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Search Metadata Search text contents Search TV news captions Search archived websites Advanced Search. The Gauls looted and burned the city, then laid siege to the Capitoline Hill.
The siege lasted seven months. The Romans then took up arms and defeated the Gauls. Their victorious general Camillus remarked "With iron, not with gold, Rome buys her freedom.
The Romans gradually subdued the other peoples on the Italian peninsula, including the Etruscans. In the 3rd century BC Rome faced a new and formidable opponent: Carthage.
Carthage was a rich, flourishing Phoenician city-state that intended to dominate the Mediterranean area. The two cities were allies in the times of Pyrrhus, who was a menace to both, but with Rome's hegemony in mainland Italy and the Carthaginian thalassocracy , these cities became the two major powers in the Western Mediterranean and their contention over the Mediterranean led to conflict.
After the Carthaginian intercession, Messana asked Rome to expel the Carthaginians. Rome entered this war because Syracuse and Messana were too close to the newly conquered Greek cities of Southern Italy and Carthage was now able to make an offensive through Roman territory; along with this, Rome could extend its domain over Sicily.
Although the Romans had experience in land battles, defeating this new enemy required naval battles. Carthage was a maritime power, and the Roman lack of ships and naval experience made the path to the victory a long and difficult one for the Roman Republic.
Despite this, after more than 20 years of war, Rome defeated Carthage and a peace treaty was signed. Among the reasons for the Second Punic War  was the subsequent war reparations Carthage acquiesced to at the end of the First Punic War.
The Second Punic War is famous for its brilliant generals: on the Punic side Hannibal and Hasdrubal ; on the Roman, Marcus Claudius Marcellus , Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus and Publius Cornelius Scipio.
Rome fought this war simultaneously with the First Macedonian War. The war began with the audacious invasion of Hispania by Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who had led operations on Sicily in the First Punic War.
Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca , rapidly marched through Hispania to the Italian Alps , causing panic among Rome's Italian allies. The best way found to defeat Hannibal's purpose of causing the Italians to abandon Rome was to delay the Carthaginians with a guerrilla war of attrition, a strategy propounded by Quintus Fabius Maximus, who would be nicknamed Cunctator "delayer" in Latin , and whose strategy would be forever after known as Fabian.
Due to this, Hannibal's goal was unachieved: he could not bring enough Italian cities to revolt against Rome and replenish his diminishing army, and he thus lacked the machines and manpower to besiege Rome.
Still, Hannibal's invasion lasted over 16 years, ravaging Italy. Finally, when the Romans perceived the depletion of Hannibal's supplies, they sent Scipio, who had defeated Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal in modern-day Spain, to invade the unprotected Carthaginian hinterland and force Hannibal to return to defend Carthage itself.
At great cost, Rome had made significant gains: the conquest of Hispania by Scipio, and of Syracuse, the last Greek realm in Sicily, by Marcellus.
More than a half century after these events, Carthage was humiliated and Rome was no more concerned about the African menace.
The Republic's focus now was only to the Hellenistic kingdoms of Greece and revolts in Hispania. However, Carthage, after having paid the war indemnity, felt that its commitments and submission to Rome had ceased, a vision not shared by the Roman Senate.
Ambassadors were sent to Carthage, among them was Marcus Porcius Cato , who after seeing that Carthage could make a comeback and regain its importance, ended all his speeches, no matter what the subject was, by saying: " Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam " "Furthermore, I think that Carthage must be destroyed".
Carthage resisted well at the first strike, with the participation of all the inhabitants of the city. However, Carthage could not withstand the attack of Scipio Aemilianus , who entirely destroyed the city and its walls, enslaved and sold all the citizens and gained control of that region, which became the province of Africa.
Thus ended the Punic War period. All these wars resulted in Rome's first overseas conquests Sicily, Hispania and Africa and the rise of Rome as a significant imperial power and began the end of democracy.
After defeating the Macedonian and Seleucid Empires in the 2nd century BC, the Romans became the dominant people of the Mediterranean Sea.
At this time Rome was a consolidated empire—in the military view—and had no major enemies. Foreign dominance led to internal strife.
Senators became rich at the provinces ' expense; soldiers, who were mostly small-scale farmers, were away from home longer and could not maintain their land; and the increased reliance on foreign slaves and the growth of latifundia reduced the availability of paid work.
Income from war booty, mercantilism in the new provinces, and tax farming created new economic opportunities for the wealthy, forming a new class of merchants , called the equestrians.
Violent gangs of the urban unemployed, controlled by rival Senators, intimidated the electorate through violence.
The situation came to a head in the late 2nd century BC under the Gracchi brothers, a pair of tribunes who attempted to pass land reform legislation that would redistribute the major patrician landholdings among the plebeians.
Both brothers were killed and the Senate passed reforms reversing the Gracchi brother's actions.
Marius then started his military reform: in his recruitment to fight Jugurtha, he levied the very poor an innovation , and many landless men entered the army; this was the seed of securing loyalty of the army to the General in command.
Lucius Cornelius Sulla was born into a poor family that used to be a patrician family. He had a good education but became poor when his father died and left none of his will.
Sulla joined the theater and found many friends there, prior to becoming a general in the Jugurthine war. At this time, Marius began his quarrel with Sulla: Marius, who wanted to capture Jugurtha, asked Bocchus , son-in-law of Jugurtha, to hand him over.
As Marius failed, Sulla, a general of Marius at that time, in a dangerous enterprise, went himself to Bocchus and convinced Bocchus to hand Jugurtha over to him.
This was very provocative to Marius, since many of his enemies were encouraging Sulla to oppose Marius. After Marius's retirement, Rome had a brief peace, during which the Italian socii "allies" in Latin requested Roman citizenship and voting rights.
The reformist Marcus Livius Drusus supported their legal process but was assassinated, and the socii revolted against the Romans in the Social War.
At one point both consuls were killed; Marius was appointed to command the army together with Lucius Julius Caesar and Sulla. By the end of the Social War, Marius and Sulla were the premier military men in Rome and their partisans were in conflict, both sides jostling for power.
However, Marius's partisans managed his installation to the military command, defying Sulla and the Senate , and this caused Sulla's wrath.
To consolidate his own power, Sulla conducted a surprising and illegal action: he marched to Rome with his legions, killing all those who showed support to Marius's cause and impaling their heads in the Roman Forum.
He seized power along with the consul Lucius Cornelius Cinna and killed the other consul, Gnaeus Octavius , achieving his seventh consulship.
In an attempt to raise Sulla's anger, Marius and Cinna revenged their partisans by conducting a massacre. Sulla after returning from his Eastern campaigns, had a free path to reestablish his own power.
Sulla also held two dictatorships and one more consulship, which began the crisis and decline of Roman Republic. In the mid-1st century BC, Roman politics were restless.
Political divisions in Rome became identified with two groupings, populares who hoped for the support of the people and optimates the "best", who wanted to maintain exclusive aristocratic control.
Sulla overthrew all populist leaders and his constitutional reforms removed powers such as those of the tribune of the plebs that had supported populist approaches.
Meanwhile, social and economic stresses continued to build; Rome had become a metropolis with a super-rich aristocracy, debt-ridden aspirants, and a large proletariat often of impoverished farmers.
The latter groups supported the Catilinarian conspiracy —a resounding failure, since the consul Marcus Tullius Cicero quickly arrested and executed the main leaders of the conspiracy.
Onto this turbulent scene emerged Gaius Julius Caesar , from an aristocratic family of limited wealth. His aunt Julia was Marius' wife,  and Caesar identified with the populares.
To achieve power, Caesar reconciled the two most powerful men in Rome: Marcus Licinius Crassus , who had financed much of his earlier career, and Crassus' rival, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus anglicized as Pompey , to whom he married his daughter.
He formed them into a new informal alliance including himself, the First Triumvirate "three men". This satisfied the interests of all three: Crassus, the richest man in Rome, became richer and ultimately achieved high military command; Pompey exerted more influence in the Senate; and Caesar obtained the consulship and military command in Gaul.
The Triumvirate disintegrated at Crassus' death. Crassus had acted as mediator between Caesar and Pompey, and, without him, the two generals manoeuvred against each other for power.
Caesar conquered Gaul , obtaining immense wealth, respect in Rome and the loyalty of battle-hardened legions. He also became a clear menace to Pompey and was loathed by many optimates.
Confident that Caesar could be stopped by legal means, Pompey's party tried to strip Caesar of his legions, a prelude to Caesar's trial, impoverishment, and exile.
Pompey and his party fled from Italy, pursued by Caesar. The Battle of Pharsalus was a brilliant victory for Caesar and in this and other campaigns he destroyed all of the optimates' leaders: Metellus Scipio , Cato the Younger , and Pompey's son, Gnaeus Pompeius.
Caesar was now pre-eminent over Rome, attracting the bitter enmity of many aristocrats. He was granted many offices and honours.
In just five years, he held four consulships, two ordinary dictatorships, and two special dictatorships: one for ten years and another for perpetuity.
Caesar's assassination caused political and social turmoil in Rome; without the dictator's leadership, the city was ruled by his friend and colleague, Marcus Antonius.
Soon afterward, Octavius , whom Caesar adopted through his will, arrived in Rome. Octavian historians regard Octavius as Octavian due to the Roman naming conventions tried to align himself with the Caesarian faction.
This alliance would last for five years. Upon its formation, — senators were executed, and their property was confiscated, due to their supposed support for the Liberatores.
In the same year, Octavian and Antony defeated both Caesar's assassins and the leaders of the Liberatores , Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus , in the Battle of Philippi.
The Second Triumvirate was marked by the proscriptions of many senators and equites : after a revolt led by Antony's brother Lucius Antonius , more than senators and equites involved were executed on the anniversary of the Ides of March , although Lucius was spared.
However, Lucius was pardoned, perhaps because his sister Julia had intervened for him. The Triumvirate divided the Empire among the triumvirs: Lepidus was given charge of Africa , Antony, the eastern provinces, and Octavian remained in Italia and controlled Hispania and Gaul.
By the end of the Triumvirate, Antony was living in Ptolemaic Egypt , an independent and rich kingdom ruled by Antony's lover, Cleopatra VII.
Antony's affair with Cleopatra was seen as an act of treason, since she was queen of another country. Additionally, Antony adopted a lifestyle considered too extravagant and Hellenistic for a Roman statesman.
Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Now Egypt was conquered by the Roman Empire, and for the Romans, a new era had begun.
In that year, he took the name Augustus. Officially, the government was republican, but Augustus assumed absolute powers.
The Julio-Claudian dynasty was established by Augustus. The emperors of this dynasty were: Augustus , Tiberius , Caligula , Claudius and Nero.
The dynasty is so-called due to the gens Julia , family of Augustus, and the gens Claudia , family of Tiberius.
The Julio-Claudians started the destruction of republican values, but on the other hand, they boosted Rome's status as the central power in the world.
This dynasty instituted imperial tradition in Rome  and frustrated any attempt to reestablish a Republic. Augustus gathered almost all the republican powers under his official title, princeps : he had powers of consul, princeps senatus , aedile , censor and tribune —including tribunician sacrosanctity.
Augustus also styled himself as Imperator Gaius Julius Caesar divi filius , "Commander Gaius Julius Caesar, son of the deified one".
With this title he not only boasted his familial link to deified Julius Caesar, but the use of Imperator signified a permanent link to the Roman tradition of victory.
He also diminished the Senatorial class influence in politics by boosting the equestrian class. The senators lost their right to rule certain provinces, like Egypt; since the governor of that province was directly nominated by the emperor.
The creation of the Praetorian Guard and his reforms in the military, creating a standing army with a fixed size of 28 legions, ensured his total control over the army.
This peace and richness that was granted by the agrarian province of Egypt  led the people and the nobles of Rome to support Augustus increasing his strength in political affairs.
His generals were responsible for the field command; gaining such commanders as Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa , Nero Claudius Drusus and Germanicus much respect from the populace and the legions.
Augustus intended to extend the Roman Empire to the whole known world, and in his reign, Rome conquered Cantabria , Aquitania , Raetia , Dalmatia , Illyricum and Pannonia.
Under Augustus's reign, Roman literature grew steadily in what is known as the Golden Age of Latin Literature. Poets like Virgil , Horace , Ovid and Rufus developed a rich literature, and were close friends of Augustus.
Along with Maecenas , he stimulated patriotic poems, as Virgil's epic Aeneid and also historiographical works, like those of Livy.
The works of this literary age lasted through Roman times, and are classics. Augustus also continued the shifts on the calendar promoted by Caesar , and the month of August is named after him.
Influenced by his wife, Livia Drusilla , Augustus appointed her son from another marriage, Tiberius , as his heir. The Senate agreed with the succession, and granted to Tiberius the same titles and honors once granted to Augustus: the title of princeps and Pater patriae , and the Civic Crown.
The male line of the Julio-Claudians was limited to Tiberius' nephew Claudius , his grandson Tiberius Gemellus and his grand-nephew Caligula.
As Gemellus was still a child, Caligula was chosen to rule the Empire. He was a popular leader in the first half of his reign, but became a crude and insane tyrant in his years controlling government.
Claudius conquered Lycia and Thrace ; his most important deed was the beginning of the conquest of Britannia.
Nero sent his general, Suetonius Paulinus , to invade modern-day Wales , where he encountered stiff resistance. The Celts in modern-day Wales were independent, tough and resistant to tax collectors and fought Paulinus, as he battled his way across from East to West.
It took him a long time to reach the North West coast and in 60 AD he finally crossed the Menai Strait to the sacred island of Mona modern-day Anglesey , the last stronghold of the Druids.
While Paulinus and his troops were massacring Druids in Mona, the tribes of modern-day East Anglia staged a revolt led by queen Boadicea of the Iceni.
Nero is widely known as the first persecutor of Christians and for the Great Fire of Rome , rumoured to have been started by the emperor himself.
Never very stable, he allowed his advisers to run the government while he slid into debauchery, excess, and madness. He was married three times, and had numerous affairs with both men and women, and, according to some rumors, even his mother.
A conspiracy against Nero in 65 AD under Calpurnius Piso failed, but in 68 AD the armies under Julius Vindex in Gaul and Servius Sulpicius Galba in modern-day Spain revolted.
Deserted by the Praetorian Guards and condemned to death by the senate, Nero killed himself. The Flavians were the second dynasty to rule Rome.
After the turmoil in the Year of the Four Emperors , Titus Flavius Vespasianus anglicized as Vespasian took control of the Empire and established a new dynasty.
Under the Flavians, Rome continued its expansion, and the state remained secure. The most significant military campaign undertaken during the Flavian period, was the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 by Titus.
The destruction of the city was the culmination of the Roman campaign in Judea following the Jewish uprising of The Second Temple was completely demolished, after which Titus's soldiers proclaimed him imperator in honor of the victory.
Jerusalem was sacked and much of the population killed or dispersed. Josephus claims that 1,, people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish.
Many fled to areas around the Mediterranean. Titus reportedly refused to accept a wreath of victory, as there is "no merit in vanquishing people forsaken by their own God".
Vespasian was a general under Claudius and Nero. He fought as a commander in the First Jewish-Roman War along with his son Titus.
Buildings once destroyed by the Great Fire of Rome were rebuilt, and he revitalized the Capitol. Vespasian also started the construction of the Flavian Amphitheater, more commonly known as the Colosseum.
Vespasian was Josephus' sponsor and Pliny dedicated his Naturalis Historia to Titus, son of Vespasian. Vespasian sent legions to defend the eastern frontier in Cappadocia , extended the occupation in Britannia modern-day England , Wales and southern Scotland and reformed the tax system.
He finished the Flavian Amphitheater, which was constructed with war spoils from the First Jewish-Roman War, and promoted games celebrating the victory over the Jews that lasted for a hundred days.
These games included gladiatorial combats , chariot races and a sensational mock naval battle on the flooded grounds of the Colosseum.
As emperor, Domitian assumed totalitarian characteristics,  thought he could be a new Augustus , and tried to make a personal cult of himself.
Domitian ruled for fifteen years, and his reign was marked by his attempts to compare himself to the gods.
He constructed at least two temples in honour of Jupiter, the supreme deity in Roman religion. He also liked to be called " Dominus et Deus " "Master and God".
The Nerva—Antonine dynasty from 96 AD to AD was the rule of the emperors Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and Commodus.
During their rule, Rome reached its territorial and economical apogee. The criteria for choosing an emperor were the qualities of the candidate and no longer ties of kinship; additionally, there were no civil wars or military defeats in this period.
Following Domitian's murder, the Senate rapidly appointed Nerva to hold imperial dignity. This was the first time that senators chose the emperor since Octavian was honored with the titles of princeps and Augustus.
Nerva had a noble ancestry, and he had served as an advisor to Nero and the Flavians. His rule restored many of the liberties once assumed by Domitian  and started the last golden era of Rome.
Trajan was born in a non-patrician family from Hispania Baetica modern-day Andalusia and his preeminence emerged in the army, under Domitian. He is the second of the Five Good Emperors , the first being Nerva.
Trajan was greeted by the people of Rome with enthusiasm, which he justified by governing well and without the bloodiness that had marked Domitian's reign.
He freed many people who had been unjustly imprisoned by Domitian and returned private property that Domitian had confiscated; a process begun by Nerva before his death.
Trajan conquered Dacia roughly modern-day Romania and Moldova , and defeated the king Decebalus , who had defeated Domitian's forces.
In the First Dacian War — , the defeated Dacia became a client kingdom; in the Second Dacian War — , Trajan completely devastated the enemy's resistance and annexed Dacia to the Empire.
Trajan also annexed the client state of Nabatea to form the province of Arabia Petraea , which included the lands of southern Syria and northwestern Arabia.
His main architect was Apollodorus of Damascus ; Apollodorus made the project of the Forum and of the Column, and also reformed the Pantheon.
Trajan's triumphal arches in Ancona and Beneventum are other constructions projected by him. In the Second Dacian War, Apollodorus made a great bridge over the Danube for Trajan.
Trajan's final war was against Parthia. When Parthia appointed a king for Armenia who was unacceptable to Rome Parthia and Rome shared dominance over Armenia , he declared war.
He probably wanted to be the first Roman leader to conquer Parthia, and repeat the glory of Alexander the Great , conqueror of Asia, whom Trajan next followed in the clash of Greek-Romans and the Persian cultures.
In Trajan turned south into the core of Parthian hegemony, took the Northern Mesopotamian cities of Nisibis and Batnae , organized a province of Mesopotamia , and issued coins announcing that Armenia and Mesopotamia was under the authority of the Roman people.
In , his illness grew and he died of edema. He nominated Hadrian as his heir. Under Trajan's leadership the Roman Empire reached the peak of its territorial expansion;  Rome's dominion now spanned 5.
Many Romans emigrated to Hispania modern-day Spain and Portugal and stayed for generations, in some cases intermarrying with Iberians ; one of these families produced the emperor Hadrian.
Hadrian's army crushed a revolt in Mauretania and the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judea. This was the last large-scale Jewish revolt against the Romans, and was suppressed with massive repercussions in Judea.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed. Hadrian renamed the province of Judea " Provincia Syria Palaestina ," after one of Judea's most hated enemies.
Hadrian promoted culture, especially the Greek. He also forbade torture and humanized the laws. His many building projects included aqueducts, baths, libraries and theaters; additionally, he travelled nearly every province in the Empire to check the military and infrastructural conditions.
On becoming emperor, Antoninus made few initial changes, leaving intact as far as possible the arrangements instituted by his predecessor.
Antoninus expanded Roman Britannia by invading what is now southern Scotland and building the Antonine Wall. Marcus Aurelius , known as the Philosopher, was the last of the Five Good Emperors.
He was a stoic philosopher and wrote the Meditations. He defeated barbarian tribes in the Marcomannic Wars as well as the Parthian Empire. From Nerva to Marcus Aurelius, the empire achieved an unprecedented status.
The powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. All the citizens enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth.
The image of a free constitution was preserved with decent reverence. The Roman senate appeared to possess the sovereign authority, and devolved on the emperors all the executive powers of government.
Commodus , son of Marcus Aurelius, became emperor after his father's death. He is not counted as one of the Five Good Emperors.
Firstly, this was due to his direct kinship with the latter emperor; in addition, he was militarily passive compared to his predecessors, who had frequently led their armies in person.
Commodus usually participated in gladiatorial combats, which were frequently brutal and rough. He killed many citizens, and Cassius Dio identifies his reign as the beginning of Roman decadence : " Rome has transformed from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust.
The following year is known as the Year of the Five Emperors , during which Helvius Pertinax , Didius Julianus , Pescennius Niger , Clodius Albinus and Septimius Severus held the imperial dignity.
Pertinax, a member of the senate who had been one of Marcus Aurelius's right hand men, was the choice of Laetus, and he ruled vigorously and judiciously.
Laetus soon became jealous and instigated Pertinax's murder by the Praetorian Guard, who then auctioned the empire to the highest bidder, Didius Julianus, for 25, sesterces per man.
The legions of three frontier provinces— Britannia , Pannonia Superior , and Syria —resented being excluded from the "donative" and replied by declaring their individual generals to be emperor.
Lucius Septimius Severus Geta, the Pannonian commander, bribed the opposing forces, pardoned the Praetorian Guards and installed himself as emperor.
He and his successors governed with the legions' support. The changes on coinage and military expenditures were the root of the financial crisis that marked the Crisis of the Third Century.
Severus was enthroned after invading Rome and having Didius Julianus killed. His two other rivals, Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus , were both were hailed by other factions as Imperator.
Severus quickly subdued Niger in Byzantium and promised to Albinus the title of Caesar which meant he would be a co-emperor.
Severus marched to Gaul and defeated Albinus. For these acts, Machiavelli said that Severus was "a ferocious lion and a clever fox" . Severus attempted to revive totalitarianism and, addressing the Roman people and Senate, praised the severity and cruelty of Marius and Sulla, which worried the senators.
Reaching Ctesiphon , the Parthian capital, he ordered plundering and his army slew and captured many people. Notwithstanding this military success, Severus failed in invading Hatra , a rich Arabian city.
Severus killed his legate, who was gaining respect from the legions; and his soldiers fell victim to famine. After this disastrous campaign, he withdrew.
To achieve this, he waged war against the Caledonians. After many casualties in the army due to the terrain and the barbarians' ambushes, Severus himself went to the field.
Upon the death of Severus, his sons Caracalla and Geta were made emperors. During their youth, their squabbles had divided Rome. In that same year Caracalla had his brother, a youth, assassinated in his mother's arms, and may have murdered 20, of Geta's followers.
Like his father, Caracalla was warlike. He continued Severus' policy and gained respect from the legions. A cruel man, Caracalla was pursued by the guilt of his brother's murder.
He ordered the death of people of his own circle, like his tutor, Cilo, and a friend of his father, Papinian. Knowing that the citizens of Alexandria disliked him and were denigrating his character, Caracalla served a banquet for its notable citizens, after which his soldiers killed all the guests.
From the security of the temple of Sarapis, he then directed an indiscriminate slaughter of Alexandria's people.
A report that a soothsayer had predicted that the Praetorian prefect Macrinus and his son were to rule over the empire was dutifully sent to Caracalla.
But the report fell into the hands of Macrinus, who felt he must act or die. The incompetent Macrinus assumed power, but soon removed himself from Rome to the east and Antioch.
His brief reign ended in , when the youngster Bassianus, high priest of the temple of the Sun at Emesa, and supposedly illegitimate son of Caracalla, was declared Emperor by the disaffected soldiers of Macrinus.
Bribes gained Bassianus support from the legionaries and they fought against Macrinus and his Praetorian guards. He adopted the name of Antoninus but history has named him after his Sun god Elagabalus , represented on Earth in the form of a large black stone.
An incompetent and lascivious ruler,  Elagabalus offended all but his favourites. Cassius Dio , Herodian and the Historia Augusta give many accounts of his notorious extravagance.
Elagabalus adopted his cousin Alexander Severus , as Caesar, but subsequently grew jealous and attempted to assassinate him.
However, the Praetorian guard preferred Alexander, murdered Elagabalus, dragged his mutilated corpse through the streets of Rome, and threw it into the Tiber.
Alexander Severus then succeeded him. Alexander waged war against many foes, including the revitalized Persia and also the Germanic peoples , who invaded Gaul.
A disastrous scenario emerged after the death of Alexander Severus : the Roman state was plagued by civil wars, external invasions , political chaos, pandemics and economic depression.
Emperors were no longer men linked with nobility; they usually were born in lower-classes of distant parts of the Empire.
These men rose to prominence through military ranks, and became emperors through civil wars. There were 26 emperors in a year period, a signal of political instability.
Maximinus Thrax was the first ruler of that time, governing for just three years. Others ruled just for a few months, like Gordian I , Gordian II , Balbinus and Hostilian.
The population and the frontiers were abandoned, since the emperors were mostly concerned with defeating rivals and establishing their power.
The economy also suffered during that epoch. The massive military expenditures from the Severi caused a devaluation of Roman coins.
Hyperinflation came at this time as well. The Plague of Cyprian broke out in and killed a huge portion of the population. In that same year the Gallic Empire was created by Postumus , retaining Britannia and Gaul.
Diocletian healed the empire from the crisis, by political and economic shifts. A new form of government was established: the Tetrarchy. The Empire was divided among four emperors, two in the West and two in the East.
The first tetrarchs were Diocletian in the East , Maximian in the West , and two junior emperors, Galerius in the East and Flavius Constantius in the West.
To adjust the economy, Diocletian made several tax reforms. Diocletian expelled the Persians who plundered Syria and conquered some barbarian tribes with Maximian.
He adopted many behaviors of Eastern monarchs, like wearing pearls and golden sandals and robes. Anyone in the presence of the emperor had now to prostrate himself—a common act in the East, but never practiced in Rome before.
In he and Galerius started the persecution and ordered the destruction of all the Christian churches and scripts and forbade Christian worship.
His reign ended the traditional form of imperial rule, the Principate from princeps and started the Tetrarchy.
Constantine assumed the empire as a tetrarch in He conducted many wars against the other tetrarchs. Firstly he defeated Maxentius in In , he issued the Edict of Milan , which granted liberty for Christians to profess their religion.
He began the Christianization of the Empire and of Europe—a process concluded by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages. He was defeated by the Franks and the Alamanni during — In he defeated another tetrarch, Licinius , and controlled all the empire, as it was before Diocletian.
To celebrate his victories and Christianity's relevance, he rebuilt Byzantium and renamed it Nova Roma "New Rome" ; but the city soon gained the informal name of Constantinople "City of Constantine".
The reign of Julian , who under the influence of his adviser Mardonius attempted to restore Classical Roman and Hellenistic religion , only briefly interrupted the succession of Christian emperors.
Constantinople served as a new capital for the Empire. In fact, Rome had lost its central importance since the Crisis of the Third Century— Mediolanum was the western capital from to , until the reign of Honorius , when Ravenna was made capital, in the 5th century.
In the late 4th and 5th centuries the Western Empire entered a critical stage which terminated with the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
The situation became more critical in , after the death of Stilicho , a general who tried to reunite the Empire and repel barbarian invasion in the early years of the 5th century.
The professional field army collapsed. In , the Theodosian dynasty saw the Visigoths sack Rome. The Vandals conquered North Africa , the Visigoths claimed the southern part of Gaul , Gallaecia was taken by the Suebi , Britannia was abandoned by the central government, and the Empire suffered further from the invasions of Attila , chief of the Huns.
Unhappy with this, their chieftain Odoacer defeated and killed Orestes, invaded Ravenna and dethroned Romulus Augustus , son of Orestes.
This event of , usually marks the end of Classical antiquity and beginning of the Middle Ages. Some historians consider him to be the last emperor of the Western Empire instead of Romulus Augustus.
After some years of independence and nearly years as a great power, the rule of Rome in the West ended. At the time many pagans argued that Christianity and the decline of traditional Roman religion were responsible; some rationalist thinkers of the modern era attribute the fall to a change from a martial to a more pacifist religion that lessened the number of available soldiers; while Christians such as Augustine of Hippo argued that the sinful nature of Roman society itself was to blame.
The Eastern Empire had a different fate. It survived for almost years after the fall of its Western counterpart and became the most stable Christian realm during the Middle Ages.
During the 6th century, Justinian reconquered the Italian peninsula from the Ostrogoths , North Africa from the Vandals , and southern Hispania from the Visigoths.
But within a few years of Justinian's death, Byzantine possessions in Italy were greatly reduced by the Lombards who settled in the peninsula. Its followers rapidly brought about the conquest of the Levant , the conquest of Armenia and the conquest of Egypt during the Arab—Byzantine wars , and soon presented a direct threat to Constantinople.
The Byzantines, however, managed to stop further Islamic expansion into their lands during the 8th century and, beginning in the 9th century, reclaimed parts of the conquered lands.
The aftermath of this battle sent the empire into a protracted period of decline. Two decades of internal strife and Turkic invasions ultimately led Emperor Alexios I Komnenos to send a call for help to the Western European kingdoms in The conquest of Constantinople in fragmented what remained of the Empire into successor states; the ultimate victor was the Empire of Nicaea.
The imperial city of Rome was the largest urban center in the empire, with a population variously estimated from , to close to one million.
Most of those centers had a forum , temples, and other buildings similar to Rome's. Average life expectancy was about Roman law as preserved in Justinian's codes continued into the Byzantine Empire , and formed the basis of similar codifications in continental Western Europe.
Roman law continued, in a broader sense, to be applied throughout most of Europe until the end of the 17th century. The major divisions of the law of ancient Rome, as contained within the Justinian and Theodosian law codes, consisted of Ius Civile , Ius Gentium , and Ius Naturale.
The Ius Civile "Citizen Law" was the body of common laws that applied to Roman citizens. Praetor Urbanus were the people who had jurisdiction over cases involving citizens.
The Ius Gentium "Law of nations" was the body of common laws that applied to foreigners, and their dealings with Roman citizens.
Praetor Peregrinus were the people who had jurisdiction over cases involving citizens and foreigners.
Ius Naturale encompassed natural law, the body of laws that were considered common to all beings. Roman society is largely viewed as hierarchical , with slaves servi at the bottom, freedmen liberti above them, and free-born citizens cives at the top.
Free citizens were also divided by class. The broadest, and earliest, division was between the patricians , who could trace their ancestry to one of the Patriarchs at the founding of the city, and the plebeians , who could not.
This became less important in the later Republic, as some plebeian families became wealthy and entered politics, and some patrician families fell economically.
Anyone, patrician or plebeian, who could count a consul as his ancestor was a noble nobilis ; a man who was the first of his family to hold the consulship, such as Marius or Cicero , was known as a novus homo "new man" and ennobled his descendants.
Patrician ancestry, however, still conferred considerable prestige, and many religious offices remained restricted to patricians.
A class division originally based on military service became more important. Membership of these classes was determined periodically by the Censors , according to property.
The wealthiest were the Senatorial class, who dominated politics and command of the army. Next came the equestrians equites , sometimes translated "knights" , originally those who could afford a warhorse, and who formed a powerful mercantile class.
Several further classes, originally based on the military equipment their members could afford, followed, with the proletarii , citizens who had no property at all, at the bottom.
Before the reforms of Marius they were ineligible for military service and are often described as being just above freed slaves in wealth and prestige.
Voting power in the Republic depended on class. Citizens were enrolled in voting "tribes", but the tribes of the richer classes had fewer members than the poorer ones, all the proletarii being enrolled in a single tribe.
Voting was done in class order, from top down, and stopped as soon as most of the tribes had been reached, so the poorer classes were often unable to cast their votes.
Women shared some basic rights with their male counterparts, but were not fully regarded as citizens and were thus not allowed to vote or take part in politics.
At the same time the limited rights of women were gradually expanded due to emancipation and women reached freedom from paterfamilias , gained property rights and even had more juridical rights than their husbands, but still no voting rights, and were absent from politics.
Allied foreign cities were often given the Latin Right , an intermediary level between full citizens and foreigners peregrini , which gave their citizens rights under Roman law and allowed their leading magistrates to become full Roman citizens.
While there were varying degrees of Latin rights, the main division was between those cum suffragio "with vote"; enrolled in a Roman tribe and able to take part in the comitia tributa and sine suffragio "without vote"; could not take part in Roman politics.
In the early Republic, there were no public schools, so boys were taught to read and write by their parents, or by educated slaves , called paedagogi , usually of Greek origin.
Beginning at age 12, students went to secondary schools, where the teacher now called a grammaticus taught them about Greek and Roman literature.
There were also summer holidays. Initially, Rome was ruled by kings , who were elected from each of Rome's major tribes in turn. He may have held near-absolute power, or may also have merely been the chief executive of the Senate and the people.
At least in military matters, the king's authority Imperium was likely absolute. He was also the head of the state religion. In addition to the authority of the King, there were three administrative assemblies: the Senate , which acted as an advisory body for the King; the Comitia Curiata , which could endorse and ratify laws suggested by the King; and the Comitia Calata , which was an assembly of the priestly college that could assemble the people to bear witness to certain acts, hear proclamations, and declare the feast and holiday schedule for the next month.
The class struggles of the Roman Republic resulted in an unusual mixture of democracy and oligarchy. The word republic comes from the Latin res publica , which literally translates to "public business".
Roman laws traditionally could only be passed by a vote of the Popular assembly Comitia Tributa. Likewise, candidates for public positions had to run for election by the people.
However, the Roman Senate represented an oligarchic institution, which acted as an advisory body. In the Republic, the Senate held actual authority auctoritas , but no real legislative power; it was technically only an advisory council.
However, as the Senators were individually very influential, it was difficult to accomplish anything against the collective will of the Senate.
New Senators were chosen from among the most accomplished patricians by Censors Censura , who could also remove a Senator from his office if he was found "morally corrupt"; a charge that could include bribery or, as under Cato the Elder , embracing one's wife in public.
Later, under the reforms of the dictator Sulla , Quaestors were made automatic members of the Senate, though most of his reforms did not survive.
The Republic had no fixed bureaucracy , and collected taxes through the practice of tax farming. Government positions such as quaestor , aedile , or praefect were funded by the office-holder.
To prevent any citizen from gaining too much power, new magistrates were elected annually and had to share power with a colleague.
For example, under normal conditions, the highest authority was held by two consuls. In an emergency, a temporary dictator could be appointed.
Throughout the Republic, the administrative system was revised several times to comply with new demands. In the end, it proved inefficient for controlling the ever-expanding dominion of Rome, contributing to the establishment of the Roman Empire.
In the early Empire, the pretense of a republican form of government was maintained. The Roman Emperor was portrayed as only a princeps , or "first citizen", and the Senate gained legislative power and all legal authority previously held by the popular assemblies.
However, the rule of the Emperors became increasingly autocratic , and the Senate was reduced to an advisory body appointed by the Emperor. The Empire did not inherit a set bureaucracy from the Republic, since the Republic did not have any permanent governmental structures apart from the Senate.
The Emperor appointed assistants and advisers, but the state lacked many institutions, such as a centrally planned budget.
Some historians have cited this as a significant reason for the decline of the Roman Empire. The early Roman army c. It was small the population of free men of military age was then about 9, and organized in five classes in parallel to the comitia centuriata , the body of citizens organized politically , with three providing hoplites and two providing light infantry.
The early Roman army was tactically limited and its stance during this period was essentially defensive. By the 3rd century BC, the Romans abandoned the hoplite formation in favor of a more flexible system in which smaller groups of or sometimes 60 men called maniples could maneuver more independently on the battlefield.
Thirty maniples arranged in three lines with supporting troops constituted a legion , totalling between 4, and 5, men. The early Republican legion consisted of five sections, each of which was equipped differently and had different places in formation: the three lines of manipular heavy infantry hastati , principes and triarii , a force of light infantry velites , and the cavalry equites.
With the new organization came a new orientation toward the offensive and a much more aggressive posture toward adjoining city-states. At nominal full strength, an early Republican legion included 4, to 5, men: 3, to 4, heavy infantry, several hundred light infantry, and several hundred cavalrymen.
During the Civil War, Pompey's legions in the east were at full strength because they were recently recruited, while Caesar's legions were often well below nominal strength after long active service in Gaul.
This pattern also held true for auxiliary forces. Until the late Republican period, the typical legionary was a property-owning citizen farmer from a rural area an adsiduus who served for particular often annual campaigns,  and who supplied his own equipment and, in the case of equites , his own mount.
Freedmen and slaves wherever resident and urban citizens did not serve except in rare emergencies. Terms of service became continuous and long—up to twenty years if emergencies required although six- or seven-year terms were more typical.
Beginning in the 3rd century BC, legionaries were paid stipendium amounts are disputed but Caesar famously "doubled" payments to his troops to denarii a year , could anticipate booty and donatives distributions of plunder by commanders from successful campaigns and, beginning at the time of Marius, often were granted allotments of land upon retirement.
Caesar formed a legion, the Fifth Alaudae, from non-citizens in Transalpine Gaul to serve in his campaigns in Gaul. Legionaries received sesterces a year and could expect 12, sesterces on retirement.
At the end of the Civil War , Augustus reorganized Roman military forces, discharging soldiers and disbanding legions. He retained 28 legions, distributed through the provinces of the Empire.
The auxilia remained independent cohorts, and legionary troops often operated as groups of cohorts rather than as full legions. A new versatile type of unit—the cohortes equitatae —combined cavalry and legionaries in a single formation.
They could be stationed at garrisons or outposts and could fight on their own as balanced small forces or combine with other similar units as a larger legion-sized force.
This increase in organizational flexibility helped ensure the long-term success of Roman military forces. Withdrawing some legionaries from the fixed bases on the border, Gallienus created mobile forces the Comitatenses or field armies and stationed them behind and at some distance from the borders as a strategic reserve.
The border troops limitanei stationed at fixed bases continued to be the first line of defense. The basic unit of the field army was the "regiment", legiones or auxilia for infantry and vexellationes for cavalry.
Evidence suggests that nominal strengths may have been 1, men for infantry regiments and for cavalry, although many records show lower actual troop levels and Many infantry and cavalry regiments operated in pairs under the command of a comes.
In addition to Roman troops, the field armies included regiments of "barbarians" recruited from allied tribes and known as foederati.
In addition to the foederati , the Empire also used groups of barbarians to fight along with the legions as "allies" without integration into the field armies.
Under the command of the senior Roman general present, they were led at lower levels by their own officers. Military leadership evolved over the course of the history of Rome.
Under the monarchy, the hoplite armies were led by the kings of Rome. During the early and middle Roman Republic, military forces were under the command of one of the two elected consuls for the year.
During the later Republic, members of the Roman Senatorial elite, as part of the normal sequence of elected public offices known as the cursus honorum , would have served first as quaestor often posted as deputies to field commanders , then as praetor.
Following the end of a term as praetor or consul, a Senator might be appointed by the Senate as a propraetor or proconsul depending on the highest office held before to govern a foreign province.
More junior officers down to but not including the level of centurion were selected by their commanders from their own clientelae or those recommended by political allies among the Senatorial elite.
Under Augustus, whose most important political priority was to place the military under a permanent and unitary command, the Emperor was the legal commander of each legion but exercised that command through a legatus legate he appointed from the Senatorial elite.
In a province with a single legion, the legate commanded the legion legatus legionis and also served as provincial governor, while in a province with more than one legion, each legion was commanded by a legate and the legates were commanded by the provincial governor also a legate but of higher rank.
During the later stages of the Imperial period beginning perhaps with Diocletian , the Augustan model was abandoned.
Provincial governors were stripped of military authority, and command of the armies in a group of provinces was given to generals duces appointed by the Emperor.
These were no longer members of the Roman elite but men who came up through the ranks and had seen much practical soldiering. With increasing frequency, these men attempted sometimes successfully to usurp the positions of the Emperors who had appointed them.
Decreased resources, increasing political chaos and civil war eventually left the Western Empire vulnerable to attack and takeover by neighboring barbarian peoples.
Less is known about the Roman navy than the Roman army. Prior to the middle of the 3rd century BC, officials known as duumviri navales commanded a fleet of twenty ships used mainly to control piracy.
The First Punic War required that Rome build large fleets, and it did so largely with the assistance of and financing from allies.
This reliance on allies continued to the end of the Roman Republic. The quinquereme was the main warship on both sides of the Punic Wars and remained the mainstay of Roman naval forces until replaced by the time of Caesar Augustus by lighter and more maneuverable vessels.
As compared with a trireme , the quinquereme permitted the use of a mix of experienced and inexperienced crewmen an advantage for a primarily land-based power , and its lesser maneuverability permitted the Romans to adopt and perfect boarding tactics using a troop of about 40 marines in lieu of the ram.
Ships were commanded by a navarch , a rank equal to a centurion, who was usually not a citizen. Potter suggests that because the fleet was dominated by non-Romans, the navy was considered non-Roman and allowed to atrophy in times of peace.
Warships were oared sailing galleys with three to five banks of oarsmen. Fleet bases included such ports as Ravenna, Arles, Aquilea, Misenum and the mouth of the Somme River in the West and Alexandria and Rhodes in the East.
Flotillas of small river craft classes were part of the limitanei border troops during this period, based at fortified river harbors along the Rhine and the Danube.
That prominent generals commanded both armies and fleets suggests that naval forces were treated as auxiliaries to the army and not as an independent service.
The details of command structure and fleet strengths during this period are not well known, although fleets were commanded by prefects. Ancient Rome commanded a vast area of land, with tremendous natural and human resources.
As such, Rome's economy remained focused on farming and trade. Agricultural free trade changed the Italian landscape, and by the 1st century BC, vast grape and olive estates had supplanted the yeoman farmers, who were unable to match the imported grain price.
The annexation of Egypt , Sicily and Tunisia in North Africa provided a continuous supply of grains. In turn, olive oil and wine were Italy's main exports.
Two-tier crop rotation was practiced, but farm productivity was low, around 1 ton per hectare. Industrial and manufacturing activities were smaller.
The largest such activities were the mining and quarrying of stones, which provided basic construction materials for the buildings of that period.
In manufacturing, production was on a relatively small scale, and generally consisted of workshops and small factories that employed at most dozens of workers.
However, some brick factories employed hundreds of workers. The economy of the early Republic was largely based on smallholding and paid labor.
However, foreign wars and conquests made slaves increasingly cheap and plentiful, and by the late Republic, the economy was largely dependent on slave labor for both skilled and unskilled work.
Only in the Roman Empire, when the conquests stopped and the prices of slaves increased, did hired labor become more economical than slave ownership.
Although barter was used in ancient Rome, and often used in tax collection, Rome had a very developed coinage system, with brass , bronze , and precious metal coins in circulation throughout the Empire and beyond—some have even been discovered in India.
Before the 3rd century BC, copper was traded by weight, measured in unmarked lumps, across central Italy. The original copper coins as had a face value of one Roman pound of copper, but weighed less.
Thus, Roman money's utility as a unit of exchange consistently exceeded its intrinsic value as metal. After Nero began debasing the silver denarius , its legal value was an estimated one-third greater than its intrinsic value.
Horses were expensive and other pack animals were slower. Mass trade on the Roman roads connected military posts, where Roman markets were centered.
During that period, a trading vessel took less than a month to complete a trip from Gades to Alexandria via Ostia , spanning the entire length of the Mediterranean.
Some economists consider the Roman Empire a market economy , similar in its degree of capitalistic practices to 17th century Netherlands and 18th century England.
The basic units of Roman society were households and families. In the upper classes, slaves and servants were also part of the household.
Patria potestas even extended over adult sons with their own households: A man was not considered a paterfamilias , nor could he truly hold property, while his own father lived.
Little affection was shown for the children of Rome. The mother or an elderly relative often raised both boys and girls.
Unwanted children were often sold as slaves. In noble families a Greek nurse usually taught the children Latin and Greek. Their father taught the boys how to swim and ride, although he sometimes hired a slave to teach them instead.
At seven, a boy began his education. Having no school building, classes were held on a rooftop if dark, the boy had to carry a lantern to school.
Wax-covered boards were used as paper, papyrus, and parchment were too expensive—or he could just write in the sand. A loaf of bread to be eaten was also carried.
Groups of related households formed a family gens. Families were based on blood ties or adoption , but were also political and economic alliances.
Especially during the Roman Republic , some powerful families, or Gentes Maiores , came to dominate political life. In ancient Rome, marriage was often regarded more as a financial and political alliance than as a romantic association, especially in the upper classes see marriage in ancient Rome.
Fathers usually began seeking husbands for their daughters when these reached an age between twelve and fourteen. The husband was usually older than the bride.
While upper-class girls married very young, there is evidence that lower-class women often married in their late teens or early 20s.
Life in ancient Rome revolved around the city of Rome, located on seven hills. The city had a vast number of monumental structures like the Colosseum , the Forum of Trajan and the Pantheon.
It had theatres , gymnasiums , marketplaces, functional sewers, bath complexes complete with libraries and shops, and fountains with fresh drinking water supplied by hundreds of miles of aqueducts.
Throughout the territory under the control of ancient Rome, residential architecture ranged from modest houses to country villas.
In the capital city of Rome, there were imperial residences on the elegant Palatine Hill , from which the word palace derives. The low Plebeian and middle Equestrian classes lived in the city center, packed into apartments, or Insulae , which were almost like modern ghettos.
These areas, often built by upper class property owners to rent, were often centred upon collegia or taberna. These people, provided with a free supply of grain , and entertained by gladiatorial games , were enrolled as clients of patrons among the upper class Patricians , whose assistance they sought and whose interests they upheld.
The native language of the Romans was Latin , an Italic language the grammar of which relies little on word order, conveying meaning through a system of affixes attached to word stems.
While Latin remained the main written language of the Roman Empire, Greek came to be the language spoken by the well-educated elite, as most of the literature studied by Romans was written in Greek.
In the eastern half of the Roman Empire, which later became the Byzantine Empire , Latin was never able to replace Greek, and after the death of Justinian, Greek became the official language of the Byzantine government.
Archaic Roman religion , at least concerning the gods, was made up not of written narratives , but rather of complex interrelations between gods and humans.
Romans also believed that every person, place or thing had its own genius , or divine soul. During the Roman Republic , Roman religion was organized under a strict system of priestly offices, which were held by men of senatorial rank.
The College of Pontifices was uppermost body in this hierarchy, and its chief priest, the Pontifex Maximus , was the head of the state religion.
Flamens took care of the cults of various gods, while augurs were trusted with taking the auspices. The sacred king took on the religious responsibilities of the deposed kings.
In the Roman Empire, emperors were deified,   and the formalized imperial cult became increasingly prominent. As contact with the Greeks increased, the old Roman gods became increasingly associated with Greek gods.
The Roman gods also assumed the attributes and mythologies of these Greek gods. Under the Empire, the Romans absorbed the mythologies of their conquered subjects, often leading to situations in which the temples and priests of traditional Italian deities existed side by side with those of foreign gods.
Beginning with Emperor Nero in the 1st century AD, Roman official policy towards Christianity was negative, and at some points, simply being a Christian could be punishable by death.
Under Emperor Diocletian , the persecution of Christians reached its peak. However, it became an officially supported religion in the Roman state under Diocletian's successor, Constantine I , with the signing of the Edict of Milan in , and quickly became dominant.
Like many ancient cultures, concepts of ethics and morality, while sharing some commonalities with modern society, differed greatly in several important ways.
Because ancient civilizations like Rome were under constant threat of attack from marauding tribes, their culture was necessarily militaristic with martial skills being a prized attribute.
Indeed, one of the primary purposes of the gladiatorial games was to inoculate Roman citizens from this weakness.
Contrary to popular descriptions, Roman society had well-established and restrictive norms related to sexuality, though as with many societies, the lion's share of the responsibilities fell on women.
Women were generally expected to be monogamous having only a single husband during their life univira , though this was much less regarded by the elite, especially under the empire.
Women were expected to be modest in public avoiding any provocative appearance and to demonstrate absolute fidelity to their husbands pudicitia.
Indeed, wearing a veil was a common expectation to preserve modesty. Sex outside of marriage was generally frowned upon for men and women and indeed was made illegal during the imperial period.
Roman painting styles show Greek influences, and surviving examples are primarily frescoes used to adorn the walls and ceilings of country villas , though Roman literature includes mentions of paintings on wood, ivory , and other materials.
The first style of Roman painting was practiced from the early 2nd century BC to the early- or mid-1st century BC. It was mainly composed of imitations of marble and masonry , though sometimes including depictions of mythological characters.
The second style of Roman painting began during the early 1st century BC, and attempted to depict realistically three-dimensional architectural features and landscapes.
A small architectural scene, landscape, or abstract design was placed in the center with a monochrome background.
The fourth style, which began in the 1st century AD, depicted scenes from mythology, while retaining architectural details and abstract patterns.
Portrait sculpture during the period [ which? During the Antonine and Severan periods, ornate hair and bearding, with deep cutting and drilling, became popular.
Advancements were also made in relief sculptures , usually depicting Roman victories. Latin literature was, from its start, influenced heavily by Greek authors.
Some of the earliest extant works are of historical epics telling the early military history of Rome. As the Republic expanded, authors began to produce poetry, comedy, history, and tragedy.
Roman music was largely based on Greek music , and played an important part in many aspects of Roman life. Most religious rituals featured musical performances, with tibiae double pipes at sacrifices, cymbals and Tambourines at orgiastic cults , and rattles and hymns across the spectrum.
The graffiti , brothels , paintings, and sculptures found in Pompeii and Herculaneum suggest that the Romans had a sex-saturated culture.
Ancient Roman cuisine changed over the long duration of this ancient civilization. Dietary habits were affected by the influence of Greek culture, the political changes from kingdom to republic to empire, and empire's enormous expansion, which exposed Romans to many new, provincial culinary habits and cooking techniques.
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