HT501: Lecture 3 Roman Empire 10 September 2019 Introduction Summary of Roman Political History Roman Society Religion in Roman Empire Roman sports Rome Before Christ
Traditional founding date of 753 BC Started as a Republic ruled by Senate Punic Wars: Rome conquers and destroys Carthage 202 BC Maccabees ask Rome for help against Seleucids 160 BC Julius Caesar murdered 44 BC Octavian Augustus defeats Anthony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 BC; Roman Empire established Jesus Christ born while Augustus was Emperor; Rule of Augustus 31 BC 14 AD, considered a highwater mark in terms of just rule and peace; see Luke 2:1 Importance of Battle of Actium Before Octavius Augustus, Rome was a Republic ruled by Senate After Battle of Actium (31 BC) Octavius Augustus becomes emperor and dictator.
Octavius was the adopted son of Julius Caesar His descendents will rule Roman Empire until the murder of Nero (68 AD) Battle of Actium also marks end of Ptolemais in Egypt Cleopatra last Ptolemy Tried to maintain her rule in Egypt first by being consort of Julius Caesar, then Mark Antony Cleopatra commits suicide after Battle of Actium is lost 4 First Century Roman Emperors
Julio-Claudian Emperors (31 BC to 68 AD) Starts with Augustus, ends with Neros suicide Consolidation of Empire won by Augustus Succession hereditary (including by adoption); Example: Tiberius, successor to Augustus Intra-family rivalries, often deadly After Augustus, increasingly demonic emperors; Nero worst of all Flavian Emperors (Vespasian and his sons Titus and Domitian) Destruction of Jerusalem Temple, 70 Vespasian built the Coliseum Domitian was particularly ruthless against enemies, real and imagined NB Nero and Domitian were the only emperors that the Senate of Rome did not declare gods
5 Coliseum Built on site of Neros fire Construction started by Roman Emperor Vespasian in 71 AD Completed by his son, Emperor Titus Greatest arena in antiquity
Site of Roman games Execution of criminals, including Christian martyrs Site of greatest gladiatorial contests 6 Typical Day in Coliseum Morning: Animal Fights Noontime: Public Executions Includes Christians
Afternoon: Gladiators Example: Emperor Trajan used 11,000 wild animals and 10,000 gladiators to celebrate his triumphs in 107 AD 7 Second Century, Five Good Emperors After Domitian, Nerva and then Trajan, 98-117
Hadrian, 117-138 Antonius Pius, 138-161 Marcus Aurelius, 161-180 Policy of adopting a suitable successor, not relying on a relative Policy of appointing excellent administrators for provinces (Pliny the Younger in Asia Minor) The Empire was peaceful and prosperous www.edupic.net/Images/SocialStudies/ trajan's_column01.jpg Expansion of Roman Empire 9 Roman Family
Roman household was composed of paterfamilia (father) and clients (wife, children, slaves, business associates dependent upon him) Father had complete control of clients until he died Adoption, including adult adoption, was common among wealthy families All sons treated equally as heirs (no primogeniture) Exposure of unwanted infants, at discretion of father Duty (fortitude) to family and state was one of the most important Roman virtues Family was a state within a state
Roman Public (Civic) Roman religion was a public, civic obligation; Religion NOT primarily a way to have a personal relationship with Divine Anyone who did not offer public sacrifice for the good of the state was considered an atheist Impiety was a sin against gods, Roman Empire and the family Nero started Cult of Roman Emperor as a god in his lifetime But Nero and Domitian are only two emperors Roman Senate did not deify
Rome linked its gods with Greek gods through Virgils Aeneid Roman games often part of civil/military/religious celebration The crime of impiety was against both civic Roman religion and/or family A type of treason Roman Private Religion Mystery Religions became very popular in 1st through 3rd Century Roman society Cults of Mithras; Isis and Osiris; Dionysius Romans very tolerant of other beliefs
A way to have a personal relationship with the divine A wealthy paterfamilia would sometimes set aside space for slaves and clients for their own sects Example: San Clemente contains both a room for sacrifice to Mithras and a room for Christians Letters Between Pliny and Trajan Pliny the Younger (62 115) was the Roman administrator of Asia Minor Aristocratic Roman Family; Roman Senator Nephew of Pliny the Elder (23-79), who adopted him as a young man
Trajan Wrote Natural History Killed by eruption of Vesuvius Roman Emperor Issue: What to do about Christians and their impiety Third Century, Turmoil and Famine Marcus Aureliuss son, Commodus (180-192), was vicious, paranoid
After a period of civil war, Septimus Severus (193-211) becomes Emperor War against Persians Revamped Roman military and law Died in York, England; succeeded by sons Caracalla (211 217) and Geta Series of Severides and other generals of brief reign throughout Third Century Decius (249-251), major Christian persecution Strangled in his bath, then stabbed; end of Antonnines
Attempt to re-unify Empire with renewed adherence to ancient religion Made people buy a libellus to prove they had sacrificed to gods Diocletian 284-305 Greatest persecution of Christians Assignments Letters between Pliny and Trajan; found at http:// www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/latin/pliny.html (required)
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