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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 Changing Face of Roman Society

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Glenn Wilkinson

Lecture 9 (September 30) The Changing face of Roman Society in the 3 and 2 rd nd century B.C. 1. Wealth a. Sources; the Roman Treasury b. Building Boom (example of Cato’s Temple of Victoria Virgo, founded 193 B.C.) c. Large Agricultural Estates (latifundia) d. Influx of Slaves (the First Slave Revolt, 136-132 B.C.) 2. Growing Cultural Diversity a. Influx of non-Romans b. Influence of Greek Culture c. Adoption of Foreign Religious Cults (example of Magna Mater) 3. Changes in Government a. Expanding Number of Magistracies b. Prorogation c. Role of Governors d. Increased Competition for Political Office Changes in Society - significant changes in Roman society - reflect on Plutarch’s Life of Cato – how it intersects with the issues of current lecture - specific historical details to historical narratives, and go back and forth to determine most accurate representation – methodologies - success in war – result was Rome got much richer - citizen army therefore no regular pay – but a share in the spoils - spoils would go into the city’s public fund – general literally would haul wagons full of gold and silver – would belong to the state Physical Rome: Erection of Buildings and Large Estates - treasury was housed in the Temple of Saturn - digital Roman forum – site by UCLA and can see the temple rd - starting in the 3 century B.C. – imposing large indemnities – not typical for wars in Italy (on Italian cities) – however did this to Carthage and various states in the Greek east - cities of Greece had amassed their own fortunes through plunder – Rome took possession of this and imposed indemnities - physical city of Rome itself changed radically – building boom - when generals returned home successfully – would erect a temple in honour of various gods – dedicate temple - example – Cato the Elder erected temple of Victoria Virgo – goddess of victory - dedications of temples and other public buildings – centered around Roman forum at first, but also other areas - palatial mansions were erected as well – generals build expansive homes - habit of seizing land from cities – farming/agricultural changes - example of reconquering cities that Hannibal had – took over land as punishment - land acquired often went to the same few people – wealthy had huge estates and palatial mansions - countryside – from small independent farms to large agricultural business ventures - large estates called latifundia (singular latifundium) – mean ‘big estate’ Slave Management - large influx of slaves at this point as well – many were captives from Rome’s wars - thriving business in human trafficking – pirates captured free people and sell them – based in eastern Mediterranean but sold mainly in Rome - slave influx allowed Roman elites to run their large estates - drawback to many slaves – elite fear that slavnd would revolt - more than one major slave revolt from 2 century B.C. onward - first major revolt – First Slave Revolt in Sicily – led by a charismatic Syrian – raided estates, freed slaves - revolt began by invading city of Enna and massacred many free citizens there - success of freedom movement spread in Sicily – when Roman army moved in initially, they were defeated - revolt eventually engulfed much of Sicily and took four years for Roman army to subdue it - first of such slave rebellions – including the revolt led by Spartacus in the early 1 century B.C. - slaves allowed for boom of wealth and luxury (increased productivity) but much social instability Cultural Diversity - growing cultural diversity – different languages and customs – large numbers of free people - result of Latin War – grant of Roman citizenship to cities – Rome continued this for Italian cities and individuals - not necessary to move to Rome once a citizen but many elites did to become involved in government - non-Romans also came to Rome for business – truly becoming cosmopolitan - experiments with non-Roman cultural elements – Greek especially - earliest Latin playwrights –Plautus and Terrence – basically ripped off Greek plotlines - early Latin poetry came about after Latin poetic system was revised to the Greek models - some of the most exquisite Roman pieces were not simply using Greek style, but re
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