Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Some disjointed notes from my sophomore year history textbook.


Roman Republic

-Necropolis of Pantalica (Siracusa)
-Roman dress: toga + short cloak
-rape of Lucretia: die > seen as unvirtuous
-consuls: war; praetor: justice; quaestor: finance; aediles: games + grain
-praenomen (personal name), nomen (clan/family group), cognomen (personal name, later family name [differentiate btw. branches in clan])
-enemies of Rome: Etruscans, Sabines, Volscians, Aequi, Samnites, Greeks
-in Italy, can spare men for troops in summer
-Portunus: god of harbors
-priests: pontiffs; augurs read auspices
-Vestal Virgins
-what is Octavia's story?

Roman Empire

-Varus: general who lost 3 legions to German tribes in 9 CE
-emperor common title starting w/ Flavian dynasty (reign of Vespasian 69-79)
-citizenship as reward
-Ovid's Metamorphoses
-how-to poems
-law used as cohesive
-Satyricon by Petronius
-"Where a society invests its money gives an idea of its priorities" (Spielvogel 164)
-laserpicium: Roman medical plant
-Aurelian (270-5) restored Roman boundaries @ Danube, defeated Queen Zenobia of Syria in 272
-socioeconomic crises in 200s
-Roman state religion: GrecoRoman gods, state priests, ritual, imperial cult of Roma + Augustus -> people want Hellenistic mystery religions that promise a better life after death (cults of Cybele and Isis, Mithraism [initiation baptism w/ sacrificial bull blood, men only])

Late Empire

Diocletian (284-305): redistricted the Empire and created a political tetrarchy because the vastness of the Empire made it difficult for one person to rule.

Constantine came into power in 312, continued Diocletian’s policies and increased the power and status of the emperor. Also separated military and civil offices, ambitious building program.

Economically, D + C used heavy-handed edicts b/c Empire's finances failing. Taxation increased for the lower classes -> discontent.

Constantine converted to Christianity after winning a victory at the Milvian Bridge of the Tiber. All following emperors except for Julian (360-3) were Christian. Contradictions of doctrine -> the emperor closer to church.

Western Empire began to decline in the late 300s. Germanic tribes began to enter the Empire. Threats from the Huns -> Visigoths + others deeper into Rome, where they eventually became integrated into the army. Imperial troops withdrew.

Germans began to form their own kingdoms in the fifth century.

By the historically accepted end of the Western Empire in 476 with the deposition of Romulus Augustulus by Odoacer, the emperor was essentially a figurehead. The military officials known as the Masters of the Soldiers, of which Odoacer was one, had the real power.


Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization, Seventh Edition. Canada: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.


Why do I say nothing of the Five Good Emperors?

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