The Etruscans lived in a land they called Etruria, located near modern day Florence. They were not Indo-European, but they lived around the same time (2000 B.C.E.) and near the same place (Italy) as those who were. The Etruscans lived in cities, traded with Cathaginians in N. Africa and the Greeks, developed "an elaborate monarchy," and were very religious. They introduced divination, a method of telling the future with animal entrails, to Italy. They also believed that the flight patterns of birds lead to understanding the will of the Gods. They were excellent craftsmen and had a large influence on the Romans, as many Roman practices and ideas are borrowed from the Etruscans.
The Greeks filled up southern Italy and Sicily as they immigrated from Greece. They built cities, Syracuse being the most important. These cities became as rich and civilized as the Greek homeland. The cities they created were major intellectual centers. They "served as a link between Italy and the civilized world to the east." The word Graecus was a Roman invention.
The Romans belonged to the Latin tribes. They lived near the Tiber river, and Rome was founded on one of the seven hills there. Rome was an independent state, similar to the Polis of Greece. The Romans controlled the river and trade route which ran along the Italian peninsula.
Rome was very vulnerable to attack, which meant the early Romans had to form an army to protect themselves. An average Roman man's job would be a farmer-soldier.
Romans, like China, used family as a microcosm of the state. The father was the head of the household. "The respect for proper authority and loyalty to the group which was nurtured in the Roman family was gradually transferred to the Roman state as it grew."
This man was a Roman who was a typical farmer-soldier. One day, he was summoned to battle. He left his plow in his field and defended his tribe. After the battle he went back to his farming, rather than flaunt his glory. His actions let us see differences between Greek and Roman personalities and opinions about warfare. Since Romans were used to attack and war, they did not think highly of a victory.
The continuing spirit of a Roman family, usually illustrated in the home by statues of former fathers of the household.
This word was the best descriptor of the Roman people as a whole. The Romans were "patriotic and accepting of the rules even in the face of the strongest human emotions," and this word meant heaviness or seriousness.
A latin word meaning To Bind. Roman religion was a binding religion: the gods were bound to support the Roman state, and the people were bound together through worship of the same gods. Roman priests were public officials and conducted ceremonies usually consisting of ritual to please the gods. These rituals bound the Roman people together through a common worship.
The high priest. He held one of the highest offices in the Roman government. He would conduct the ceremonies and rituals.
A roman word meaning loyalty to the home, city, and established ways. We would call this "piety."
The Romans, when they revolted and became independent from the Etruscans in 509 B.C.E., created a new form of government which they called a Republic. It was "a rule of the few, an aristocracy of birth."
The Patricians were one social group to be born into. They, before the Plebian Revolt, were the only ones allowed to be the Consuls, the leaders of the state.
The Plebians were the lower of the two social groups to be born into. The majority of Romans were Plebians. Before the Plebian Revolt, they were forbidden by law to be a Consul, and were also forbidden from marrying the Patricians.
Class friction eventually grew between the Plebians and the Patricians, and the Plebians revolted. They left the city as a group. When they returned, they were granted rights: they were allowed a representative in the senate, they were allowed to be the consul, and they were allowed to marry Patricians.
The patricians would meet in a body called the Senate. It was a "permanent and powerful political group." A man could join the senate only after being Consul.
A Consul was a man, usually (and always before the Plebian Revolt) a Patrician. Two different consuls were elected by the citizens each year. They would act as king. Each consul had equal power so they could keep each other in check.
"In times of emergency a single ruler, called a Dictator, could be chosen to rule for a short period of time. Dictatorship was resorted to only under unusual circumstances, and the term of the dictator was severely limited."
After the Plebian Revolt, the plebians were given the right to elect a magistrate of their own. This magistrate was called a Tribune, and was generally thought of as a spokesman for the Plebians. He had the power to veto any law passed by the senate.
Veto is a Roman word meaning "to forbid." A tribune would veto a law, effectively stopping it from being passed in the senate and applying to the people.
The Twelve Tables were the medium for writing the basic laws of the Roman state.
In Rome, the aristocrats had the most power. Poor Romans would become dependent on these aristocrats for protection and security. They were followers of these individual, powerful Romans, known as their patrons. Poor Romans (known as Clients) would usually show gratitude to their patrons by voting as their patrons wished.
Clients were poor Romans who depended on the Aristocrats for protection and security.
The Roman constituion, the way the Roman state was held and run, was more sound than the Greek constitution, because the Romans had invented themselves a stable and balanced political structure.
Ancient Men and Morals
A prominent Roman once said "On ancient men and morals the Roman state stands." He was explaining how religious ritual and father-worshipping and the constitution the Romans created shaped the Roman culture.
Pyrrhus was a Greek general who represented the best military skill in the Hellenistic world. He defeated the Roman army but only after sustaining enough losses to show the Greeks that they would not be able to hold off the Roman army forever. "Roman soldiers were more than professional fighting men; they were products of a long tradition of iron discipline and deep-rooted patriotism.