to indicate that large scale imprisonments and executions were necessary to effect conformity to the edict.

7. The edict was not able to out live Decius -- the emperor was defeated and killed by the Goths in June of 251.



1. Valerian was proclaimed emperor in A.D. 253.

2. The Franks and Goths had both crossed the Danube and Rhine Frontier into the Empire.

3. Edicts were issued in both 257 and 258:

a. The clergy were ordered to sacrifice to the state religion.

b. Christians were forbidden to hold services.

4. Christian Clergy: were to suffer immediate execution if they refused to acknowledge the state religion.

Viri Egregii: Members of the Roman Nobility would suffer confiscation of their property and execution.

Caesoriani: Lower Civil Servants would become slaves and be sent to work in the mines or imperial estates.

Matronae would have their property confiscated and be sent into exile.

5. Valerian had begun to realize the real danger to the empire was the threat of the Persian Emperor Sapor in the East.

6. In A.D. 260, Valerian faced superior Persian forces near Edessaand agreed to a meeting in which he was taken prisoner. Gallienus, Valerian's son, succeeded his father as sole Emperor.


1. Gallienus issued a rescript of the persecution and also restored lost property to Christian communities in the empire.

The rescript was addressed to Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria:

The Emperor Caesar Publius Licinius Gallienus Pius Felix Augustus to Dionysius and Pinnas and Demetrius and the other bishops. I have given orders that the benefit of my bounty should be published throughout the world, to the intent that they should depart from the places of your worship, and therefore you also may use the ordinance obtained in my rescript, so that none may molest you. And this thin which it is within your power to accomplish has long since been conceded by me; and therefore Aurelius Quirinius, who is in charge of the Exchequer, will observe the ordinance given by me.

2. Political Move by Gallienus:

a. Gallienus realized and appreciated the strength of the Church in the East.

b. Gallienus was attempting to gain popular opinion and support over a rival emperor.


1. Diocletian who had risen from the Balkan Peasantry through the ranks of the army and came to power in A.D. 284.

a. His greatest administrative reform was the organization of the empire into divisions small enough to be ruled effectively by one man.

b. Result: the potential of the army and a rebel challenger were greatly reduced.

2. The imperial executive office was divided into four emperorships, two augusti with two caesars as their assistants.

a. Each had under his jurisdiction a portion of the empire with its own capital.

b. Four divisions called Prefectures governed by a praetorian prefect who was attached as a chief subordinate to one of the emperors.

c. The Prefecture was subdivided into twelve dioceses headed by vicarii.

d. The dioceses were composed of several provinces which were reduced to manageable size.

3. The Army:

a. Diocletian enlarged the army as a whole but reduced the size of individual legions employing the concept of a mobile army.

b. Need For Recruits: Pay for a Roman soldier had decreased over the past 100 years.

1.) In the early Empire, a soldier was paid in money.

2.) Under Diocletian, a soldier was paid in kind except for gifts of money on special occasions.

3.) Recruitment: Sons of veterans were required to serve. Landowners were obligated to supply a certain number of men or enough money to hire mercenaries.

c. By these reforms, Diocletian could raise enough money and men to field an army that could safeguard the frontiers of the empire.

4. Purpose of Reforms: to command the loyalty and obedience of his subjects, and to establish a system of succession which Diocletian hoped would guarantee the peaceful transfer of power from one emperor to the next.

5. 285: Diocletian appointed Maximian as his Caesar.

286: Diocletian appointed him as Augustus, co-emperor in the West.

6. 293: The Tetrarchy was formed.

a. Diocletian with Galerius as his Caesar governed the East.

b. Maximian with Constantius as his Caesar governed the West.

7. Origin of the Great Persecution:

a. 298: a sacrifice held before both Diocletian and Galerius; the haruspex claimed he was not able to obtain the desired omens because of the presence of Christians in the army.

The Emperor immediately ordered all soldiers to sacrifice to the gods or be discharged.

b. 301: Diocletian had ordered Veturius, Galerius' magister militum, to purge the army of all Christians.

Galerius, along with other advisors, urged Diocletian to take further action against the Christians. At first Diocletian resisted this an an action that would disrupt the peace and order of the empire.

8. February 23, A.D. 303: An Edict was issued by Diocletian.

a. It ordered all copies of the Scripture to be surrendered and burned, all churches to be demolished, and all meetings of Christians for worship to be forbidden.

b. Purpose: To stop the collective practice of Christianity.

9. Summer of 303: A Second and Third Edict were issued.

a. A revolution had broken out in Syria; fires had been set in the imperial palace probably by Galerius (note the comparison to Nero).

b. An attack on the leadership of the Church: they ordered the arrest of all bishops and clergy.

10. A Fourth Edict: was intended to compel the clergy to sacrifice to the gods and then gain freedom (ie. overcrowding of jails).

11. May 1, 305: Diocletian abdicated and forced Maximian to do like wise.

a. It was believed that Constantine, the son of Constantius; and Maxentius, the son of Maximian would be the new caesars.

The new Caesars were: Maximin, the nephew of Galerius. Severus, a loyal army officer.

b. Spring of 306: Maximin ordered another general sacrifice. Persecution was severe under both Maximin and Severus; while only under Constantius was there any toleration.

12. July 25, 306: Constantius died in Britain.

* Breakdown of the Tetrarchy.

a. The legions in Britain proclaimed Constantine the new Augustus.

b. 307: Severus was raised to Augustus but he was overthrown by Maxentius.

c. Galerius was forced to recognize both Constantine and Maxentius as Augusti. He also raised his nephew, Maximin, to the rank of Augustus.

d. November 308: Licinius, a loyal general, was also appointed Augustus.

Chaotic Situation: there were five emperors.

13. April 311: Licinius convinced Galerius to issue and edict of toleration. This Edict is known today as the Palinode of Galerius.

Among other steps which we are always taking for the profit and advantage of the State we had formerly sought to see all things right according to the ancient laws and public order of the Romans and further to provide that Christians too who had abandoned the way of life of their fathers should return to sound reason. For the said Christians had some how become possessed by such obstinacy and folly that, instead of following those institutions of the ancients which by chance their own ancestors had established, they were at their own will and pleasure making laws for themselves and acting upon them and were assembling in different places people of different nationalities. After we had decreed that they should return to the institutions of the ancients, many were subjected to danger, many too were completely overthrown; and when very many persisted in their determination and we saw that they neither gave worship and due reverence to the gods nor practiced the worship of the god of the Christians, considering our most gentle clemency and our inmemorial custom by which we are want to grant indulgence to all men, we have thought it right in their cases also to extend the speediest indulgence to effect that they may once more be free to live as Christians and may reform their Churches always provided that they do nothing contrary to public order. Further by another letter we shall inform provincial governors what conditions the Christians must observe. Wherefore in accordance with this our indulgence they will be bound to entreat their god for our well being and for that of the State for their own so that they themselves may live in their homes in security.

a. There is no apparent reason for this change in Galerius' religious policy other than the superstitious nature of the times and possibly his own fear of death.

b. Licinius probably hoped to gain Galerius' province of Asia Minor which was a good source of recruits for the army. It was also there that the Christian Church was the strongest.

c. Galerius died a week later after issuing the edict on May 5, 311.

14. Fall of 311: Maximin resumed persecution. It was called off in 312 after he was defeated by Armenia. Maximin died in 313.

15. Rivalry within the Empire: Alliances Formed.

a. Maxentius and Maximin.

b. Constantine and Licinius.

16. October 27, 312: The Battle of the Mulvian Bridge

a. Maxentius was defeated and drowned in the Tiber.

b. Tradition: "Constantine was directed in a dream to mark the Heavenly sign of God on the shields of his soldiers and thusto join battle. IN HOC SIGNO VINCES." (In This Sign You Will Conquer)

17. Licinius, on his return to Nicomedia, issued the Edict of Milan on June 13, A.D. 313 in both his and Constantine's names.

Since we saw that freedom of worship ought not to be denied, but that to each man's judgment and will the right should be given to care for sacred things according to each man's free choice, we have already some time ago bidden the Christians to maintain the faith of of their own sect and worship. But since in that edict by which such right was granted to the aforesaid Christians many and varied conditions clearly appeared to have been added, it may well perchance have come about that after a short time many were repelled from practicing their religion. This I, Constantine Augustus, and I, Licinius Augustus, had met at Mediolanum (Milan) and were discussing all those matters which relate to the advantage and security of the State, among the other things which we saw would benefit the majority of men we were convinced that first of all those conditions by which reverence for the Divinity is secured should be put in order by us to the end that we might give to the Christians and to all men the right to follow freely whatever religion each had wished, so that thereby whatever of Divinity there be in the heavenly seat may be favorable and propitious to us and to all those are placed under our authority. And so by a salutary and most fitting line of reasoning we came to the conclusion that we should adopt this policy -- namely our view should be that to no one whatsoever should we deny liberty to follow either the religion of the Christians or any other cult which of his own free choice he has thought to be best adapted for himself, in order that the supreme Divinity, to whose service we render our free obedience, may bestow upon us in all things his wonted favor and benevolence. Wherefore we would that your Devotion should know that is is our will that all those conditions should be altogether removed which were contained in our former letters addressed to you concerning the Christians (and which seemed to be entirely perverse and alien from our clemency) --- those should be removed and now in freedom and without restriction let all those who desire to follow the aforesaid religion of the Christians hasten to follow the same without any molestation or interference. We have felt that the fullest information should be furnished on this matter to your carefulness that you might be assured that we have given to the aforesaid Christians complete and unrestricted liberty to follow their religion. Further, when when you see that this indulgence has been granted to others also a similar free and unhindered liberty of religion and of our times, so that it may be open to every man to worship as he will. This has been done by us so that we should not seem to have done dishonor to any religion.

a. April 313: Maximin had been defeated by Licinius.

b. Licinius again revives persecution for a short time as he attempts to seize control of the empire from Constantine.

* Constantine becomes sole emperor in 324.

c. In 380 Emperor Theodosius makes Christianity the official religion of the empire.


1. Barrack Emperors: civil wars, the army being able to name emperors.

2. The Roman Frontier under attack: the most important group - the Germans.

3. The Germans:

a. Their original homeland: Scandanavia before 1,000 B.C.

b. Migration by 200 B.C.

1.) Western Germany

2.) Netherlands

3.) Northern France

c. The Ostrogoths had settled north of the Black Sea.

d. The Visigoths had settled north of the Danube River.


1. The Rhine - Danube Frontier was fortified.

2. Many Germans had earlier migrated into the empire.

a. Enlistment into the Roman Army.

b. Intermarriage of Roman soldiers with German women.

3. ca. A.D. 375

a. Migration (movement) of people into the empire increased greatly.

b. The Huns -- an Asiatic People who were nomadic moved into Europe.

c. They forced the Ostrogoths westward into the lands of the Visigoths.

4. The Visigoths:

a. The Roman emperor, Valens, allowed the Visigoths to cross the Danube into the Roman Empire -- the Visigoths were to patrol and defend the frontier.

b. Mistreatment of the Visigoths: A.D. 378 they revolted and defeated a Roman Army at Andrianople -- Valens was also killed.

5. Late Fourth and Early Fifth Century:

* Alaric, a Visigoth King.

a. Visigoth threat in the Eastern Empire.

b. The Visigoths were persuaded to move westward into Italy in 401.

c. Troops from the Northern Frontiers were ordered to return to protect Rome -- in 410, Alaric was able to capture Rome itself.

d. Alaric eventually moved into Sicily where he died -- The Visigoths would eventually settle in Western Gaul and Spain.


1. The Northern Frontiers had no protection.

2. Britain: Early 5th Century

a. The Picts and Scots invaded from the North.

b. The Germanic Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invaded from Europe.

3. The Franks settled in Northern Gaul.

4. The Burgundians settled in Eastern Gaul.

5. The Visigoths settled in Southwestern Gaul and Spain.

6. The Vandals settled in North Africa.

7. The Ostrogoths settled in Italy.

8. Middle of the 5th Century:

a. Atilla had led the Huns into Gaul.

b. The Roman, Aetius, defeated the Huns at Chalons in 451. This was only accomplished with the aid of the Visigoths.

9. In A.D. 476 the Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was forced to surrender his throne to a minor German Prince, Odoacer.

DECLINE: 200 - 400

1. The Roman Government was too inefficient for the size of the empire.

2. Lack of a fixed system of succession to the throne -- role of the praetorian guard.

3. Heavy taxation; expense of maintaining two courts with not enough revenue.

4. Increased danger in traveling -- leading to a decline in trade. Loss of land by small farmers.

5. Unequal distribution of wealth -- less currency available.

6. Social decline (morality).


1. Slavery (lowest at the end of the empire).

2. Mixture of Peoples: Who were the Romans?

3. Christianity (Persecution).

4. Relationship between the Army and the emperor.