Chapter 1 – Early Italy:
Italy and the Mediterranean world:
West coast of Italy was the most favored – fertile lands and many harbors
Etruria: the land of the ancient Etruscans, is the northernmost; this region of
fertile land saw some of the earliest centers of urban life
2 important plains occupy the coast to the south:
o Latium: the Latin plains ran from the sea to the foothills of the
Apennines. Rome would rise here on the banks of the Tiber
o Campania plain is the southernmost of the three regions.
Italy occupies a strategic point in the Mediterranean world – the island of
Sicily, off the southwest tip of the peninsula, divides the Mediterranean sea
into two, and maritime traffic between east and west necessarily passes by
o The island could also serve as a virtual bridge between Italy and North
Italy before the City:
After the first appearance of agriculture around 4000 BC, Italy was a land of
villages with simple forms or economic and social organization
To the east of Italy, in the Balkans and beyond, complex and highly organized
societies, ruled by kings wit the assistance of bureaucratic and military elites,
were firmly established in the second millennium BC.
The Mycenaean civilization of Greece had great influence on some of the
cultures of central Europe and the Mediterranean
In Italy, Mycenaean merchants were active along the southern half of the
Adriatic shore, the south coast and the west coast as far north as the bay of
The Iron Age in Etruria, Latium, and Campania:
Iron Age: the years between the start of the ninth century and the last third
of the eighth the extraction of metal from ore required even more complex
The use of Iron would lead to cheaper products
In the ninth and eighth centuries, Etruria, Latium and Campania saw the rise
of an inter-related group of cultures that would eventually develop into
major centers of power and wealth
In Etruria, the iron age culture of these centuries is known as “Villanovan”
Greeks and Phoenicians in the Central Mediterranean:
Maritime contact with the eastern Mediterranean again became a prominent
factor in the development of central Italian societies
The Phoecians led the way – their world centered on a number of cities
o Long distance trade by land and by sea was important in the social
and political order of a Phoenician city-state; kings and temple
priesthoods and rich merchants participated
o Tyre and Sidon = most powerful of the Phoenician states
The Greeks arrived shortly after the collapse of Mycenaean civilization and
established settlements in Italy The rise of the Cities:
Over the next three centuries, Etruia, Latium and Campania experience a
series of political, social, and cultural innovations that would result in the
formation of the first Italian city-states.
A City-state was both a type of settlement and a form of political, military,
and social organization.
Fully developed city-states usually possessed a clearly defined urban core,
with special areas designate for elite and for communal ends, along with
cemeteries encircling it.
Political organization was essential – at first, aristocratic families and their
dependants dominated most emerging city-states. In the 7 and 6 centuries
kings reined some. By the early 5 century certain cities possessed formal
offices and priesthoods using the process of elections.
Scholars divide the formative age of the city-state into 2 broad phases: the
orientalizing period (c. 725 – 580) and the Archaic period (C. 580 – 480)
Appearance of an Elite:
At the end of 8 century, some families began to demonstrate that they
posses wealth, status, and power on a scale far greater than other families in
The emerging elite families sought to distinguish themselves through
distinctive ways of life with appropriate marks of status (elite burials)
Cities and Monumental Architecture:
From the beginning of the 7 century, members of elite families began to
construct larger structures in the main centers of population.
As part of this development, the ruling elites of central Italy made the cult
places of their communities grander and grander (such as temples)
Temples in central Italy generally were built upon a high platform fronted by
a porch with columns; crowning the structure was a peaked roof of
terracotta tiles with terracotta decorations.
As wealth came to concentrate in cities and towns, many communities began
to expand resources on their defense and communities began to construct
more elaborate and expensive defense systems
o Some fortified themselves by digging a deep, broad ditch and using
the excavated earth to construct a thick high mound inside it.
Warfare in the orientalizing and archaic periods:
The 8 , 7 and 6 centuries saw major changes in the frequency of warfare
and the degree of organization
The new ways of making war affected not only relations between the
emerging cities, but also the role and power of aristocracies, the political and
social organization of the communities themselves, and their physical
Yet, still few battles occurred.
Warriors served not as members of the community, but as followers of an
aristocratic leader who had organized the enterprise.
Social and economic organization: Elite families dominated the social and economic life of their cities just as
they did their political, religious and military organization
The wealth and power of the upper classes rested upon their control over
their followers and other dependants as well as over land
Prominent individuals mobilized groups of men for war, led them in battle,
and if successful, distributed the fruits of victory: land, cattle, captives, and
the moveable goods of the defeated.
Long-term ties of democracy bound many of the inhabitants of the new cities
to aristocratic leaders relationships between elites and followers: patrons
o The patron granted protection to his clients, who followed his
protector in war and in politics and served him in other ways when
Romans belonged to a clan or gens (gentes = pl). Gens consisted of an
aristocratic lineage or group of lineages and some of their lesser followers
Members were identified by a name (nomen) that identified their gens, and
they also had a first personal name (the praenomen)
Every member of a community would belong to a gens
Dependence on the rich and powerful was unavoidable. As long as communal
organizations were relatively weak, only powerful families, with their many
armed dependants, could offer protection from war and other forms of
Debt formed another route dependency: it established a long-term
relationship between borrower and lender many men were forced to turn
to their wealthier neighbors for assistance to feed their family.
o Debt would probably never be paid; debtors would never gain enough
wealth to payback in full, and they would need further assistance
o Debt created a permanent relationship in which debtors lost control
of their land and their labor, while creditors gained followers and a
Etruscans and Greeks:
Etruscan city-states were never unified politically, and frequently they were
rivals and even enemies
In the Archaic period, Etruscan elites were among the most active in Italy.
Narrow oligarchies, composed of the descendants of the first settlers, for a
long time controlled the best land and public offices
Greeks of lesser status formed the citizen body (demos) and their military
service could be essential to the survival of the state. However, they had little
in the way of political rights.
Chapter 2 – Rome’s First Centuries:
Emergence of an urban community: Ancient Rome occupied a group of hills overlooking the Tiber River was a
favorable location (water full and hills and river made it easy to defend. It
also had 2 of the most important routes passing through it (salt pans and the
coastal road from Etruria to Campania))
A stream running through separated three of the hills that proved important
in early Rome: the Capitol, the Palentine, and the Velia
o When drained in 7 /6 centuries, this valley would become the
forum romaium (Roman Forum), the city’s political and religious
o A small plain would also become the Forum Boarium – the chief
market for harbor of urban Rome.
From the middle of the 7 century, the Romans began to transform the valley
separating the hills into the civic and religious center of the city, the Forum
The Comitum was built at the end of the century and was a sacred space
where officials would summon citizens to vote, to hear legal cases, and to
make important public decisions.
The Curia Hostilita served as one of the meeting places for the council of
elders know as the senate
Two other major centers of Rome's civic and religious life, the Capitol and the
Forum Boarium, began to be adorned with larger more elaborate structures.
On the Capitoline hill, the Roman's began to construct the temple of Jupiter
Best and Greatest at the beginning of the 6 century – one of the largest
temples in Italy
Romans Early History:
7 kings supposedly ruled in Rome:
Romulus founded the city and some of its most important political
Numa Pompilius set the pattern for Rome's religious life their successors
built temples, founded institutions, and waged war on Rome’s neighbors.
Servius Tullius (the 6 king) was a second founder of the city
Tarquinius Superbus, Rome’s last king, justify his fall and the end of the
It is generally thought that Romulus founded Rome in 753
Rome under the kings:
Kingship priested in Rome in the form of a priestly office, the rex sacrorum,
(rex = king), that continued that king’s religious functions long after the
political and military powers had been lost
The Roman monarchy had not been hereditary, so each king had to establish
his right to rule only one instance in the 7 kings where father and son both
held the throne
Romans of a later date associated their kings with leadership in war, the
construction of temples, the performance of religious rights, and the granting
of judgments in legal disputes. By the end of the 6 century, Rome had grown significantly (from taking over
The Aristocracy had its own political, religions, and military roles in the city
leaders met in a council of elders known as the senate, which chose the
kings, helped them make policy, and resisted their initiatives if they saw fit
Aristocratic councils were common in the world of the city-state the
senate met in the building Curia Hostilia
One of the chief characteristics of a fully formed city-state was citizenry
organized communally to fulfill its roles in politics, religion, and war
The mass of adult male citizens was known as the populus Romanus the
populus gained the right to give assent to officeholders and their policies, a
practice that would eventually become formalized as a vote
The bulk of Rome's population was integrated into the cities institutions
through intermediary groups based on kinship
Several clans for gentes formed a larger unit known as a curia (pl: curiae)
The roman curiae formed three tribes – these curiae had important religious
functions in which aristocrats took the lead
The tribes had an essential role in Rome’s political and military organization.
o When the city made war, its army – the followers of the king and of
powerful members of the elite – was organized by tribes, with each
one providing its own unit of Calvary and of infantry
The sixth king, Servious tullius created new forms of classifying and
organizing the population and citizens were assigned to tribes based on
o He divided the city into 4 urban tribes for its residents.
o Rural tribes were added for the inhabitants of the country side which
would grow as Roman territory expanded
o The creation of these tribes did not require the elimination of the 3
original ones, which continued to perform some of their old functions
o Now roman citizens belonged to 2 tribes in 2 different tribal systems
o Over time, the new tribes became more important than the old tribes
and membership in one became a mark of citizenship.
Rome and the Latin’s:
A shared identity linked the cities of Latium – the inhabitants of Latium had
much in common: they shared the name of Latin and they used variants of
the Latin language and also possessed a common material culture
The belief in an identity that transcended the separate communities of
Latium received clear expression in religious ritual.
The Latin festival: latiar held in honor of Jupiter Latiarias, was the most
prominent – Latin’s sense of a shared identity found expression in other
In the Greek world the ideal city-state (polus) was a closed community – few
outsiders became citizens, intermarriage with non-citizens was sometimes
discouraged, and the right to own land was restricted to citizens Latin
cities were less exclusive Later, all Latin’s possessed the right of:
o Conubium – permitting them to make lawful marriage with a resident
of any other Latin city
o Commercium: allowed Latin’s to own land in any of the Latin cities
and make legally enforceable contracts with their citizens
o All Latin’s had the right to take up citizenship in any other Latin city
by establishing residence there
Despite this sharing – Latin’s were not politically unified their
communities waged war against one another, and the most powerful
competed for primacy cities grew by war.
The political institutions that would later unite the Latin communities
resulted from the domination of a few, and eventually from the leadership of
just one: Rome.
The early republic:
In the 6 century, Rome was one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Italy
However, Rome and many of its neighbors entered into a period of great
In Rome itself, this coincides with an important shift in rule with the end of
the monarchy and the beginning of the Roman republic
The end of the monarchy marked the beginnings of the major political
institutions of the republic
Magistrates took the King’s place magistrates spread more power more
widely among the rich and powerful
Rome would eventually possess a hierarchy of offices, each with its own
tasks and powers – each office was annual and colleial: more than one
individual shared the powers of the position at the same time.
The Republic has 2 consuls who were elected yearly
The predominance of consulship would not become fixed until the 4 th
During the second have of the 5 and into the 4 century, the Roman’s chose
military tribunes with consular powers (generally in groups of 6)
In times of emergency – magistrates appointed one man to serve as dictator
or in times of war when a unified command seemed desirable
o Dictator held office for 6 months or until the emergency was over –
whichever was shorter; meantime the consuls remained in office but
served under the dictators command
The appointed dictator then appointed a “master of cavalry” as second in
command to assist him
Annual magistracies require a process of selection, and later roman citizens
would elect individuals to fill the office.
o In later periods, the “centurate” assembly chose the highest officials
and rendered judgments in important cases
“Laws of the twelve tables” – did not form a code – instead they were a
collection of specific, detailed, and narrowly focused provisions o Debt and its consequences were among the lawmakers central
concerns the twelve tables prescribed that creditors must assure
the debtors appearance in court and must carry out all judgments.
Debtors have 30 days to pay a debt in default or satisfy a judgment
Rome and its neighbors:
By the beginning of the 5 century, ruling elites had begun to form
Although these federations did not result in cities, they were capable of
collective action on a larger scale than before, especially when it came to
raiding, warfare, and self-defense.
By the beginning of the 5 century, the highlanders had begun to press on
the coastal plains. Latium suffered
o Sabines, Volsci, and Aequi bordered Latium
Steadily the highlanders were first repelled and then pushed back – in the
process, Latin cities that had fallen were recopied as Rome’s colonies.
o Rome established new settlers to serve as garrisons, and gave them
land and organized them in a city-state with officials of its own.
o The new foundation was assigned a recognized place as an ally of
Rome and the other Latin cities.
Gnaeus Marcius Coriolanus left Rome and took refuge with the Volsci he had
o He then led them their armies against the Romans which great success
but failed to capture Rome because of the please of his mother and
Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus in 458 he became a dictator of the Aequi and
successfully trapped a Roman army in the mountains
Struggle of the orders:
In the 5 and 4 centuries, Rome also faced severe internal conflicts that
accompanied its foreign wars. – Deep conflict over aspects of the basic
organization of the republic of roman society = struggle of the orders.
One kind concerned access to magistrate because after the expulsion of the
king, leading families often tried to monopolize the new offices of their
Second: concerned the ability of officials to punish at will
Third: involved the roles of magistrates and citizen assemblies
A long conflict between two opposing groups: patricians and plebeians
characterized the first centuries of the republic
To be a patrician, a roman had to belong to one of a very few families
(wealthy and powerful families) claimed privileges and ensured their
Plebeians: far outnumbered patricians. Was not a homogenous group –
contained individuals with a range of statuses and roles in the city. Most
were poor. Mass plebeians would not have been unified in its concerns. The plebeian’s main weapon was the secession, a kind of strike in time of
war, and their major success derived from this.
In a secession, plebian members of an army would withdraw to a hill outside
of Rome, choose leaders, and refuse to cooperate with the magistrates of the
city until their grievances had been addressed
Success of the plebeians created a dual organization in the city
Consuls and military tribunes were seen as leaders of the Roman people, as a
while, the pupulus Romanus, and they were expected to provide political,
military, and religious leadership in matters of general concern.
The plebs created a parallel organization of officials and cults that addressed
only matters specific to the plebs.
The plebs first major gain was the right to choose their own leaders, the
tribunes of the plebs
The powers of the office all began with the elections of the first tribunes, but
this almost certainly would not have been the case
By the second century, the tribunes of the plebs h