HIST375 notes, Early roman empire (Start- Commodus ONLY).rtf

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3 Apr 2012
All dates are lifetimes except emperors which are reigns
perod can also be called Pax Romana (roman peace).
though there is an interuption with the civil wars of 68-
69. this is a time of internal peace.
This does not apply to the borders of the empire where
expanision is still happening. it is a myth that the roman
emperors did not seek to grow the empire. maybe to
gain the respect of the army. this is shown by more
conquest early in the rule of emperors.
the great conquests are a thing of the past, there is not
Egypt or Macedonea anymore. there is parthya
(reformed persian empire) but it is very strong so there
is a stalemate. most of the conquests are in the north.
Publius Virgilius Maro 70-19BCE
Lucius Annaeus Seneca 4BCE-65CE
and Marcus Aurelius 161-180CE
tis is seen as the silver age of laten, the golden age with
Cicero and Caesar. Great advances in human condition,
baths, sanitation, sewers, improved access to fresh
water. best lefe expectancey in eurobe before the 19th
century. most structures were made of concrete. the
material was perfected in the mid first century. it
ensured longlivity. and was easier to repair.
the dome of the pantheon was not duplicated until 1436
in florence. european civilisation did not recapture this
technology for another 1200 years. some scholars date
the advent of the Renascence to 1436 for this reason.
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darkers side: no real civil rights or human rights, huge
rich-poor gap. starvation was still common place. Blood
sport, it is a myth that gladiators lives were horrible and
short. they took years to train and were expensive
commodities and were even used as money in some
cases. thousands of gladiators died in arenas all over the
empire during this period.
despite this much of the period was not studied in any
great depth and now scholarishop has shifted away from
This period is one of the most ignored periods in all
clasics, up until the 1990s it was classical greece and
then the early roman empire. classical greece, the very
late repbulic and eary empire only up to autustus or if
your pushing it Nero. the early imperial period is now
not studdied widely, just greece, roman republic, and
late empire.
many think Augustus brought forth order from chaos.
stability was ensured because the romans returned to a
form of government where the people willing obeyed
their laws. this divides the empire into good eperors and
bad emperors.
Sir Ronald Syme (1903-1989) views the emperors as
thugs. there were sentorial factions and not everyone
was a client of the emperor. Syme was the first to point
out that the factional politics which bought down the
repbulic, the clashes between he lower and upper
aristocracy were still there. Syme’s view is that part of
Ausustus’s success was that he promoted the lower
aristocracy’s desire of greater social mobility. Syme was
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extreme, but his theses still forms the core of how
people view the early roman empire today.
Publius Cornelius Tacitus (56-117CE): works: annals,
Histories, Agricola. born and raised in Galla Nabonensis.
Senator who held several high-ranking government
positions between 89-113.
(HIST 413 $3200 Sicily trip)
tacitus rarely talks about his own time, likely because he
is playing it safe.
Pliny the Younger: voluminous letter writer, letters cover
period 79-112, Many are to Emperor Trajan (98-117),
Roman senator, judge and provincial governor, Close
friend of Tacitus.
gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (69-ca 130): Biographer of
first twelve emperors (Julius Caesar-Domitian),
Secretary to Emperor Hadrian (117-138), Client of Pliny
the Younger.
Lucius Claudius Cassius Dio Cocceianus (ca 150-235):
history covers period 753 BCE - 229 CE, For Imperial
period, fragmentary after 46, Born and raised in
Bithynia, Senator who held several high-ranking
government positions.
Titus flavius Josephus (Ioseph Ben Matatyahu) (37-
100): Commander against the Romans in the First
Jewish Revolt 66-73, Taken Prisoner in 67, Client of the
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