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Flashcards in Test #1 Deck (76):

Why didn’t senators like Domitian, and what happened to him?

He was hard to access, preferring solitude or the company of a very small select group of associates, plus he executed a large number of senators whom he didn’t like. Domitian was assassinated.


How does Augustus deprive the senators of a source of prestige

he monopolizes public building projets notably buidling a temple to Appollo that is better than the temple to Jupiter Best and Greatest



made Emperor after Domitian is assasinated quickly declares Trajan to be his successor (because he was powerfull and would support Nerva being in office as his successor) establishes the important precedent of picking a powerful successor rather than one's son


Caesar got assassinated; Augustus never did. Why do you think the Roman elites never felt like they needed to kill Augustus? What did the Augustan form of government do for them that Caesar’s government didn’t?

August's government gave the senators opportunity for prestige without the responsibilities of being a senator. Augustus was also much better than Caesar at framing his role within a republican pretext.


Flavian Dynasty

established by Vespian followed by Titus and Domitian - who is assasinated


What was the effect on Roman culture of Rome’s military conquest of the Greek world?

The triumphal ceremonies of Roman generals became more decadent; the urban design of the city became more lavish; Greek philosophy and literature became popular and influential, especially on the nascent Roman literary movement; at the same time, there also formed a backlash against Greek influence by cultural conservatives at Rome, who feared that the wealthy were becoming wasteful, greedy, and corrupt as a result of their experiences in Greece.


Why did they give the former Octavian the new name Augustus?

The new name Augustus both had connotations of being “holy” or “revered” (as though Augustus were a divine figure) and also a connection to “auctoritas” (the “influence” or “clout” he had that convinced people to decide on their own to do what Augustus wanted them to do).


What did Nero do to make the Senate hate him? What did he do to make the people hate him?

The Senate hated Nero because he flouted traditional Roman morality with impunity, and often did disreputable public acts (like chariot racing and poetry recitals) to incur popular support. The people grew to hate him particularly through his exploitation of the Great Fire of Rome to obtain land to build his Golden House (they were also unhappy with his divorce and execution of his popular young wife Octavia).



ends the tetrarchy and establishes Christianity in ROme


What happened to the Roman foundation myth after the Romans had more interaction with, and exposure to, Greek culture?

The Romans then added a further details whereby a Trojan War survivor also played a major role in the foundation of Rome.


How did Marius obtain power through populist appeals?

He argued that the patricians who would win magistracies and war commands had no practical skills, whereas he was a skilled general. He also used poor volunteers in his armies, and since he was successful, they were able to gain loot and land grants as veterans.


What crime grew in importance under Tiberius, and why?

“Diminishing the majesty of the Roman People” (i.e. treason); hearsay evidence was usually good enough for a conviction, and informants would be rewarded monetarily if a guilty verdict came through, so people were constantly inventing charges to attack/ruin their enemies or to gain money.


Although our textbook is less skeptical than I am, what is suspicious about the descriptions by later Roman historians about the innovations credited to the Roman kings?

a) the Roman kings were said to have invented, whole cloth, the fundamental institutions and social structures that existed much later when the Roman historians were writing; b) stories about the Roman kings look a lot like stories about semi-mythical early Greek leaders


Why did Rome fight its First Punic War? What did they have to create to fight it effectively? What were the results of the war?

The Romans helped the Mamertini against the Syracusans and Carthaginians, with the secondary motive of obtaining some spoils. To fight the navally-strong Carthaginians, the Romans would have to create their first standing navy and fight in naval battles. After winning the First Punic War, the Romans were able to compel the Carthaginians to abandon all of Sicily; then, in the chaos at Carthage that followed, the Romans were also able to obtain Corsica and Sardinia.


During the reigns between Trajan and Marcus Arellius we get...

the maor Roman building projects


Who were Rome’s three major enemies in the first half of the 2nd century BCE? What was Rome’s attitude toward the Greek world? What happened in 146 BCE?

Rome fought Philip V of Macedon, Antiochus the Great of Asia Minor, and Perseus of Macedon. Rome made of show of granting some autonomy to Greek cities, but expected subordination from them and wouldn’t tolerate side deals. In 146 BCE, Rome destroyed Carthage in the Third Punic War and destroyed Corinth too.


Who was in the Second Triumvirate and what happened to each of them?

Mark Antony, Lepidus, Octavian; Lepidus’s troops deserted him and joined Octavian, which forced him to retire; Mark Antony and Octavian eventually fought each other at Actium and Octavian won, leaving him the last man standing in Rome.


What changes did Augustus make in the Roman army?

He shrank the army; he gave lump sum of pay at the end of 20 years of service instead of a land grant; he turned service in the army into a career; the changes encouraged soldiers not to riot/revolt/follow insurrectionist leaders but to value government stability.


What did the Gracchi brothers want? What was irregular about how Tiberius Gracchus tried to achieve his goal? What new senatorial weapon emerged from the Gracchi problems, and what did it let the senate do?

The Gracchi were populist politicians seeking reforms for the plebeians, mainly land grants for poor citizens. Tiberius blocked the veto of his plebeian tribune colleague by ejecting him from office, then hijacked a gift to Rome for his own funding. The senate invented the SCU (“ultimate decree of the senate”) which allowed consuls to do ANYTHING to maintain order at Rome, including killing citizens without trial.


"second sophistic"

under Emperors like Hadrian and Marcus Arellius was a rise in Greek culture allowing provincials an avenue to power in Rome via education and learning


For what three reasons did Augustus try to find a constitutional basis for his tyrannical dominance at Rome?

1) By couching his power in the language of traditional Republican magistracies and law, he could claim a legitimacy that everyone could acknowledge as valid; 2) he wanted to make it clear that he did not want to rule with absolute power; 3) he wanted to provide space for other elites to participate in the government with him (because he actually needed them to run the massive bureaucracy).


What were the differences between the patrician class and the plebeian class, particularly at the START of the “Conflict of the Orders”?

Patricians had the exclusive right to the magistracies and priesthoods, while the plebeians (although some were rich and influential) were very disproportionately poor peasants.


What was the shape of early Roman society? Who were the dominant figures and who did they use as a source of power?

Early Roman society was built on the “gens,” a clan of families with a common ancestor. The dominant figures were wealthy aristocrats who controlled gangs of allied subordinates. The gens, and the aristocrat, were more important than the city for many years.


What were the two main legal powers Augustus was given by the senate?

The maius imperium (greater authority, legally, than any other magistrate) and tribunicia potestas (tribunician power: he had all of the rights and privileges of plebeian tribunes, but did not actually serve as one).


What political shift in imperial successions did Nerva’s adoption of Trajan make?

From now on, emperors would typically name their heirs and successors from among highly successful talented political and military figures, not just people from their own blood relations—this theoretically prevented the wrong men from becoming emperor.


Imagine you travel back in time to 1000 BCE to an unidentified location on earth, and all you know about it is that it is ruled by a king. How would you be able to identify who the king is? What features/objects/actions would make it apparent to you?

Someone who it treated or who acts differently






What is so particular about the Roman foundation myth, as opposed to typical foundation myths of Greek city-states?

ome’s foundation myth had lots of negative aspects, like fratricide, rape/abduction, and the introductions of criminals and vagrants to the city.


As our textbook says, intense Roman construction of roads and aqueducts and Roman mastery of architecture occurred most conspicuously during the period from Vespasian to Marcus Aurelius. Why do you think it happened at this time and not before or after (or during the Republic)?

First it was during this time that there was a long period of peace so money did not need to be spent on war and it made the value of these products more applicable.

Second you have the specialist equestrians who have the expertise to actually carry out these projects


Why did Claudius invade Britain?

He, like Caligula, had no military background and needed to wage a war to legitimize himself as a Roman emperor. Also, the Roman aristocrats were looking for opportunities to gain further status/money, and a war would serve that purpose well.


What were the four main features of Republican magistracies that distinguished them from monarchy?

Magistrates were elected by the people; magistracies had term limits; magistrates always had colleagues who had the people to thwart their plans; magistrates could be charged with crimes if they had done things wrong during their terms


What did Augustus place in the Forum of Augustus? How did this, as well as the triumphal arch and the “ludi saeculares” of 17 BCE, contribute to a new version of Roman history?

He put statues of Aeneas and his descendants on one side and famous Roman figures on the other side, with himself in the middle. By doing so, he situated himself not as an extraordinary tyrant but as a part of the traditional moral/noble Roman history all the way back to the founder(s) of the city. The triumphal arch and “ludi saeculares” also linked Augustus with the entirety of Roman history. Moreover, he flipped the standard narrative of pessimism (Roman moral decline) to one of optimism ("Augustus would rejuvenate the city").


How did the success of Constantine ultimately transform the role of Christianity in the Roman Empire?

Before Constantine, Christianity was a relatively small religious sect that would be persecuted periodically. Once the Roman emperor was publicly Christian, it meant that many other elites became Christians to acquire favor and imperial patronage, and then it trickled down to everyone else in popularity; by the end of the 4th century CE, it had been named the official state religion of Rome and Romans were barred from holding offices in the imperial government unless they were Christians.


Maius Imperium

the first of the powers given to Augustus with the precedent of Pompey's during his hunting of pirates means that in areas of conflicting Imperium his is absolute


Tribunica potestas

the second of the powers given to Augustus gives him all the powers of a tribune 

can veto legislation body is sacred (can't be touched)

without actually being a tribune so others could get this position of prestige


Imagine you’re a humanoid alien and, along with a few hundred other colonists, you traveled across space to establish a new civilization on the planet Earth. What would you look for or consider (geographical/geological features, etc.) when trying to figure out WHERE to start your civilization?



A location with good access to the sea, geographic defensibility, fertile land, natural reasources, rivers.


When foreign provinces built temples to Augustus or sent embassies to him, what things were they trying to get out of it?

They were trying to get him to notice them and take care of their problems; they were trying to express their loyalty to him; they were trying to participate actively in the idea of the Roman Empire.


In 69 CE, the “Year of the Four Emperors,” who were the four emperors? From where did they draw their support?

The first was Servius Sulpicius Galba who drew his support from the Senate due to his governorship of one of the Spanish provinces and his distinguished lineage.

The second was Marcus Salvius Otho who overthrew Galba's support and took his place temporarily.

The third was Aulus Vitellius who drew his support from the legions based in the Rhine region.

The fourth was Titus Flavius Vespanius who drew his support from the eastern legions and those near the Danube.



What did Augustus do to his chosen successors to make transition easier?

He had his successor given tribunician power and “greater imperium” just like he had, and he had the oath of loyalty worded so that all citizens had to be loyal to Augustus AND to his family.


What did people living in the provinces hate the most about the Roman government?

They had to pay severe taxes, and the tax collection system was corrupt and exploitative, with little recourse for its victims even though many Roman senators were sympathetic to the problem.


Order of the Emperors following Augustus


Tiberius - spent on vacation came up with the charge of diminishing the majesty of the Roman people

Gaius / Caligula - arbitrary sexual scandals  was assasinated

Claudius - invasion of Britain, corrupt, public construction

Nero - did unpropritous things like chariot racing, killed senators, built pleasure palace after the Roman fire, murdered his popular wife, after Nero we get the year of the four Emperors



Why did Rome fight its Second Punic War? Why did it go so poorly for the Romans? What were the results of the war?

Ostensibly it was because of a Carthaginian siege of Saguntum in Spain, with which Rome had a purported alliance—really they were just looking for an excuse to fight again. Hannibal, the Carthaginian leader, surprised the Romans by bringing a large land army into Italy from the north, having crossed the Alps, and won major battles at Trebia, Trasimene, and Cannae. Eventually Rome won and made Carthage pay a huge fine for 50 years, while also annexing Spain into two provinces.


What did Sulla do (twice) when he didn’t get his way? What was the net result of Sulla’s government reforms (at least at the time—admittedly, they all later got revoked)?

Sulla led his armies and marched on Rome in a military coup: first when he had his command against Mithridates taken away and given to Marius, and second when he came back from that war and anti-Sullan radicals had taken over the city. Sulla’s reforms were meant to turn the clock back to before the Gracchi brothers had risen up: the senate was strengthened, the plebeian tribunate was weakened, and safeguards were put in place to deter popular tyrants from taking over Rome.


What are the difficulties in figuring out what “Roman” civilization or “Romanness” really was?

Rome extended across a wide geographic area and a long stretch of time, and included people from various socioeconomic statuses.


Why did Augustus need to choose a successor?

When he died, either the Empire would lapse back into the messy Republic or (more likely) competing strongmen would wage bloody civil war over the power vacuum, and no one really wanted that.


What was Catiline’s crime, and how did Cicero deal with it?

Catiline was connected with an insurrectionist group in Italy that was complaining about economic issues; Cicero had Catiline declared a public enemy and executed without trial several Roman citizens who were also accused of being part of the conspiracy.


Why did Caesar cross the Rubicon and begin the Civil War? What was he doing during the years leading up to his assassination?

Caesar wanted to avoid being prosecuted for crimes he had committed while consul and while in Gaul, though ostensibly he began the Civil War because the senate had violated the rights of some plebeian tribunes he was friendly with. After defeating Pompey at Pharsalus he spent several years fighting Pompey’s surviving allies around the world, while also passing ambitious legislation in Rome and building lots of new buildings.


What was imperium?

Imperium was the socially acknowledged right to tell people what to do (to give orders and expect them to be followed by people of lower status), and was particularly relevant for military affairs.


Why do you think Caesar was assassinated even though he kept refusing to be called a king?


Caesar refused to be called a king but in all other respects acted like a king and didn't even try to sugar-coat his actions with republican lingo and justifications.

If it looks like a king, talks like a king, walks like a king its probably a king.


What are two important points to note regarding the stability of the Republican system of government?

The system was never stable and was constantly changing; the system had inherent flaws that meant it was doomed to fail.


Who was Sejanus, and what happened to him?

He was the head of the emperor’s Praetorian Guard under Tiberius, and since Tiberius was rarely in the actual city of Rome, he became the de facto head of the Roman government and was a corrupt, megalomaniacal power-broker. Tiberius eventually figured out what he was up to and had him executed.



set the Empire to be ruled in four parts which fell apart after his death


Romulus and Reimus backstory

Bad king overthrows the good king

Good King's wife has R + R

Raised by wolf then farmer

killed brother founds city with criminals from throughout Italy


Why did people in the provinces get exploited so severely by Roman taxation even though so many senators were sympathetic to their plight and even though the senate created a standing lawcourt specifically designed to try lawsuits against crooked Roman province-governors? What forces were working against them?

Ultimately the senate wasn't sympathetic towards them just that their rivals were profiting over their exploitation. All the senators were doing it themselves. Ultimately the provinces were far away communication was hard and there was no real punishment because people's connections in Rome would keep them from punishment.


How did the Roman Empire split structurally (certainly after the death of Theodosius, and even as early as the reign of Diocletian), and what foreign policy issues led to what modern scholars call the “fall” of the Roman Empire (or at least the west) in 476 CE?

The Roman Empire was split into an Eastern half (with Constantinople at the center) and a Western half (where Rome increasingly was less important than other cities like Ravenna and Aquitaine). Settlements by “barbarian” groups (Goths, Vandals, Huns, etc.) within the territory of the Roman Empire had increased during the 4th and 5th centuries CE, including the creation of rival states within it, and Rome increasingly had to give up provinces to these groups. (The city of Rome was sacked by Goths in 410 CE, although it was more of a symbolic disaster than an actual one.) Eventually the Roman emperor at Constantinople abandoned Italy to Germanic kings, starting with Odoacer in 476 CE.


Why did the Senate get on Tiberius’s nerves?

Tiberius kind of hated politics, and moreover he recognized that there were a lot of important decisions and jobs that needed to be handled by competent people to ensure that the government ran smoothly—but the senate didn’t want to make any decisions or accept any actual responsibilities, they just wanted to be sycophantic yes-men who maintained the status-privilege of their offices.


What was the typical state response by Rome to deal with the social pressure of the growing population’s desire for personal land holdings?

The state would annex territory from defeated enemies, declare it public land, then divide it up into small units to give freely to poor landless citizens or to new colonies.



how Augustus claimed he got people to do what he said he didin't have absolute power he was just such and influential and upright citizen that he was able to influence people to do as he told



Marcus Arellius' heir was a bad ruler was assasinated and succeeded by the year of the five Emperors and shortly after by the Crisis of the Third Century


Who was in the First Triumvirate and what were their individual goals?

Julius Caesar wanted a command in Gaul, where he could make his name and make some money; Pompey wanted legislation passed that would give land settlements to his veterans; Crassus wanted a bill passed that would help out his allies in an Asian tax syndicate. Later, they would re-form the First Triumvirate so that Caesar could get an extension on his command in Gaul, Pompey could get a consulship and a command in Spain, and Crassus could get a consulship and a command against the Parthians.


According to our textbook, what was Caligula’s (aka “Gaius”) big problem as an emperor

He often made arbitrary or tactless decisions and made it difficult to predict how he would react to anything or deal with anyone. He would also insult the Senate in a way that Augustus and Tiberius never did.


What did the Senate hate about Claudius?

He relied on women and freedmen to help him make decisions and run affairs, and they acted as gatekeepers to the emperor toward other Roman aristocrats (who resented having to grovel to lower-class Romans for access to the emperor).


Why do you think some Romans (senators, equestrians, or poor plebeians) would not have wanted Rome to return to a Republic?

Equestrians - all their power was from the Emperor

Plebs - stability, bread and circus, land, new job opportunities in the Empire (military), also never liked the republic

Senators - supporting republicanism became too risky for their job prospects as they could get killed easily and never have a chance to attain any real stature.


Describe a few of the difficulties faced by modern historians (or modern history students) when trying to make sense of the past (not just ancient Rome). What are some of the problems with the evidence? What are some of the problems with using research by previous historians?

Bias, propaganda, number and value of sources, methods, 


What radical move did the plebeians supposedly take to assert their own authority, and how did the Conflict of the Orders finally get resolved in 287 BCE?

The plebeians, en masse, withdrew to a hill and created a sort-of parallel plebeian-only state: they elected plebeian tribunes, whose responsibility was to protect the plebeians from aristocratic overreach, and whose body was sacrosanct, and they passed legislation in a voting assembly. In 287 BCE, this legislation (called “plebiscites”) was officially made binding on the entire Roman population, not just the plebeians, and thus carried the force of law.


What did the Senate’s decree for Vespasian do, and what was its significance?

The Senate codified the powers of the emperor and basically permitted him to do whatever he wanted, justifying this with the precedents set by Augustus, Tiberius, and Claudius. This meant that the total autocracy that previous emperors had tried to hide (through, e.g., Augustus’s use of Republican-era legal terms) was now out in the open and acknowledged by the Senate.


Tarquinius Superbus

the "evil king" in Roman history rapes an important Romans's wife (Named Brutus) who is then overthrown and leads to the Roman Republic and the hatred of kings


Why does our textbook say that Romanization was a “two-way process,” and what does the example of the Palmyrene tombstone in Britain tell us about how this process affected the different levels of Roman society?

Because there was no single monolithic “Roman culture,” Rome’s interactions with provincial cultures resulted BOTH in Roman elements being imposed upon (or chosen freely by, or chosen for political motives by) those local communities AND in pieces of provincial culture being absorbed into larger Roman culture (e.g., the Second Sophistic). The tombstone shows how the effects of Romanization did NOT SOLELY affect people at the elite level, but the process affected lots of people in society (even those at the bottom).


12 tables

specific laws passed so that the patricians couldn't just claim tradition to exploit the plebians 

clearly stated the laws in response to exploitation during the conflict of orders


Why didn’t senators like Commodus, and what happened to him? What happened to Rome after he died?

Commodus was young and proud and reckless, and liked to hunt wild animals in the amphitheatre (unbecoming of an emperor, a la Nero). He was also the son of Marcus Aurelius by blood and not by adoption of the worthiest senior politician. Commodus was assassinated. After Commodus died, Rome fell into a long period of instability and decay known now by scholars as the Third Century Crisis.


What two features of Rome (in almost the same spot) were the most prominent sites of the city’s urban development in its earliest times?

The Forum, Rome’s central meeting-place; the Temple of Jupiter Best and Greatest, on the Capitoline hill.


What positive effects did the growth of the Roman Empire have for local elites in the provinces? What was the “Second Sophistic” and how was it related to that?

Local elites could actually develop successful careers in Roman politics if they cultivated the favor of the emperor and his court, while Romans became more willing to allow provincials to enter into political careers and seek major offices. The “Second Sophistic” was the name of the period of Roman history when knowledge of Greek philosophy, oratory, and literature flourished and provided a new avenue for elites (incl., esp., local elites in the Greek East) to rise in status and power in Roman culture.


What was unique (and dangerous) about the career of Pompey, at least as far as the usual rules about magistracies went?

Pompey was granted (and was successful at) several extraordinary military commands despite holding no offices and not being a senator; these commands left him wealthy and influential, with many allies.


What was unique about the Roman attitude toward foreign communities, even conquered ones, throughout Italy (an attitude that the Greeks would never share)? What was the practical result of this attitude?

Romans had no qualms about granting Roman citizenship to Italian outsiders, the result of which being that Rome could call upon huge reserves of manpower when fighting all its wars.


What was the Social War all about? What were the effects of “Romanization” in Italy?

Cities throughout Italy, led by their local aristocrats, fought for Roman citizenship (so that they could have political careers and make money). Romanization caused local languages and cultures to disappear in cities that gained Roman citizenship, and eventually most Italians (especially wealthy, socially ambitious ones) were dressing, speaking, building, and worshiping like Romans.


Crisis of the Third Century

famine, inflation, instability, poor govenorship


Beyond his political career, what else did Cicero contribute to Roman civ?

Cicero synthesized much Greek philosophy into a series of philosophical works that meditated on Roman government, morality, and society.