Ancient Rome: Roman Republic and Empire Overview

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6 Questions

What was the capital of the Western Roman Empire?


Which event signified the downfall of the Western Roman Empire?

Burning of Carthage

Who formed the First Triumvirate in ancient Rome?

Crassus, Pompey, Julius Caesar

Which term did Augustus prefer to be called instead of emperor?


What was the purpose of the Second Triumvirate in Rome?

To seek revenge for Julius Caesar's death

Which city became a province of the Roman Empire after the defeat of Cleopatra and Antony?


Study Notes

Ancient Rome

  • Roman Republic existed from 509-27 BCE
  • Roman Empire existed from 27 BCE-1453 CE
  • Western Roman Empire existed from 27 BCE-476 CE and used Latin as the dominant language
  • Eastern Roman Empire existed from 300-1453 CE and used Greek as the dominant language

Roman Republic

  • The government was headed by two consuls who served a one-year term
  • A dictator was appointed in times of severe crisis
  • The senate advised the two consuls
  • 10 tribunes were annually selected by commoners (plebeians) to protect their interests against the nobles (patricians)

Military Expansion

  • Punic Wars (264-164 BCE) were a series of three wars against Carthage over control of trade in the Western Mediterranean Sea
  • Rome won against Sicily in the first war
  • Hannibal fought against Rome in the second war, but committed suicide
  • Rome destroyed Carthage in the third war

Roman Identity

  • The mos maiorum (code of elders) and the worship of ancestors were essential to Roman identity
  • Paterfamilias (power of a father) was a key concept in Roman society

Destruction of the Republic

  • The First Triumvirate consisted of Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar
  • Julius Caesar revised the Roman calendar and added the current calendar
  • Julius Caesar was assassinated
  • The Second Triumvirate was formed to take revenge on Julius Caesar's death
  • Octavian (Julius Caesar's son), Anthony, and Lepidus formed an alliance
  • Anthony and Cleopatra allied and eventually committed suicide
  • Octavian defeated Cleopatra and Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire

Roman Empire

  • Octavian (Augustus) united the fractured country and ruled from 63 BCE-14 CE
  • Augustus didn't like being called Emperor and instead used the title "Princeps" (First Man)
  • Pax Romana (Roman Peace) existed from 27 BCE-180 CE, a golden age of Roman Empire
  • Emperors portrayed themselves as civil rulers, and there were no major wars during this period
  • A hierarchy of magistrates and provincial governors administered the empire

Town and City Life

  • Walled towns had a forum agora, similar to ancient Greece
  • Rome was the largest urban center in the Western world at its time
  • Constructions included amphitheaters, basilicas, aqueducts, and temples
  • Citizens participated in public life, including games, theaters, and baths
  • Honor of the dead was equal to the honor of the whole family, and the family was the unit of society and state

Test your knowledge on the Roman Republic and Empire from 509 BCE to 1453 CE. Learn about the government structure, language, and division of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires.

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