Origins of Rome
As legend has it, Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, twin sons of Mars, the god of war. Left to drown in a basket on the Tiber by a king of nearby Alba Longa and rescued by a she-wolf, the twins lived to defeat that king and found their own city on the river’s banks in 753 B.C. After killing his brother, Romulus became the first king of Rome, which is named for him. A line of Sabine, Latin and Etruscan (earlier Italian civilizations) kings followed in a non-hereditary succession.
SPQR is an acronym of a Latin phrase, (S)enātus (P)opulus(q)ue (R)ōmānus ("The Roman Senate and People"), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official emblem of the modern-day comune (municipality) of Rome. It appears on Roman currency, at the end of documents made public by inscription in stone or metal, in dedications of monuments and public works, and was emblazoned on the vexilloids of the Roman legions.
Tradition held that the Senate was first established by Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome, as an advisory council consisting of the 100 heads of families, called patres ("fathers"). Later, at the start of the Republic, Lucius Junius Brutus increased the number of Senators to 300 (according to legend). They were also called conscripti ("conscripted men"), because Brutus had conscripted them. From then on, the members of the Senate were addressed as patres et conscripti, which was gradually ran together as patres conscripti ("conscript fathers").
The Roman Senate, as a political institution, was one of the most enduring institutions in Roman history, being founded in the first days of the city (traditionally founded in 753 BC). It survived the overthrow of the kings in 509 BC, the fall of the Roman Republic in the 1st century BC, the split of the Roman Empire in 395 AD, the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 410 AD, and barbarian rule of rome in 5,6,7th centuries. The Senate of the West Roman Empire continued to function until 603 AD.
Greek philosophy and rhetoric moved fully into Latin for the first time in the speeches, letters and dialogues of Cicero (106-43 B.C.), the greatest orator of the late Roman Republic. A brilliant lawyer and the first of his family to achieve Roman office, Cicero was one of the leading political figures of the era of Julius Caesar, Pompey, Marc Antony and Octavian.
Photo: Statue of Cicero, Courthouse, Rome, Italy
The statesman and general Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) expanded the Roman Republic through a series of battles across Europe before declaring himself dictator for life. He died famously on the steps of the Senate at the hands of political rivals. Julius Caesar is often remembered as one of the greatest military minds in history and credited with laying the foundation for the Roman Empire.
Marcus Licinius Crassus (115-53 BCE) was perhaps the richest man in Roman history and in his eventful life he experienced both great successes and severe disappointments. His vast wealth and sharp political skills brought him two consulships and the kind of influence enjoyed only by a true heavyweight of Roman politics. A mentor to Julius Caesar in his early career, Crassus would rise to the very top of state affairs but his long search for a military triumph to match his great rival Pompey would, ultimately, bring about his downfall.
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great, was a military leader and politician during the fall of the Roman Republic. He was born in 106 BCE and died on 28th September 48 BCE. His father was Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo.
Pompey’s life can be easily split into four phases: his early career (106- 71 BCE), his consulship until the triumvirate (70- 60 BCE), his later career in Rome (59- 50 BCE) and the Civil War (49-48 BCE).
See more at: http://www.ancient.eu/pompey/
It was January 49 BC, Caesar was staying in the northern Italian city of Ravenna and he had a decision to make. Either he acquiesced to the Senate's command or he moved southward to confront Pompey and plunge the Roman Republic into a bloody civil war. An ancient Roman law forbade any general from crossing the Rubicon River and entering Italy proper with a standing army. To do so was treason. This tiny stream would reveal Caesar's intentions and mark the point of no return.
Painting: Julius Caesar and the Crossing of the Rubicon (scene from the story of Alexander the Great), Artists: Francesco Granacci, born 1469 - died 1543 (production) and Domenico Ghirlandaio, born 1449 - died 1494 (workshop, production)
Following the expulsion of the kings of Rome, Rome became a Republic, with a new type of leader. For this purpose, the Romans invented the new position of consul (by 181 B.C., limited to men of at least 43 years of age). It conferred a limited term of absolute power; however, the power wielded was less than that of the king, since it was split between 2 men (consuls) and limited to a single year. Ten years were supposed to elapse before serving as consul a second time.
"A party of senators arrived at his farm (as depicted by Juan Antonio Ribera, c1806, pictured) and told him of the dangers threatening Rome. He was asked to save his country from these perils, a request to which he acquiesced after some initial surprise. After being given command of an army he marched towards where the Consul had been trapped and quickly routed the enemy. For such an amazing feat of arms he was allowed to ride through the city in triumph.
In the space of just two weeks he had raised an army, crushed his enemy and laid down his office to return to farming. It is these events that were canonized as a moral example of how a Roman nobleman ought to behave."
See more at: http://www.historyinanhour.com/2010/07/06/cincinnatus-summary/#sthash.jIRMgspx.dpuf
Painting: Cincinnatus leaves the plow for the Roman dictatorship – Juan Antonio Ribera y Fernández, c. 1806
As the first Roman emperor (though he never claimed the title for himself), Augustus led Rome’s transformation from republic to empire during the tumultuous years following the assassination of his great-uncle and adoptive father Julius Caesar. He shrewdly combined military might, institution-building and lawmaking to become Rome’s sole ruler, laying the foundations of the 200-year Pax Romana (Roman Peace) and an empire that lasted, in various forms, for nearly 1,500 years.
The term "Pax Romana," which literally means "Roman peace," refers to the time period from 27 B.C.E. to 180 C.E. in the Roman Empire. This 200-year period saw unprecedented peace and economic prosperity throughout the Empire, which spanned from England in the north to Morocco in the south and Iraq in the east. During the Pax Romana, the Roman Empire reached its peak in terms of land area, and its population swelled to an estimated 70 million people.
Photo: Caesar Augustus, marble statue, c. 20 bce; in the Vatican Museums, Vatican City.
The Roman Empire, at its height (c. 117 CE), was the most extensive political and social structure in western civilization. By 285 CE the empire had grown too vast to be ruled from the central government at Rome and so was divided by Emperor Diocletian into a Western and an Eastern Empire. The Roman Empire began when Augustus Caesar became the first emperor of Rome (31 BCE) and ended, in the west, when the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by the Germanic King Odoacer (476 CE). In the east, it continued as the Byzantine Empire until the death of Constantine XI and the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE. The influence of the Roman Empire on western civilization was profound in its lasting contributions to virtually every aspect of western culture.
Though the Capitoline is the only distinct hill today, all seven hills were once discernable. The Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, and Caelian hills are really promontories of an ancient volcanic ridge. The Palatine, Aventine, and Capitoline hills were hills separate from the others (not part of the same ancient ridge). There were once marshy ravines between all of the hills, and between the hills and the Tiber River, but these were drained in antiquity and the ravines are now filled in with the remains of civilisation.
Archaeological evidence supports the notion that there were walled cities on each of the seven original hills. It also suggests that there was a wall that surrounded the Palatine, Esquiline, Velian, and Caelian hills but left out the Capitoline, Quirinal, and Viminal hills.
Historians and Archaeologists have found evidence of ancient enmity between peoples living on the Quirinal and Esquiline hills against those on the Velian and Palatine hills. This could help explain the reasons for choosing Remus and Romulus as leaders of the warring peoples living on the Aventine and Palatine hills respectively.
Roman architecture continued the legacy left by the earlier architects of the Greek world, and the Roman respect for this tradition and their particular reverence for the established architectural orders, especially the Corinthian, is evident in many of their large public buildings. However, the Romans were also great innovators and they quickly adopted new construction techniques, used new materials, and uniquely combined existing techniques with creative design to produce a whole range of new architectural structures such as the basilica, triumphal arch, monumental aqueduct, amphitheatre, granary building, and residential housing block. Many of these innovations were a response to the changing practical needs of Roman society, and these projects were all backed by a state apparatus which funded, organised, and spread them around the Roman world, guaranteeing their permanence so that many of these great edifices survive to the present day.
Missing episode 5 can be watched here: https://youtu.be/JMXiw296WlU