Selected Topics in Roman History Essay

Submitted By Deanangelo4
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Selected Topics in Roman History
Early Greek Influence on Rome
Rome was a small city state during the Golden Age of Athens
Greek colonization of southern Italy begins 8th century BC
Political Influence (City State organization)
Religious Influence (Greek Myths and Legends)

Virgil’s Aeneid
An epic poem, but literary epic (it did not exist as an oral story before he wrote it)
Set after the Trojan War
Written in 19BC
Describes the efforts of Aeneas the Trojan to find a new Italy
The descendants of Aeneas become Romans
Aeneas personifies Roman values

Livy - The History of Rome
Latin Title: ab urbe conduit (from the foundation of Rome)
Written 29-24BC
The main surviving account of History of early Rome
Contains the legends of Aeneas and Romulus
Livy does not present the legends as Historical Facts The legends of Early Rome
Romans and Legends
All legends combined into an accepted version by the time of Virgil and Livy
Legends reveal how the romans saw them themselves, and their past.

The Aeneas Legend and Italy
Aeneas mentioned in Homers Iliad
Central Italian towns associating themselves with Aeneas in the 6th Century BC
This allowed them to identify themselves with the Trojan war and as “not greek”
There are greek vases that depict stories of Aeneas

The Romulus Legend
Also presents as early as the 6th Century BC
Deals with the foundation of the city of Rome
The king Numitor is deposed by his brother Amulius
The king’s daughter bears children; Romulus and Remus
Although ordered to be drowned they are saved by a she-wolf
They overthrow Amulius and found a colony called Rome

The Legends and History
No historical fact at all in the foundation legends
Expresses how the Romans saw themselves
(i) came about gradually
(ii) the idea that Romans came from different place
(iii) innate strength and bravery - connection with Italian country life

The Regal Period and the Formation of the Republic
The Legends of The Seven Kings
A way for Romans to understand a period they had a few records of
Each king falls into recognizable types:
Servius Tullius: the reformer
Tullius Hostilius: a warliike king
Tarquinus Superbus: a cruel tyrant
It is difficult to say if there is any historical basis for them.

Archaeological Evidence for the Development of Rome
8th Century: small village communities 7th Century: excavation graves reveals the presence of an aristocratic elite 650-600BC: evidence for urban planning, stone houses, temples and a market place

Political Organization of Early Rome
6th Century: a system based on the principle of citizenship develops King Servius Tullius was said to have held a census and decided the citizens into classes based on wealth
Evidence also that assemblies were held (based on groups called centuries) Clear influence of Greek City States

Kingship at Rome
Although the seven names kings may gave been legendary, there certainly was a form of monarchy
Kingship seems not to have been hereditary
Some kings to have been chosen by election, or consolation
Others may have seized power as tyrants

The Legend of the fall of the Monarchy
King Tarquin the Proud overthrown by nobles led by Junius Brutus
Tarquin, with Etruscan allies, attempted to retake the city by force stopped by the heroism of Horatius
After this the republican system emerged
The legend was a way of explaining a more gradual political change

The Etruscans
The argument that kings were expelled as a reaction against Etruscans influence has been overstressed
Etruscans and Latin's part of a common central Italian culture
Tendency of 19-20 historians to see the past in terms of ethnic conflict.
This argument was influenced by the Roman view of Etruscan art.

The New System
Instead of electing a king for life, the Romans were electing two men to share power each year, the