CLA231 ROMAN HISTORY EXAM REVIEW
753: Foundation of Rome (traditional date)
Rome was founded by Romulus.
509: Foundation of Roman Republic (traditional date)
The last king of Rome (Tarquinius Superebus) was overthrown by Rome’s aristocratic families after his son
raped a married noble woman named Lucretia.
When the expulsion of the last king, Rome shifted from a monarchy to a republic (oligarchy)
341-338: Latin War
Anti-Roman alliance made up of Gauls, Volsci, Campanians, Tiber and Prineste
Alliance fought three major battles with Rome, but lost them all.
Were forced to provide Rome with soldiers as punishment.
280-275: Rome at war with King Pyrrhus
Roman aggression over the city of Tarentum – the Greeks plead to Pyrrhus to help them.
First engaged in the battle of Heraclea in the year 280 BCE
After some initial roman successes, the Greek coalition forces managed to win a victory
Pyrrhus and the Greeks however suffered many casualties, about 15K dead in total
Pyrrhic victory: a victory that comes at such a tremendous cost, that it wasn't even worth it
264-241: First Punic War
Capture of Messana and siege of Syracuse (264-261)
o In 264, Rome entered Messana - voted in the Centuriate assembly for war with Carthage
o Messana was captured in 262, and it was justified that this was a defensive act
o After Messana, the Romans moved south and briefly laid siege to Syracuse
One of the oldest and most powerful Greek colony
Syracuse had recently had an alliance with Carthage
Syracuse quickly surrendered and signed a treaty with Rome and agreed to provide
supplies for roman army in Sicily
Rome builds a navy and the Corvus; stalemate (261-256)
o Captured Carthaginian ships, wound them and then would fight on land or the ship
o Would use a Corvus to crash into the deck of the Carthaginian ship and connect their ships to
Carthage -- would fight on the ship
Corvus = plank with spike in the ends
o While Rome tried to match Carthage's navy, a stalemate lasted forms number of years
Rome invades North Africa; catastrophe (256-255)
o As winter approached, two consuls decided to split forces
One would return home to Rome with the majority of the troops
Other consul remained behind with 40 ships and 20K men
o In 255 the force that remained in North Africa under Regulus were mostly killed. Others were
taken captives by Carthage. Only about 3000 of the survivors were rescued by roman
Stalemate, victory, and truce (255-241)
After losing a large part of their navy (146K), rather than giving up, Rome rebuilt more ships (255)
Regulus was commissioned by the Carthaginians to negotiate a prisoner exchange with Rome with
the promise that he would return to Carthage after speaking with the senate
Fighting around Sicily would continue until 242 until Rome won a series of decisive land and naval
battles 218-201: Second Punic War
Hannibal in Italy (218-207)
o Rome's first move after declaring war was to send a huge force to Spain to engage Hannibal and
o By the time they got there, Hannibal and his army had already left through the Pyrenees, alps
and them the Italian peninsula
o In the fall of 218, Hannibal made it to Italy
o Rome first attempt to override Hannibal was a makeshift army within Italy
o After the battle, Hannibal released all non-roman captives in the army
o With Gallic reinforcements, Hannibal began to move towards central Italy in Spring of 217
o Rome dispatched another military force, but it was again crushed by Hannibal
o In 216, Rome mustered another large army of 80K men, and engaged Hannibal in another direct
confrontation at Cannae
o Hannibal may have made a crucial error in 216 - even though Rome was vulnerable, he made no
attempt to attack the city
The Spanish front and the Scipios (218-207)
o Part of the Carthaginian army remained in Spain under the command of Hastrabal
o From 218-211, Romans fought in Spain under considerable success under the Scipio brothers
o In 211, both brothers died in battle and when word reached Rome, the senate commissioned
one of the brother's son to take command in Spain
Publius Scipio JR. within a year, captured Carthago Nova, the most important
Carthaginian colony in Spain and by 207, established roman control over the whole
Scipio "Africanus" and Hannibal clash in North Africa (204-202)
o In 205, Scipio Jr. was elected consul, despite the fact that he did not meet in minimum age
o In 204, Scipio took his troops to Carthage
o In 202, Scipio won a decisive victory, and was then known as "Africanus"
149-146: Third Punic War
In 149 BCE, Rome decided to destroy Carthage in the so-called Third Punic War
o Rome spent two years besieging the city
o For a solid week, there was hand to hand combat during the seige
Inevitably, Rome destroyed the city of Carthage in 146 BCE
146: Rome destroys the cities of Carthage and Corinth
133: Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus tribune of the plebs
Was elected tribune of the plebs in 133 BCE
Introduced land legislation that was proved to be controversial
o Break up large estates to give to landless and poor citizens
Land was needed for one to enlist in the roman army
o Proposed during the first slave revolt
Vast majority of generals angry - it was mostly their land that was being confiscated and split
o Either a way to increase his own power and authority through popular politics,
o Or he genuinely cared about the people
When one of the other tribunes tried to veto his law, he was removed from office
When he named the commission to oversee the confiscation and splitting of land, it consisted of himself,
his brother and father in law
When the senate refused to fund it, tiberius seized an unexpected influx of cash from the east o King of Pergamum died and left his entire kingdom to Rome in his will
o Usually the senate would decide together what to do with this money, but Tiberius persuaded
the plebs that it be given to him
Rumors that he would eventually declare himself king
At the end of his term, he sought Re-election
After meaning to discuss his behavior, some senators beat him to death
123-122: Gaius Sempronius Gracchus tribune of the plebs
Gaius was also a hugely popular figure among the roman people
Part of Tiberius' commission which continued to operate after his death until 129
Gaius was not content with letting the issue drop
Elected tribune of the plebs in 123 due to his popularity with the people
o Re-elected tribune the next year
As tribune, he introduced populist legislation
o Resurrected his brothers land distribution policy
o Guaranteed that poorer citizens could purchase grain at a lower price that was subsidized by the
o Ruled that juries in certain legal cases be made up of equestrians and not senators
Like his brother, he owned a reputation for using his popularity to undermine the senate
Was also suspected of plotting to become king
While making a bid to become tribune for a third year, he met opposition of the senate
One of the consuls led an attack against Gaius and his supporters - about 3000 people were killed
Gaius them committed suicide after this catastrophe
82-81 Dictatorship of Sulla
Sulla's first order of business was to have himself appointed dictator with no fixed term
Office wasn't used for more than a century beforehand
As dictator, he instituted proscriptions
o Anyone deemed suspicious or disloyal, their name was placed on a list
Had to be executed without trial
Sons/grandsons couldn't run for office
All property was confiscated
About 500 elite men were on this list
Vast amount of property seized was auctioned off
Next step was to rebuild the republic
49 Julius Caesar crosses Rubicon
Friendship between Pompey and Caesar began to dissolve
In January of 49, Caesar crossed the Rubicon
o Was the boundary between Gaul and Italy
o Move seen as a declaration of civil war
As he moved south, he found the Italian cities to be receptive to him
The opposition troops resisted their own general and joined Caesar
Pompey took his army and sailed for Greece. Had a plan to amass a larger army in Greece and then return
to Italy to confront Caesar
o Was followed to Greece by many roman senators
Caesar left Italy for Spain because there were roman armies in Spain who were loyal to Pompey
In 48, after overcoming the forces in Spain, he went east to face Pompey
Pompey initially had the upper hand, but when the two fought a battle in 48, Caesar won the
Pompey concealed his identity, and managed to escape to Alexandria. He was then assassinated. 44 Assassination of Julius Caesar
Cassius and Brutus, two of Pompey's ex soldiers conspired against Caesar
In February of 44, Caesar had himself declared dictator for life and was planning a major military
campaign against the Parthian empire
Before he could set off for the east, Caesar was attacked in Pompey's theatre
o Was stabbed to death at the foot of Pompey's statue
o Day of the assassination was the Ides of March (March 15). In roman mythology, Romulus was
believed to also have been assassinated on this day.
o Afterwards, there was a public outpouring of grief.
o In spite of the hostility, Caesar was still a popular figure among the public
27 Augustus’ “First Settlement”
After the war with Antony and Cleopatra Augustus handed power back to the Senate and the people of
Rome, relinquishing his powers as dictator.
While Octavian acted as consul in Rome, he dispatched senators to the provinces under his command as
his representatives to manage provincial affairs and ensure his orders were carried out.
On the other hand, governors chosen by the Roman Senate oversaw the provinces not under Octavian’s
control. Octavian became the most powerful political figure in the city of Rome and in most of its
provinces, but did not have sole monopoly on political and martial power.
However, with control of only five or six legions distributed amongst three senatorial proconsuls,
compared to the twenty legions under the control of Augustus, the Senate's control of these regions did
not amount to any political or military challenge to Octavian.
Employed legates who were adopted to rule the provinces of Augustus.
He chose junior senators and equestrians (wealthy non senators)
These juniors could be kept under the power of Augustus without political ambition.
Augustus was allowed to hold office as Consul (already since 31-27BC)
His new name was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus.
They renamed a month in the new Julian Calendar (August)
68 Death of Nero
Death was of a result of another conspiracy against his rule
In the year 68, he lost the support of nearly everyone.
The senate considered him a public enemy, and instead of being executed, he committed suicide.
Nero was the last of the Julio-Claudians.
212 Constitutio Antoniniana (Caracalla)
Declared that all free men in the Roman Empire were to be given theoretical Roman citizenship and that
all free women in the Empire were to be given the same rights as Roman women.
284 Diocletian becomes emperor
In 284, during that campaign, Numerian, Carinus’s brother and coemperor, was found dead in his litter,
and his adoptive father, the praetorian prefect Aper, was accused of having killed him in order to seize
power. When Diocletian, acclaimed as emperor by his soldiers, appeared for the first time in public
dressed in the imperial purple, he declared himself innocent of Numerian’s murder. He designated Aper
as the criminal and killed him personally.
324 Constantine defeats Licinius and becomes sole emperor
In 324, this war came to a head. Constantine stepped into Lucinius' territory to fight a war against the
After this, Lucinius declared civil war against Constantine. Perhaps both sides had about 150-200K men. Over a three month span, Constantine won three crushing victories: a naval victory in Adrianople, a land
victory in Chrysopolis and his son Crispus led a victory in the Hellespont.
After his victories, Constantine spared Lucinius' life initially to please his sister. A year later however, he
had him executed.
Constantine finally ruled the entire Roman Empire, and would continue to do so for thirteen years.
POSSIBLE SHORT ANSWERS
Three Main Foundation Myths:
Aeneas: Trojan prince/demi-god. After fleeing Troy, made his way into Latium, carrying his father (displays piety).
Encounters King Latinus, and marries his sister. Finds the city of Lavinium. Defeats the Etruscans, and establishes a
common Latin culture.
Romulus & Remus: Twins born into the royal family of Alba Longa. Cast into a river when born because their uncle
wanted to kill all male descendants of the king. Was found by a she-wolf, and then raised by a shepherd. Upon
hearing about their roots, took vengeance on uncle. Remus was murdered by Romulus and Romulus established
the city of Rome in 753 BCE.
Rape of Sabine Women: Romulus invited the Sabines to Rome for a festival. Because his troops needed women, he
demanded that they abduct Sabine women. Sabine men were furious, and the women would eventually come to
love their abductors. As the Sabine men were about to attack the Romans for revenge, the Sabine women
intervened, and said if both sides fought, they would be both orphans and widows.
Last King of Rome: L. Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud) – overthrew by the aristocratic families in 509 BCE
// Republic established.
Cursus Honorum: the course of offices (FROM TOP TO BOTTOM)
Consul: Highest office held annually. Two were elected each year. Had the right to call/preside over assemblies,
draft new legislations. Escorted by 12 lictors carrying a fasces. Were lead generals during times of war.
Praetor: Held annually. In charge of the city when Consuls were on expeditions. Accompanied by 6 lictors.
Aedile: Annual terms. In charge of maintaining and constructing public works.
Quaestor: Annual term, with the minimum age of 30. In charge of public funds.
Censor: Ex-consuls elected every five years. Responsible for conducting a census by counting roman citizens and
assign voting units by how much they were worth and where they lived. Could also remove men from the senate if
they perceived moral flaws.
Dictator: Elected during a time of crisis, and was only in power for about six months. Could do whatever he saw fit.
Escorted by 24 lictors, symbolizing his power.
Tribune of Plebs: Ten plebeians elected annually. Could establish legislations or policy. Had veto power, and could
stop any legislation from passing. Also had the power of sacrasanctitas meaning no one could harm them without
the punishment of death. Main concern was defending the plebs.
Comitia Centuriata: elected the consuls and the paretors.
o Voted by centuries which were divided by economic factors
Comitia tributa elected the Quaestors and two of the aediles
o Voted by tribes that were divided by geographical factors
Concilium plebis elected the tribune of the plebs and the plebeian aediles
o Only plebeians could vote
Ptolemaic = Egypt
Antigonid = Macedon
Selucid = Bactria/Pergamum Equestrians: “Horsemen.” Minimum 400K in currency. Served as officers in the roman army. Engaged intrade and
commerce, on a large scale internationally. Sometimes Purchased government contracts, especially for tax
Patronage: a relationship between the patron (someone of higher socio-economic status) and the client (someone
of a lower socio-economic status). This was a reciprocal relationship which involved the exchanges of services or
money between both parties. A patron could have several clients. Likewise, a patron could be a client himself to a
more wealthy and influential patron.
Manumission: legal process in which slaves could be set free. They would them gain the title of freedman/woman
Freedman/Freedwoman: was an inbetweeners status. Wore a special felt hat to display their status
Pedagogue: was a slave who might teach children, but had the main task of walking children to school and
ensuring that the child behaved in school
Patria Potestas: The paterfamilias had complete control over the household – including their slaves. Essentially,
they had the power of life and death over the dominion of the household. Children were subject to patria potestas
until their paterfamilias died or released them from his power.
Paterfamilia: The head of the household. This was usually the eldest male figure within the family. Had complete
control over their familia.
Latifundia: Rome had a habit of confiscating land from those who they had conquered. With the farmland that
Rome acquired, it was often split between the same aristocrats. By the 2nd century, in addition to their city
mansions, the richest people of Rome owned various estates throughout Italy. The countryside transformed from
small independently owned farms to large agricultural business ventures. Traditional small farmers struggled to
compete in this environment.
Prorogation: military command was extended beyond the one year term limit. Although new consuls were elected,
the military general was known as a pro-consul and had all the powers of a consul in his provincia.
Optimates: Meaning “the best men.” Preferred the traditional republican model. Had to build a consensus with
colleagues to get things done
Populares: Meaning “favouring the people.” Populist politicians. Like the Gracchi, Populares were politicians who
used mass appeal to gain power. They often bi-passed constitutional norms.
Publicani: Taxation was enormously complex and always changing. When a region was taken under roman control,
it was expected that the residents pay the general and his army. As time went in, regular taxes were added.
Taxation fell primarily on two things: people and land. A homeowner would pay a certain amount per person in his
household (including slaves) and also pay a land tax (could be paid with goods). Once a regular rate of taxation was
established, the roman senate would auction off the right to collect taxes from private citizens and corporations.
Would have the right of collecting taxes from the people of that province after paying up front (would collect extra
Legion: Organized into three lines of heavily armed troops. Light armed troops were in the front. Individual units
within this arrangement could quickly be moved into new formations. Was extremely flexible, and accommodate
itself to changes on the battlefield. Catiline Conspiracy: Catiline was from an old patrician family, who was running for consulship at the same time as
consul. Rumor spread that Sulla's followers in Etruria wanted to attack Rome. As a supporter of Sulla, Catiline was
accused of plotting this rebellion. This accusation was enought to drive Catiline out of Rome, and then took
leadership of the rebels. An embassy from Gaul claimed that Catiline had approached them to join his conspiracy.
Cicero persuaded to get this offer in writing, and Cicero then exposed the whole plot in the senate. Conspirators
were executed without trial.
First Triumvirate: Composed of Pompey, Crassus and Julius Caesar. Was a secret alliance. Decided Pompey and
Crassus would be the consuls for 55 BCE. Pompey would be given a five year command in Spain. Crassus would be
given a five year command in Syria. Caesar extended his command in Gaul by another 5 years.
Philippics: Speeches made by Cicero against Mark Antony. There were 14 rants, between September of 44 and
April of 43. Urged the Senate to recognize Octavian's status. Cicero possibly tried to use Octavian's popularity for
his own agenda. Dream of ridding Rome of Antony and the restoration of the Republic. Cicero succeeded in making
the senate declare Antony a enemy of the state, as well as granting imperium to Octavian.
Second Triumvirate: Alliance composed of Lepidus, Antony and Octavian in 43 BCE. This was a formal legal entity,
and was to last for a term of five years. Granted themselves powers—the power to make laws without
consolidating the senate, the power to appoint magistrates and supreme military authority. Also had the primary
task of tracking and killing Brutus and Cassius.
Battle of Actium: Civil war had the potential to be a massive showdown for complete supremacy. The two sides
squared off in Actium. Instead of a major pitched battle, this was more of manoeuvring troops and ships to get the
most advantageous position. As Octavian began to receive an upper hand in the naval battles, Antony and
Cleopatra fled to Egypt. They left their entire army to fend for themselves. Without proper leadership, the armies
surrendered immediately to Octavian. The following year in 30 BCE, Octavian chased the couple into Egypt. The