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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Roman Expansion

The Roman World
The spread of Hellenistic and Greek culture occurred not only in the eastern Mediterranean, but also in the west, where it had a great influence on the a new power in the Italian peninsula, the city of Rome.

The founding of the Roman Republic. Many peoples had inhabited Italy since ancient times.

Roman Expansion Timeline
Sometime around the mid-700s B.C., a group of people called Latins built villages along the Tiber River. Located near a shallow river crossing, the Latins had settled in the middle of important trade routes that spread out in all directions. Eventually, these villages united to form the city-state of Rome. In the late 600s B.C., Rome came under the control of the Etruscans, from whom the Romans learned many of the arts of civilization. Rome was also influenced by Greek settlements in Sicily and southern Italy.

Latins, Etruscans, and other peoples living around Rome gradually came to be called Romans. In 509 B.C., the Roman aristocracy overthrew the last Etruscan monarch and set up a republic, a form of government in which voters elect their leaders. Only adult male citizens who owned land could vote. Three groups of citizens helped govern Rome: the Senate, various popular assemblies, and officials known as magistrates. After the end of the monarchy, Roman society was also split between the powerful aristocratic class, known as patricians, and the nonaristocrats known as plebeians. Over time, the plebeians successfully forced the patricians to grant them greater political participation. By about 300 B.C., wealthy plebeians had even joined with the patricians to form a new Roman nobility that soon controlled the state.

For more than 200 years after the founding of the republic, the Romans fought many wars against neighboring peoples in Italy. By 265 B.C., the Romans controlled all of Italy south of the Rubicon River on the northeast coast. Both military organization, based upon legions made up of Roman citizen-soldiers, and wise policies that gradually granted full or partial citizenship to the inhabitants of other Italian cities, helped the Romans achieve their victories.

Roman expansion. As Roman power grew, the Romans came into conflict with Carthage, a powerful city located on the coast of North Africa. In a series of three wars, called the Punic Wars, the Romans completely destroyed their rivals and took over their colonies around the Mediterranean. At the same time, they also began to conquer the eastern parts of the Mediterranean world. As the Roman Republic created this vast new empire, the role of the citizen-farmer and the traditional values of earlier Roman society weakened. As land and slaves became more expensive, and military service kept many citizen-farmers away from their farms, many lost their lands and moved to the cities, where they joined the unemployed masses. In addition, the pressures of ruling such a large empire placed strains on a government that had been designed to rule a small city-state.


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