The Roman civilization achieved greatness through a culture that borrowed, begged and stole the best elements of many other societies, while welding them together with a common legal and military structure. Arguments about the parallels between ancient Rome and modern society arise regularly; hence the study of ancient Rome may prove instructive.
Section 1 - The Etruscans 2000-800 BCE
The Etruscans lived in the region of modern Tuscany in Italy. In contact with both Phoenicians and Greeks, they developed an interesting culture that made several important contributions to the Latin society in which Rome appeared.
Section 2 - Origins of Rome 800-500 BCE
Beginning as a collection of villages near an important river crossing, Rome became a united city-state eager to dominate its neighbors as part of a strategy for security and prosperity.
Section 3 - The Roman Republic 600-350 BCE
After throwing out the Etruscan royal family, a group of prominent families established a new constitution — one which enabled the new state to assume a leading role in the affairs of the Italian peninsula.
Section 4 - Expansion 350-290 BCE
Between 509 BC and 394 BC, Rome came to dominate the Italian peninsula, and began to assume important diplomatic and military functions in the wider Mediterranean world.
Section 5 - The Punic Wars 264-146 BCE
Between 264 and 146 BC, the Romans fought three wars with their great rivals, the Carthaginians. These two early superpowers had different cultural values, different military strengths, and different political aims. Both states sought to rule the Mediterranean, and neither could accept the others' survival.
Section 6 - Republic to Empire146 BCE - 27 CE
Now unchallenged in the Mediterranean, Rome found domestic disputes among the great men, great families and great classes of society to be the ruling force in her politics. These disputes broke out of the Curia and into a series of open civil wars, which led to the collapse of the Republic and the rise of the Empire.
Section 7 - The Early Empire 27 CE - 305 CE
The new political model of the Empire demonstrated its value rapidly. The Emperors maintained control of the city only haphazardly, while the provinces remained relatively stable. As the Empire grew, the problems of succession and leadership kept recurring, and Diocletian decided to find some other solution. His failures led to a new era in Roman society.
Section 8 - The Later Empire 305 CE - 450 CE
Now the Emperors had to contend with a new religion as well as resurgent enemies on the frontiers. Christianity had made great gains in the previous three centuries, and now the Romans had to embrace a formerly-persecuted faith. At the same time, political and economic changes on the fringes of the Empire, and growing weaknesses within were pushing the Empire toward collapse.
Section 9 - The Fall of Rome400 CE - 600 CE
Many theories abound explaining why Rome fell: barbarian invasions, dried-up trade, economic failures, hard currency fleeing the country, lead in the water, adoption of the Christian faith, and failure to adopt Christian values completely. In this section we look at some of the reasons for Rome's collapse, and examine some of the reasons why it continued to exert a strong hold on the Western imagination.
Rome under the Etruscans
- The Etruscans
- Etruscan Political Systems
- Etruscan Economy
- Etruscan Religion and Philosophy
- Etruscan Daily Life
- Early Rome (the Seven Hills)
- Early Roman Political Systems
- Early Roman Economy
- Early Roman Religion and Philosophy
- Early Roman Daily Life
The Roman Republic
- The Rise of the Republic
- Republican Political Systems
- Republican Economy
- Republican Religion and Philosophy
- Republican Daily Life
The Late Republic
- The First Triumvirate (Cæsar, Pompey, and Crassus)
- Late Republic Political Systems
- Late Republic Economy
- Late Republic Religion and Philosophy
- Late Republic Daily Life
The Roman Empire
- Founding of the Empire (Octavian/Emperor Augustus)
- Imperial Political Systems
- Imperial Economy
- Imperial Religion and Philosophy
- Imperial Daily Life
- The Imperial Dynasties
- The Client States
- The Military
- The Pax Deorum
- The Equestrian Order