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Lecture 6

HIST 2904 Lecture 6: Lecture Six Ancient Rome .doc


Department
History
Course Code
HIST 2904
Professor
Greg Fisher
Lecture
6

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Lecture 6 Ancient Rome 02/09/15
Antonines - high point
-death of Commodus = formal end of pax romana end of Antonine dynasty
Notable Events
-increased role of provincials
-Increased wealth of provinces
-Mediterranean empire where there are opportunities from people at the very edges to the centre
-Corresponding decline in Italy - result of ‘globalization
-Course themes - you can trace this back to augustus because he grew with the Italian
provincials and with that they become just as important as Rome.
-Intellectual life, in Italy, Roman law
-Canary int he cold mind for the shift that is taken place is when Marcus Aurelius wrote his
meditations he decided to write in Greek (not in Latin) reflects with the rise of the provinces
and the division in the Mediterranean with the west of the empire Spain. France, Italy and the
east and further down the road during ht muslim invasions one of the most important parts of
Rome is Syria the beating heart of Rome in the 7th C AD
-Greek is the language of the Roman east, the Hellenistic before it and it is highly significant
Boundaries of Empire
-Linguistic - Greek vs. Latin
-S. Mediterranean vs N. Mediterranean
-What is happening with the west?
-W - Stable, political supremacy
-W - Economic super house
-W - higher % of citizenship, local elites more important and play a larger role
-Reasons as Spain part of the Roman republic they had a longer interaction with the Roman
world than places like Syria and Egypt
-Spread out to encompass the west and S. Mediterranean
-West peaked under Antonines west reached its apex of power and started to give up these
advantages to the east so the east became richer and elite greater role in government then they
had been
-Situation beginning to reverse --> East
Eastern “Greek” Empire
-Importance of Hellenistic (post-Alexander) and Semitic civilization these transplanted greek
kings and colonist to the east were built along top of the semitic civilization that had previously
lived there and could trace their ancestors back 100 years
-Especially: urban life/civilization most vital part, political organization, culture, cities
powerhouses for Roman civilization
-Civilization built around cities that had an established role and it did not change this
fundamental because they have rome and civilizations of hellenistic period and those which
came before it
-Vs. West - Rome provided literacy, government, cities what about the east?
-Romans providing people theories of republican government, city’s and urban planning and
literacy in some areas far more spread in the east then the west
-Roman policies to support these cities and change nothing it supports this trend
-Prosperity of east - link to internal security the roman empire provided this by the cities

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Lecture 6 Ancient Rome 02/09/15
-Prosperity of cities - helped by hands off approach to government in the east annexed Syria for
the roman state but changed nothing for the local government on the ground in exchanged for
roman support they dealt with fortier security troops for Romans wall and carried on for three
centuries and buffer kingdoms in the east that are guaranteed by Roman arms and they
managed the day to day governance of these regions ruling by remote control from this
previous structure
Allowed ancient role of cities --> continues and actively supported by the province by self
interest saw them as a way to spread their influence without provincializing the entire region
-Fostered by emperors individual interest in specific cities
-Apace (Seleucid) - Claudia Apamaea became one of the most important cities in Roman empire
honored by a visit by Claudia and it took its name, an hour to the city visited by the emperor
himself
-Corinth - Julia Flavia Augusta Corinthiensis
-Palmyra - Hadriana Palmyra
-Individual patronizing of these vital urban centers, nothing much changed the main parts of our
governments
-Evidence for Roman architecture, imperial cult not happening in the west because they are not
building any of the cities because they are already there
-These city states control vast land and centers of trading networks connected to other cities
100’s of them scattered all over what is now Jordan, turkey etc and together they controlled
what we call now the middle east
-What underpinned the strength of east?
-Roman political institutions highly compatible with the way they they governance themselves
because they have a common ancestor by being Hellenistic already taken over by the Greece so
since they took over Greece there are some compatibility
-One reason why civilization in the east is preserved, protected and promoted
-Active promotion and protection
-Inherit all the problems that these cities were dealing with
- Reflection of prosperity in the east, public spaces (remember Trajan’s Rome)
-Wealth of the great urban centers of the eastern world, public spaces are directly listed with the
public spaces of market and public forum
-These cities show you the immeasurable wealth of these public spaces e.g. Apamea, Syria
Jerash, Jordan Palmyra, Syria
-Revenue for islamic state the looting of Dura from antiquity and in Syria not just Syria’s roots
but everyones member of the ISIS hide in Dura Euroopos
-Geresh (Jerash, Jordan) you can still go to this one
-A lot of this local wealth - not possible without roman policy in east
-Also: trade
-Incense/spice/silk
-Yemen- Saudi - Jordan - Syria
-Syriac overland --> china
-Role of Petra, Palmyra - urban wealth
-Nothing like this is happening in the west
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Lecture 6 Ancient Rome 02/09/15
-Palmyra not under roman control until the 3rd century
-Palmyra one of the best armies besides the Romans and they were paid by the Roman empire to
be used against the Persians
-Underground tombs and provided beautiful funerary statues and inscriptions on who they were
what they did and who they were related too
-Olive oil, grain and wine containers of wine from Gaza all over the Mediterranean and northern
Syria one of the riches agriculture in the Med.
-Dead cities - indication of local wealth amazing indication of wealth of the region
-Serjilla, Syria because people are forced out into the country side and are living in these homes
but then they are also taking bricks etc to build their own homes
-N. Syria tower tombs now have been vandalized
Prosperity measured in quality of intellectual life
-Plutarch - Parallel Lives
-Arrian - Anabasis
-Appian - Civil Wars
-Lucian - satirist (more on him)
-Apollodorus of Damascus - architect
-Law school, Beirut
Lucian - satirist
-A true story - characters visit Moon and Venus parodies of Homer
-One of the earliest examples of science fiction
-Lucian thought that they inflated body counts and that they didn’t do research properly so he
poked fun at people he thought was bad historians
-Symposium - not approved by Plato characters drink a lot and behave poorly
What about Romans speaking Greek?
-During the time of pax Romana from Augustus-M.A. Orbis Romanus that promotes the
provinces and includes the Greeks in the east
-Aelius Aristides - Eulogy of Rome
-Romans who speak latin or Romans who speak greek foster the inclusion of the east into the
greek world and when e mperor starts writing its meditation in Greece the army just to speak
latin but eventually they were bilingualism
Now- idea that emperor might be acceptable from the east - okay
-Even while Roman west/east diverging - east playing a bigger role in orbis Romanus
-And centre of gravity shifting
-Role of Antioch is more important than the west, and most important city besides rome until
constantenople and rise past rome and become important than rome being number 2
-Emperors looking to east - eventually
-Constantenople
-6th century no one talks about rome really and the west is really not that important anymore
Romanization
-Blanket term for spread of culture, ideas and government
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