Course: Introduction to Roman History Instructor: Michel Cottier
4. Rome, conqueror of Italy
Cf. (= 'confer', imperative of 'conferre', means 'compare!') Chapter 5 of your textbook.
[e.g. = 'exempli gratia' meaning 'for example/instance']
[i.e. = 'id est' meaning 'that is...']
Cf. CHAPTERS V and VI of your textbook.
- 7 on p. 12 (= FIRA 1, p. 4 = Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 2.9-10; on patrician and plebeian);
- 251-254 on pp. 203-207 (= Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights 15.27.5 / 15.27.4 / Gaius, Institutes 1.3 / Cicero, Speech in
Defense of Flaccus 15.16; popular assemblies);
- 255-261 on pp. 207-215 (= Cicero, A Book about Constitution 3.3.6-9 / Varro, A Book about the Latin Language
5.14.80-82 / The Digest of Laws 1.2.16-28 (Pomponius) / Polybius, History of the World 6.12.1-9 / Cicero, An Essay
about Duties (a series of selected passages) / Apuleius, The Golden Ass 1.24 and 25 / Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights;
magistrates: functions, duties and powers);
- 79 on pp. 59-63 = several passages of Vitruvius' On Architecture (city houses);
- 187 on p. 151 = Appian, The Civil Wars 1.1.7, 9, 10, 11 (uses of conquered territories);
- 194 on p. 160 = Cicero, An Essay on Old Age 16.55-56 (farmers and heroes);
- 203-204 and 206-208 on pp. 166-172 = Seneca the Younger, An Essay about Peace of Mind 8.8 / Id., An Essay
about Anger 3.29.1-2 / several passages of Columella's On Agriculture / Cato the Elder, On Agriculture 2.56-59 /
Varro, On Agriculture 1.17.1, 3-5, 7 (slavery).
PLACE NAMES AND OTHER GEOGRAPHICAL DETAILS TO BE ABLE TO LOCALIZE ON A MAP:
- IMAGE 1: Samnites (people of the territory called Samnium; map, p. 8);
- IMAGE 2: Veii and Caere (Etruscan cities); Ostia (sea harbour of Rome); Capua (Etruscan, then Oscan city)[all on
the map on the inside cover of your textbook];
- IMAGE 3: Massilia (Greek city; map, p. 89); Epirus (Greek kingdom; map, p. 89).
DATES TO REMEMBER (only those with an *):
- *Around 500 (traditional date: 509) rule by popular royal tyrants at Rome was abolished and a conservative
'republican' (aristocratic) constitution was established.
- 494 BC (according to tradition): first 'Secession of the Plebs'; creation of the 'concilium plebis' (Council of the
Plebs) and of the 'tribuni plebis' (tribunes of the Plebs).
- 471 BC: new 'Secession of the Plebs'. The 'concilium plebis' (Council of the Plebs) obtained the right: a) to elect a
new series of magistrates, the plebeian aediles, on top of the plebeian tribunes; b) to promulgate 'plebiscita'
('plebiscites, decisions of the Plebs') which had force of law.
- *Around 450 BC appearance of the first codification of Roman laws: (Law of) the Twelve Tables
- 444 BC: creation of the censors, two magistrates in charge of the civic census and later of the allocation of public
- IMAGE 4: *396 BC: defeat, capture and destruction of the Etruscan city of Veii (see map on the inside cover of
your textbook), Rome's chief rival for the control of the lower Tiber during the whole fifth century.
- IMAGE 4: *around 390 BC (perhaps 387/6): battle of the Allia river, the Gauls defeated the Romans and captured and destroyed Rome (except for the Capitol).
IMAGES 5 and 6: This unfortunate episode led to the construction of Rome' first rempart, the so-called 'Servian wall'
(named after Rome's sixth king, Servius Tullius; see map, p. 3 of your textbook).
- IMAGE 7: 381 BC: the Latin town of Tusculum became the first Roman 'municipium'.
- 367 BC: creation of the praetors, annually elected magistrates in charge of justice and deputies of the consuls if need
be. Creation also of curule aediles (that is patrician aediles) in imitation of the plebeian aediles elected by the
'concilium plebis' since 471 BC.
- 343-341 BC: First Samnite War. Alliance with Capua.
- 340-338 BC: Latin War. Dissolution of the Latin League (which the Romans had joined in 493 to fight against hill
- 327-304/3 BC: Second Samnite War. IMAGE 7: *321 BC: Battle of the Caudine Forks (in the mountains between
Campania and Apulia; cf. map on the inside cover of your textbook) = important Samnite victory.
- 298-290 BC: Third Samnite War. Both Samnites and Sabines were subdued.
- IMAGE 7: 282 BC: start of the conflict with Tarentum which will lead to:
a. *280-278 and *276-275: the Pyrrhic Wars against Pyrrhus, king of Epirus.
b. *272: Tarentum fell to Rome, paid heavy war compensation and became a Roman ally.
- 269 BC: start of the minting of silver coinage in Rome (temple of Juno Moneta).
THE ROMAN REPUBLICAN INSTITUTIONS FROM 509 TO 269 BC (points to keep in mind):
[Roman social orders:
- 'ordo senatorius' ('the senatorial order') and 'ordo equester' ('the equestrian order'). Remember that these two orders
had much in common and that the boundaries between them was quite permeable.]
- Around 500 (traditional date: 509), rule by popular royal tyrants at Rome was abolished and a conservative
'republican' (= aristocratic) constitution was established.
- Creation of a political system that would make difficult for a single individual to acquire too much power at the
expense of the rest:
a. Two annual consuls (originally military commanders of the two first legions of the Roman army) who commanded
the army, acted as judges and summoned meetings of the 'comitia centuriata' (Centuriate Assembly).
[NB: Each of the two consuls had 12 lictors carrying 'fasces' (bundles of rods and single-headed axe held together by
red thongs; symbolizing the power of punishment). By consent the axe was removed from the 'fasces' of the
magistrates within Rome (with the exception of the dictator and the triumphing general), thus symbolizing the citizen
right of appeal. Dictator: 24 lictors; praetors: 6 lictors each.]
b. The Senate = an advisory council of prominent and experienced men (the 'patres') which has control over foreign
affairs, expenditures made by the state treasury ('aerarium') and the supervision of public contracts. They passed
decrees (and not laws) called 'senatus consulta' (sg. 'senatus consultum'); these decrees could be accepted as such,
modified or reject by magistrates.
c. The 'comitia centuriata' (Centuriate Assembly) elected the chief magistrates and functioned as a court of appeal for
d. In exceptional cases, i.e., in time of political or military crisis, a dictator for a period not exceeding six months
could be appointed. The dictator nominated his direct subordinate the 'magister equitum' (master of the cavalry).
[The 'plebs' = the non-patrician group of the society, those who, at first, had no share in power in the young Roman
Republic. According to tradition, the first 'Secession of the Plebs' took place in 494 BC and led to the creation of both
e) and f):]
e.the 'concilium plebis' (Council of the Plebs), and of the 'tribuni plebis' (tribunes of the Plebs); originally two, later
(by 449 BC) up to ten, non-patrician officials whose primary function was to protect any plebeian (= member of the
Plebs) who called upon them for help against abuses committed by magistrates. They were elected for one year by the
new 'concilium plebis' (Council of the Plebs). In 471, after a new Secession of the Plebs the 'concilium plebis' started to elect plebeian tribunes and aediles
(magistrates in charge of market and food supply, of plebeian archives and treasury, and of security in the city). The
Council of the Plebs was also able by the mid-fifth century BC to pass 'plebiscita' (sg. 'plebiscitum') = plebiscites, i.e.,
decisions of the Plebs which had force of law.
[Around 450 BC appearance of the first codification of Roman laws = (Law of the) Twelve Tables.]
f. A few years later creation of the 'Comitia Tributa' (Tribal Assembly) which included both patrician and
non-patrician elements of the society an