A Christian sacrament in which the death of Christ is communally remembered through a meal of bread and wine.
A political alliance between Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey in which they agreed to advance one another's interests.
five good emperors
Five consecutive Roman emperors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, and Marcus Aurelius) distinguished by their benevolence and moderation.
A public area in the center of Rome which served as focal point of the political, spiritual, and economic life of the city.
The rights, privileges, and protections of citizenship.
Criminals and convicts who were sentenced to be slaughtered in the arena as public entertainment.
A non-orthodox religious practice or belief.
ius civile (civil law)
A law that consisted of statutes, customs, and forms of procedure.
ius naturale (natural law)
A universal law that could be applied to all societies.
Huge Roman estates created by buying up several small farms.
The freeing of individual slaves by their masters.
The savior of Israel.
From a Latin term meaning "of the country," used to describe followers of a folk religion.
A term that means far more than merely "father," it indicates the oldest dominant male of the family, one who holds nearly absolute power over the lives of his family as long as he lives.
The aristocracy, wealthy landowners who held political power.
A period during the first and second centuries C.E. of security, order, harmony, flourishing culture, and expanding economy.
The common people of Rome, who had few of the patricians' advantages.
A new office created in 366 B.C.E.; these people would act in place of consuls when the consuls were away, although they primarily dealt with the administration of justice.
A Latin term meaning 'First Citizen,' used as an official title by the early Roman emperors, from Augustus through Diocletian.
The rural colonies of the Roman civilization; they were often allowed to keep many of their local beliefs.
Originating under the Etruscans, a council of noble elders who advised the king.
Struggle of the Orders
A great social conflict that developed between patricians and plebeians; the plebeians wanted real political representation and safeguards against patrician domination.
A system by which four men ruled the empire.
The distinctive garment of Roman men, made of a long sash wrapped around the body. The wearing of the toga was forbidden to non-citizens.
The people whom plebeians were able to elect; tribunes would, in turn, protect the plebeians from the arbitrary conduct of patrician magistrates.
The belief that all human beings will ultimately be reconciled to God and achieve salvation.
The Etruscans and the Roman Settlement of Italy (ca.750-509 B.C.E.)
According to legend, Rome was founded by the brothers Romulus and Remus. Etruscan kings ruled until 509 B.C.E.
The Roman Conquest of Italy (509-290 B.C.E.)
In 509 B.C.E., Rome threw off Etruscan rule and proclaimed itself a republic. The Romans built strong military and political institutions. After recovering from Gaulish invasions, Rome began a campaign of conquest. Through military force and diplomatic acumen Rome absorbed Italy, ensuring the stability of the growing state by offering citizenship to allied and conquered peoples.
The Roman Republic
The Senate was the dominant political institution. Society was divided between patricians and plebeians.
Social Conflict in Rome
The early Republic experienced internal unrest as plebeians struggled with patricians for the right to participate in the processes of government. From this conflict emerged the written laws that formed the basis of Roman legal universalism; institutions that protected plebian rights; and, after the Struggle of the Orders, a new, more inclusive concept of citizenship.
Roman Expansion and Its Repercussions (282-27 B.C.E.)
Expansion led to power and wealth but also caused social unrest.
The Age of Overseas Conquest (282-45 B.C.E.)
A conflict in southern Italy led to foreign involvement, first in Sicily and then in North Africa, during the Punic wars between Rome and Carthage.
Old Values and Greek Culture
Military victory brought economic, political, and social changes, including a new reliance on slavery and, to the dismay of Roman traditionalists, the absorption of Greek culture.
The Late Republic (133-31 B.C.E.)
Further, the powerful armies became the tools of ambitious men bent on ruling the Republic themselves. The struggles among them culminated during the Late Republic with the rise and murder of Julius Caesar. After the subsequent civil war the Republic fell in all but name, and in its place rose the imperial state of Caesar's nephew Octavian (later called Augustus).
The Pax Romana
Augustus's success in meeting the problems of reconstruction led to the Roman peace.
Augustus's Settlement (31 B.C.E.-14 c.e.)
When Augustus became the First Citizen of the State in 31 B.C.E., Rome began a new era of constitutional monarchy.
Administration and Expansion under Augustus
Rome expanded into northern and western Europe and as far east as the Danube River.
The Coming of Christianity
Jesus of Nazareth lived, preached, and was executed in the Roman province of Judaea during the reign of Tiberius.
Unrest in Judaea
Violence and unrest associated with the civil wars spread to Judaea. The Jews were divided between two groups the Zealots and those who believed that the coming of the Messiah was near. The Roman culture's mystery religions or paganism clashed with Jewish beliefs.
The Life and Teachings of Jesus
Jesus lived during this tumultuous period. The Gospels detail Jesus' life and teachings. Jesus claimed to be the promised Messiah, and many Jews followed Jesus. Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus to death because of his (Pilate's) desire to maintain peace and order.
The Spread of Christianity
The structure of the Roman Empire, coupled with the work of Paul of Tarsus and others, ensured the spread of Christian teachings.
The Appeal of Christianity
Christianity appealed to many people in part because of the emphasis on love, forgiveness, and salvation.
The Golden Age
Augustus's political success led to a golden age later in the first century. It was a time of growing cities and economic well-being.
Politics in the Empire
Rome continued to flourish through the Golden Age, aided by the rule of the five good emperors. In order to guard the frontiers, the army changed from a mobile unit to a defensive force.
Life in the Golden Age
Rome's population was 500,000-750,000. The government provided food and entertainment. In the provinces, peace and security led to extensive prosperity. Trade increased, and industries grew.
Rome and the East
The Romans expanded into Central Asia bringing the Romans into contact with Iran and China.
Conflict and Commerce between Rome and Parthia
In the East, eventual Roman control of Parthia (Iran) allowed the Romans to take advantage of the sophisticated trade contacts Iran had established with China, Egypt, India, and other regions.
Contacts Between Rome and China
Maritime exploration led to trade with China, although Rome expressed no interest in learning more about China.
The Empire from Crisis to Triumph (284-337 c.e.)
After the five good emperors, Rome entered a period of civil war and foreign invasion.
Reconstruction under Diocletian and Constantine (284-337 c.e.)
Diocletian brought renewed stability through administrative reforms, permanently splitting the empire in two. Constantine worked to repair the damage.
Economic Hardship and Consequences
Diocletian and Constantine also faced major economic, social, and religious problems. The tax system affected social mobility and economic vitality, leading to the beginning of serfdom.
The Acceptance of Christianity
Diocletian persecuted Christians, but Constantine recognized it, and in the fourth century c.e., Christianity was made the official religion of Rome.
The Construction of Constantinople
At the site of Byzantium, Constantine built a new capital for the empire.
From the Classical World to Late Antiquity
The empire was split between East and West, with the East remaining a world of urbanism and empire. But the West was soon taken over by independent barbarian kingdoms. Yet the influence of Rome would continue to be felt.