Core Page
 Egypt PartI- Egypt
 Greece Part II - Greece
 Rome Part III - Rome
 Bridges Part IV -  Bridges


This Internet Book visited
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(as of 2010)

The PREMIER JOURNEY to The Ancient World, weaving together  the Peoples of those lands and civilizations and the way they lived and - their thoughts, their hopes, their dreams, their lives.

What is the Ancient World?   Greece, Rome, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Sumer, Nubia, Persia, Byzantium, Turkey?  Or is it Assyrians, Chaldeans, Hebrews, Hittites, Akkadians, Etruscans, Minoans?  Is it Alexander, Plato, Virgil, Socrates, Hammurabi, Aristotle, Nefertiti, the Pharaohs, Emperors, Caesar, Cleopatra, Sargon, Akhenaton, the Black Athena, Homer? Or is it the dinosaurs, Stonehenge, hunters, slaves, women, rulers, soldiers, or the Iliad, the Aeneid, the Odyssey, the Olympics? Is it found in the ruins, temples, forums, pyramids or in the remnants of ordinary life?  Explore through this Web Book and the Online College Course.

  Ancient Civilization did not begin in what we think of as the West. It did not start in Paris or Berlin or London or Prague or Brussels or Stockholm. It grew out of the Mediterranean breezes, the sun and desert of Northern Africa, the Persian and West Asian lands. To study Ancient Civilization is to travel - across parts of Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to India. It is a linking voyage, not a reducing trip. It CONNECTS peoples, ideas, patterns, developments, organizations, wars, religions, art, architecture, food and drink. It is a human endeavor about a human story.

I am an historian, not a classicist.  And historians and classicists are not the same.  They focus and work differently.  But the challenge of it all is that understanding can only come by standing on the mountain and looking at the parts in the whole. An historian of this time (from the beginning of time through Egypt, Greece, to the fall of Rome) must be willing and eager to reach out and know that all knowledge is important. I built this Ancient Civilization arena for people - for students, faculty, and ordinary folks who think it is fascinating and can be just plain fun. Just like our lives, in this Arena there is much seriousness but also much joy and animation.

And the wonderful range of things to think about? Culture, archaeology, art, music, theater, books and writing, language, philosophy, politics, peace and war, life and living. Psychology, sociology, history, geometry and astronomy and biology, building and architecture and engineering. Economics and geography, women and men and children, farming and town planning, rivers and deserts and mountains, gods and goddesses. Birth and death, magic and mystery, aspiration and despair, palaces and mud huts, the freedom to rule empires, and the chains of everlasting slavery. Poetry, logic, weaponry, sports, courage and cowardice, love and hate, and genius.

Return to Ancient World Return to Master Core - Amazing Ancient World

ACT I of the Western Civilization Series

Part I


Mesopotamia, Babylon, Sumer, Akkadia, Assyria, Hittites, Hebrews,
Etruscans, Petra, Turkey

Part II

Part III
Revised, 2011-2012
Created for Internet Explorer



The land of the citizen statesmen, the Emperors, the warriors, the Caesars. The power of an Empire that conquered most of what we know of as Europe, ruled it, linked its roads and laws with it, exported its culture and language to it. Baths, plumbing, food, religion, architecture, drama, walls, palaces, slaves and servants. Political strategy, diplomacy, and philosophy. Words falter in capturing this mighty civilization with its weaknesses and strengths, its triumphs and its calamities.

 Waiting for the Barbarians - Cavafy


The Romans - Welcome to Roman History
The BBC Roman History Page.  Investigates range of areas.  Who Were the Romans? City, Republic, Empire, Emperors, Senators, technology, leisure, education, army, religion, end of Rome.  Take a quiz! Intended for kids but...!
Nova Bath Site - Wonderful DAY AT THE BATHS
Wander through the baths.  Spend a day exploring. And enjoying.  Great place!
Daily Life in Ancient Rome
Baths, Entertainment, Eating, Roman Families, Clothing/Hair, Styles, Houses, Weddings, The Forum, Toys, Games, Life in the Country, School! Great Builders.  
SPQR Online: The Life, The Times, The Legacy
"SPQR" :stands for "Senatus Populusque Romanus." (The Senate and People of Rome) Latin motto of the Ancient Roman Empire that sounded imperial glory for millennia. "Enter SPQR Online, and explore the interactive journey through the society and culture of Ancient Rome - a city whose influence continues to exert itself on modern civilization. A knowledge database, SPQR Online provides a comprehensive resource on the legacy of this great empire." Many interactive features, such as a Roman postcard generator and mailing list.  "Res Militaris" - the Roman army:  units, officers, life, equipment, organization, battles. "Domun" - Hello to daily life, biographies, houses, fashions, det, et. al. Pantheon and the ancient myths. History and government from Monarchy through Republic to  Empire.  Arts and Sciences. Geography and Landmarks. 
Gazetteer of the Roman World
Rome - 254 pages, 204 photos, 166 drawings, 21 plans, 7 maps!:  Includes the Palantine Hill, Villa Borghese Gardens, Trajan's Columns, Constantine's Arch.  Tombs, Ostia, Waterworks, Theatres, Mauretania Tingitana.  Wonderful pictures and info.  Use the Search Machine.  
Ostia - Harbor of Ancient Rome
  Rome site by "an enthusiastic group of people, Internet Group Ostia (IGO)." History, plans, archives, texts.
Roman Numerals - Help For All of Us!
"The Romans were active in trade and commerce, and . . . they needed a way to indicate numbers. The system they developed lasted many centuries, and still sees some specialized use today."  HANDY CONVERTER.  Just type in your number and presto!
Cool Latin Phrases


A Brief History of Ancient Rome
"The Roman Empire is remembered today as perhaps the greatest civilization ever to exist. Site will attempt to describe the evolution of a small tribe growing to its peak, then leading to its downfall. . . .Divided into the different political phases of Rome. Link containing brief description of the event/ruler is included beside the date. By clicking links, find out about the event in greater detail. Site best used for understanding the general history of Rome, and background information on specific topics. "
Roman History
"Roman history begins in a small village in central Italy; this unassuming village would grow into a small metropolis, conquer and control all of Italy, southern Europe, the Middle East, and Egypt, and find itself, by the start of AD time, the most powerful and largest empire in the world. They managed what no other people had managed before: they ruled the entire world under a single administration for a considerable amount of time. This imperial rule, which extended from Great Britain to Egypt, from Spain to Mesopotamia, was a period of remarkable peace. The Romans would look to their empire as the instrument that brought law and justice to the rest of the world.   They were, however, a military state, and they ruled over this vast territory by maintaining a strong military presence in subject countries."
Outstanding Time Lines and Readings from Original Sources
450 BCE-175 BCE
175 BCE-100 BCE
100 BCE-1 BCE
300 CE-600 CE
Use for the Roman period to establish timelines, history, people in relation to the rest of the world.
Rome at Its Height - the Roman Empire
The Famous AncientSites Site is Back!
"AncientSites was Built on a Dream that thousands of people interested in Ancient History could roam the streets of long forgotten cities and, in a sense, get into the mentality of our ancient forbearers through a combination of historical research and discussion, social activities, and roleplay and other games. Then,  the dotcom bust took away, forcing AncientSites to close its doors. But the dream lives on - As CyberSites, the company that had formed to create educational games.   Some of  the remaining material is excellent, some not so.  Use it if you don't have much else to do.


Rise of Rome
From Legend to Republic.  Long article detailing the history.
The Roman Republic
Summary history.
The Monarchy - Excellent Summary
The Roman Republic From 509 B. C. Until the Elevation of Augustus
Excellent chart of the organization. Who does what! "With its Consuls, Senators, Praetors, Lictors, Quaestors, Aediles, and Rich Boy's Club Governing Style, the Roman Republic Was Not Much Like Our Own Government Except in Name."  Magistrates, counsuls, 1st and 2nd triumverate.   More government
Roman Empire and Dictatorship : Detailed History
The Roman Empire - Government, et. al.
Rome: Map of the Empire
A picture is worth a thousand something-or-others. Outstanding addition to understanding the Empire. Shows 54 separate provinces in the World. Map is clickable by province - and the click brings up a good site list for many of the provinces. Britannia is particularly interesting.


The Mysterious Etruscans - Controversy
"Nearly the whole of Italy was once under Etruscan Rule ,"- Cato 2nd Century BCE.  Full site.  This is the PLACE! Etruscan art, cities, history, religion, lifestyle.  The Etruscans and the sea, territory, engineering and agriculture, language, museums. . . .
The Etruscans went on to lay the foundation of the city of Rome, to clear the shepherds huts which once littered the Palatine Hill, to drain the swamps and transform what had been a collection of tribal sheep herders into a true city which would eventually dominate large tracts of Europe,
Asia and North Africa. From the Etruscans came writing, and Roman history was born in the true sense."
" I can never succeed in understanding why Italians still fail to recognize the enormous contribution that the Etruscan civilization has made to our Western civilization. We keep on believing the teaching that the Greeks and above all the Romans are the peoples to whom the Western world owes its origins. All of this is considerably exaggerated and based on historical falsehoods. However,  instead it is the Etruscans, coming from the East, who are the true founders of our European culture, for both good and bad aspects. This truth continues to be understated and at times hindered by various Italian historians while it has been being recognized for numerous decades by the majority of the historians of the whole world. "
Etruscan Background
"The Etruscans have fascinated scholars and Romantics since the Renaissance: almost alone in early Italy they spoke a non-Indo-European language, even now untranslated. Wealthy traders, they were the patrons and perpetrators of a startling and luxuriant art. Fascinated with death, exotic in their pursuit of pleasure, savage in warfare and in many of their amusements. Roman historians, with reluctance and ambivalence, record powerful Etruscan kings as major players in developing sixth century Rome into a true city with a paved and drained forum and impressive temples. Historians ever since have enumerated Etruscan gifts to Roman culture: the engineering of roads, drainage systems, bridges and walls; complex systems of divination by observing the flight of birds or examining animal entrails; cultural customs like gladiatorial games; triumphal procession rituals; and the insignia (and perhaps some of the practices) of political officials."


Rome:  A Reconstruction of the Ancient City - A Virtual House?  Good!
Ancient World Civilizations: Ancient Rome
Monuments of Rome - Fine Collection


The Evils of Rome
Slavery, bloody games, religious persecutions, ordered suicides, insane emperors, cruel emperors.
The Romans - Welcome to Roman History
The BBC Roman History Page.  Investigates range of areas.  Who Were the Romans? City, Republic, Empire, Emperors, Senators, technology, leisure, education, army, religion, end of Rome.  Take a quiz! Intended for kids but...!
Ideology, Identity and Empire -- The Romans
"The period of Greek expansion (800-300 B.C.) was also the period when the Roman Republic was founded and beginning its rise to empire. If Rome was far more successful in building an empire, it is in large part due to their creation of a more inclusive ideology of citizenship than achieved by any Greek city. The Romans were, of course, very good soldiers, who in Rome's early centuries lived by a very severe standard of public virtue. Citizens sacrificed themselves in war for the good of the community and profited and gloried in common success. But the key to Roman expansion was the willingness of the citizens to share the benefits of citizenship with others.  This can be seen in the unusual Roman attitude to slavery. Romans, like Greeks and everyone else, kept slaves, for service around the house, to extend the productive power of the household, for dirty and dangerous work like mining. In most ancient cultures, slaves were slaves until death. The Romans, however, were willing to free their most useful servants; not only free them, but grant them citizenship, a share in public affairs (res publica). "
The Landings of Caesar in Britain, 55 and 54 BC
"For this period, Caesar is the only extant source providing first-hand descriptions of Britain. His observations, while confined to the southeast areas of Kent and the lower Thames, are thus essential to understanding those regions. While no doubt self-serving in a political sense when written, Caesar's account is nevertheless regarded as basically accurate and historically reliable."
Latin 2 - History:  The Monarchy and the Kings of Rome.


The Roman Constitution:  As Explained and Described by Cicero
Rome Political Life
The Roman Senate
"The story of the Roman Senate goes way back to a time before there was an accurate written history for Rome. The Senate was composed of leading citizens who were members of the original aristocratic families in the old Republic. The original purpose of this group was to advise the King."  And HERE.
Evolution of the Roman Government During the Early Republic
"When the modern student of Roman history begins to study the government of early Rome, he or she is often confused by the many offices, magistracies, assemblies, military systems, power shifts, and unfamiliar terms associated with the Roman system(s) of government. Furthermore, the earliest history of Rome consists of your choice of some of the finest epic poetry ever written or a few shovels full of mud containing some artifacts and traces of primitive settlements on the Palatine and Quirinal Hills. In order for us to begin to understand the evolution of Roman government, we must briefly review the process of phenomenal growth and expansion that tells the story of this city so unique in history. "
Political Offices in the Roman Republic
Political advancement during the late Republic.
Roman Administration and Towns
The Roman invasion of Britain brought about great changes in the way the country was run. Instead of politics dependent on war and peace among the various tribes, the country now formed part of a vast empire ruled from Rome. The Roman Empire was divided into provinces nominally ruled by the Senate in Rome or by the Emperor on the Senate's behalf. Newly acquired areas almost always came under the rule of the Emperor. He would then entrust these areas into the power of a governor, or 'legatus Augusti pro praetore', who was both commander-in-chief of the army in the province and head of the civilian administration.


Religion and the Roman Empire -- Christianity
"The strength of Christianity was that it offered both definitive answers to the religious longings of the age for eternal life and contact with the divine, and a strong community structure in which salvation could be worked out. . . It was the bishops who taught and defined Christian doctrines and discipline; who admitted people to full membership and eternal life through baptism; who could cast sinners into the outer darkness through excommunication. They also . . . controlled the common funds that were distributed as charity to members in need. The more dedicated were celibate (post-marital celibacy being most common). Unlike pagan priests, they formed a clergy -- an order set apart from ordinary believers by divine law."
Ancient Rome Funerals
"Throughout history, different cultures had various views about the concept of death . . . These views continually change, as do methods of treating bodies of the dead. Like many peoples in ancient times, the Romans had a short life expectancy due to diseases, limited medical knowledge. . They also died easily because of gladiatorial combats, wars, and even human sacrifice. However, funerary rituals and practices played an essential part in Roman life because the Romans believed that remembering and honouring the deceased members of their family was very important and also a proper burial was necessary for the afterlife."
Catacombs of Rome
Mixture - and here ! !
The Cosmic Mysteries of Mithras
Important essay from David Ulansey.
Mithraism - Excellent summary from Exploring World Cultures
Gods and Goddesses of Rome
Roman Death
"As Christianity spreads through the west, the attitudes about death, dying and the afterlife radically change. The Roman Empire is strewn with countless reminders of the lives, and the deaths of its peoples. The Romans seemed to have an obsession with being remembered after their death. This obsession is shown by their overabundance of funerary remains, ranging from sarcophagi to epitaphs and grave goods. By observing these relics closely, inferences can be made about the ways the Romans lived and died.. . . About half the Roman population could expect to live until they were about 50, as a result of poor diet, poor medical care and disease, particularly amongst the lower classes. However, a few did survive into their eighties. Over the years funereal fashions changed from cremation, where the burnt body was buried in a pottery or glass vessel, to inhumation, where the whole body was buried often with objects from their daily life, including pottery and jewellery. Coins were usually placed with the body in accordance with belief in an afterlife. Cemeteries were always outside the town walls, and tombs, and sometimes large monuments to the dead, lined the roads that led away from the town." Go to this great "Cremation in a Roman Town.
Religio Romana:   Roman Religion in Antiquity
Click to Family in Rome - De Lares et di Penates.  Then Roman Beliefs About After Life.
The Vestal Virgins:   Handmaidens of the Hearth
"Hearth and home are the backbone of Roman society. The Goddess of the Hearth, Vesta, has at her disposal, the white-clad, whit-veiled nuns of her temple. These women, all from the finest families of Rome, are charged with never allowing Rome's Vestal fire go out. To do so would be to bring bad omens and bad luck to Rome -  the unthinkable sin."


Romans at Work and at Play
"History is more than the study of wars and governmental institutions. It is essentially the story of people in their eternal confrontation with each other and with the forces of nature." Interesting mini-lecture by Professor G. Rempel.
"Why did the Western calendar's architects short-change February by two or three days? A thirty-day  February would provide a much more symmetrical means of marking the year's progress. One additional day beyond February's twenty-eight could easily have been taken from each of two thirty-one day months to give February its fair share." From here click to 8th to 4th Century B.C. Calendar Changes, Early Roman Calendars, Julian Calendar, Octavian's Calendar Changes.  
Roman Calendar
"What day is today? Is it just another weekday, or some great ancient festival? How about your birthday? Is it sacred to some god in the Roman Pantheon? Our ancient ancestors always knew what day it was -- they had a calendar so constant it was chiseled in stone and painted on walls in their homes. The days had names, not numbers, and the holidays were celebrated universally."
Culture of Rome
"Year after year thanks to its victories all around the world Roman culture evolved, influenced by the usage and customs of the conquered populations."  Family, education, clothes, house, food.
A Normal Day in Rome
Latin 2 - Culture
Collection of info and essays. Aqueducts, calendar, education, entertainment, food, law/government, marriage, medicine, military, money, religion/philosophy, baths, shopping and trading.
Carmina Popularia:   Latin Translations of Some Popular Songs
Sing your favorite songs in Latin!  From Blowin in the Wind to Puff the Magic Dragon.
Sample Plan of a Roman House
"Click on the rooms in this plan for more information about each area of the Roman house."  Wonderful.
Roman Numeral Converter


Nova Bath Site - Wonderful DAY AT THE BATHS
Wander through the baths.  Spend a day exploring. And enjoying.  Great place!
Roman Baths and Bathing
Pictures, details, comments on this vital part of the Roman culture. "'The universal acceptance of bathing as a central event in daily life belongs to the Roman world and it is hardly an exaggeration to say that at the height of the empire, the baths embodied the ideal Roman way of urban life. Apart from their normal hygienic functions, they provided facilities for sports and recreation. Their public nature created the proper environment—much like a club or community center—for social intercourse varying from neighborhood gossip to business discussions. There was even a cultural and intellectual side to the baths since the truly grand establishmentsincorporated libraries, lecture halls, and promenades and assumed a character like the Greek gymnasium.'"
The Roman Baths
"Many Romans visit the Thermae or the public baths, as we know them. They went to the baths for entertainment, healing in the case of some baths, or just to get clean. There were 170 baths in Rome during the reign of Augustus and by 300 A.D that number had increasd to over 900 baths.  The baths were huge buildings built at public expense or by rich emperors who wished to impress their subjects. Sometimes rich Romans who were trying to gain popularity paid entry for a whole day for anyone wishing to visit the baths. Most of the Roman baths were free but those baths that had a nominal fee had the fee to keep out the slaves and the poor who could not afford it.There were many famous baths these included the Baths at Caracella, the Baths of Diocletian."
Secrets of the Ancient World - The Roman Baths - Great site from Nova.
History of Ancient Roman Baths
"It is early afternoon in 80 A.D. Clients have visited patrons, the curia has adjourned and every man in Rome has but one the baths! Why were the baths so much a part of daily life? Why did the wealthy frequent public or privately owned baths when they had their own in their homes?
Ancient Roman Baths - Pictures


Legal Opinions on Prostitution
The Roman Concept of Fides
"FIDES meant 'reliablilty,' a sense of trust between two parties if a relationship between them was to exist. FIDES was always reciprocal and mutual, and implied both privileges and responsibilities on both sides. In both public and private life the violation of FIDES was considered a serious matter, with both legal and religious consequences."
The Roman Virtues:  Old Rome
The Twelve Tables
 "Stoicism was one of the most important/influential traditions in the philosophy of the Hellenistic world. It claimed the adherence of a large portion of the educated persons in the Graeco-Roman world. It had considerable influence on the development of early Christianity. The Roman Stoics, Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius were widely read and absorbed by the Western cultural tradition. Indeed, the very word 'stoic' has become synonymous with 'philosophical' and has come to represent that courage and calmness in the face of adverse and trying circumstances which was the hallmark of the ancient Stoics."
The Roman Virtues
These are the qualities of life to which every Citizen (and, ideally, everyone else) should aspire. They are the heart of the Via Romana — the Roman Way — and are thought to be those qualities which gave the Roman Republic the moral strength to conquer and civilize the world.
Non-Standard Roman Male Sexuality
Standard Roman Male Sexuality


Ancient Roman Costume
Glossary of Roman Clothing
From Diotima. Don't know that Ianthinus is violet or galbinus is yellow-green? Great summary of clothing names.


Eating Out!  Great
Age, Gender and Status Divisions at Mealtime in the Roman House
Did you know that children of wealthy Romans drank mostly water? that infants received "premasticated" food after their weaning? that men could cook? Fascinating sociological research.
How to Host a Roman Orgy
Be sure to click also to HERE .    
The Cooking Museum
"There are the pots, pans and utensils that have survived from Roman times and these give us a good idea of what a well equipped Roman kitchen might have looked like. We also know about the kinds of food that Romans ate because recipes were recorded by Roman writers.Hosts spent fortunes on their guests -- serving fish (sometimes guests were given the pleasure of watching the fish die slowly in a glass jar set before them), roe deer, suckling pig, partridges, flamingoes, and parrots."
An Ode to Olives
A Taste of the Ancient Roman World - "Exhibit about Greco-Roman eating and drinking, farming and starving."
Villa Vlill - A Roman banquet with marvelous recipes.
What did the Romans Eat - An Article On Eating!
"Whilst it is true that some Romans did eat dormice, larks tongues and other extreme exotic foodstuffs, to concentrate on this aspect is to judge our own time by the consumption of alligator carpaccio, Kangaroo brochettes and ostrich steaks with brandy and green peppercorns. These things are eaten but in minuscule quantities in comparison to the food that makes up the diet of the ordinary person."  

THE GREAT MYSTERY STORIES OF ROME - So Great on History and Life of Rome

The Detective and the Toga
Extensive, mammoth Bibliography of mystery novels and short stories set in Ancient Rome.  Books in a range of languages. The Full Site.
The Steven Saylor Series
The Web Site of Steven Saylor:  Anything You Wanted to Know About Saylor
Roma Sub Rosa:  The Investigations of Gordianus the Finder
"The novels of the ROMA SUB ROSA provide a panoramic fictional account of Rome in the last years of the dying Republic. Surrounded by towering figures like Cicero, Pompey, Julius Caesar, and Marc Antony, Gordianus the Finder and his family encounter murder, mayhem, and mystery."  Summaries of the novels and the Saylor short stories.  Works in progress.
Steven Saylor's Rome
"Steven Saylor's historical mysteries are set against the backdrop of the final years of the ancient Roman Republic - the heyday of Julius Caesar, Cicero, and Mark Antony. His seventh installment, Rubicon, witnesses Rome on the brink of civil war, as Caesar marches toward the capital. In this essay written for, Saylor offers fresh insight into his Roman world."   He writes of that Rome:
"Rome has never been richer or stronger. No other power on earth can rival her. The poor have their grain dole and the rich luxuriate in wealth never before imagined. Yet a great uneasiness hangs over Rome. For all its power and glory, the Republic is on the verge of violent collapse. Rome is ruled by a senate of rich elites... but not for much longer. The constitution is in crisis. The courts have turned into political battlegrounds where rival politicians routinely prosecute each other on real and trumped-up charges. Explosive trials generate scandal upon scandal. Election campaigns have devolved into mudslinging contests, with no accusation too appalling. Mere embezzlement or abuse of power no longer shocks. Politicians accuse each other of assault, rape, even murder."
The Lindsey Davis Series
One of my favorite mystery series.  Excellent history, great characters.  I have read them all.
The Official Website of Lindsey Davis
Details, plots of all her books.  Readers Companion.  Book exerpts.  Biography of the main character, Falco. Great map of the novels.


Early Leaders of the Republic - Portraits
Late Republic Leaders -  Portraits
Marius Reforms the Legions - Key Site
"His legacy to Rome was enormous. Marius had made his mark in Roman history by reforming the army. He had achieved the office of consul no fewer than seven times. And yet he also destabilized Rome for years to come and raped her in a gruesome siege and a five day massacre."The Importance of Marius
"The career of C. Marius illustrates a number of the trends that would lead to the fall of the Republic. He was a novus homo (man without senatorial forebears) from the Italian countryside who came to prominence in Rome through military competence, and whom the oligarchy had a hard time assimilating into the "system." He was given unprecedented power at Rome to deal with a military emergency, which could only be solved through bending the accepted constitution. Finally, he instituted a military reform that ended the raising of troops only from those who owned land. In the long run this reform was to change entirely the relationship of the troops to the state." Career and impact of Marius.      
Plutarch's Life of Marius
"Thus died Marius on the seventeenth day of his seventh consulship, to the great joy and content of Rome, which thereby was in good hopes to be delivered from the calamity of a cruel tyranny; but in a small time they found, that they had only changed their old and worn-out master for another young and vigorous; so much cruelty and savageness did his son Marius show in murdering the noblest and most approved citizens."
Gaius Marius and His Importance
This issue is of enormous significance.  By the time Marius came to power, the typical Roman recruiting base was literally non-existant. "There simply weren't enough landowners available who weren't already fighting the Germanics or Jugurtha to field a new army.  Marius' idea would turn out to be the single greatest reform the Roman legions would undergo. Probably without realizing the massive implications his reform would have on a social or political basis, he had little choice but to 'break' the law in order to fulfill his political and military ambitions. He offered the disenfranchised masses permanent employment for pay as a professional army, and the opportunity to gain spoils on campaign along with retirement benefits, such as land. With little hope of gaining status in other ways, the masses flocked to join Marius in his new army."
"Besides gaining an army, Marius gained something else: the extreme personal loyalty of the Roman head count. The recruiting of the masses would change the entire relationship between citizens, generals, the Senate and Roman institutional ideology. Prior to Marius, the armies may have been loyal to a general, but were fighting in theory for the survival or expansion of the state, including their own lands. After Marius, they fought for their Legate, provided they liked him of course, and for the plunder and glory he could provide. With nowhere to return to in Rome or beyond, these new soldiers became career full-time professional soldiers, serving terms from 20 to 25 years. A whole new class of citizen was developed from this simple change in military philosophy. While providing an immeasurable impact on the common people, this change would also have a profound effect on the entity of Rome itself. The extreme loyalty to generals rather than state would lead to open rebellion, civil war, military political power and eventually the crowning of emperors."
The Life of Gaius Marius
"Gaius Marius was a formidable and ambitious equestrian,one of the first 'warlords,' or faction leaders that would characterize the end of the Roman Republic. . .But he had also been, if not an innovator, at least a synthesizer of much-needed military reforms that also drew on the changing social aspects of Roman society. He will be remembered for his courage, his military acumen and his tenacity, and unfortunately, for the massacres that marred the end of his career."

Marius and Sulla
The Secrets of Political Success for a Roman Politician in the Republic
"The essential ingredient for an aspirant politician, whatever his family background, was wealth: the Roman elite was a moneyed elite. Constant outlay was important in public life: a politician had to spend freely on his clients, on his household, on slaves (particularly gladiators, for personal protection) and on investment. The expenses for elections were also astronomical.  Candidates had to provide themselves with a magnificent retinue and . . ."
Lucius Cornelius Sulla - And Civil War, and His Reforms, and His Reign of Terror
"Sulla undoubtedly had all the hallmarks of a Stalin, Mussolini or Hitler. He even revelled in calling assemblies at which he would hold grand speeches, threatening and intimidating all those he claimed to be his enemies, as well as his own audience.
But dictators like Sulla don't just stop killing because the names on the list are exhausted. Instead he began adding new names of people who had become 'enemies of the state. There was no place people, once on those lists, were safe. . . .  Alas, Sulla was not only to be remembered as a butcher. He also used his position to reform the constitution. Strangely for a man who himself ignored the senate's wishes and who killed an unprecedented number of its members, he did much to restore its authority."
"A famous Roman general stood poised to take the unprecedented step of marching on Rome with his legions, to purge the Senate of his political enemies and to ensure the downfall of a rival general, once more famous, now vying for command of the Roman armies. Of an old but decayed patrician family, he was famous for his conquest of foreign kings and his unrivaled luck in battle. He was ruthless, brilliant, alternately merciful and pitiless to his enemies. The younger general’s actions sent shock-waves to the very foundations of the enfeebled Republic and led to his seizing the dictatorship of Rome; however, he would not step aside from the office in the traditional six months, but proceeded to force through legislation to recreate Rome in his own image. His name would become a byword for those who helped destroy the Roman Republic in its final years."
Lucius Sulla
"Sulla was cunning and ruthless when necessary, but a brilliant politician and formidable commander as well. While he didn't necessarily begin the "Fall of the Republic", the activities of Sulla were definitely a major contribution."  Lengthy and solid analysis - by professionals.

Marcus Licinius Crassus (d. 53 BC), one of Rome's richest men ever. Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (106-48 BC), known as Pompey the Great, perhaps the greatest military talent of his time, and Gaius Julius Caesar (102-44 BC), arguably the most famous Roman of all times.  Became known as the First Triumvirate, a period which saw the three of them cover all bases of Roman power so effectively that they ruled virtually unopposed. A fourth man, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), is generally understood to have been the greatest orator in the entire history of the Roman Empire. All four were stabbed to death within ten years of each other.

Marcus Licinius Crassus
"At age sixty, Marcus Licinius Crassus was the oldest member of the first triumvirate and the wealthiest, having made his fortune in slaves and the acquisition of property, either from proscribed citizens or distraught owners whose houses were on fire. Yet, this avarice, and vexation that he was less esteemed than his rivals Pompey and Caesar, were mollified when the governorship of Syria fell to him in 55 BC."
Plutarch's Life of Crassus
"People were wont to say that the many virtues of Crassus were darkened by the one vice of avarice, and indeed he seemed to have no other but that; for it being the most predominant, obscured others to which he was inclined. "
Marcus Crassus
During the latter part of the Spatacus revolt, Crassus was appointed to the special command with 6 new legions.  "With  Crassus in command, the tide was about to turn in the Romans favor. Initially, an over eager subordinate of Crassus led an attack on Spartacus that failed miserably. In this defeat, several Romans fled the battle in the face of the gladiator army. In order to put an end to the terrible performance of the legions against Spartacus, Crassus ordered the seldom used penalty of decimation as punishment. In decimation, one of every ten men is beaten to death by their own fellow legionaries. While ancient reports are conflicting, at least one full cohort was subjected to decimation, or possibly his entire force. Whether those put to death numbered around 50 men or 4,000 is in dispute, but there was no question among legionaries that Crassus was not a man to accept defeat with grace. . . By the end, Spartacus himself was wounded and likely killed (his body was never found). Crassus swept survivors and stragglers out of the surrounding countryside by the thousands, and prepared a horrific, if not intimidating punishment. Up to 6,000 rebellious slaves were spaced out along the Appian Way, from Rome to Capua. Here they were crucified and left to rot as a reminder to all future potentials rebellions."
Crassus and the First Triumverate
"Unqualified as a military strategist, he led his army to war with Parthia and found himself without reinforcements on the plains of Carrhae in Mesopotamia where his army was slaughtered. Crassus' head was severed and molten gold was poured into his mouth to exemplify his greed."
Gnaeus Pompey the Great      
"Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus one of the great statesmen and generals of the late Roman Republic, a triumvir (61–54 BC), the associate and later opponent of Julius Caesar.  Pompey the Great (106-48 BC), Roman general and statesman, the erstwhile ally and son-in-law of Julius Caesar, but later his arch-rival for power. When the Triumvirate broke down after 53 BC, Pompey was drawn into leadership of the senatorial faction. On the outbreak of civil war in 49 BC he withdrew to Greece, was defeated by Caesar at Pharsalus in 48 BC, and was murdered in Egypt."
Eventually, Pompey and Caesar faced each other as enemy commanders when Caesar, defying orders from Rome, crossed the Rubicon. Caesar was the victor. Later, Pompey went to Egypt, where he was killed and his head cut off so it could be sent to Caesar. Originally, to avert civil war, Julius Caesar, whose reputation was growing because of his military successes in Gaul, suggested their three-way partnership, known to us as the first triumvirate, but at the time referred to as an "amicitia" (friendship) or "factio" (whence, our "faction"). Crassus, the capable financier, would receive Syria, Pompey, the renowned general, Spain, and Caesar, who would soon show himself to be a skilled politican as well as a military leader, Gaul.
The First Triumverate
"The triumvirate further degenerated in 53 B.C., when a Parthian army attacked the army of Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae, and killed Crassus. Meanwhile, although Caesar was not in Rome, his power was growing. Laws were altered to suit his needs. Some senators, notably Cato and Cicero, were alarmed by the weakening legal fabric. Rome had created the office of tribune at an earlier time to give the plebians power in the running of Rome. Among other powers, the tribune's person was sacrosanct and he could impose a veto on anyone, including his fellow tribune. Caesar had both tribunes on his side when other members of the senate started accusing him of treason, so the tribunes imposed their vetoes. The senate majority ignored the vetoes and even roughed up the tribunes. Accusing Julius Caesar of treason, they ordered Caesar to return to Rome, but without his army.  Instead, Julius Caesar returned to Rome with his army. Regardless of the legitimacy of the original treason charge that had been vetoed, the moment he stepped across the Rubicon, Caesar had, in legal fact, committed treason. Unless he wanted to be convicted of treason, he then had no choice but to assert his own power by fighting the Roman forces sent to meet him. These were led by Caesar's former co-leader, Pompey.   Pompey had the initial advantage, but even so, Julius Caesar won at Pharsalus in 48 B.C. After his defeat, Pompey fled first to Mytilene and then to Egypt where he expected safety, but instead met his own death."

Gaius Julius Caesar
See  "Mighty Emperors"  which follows

Marcus Tullius Cicero
"His life coincided with the decline and fall of the Roman Republic, and he was an important actor in many of the significant political events of his time (and his writings are now a valuable source of information to us about those events). He was, among other things, an orator, lawyer, politician, and philosopher. Making sense of his writings and understanding his philosophy requires us to keep that in mind. He placed politics above philosophical study; the latter was valuable in its own right but was even more valuable as the means to more effective political action. The only periods of his life in which he wrote philosophical works were the times he was forcibly prevented from taking part in politics."
Cicero - Life
"During his year as consul he put down the conspiracy of Catiline, for which he was awarded the title of "Father of his Country." Cicero, however, as a champion of the traditional institutions of the Roman republic and the enemy of autocracy, was no match for the power politics of Julius Caesar and Pompey, and was never afterwards a major influence in public affairs when they erupted onto the scene. Cicero rejoiced at the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. and returned to political life with vigorous public attacks on Mark Antony, but his association with the young Octavian (later the Emperor Augustus) did not save him from Antony's revenge and he was killed in the wave of assassinations which began the triumvirate regime of Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus."
The Quotations of Cicero
Great set of his quotations such as:  "He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason."  Or "Laws are silent in times of war. . . . Let arms give place to the robe, and the laurel of the warriors yield to the tongue of the orator. . . .  Let your desires be ruled by reason. . . . Liberty is rendered even more precious by the recollection of servitude. "


Eye Witness to the Eruption of A.D. 79!
"At the time of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 the Roman fleet under the command of Pliny the Elder was stationed across the Bay of Naples at Misenum. Pliny launched ships and sailed toward the erupting volcano for closer observation and to attempt a rescue. No rescue was possible and Pliny himself died during the eruption, not in the streets of Pompeii, but across the bay at Stabiae.  Pliny's nephew, whom we know as Pliny the Younger, was with him at Misenum, but did not venture out on the ships with his uncle. He stayed back at Misenum and observed the events from there. He also received first-hand reports from those who had been with his uncle at his death. Based on this information Pliny the Younger wrote two letters to the historian Tacitus that recount the events surrounding the eruption of Vesuvius and the death of Pliny the Elder. The letters survive and provide a vivid account of the events."
Pompeii Uncovered
"..they heard the crash of falling roofs; an instant more and the mountain-cloud seemed to roll towards them, dark and rapid, like a torrent; at the same time, it cast forth from its bosom a shower of ashes mixed with vast fragments of burning stone! Over the crushing vines- over the desolate streets- over the amphitheatre itself- far and wide- with many a mighty splash in the agitated sea- fell that awful shower."  Tour, history, photos, which capture the scene.
Pompeii Forum Project
Pompeii:  The City That Time Has Not Forgotten
Clic on the entry map.  Excellent pictures.  Then Pompeii:  Unraveling Ancient Mysteries
"On August 23, 79 AD, Pompeii looked like any other busy, prosperous city. People were moving about, trading goods, news, and friendly talk. . . . .
What Happened at Pompeii? - The good Discovery Channel Site


Antiqua Medicina: Gynecology
"In ancient Greek society, male dominance extended even to childbirth." Covers birth control, caesarean section, hysteria and the wandering womb.
Antiqua Medicina: Women In Medicine
Women's struggle to control their own bodies "a volatile issue in antiquity."
Alexandrian Medicine
In the fourth century BCE, the locus of medical thought and practice was not Cos, the island home of Hippocrates. Instead, it was the great center of Greek learning at Alexandria, founded in 331 BCE by Alexander the Great and governed by a dynasty stemming from his general Ptolemy. The Ptolemaic rulers gave lavish financial support to the library and museum at Alexandria, which consequently attracted researchers in all fields. Medical research in the Alexandrian museum became world renowned. Two of its most influential investigators were Herophilos of Chalcedon (fl. circa 280 BCE) and Erasistratos of Iulis (fl. 250 BCE).
Etruscan and Roman Medicine
Great and read the article for much more:  " Early Roman medicine characteristically relied on one or two remedies. According to Pliny, the “early Romans gave wool awesome powers,”confirming the religious-agricultural context of early remedies. Unwashed wool, dipped into a mixture of pounded rue and fat, was good for bruises and swellings, according to the early traditions. Rams’ wool, washed in cold water and soaked in oil, was used to soothe uterine inflammations. Wool dipped into a mixture of oil, sulphur, vinegar, pitch, and soda cured lumbago.  Yet, for all its uses, wool was not the cure-all that cabbage was, at least for Cato. Cato advocated not only the consumption of cabbage itself to fend off illness, but drinking the urine of a person who has eaten cabbage."
The Doctor in Roman Society
"There were no licensing boards and no formal requirements for entrance to the profession. Anyone could call himself a doctor. If his methods were successful, he attracted more patients; if not, he found himself another profession. . . . Plutarch grumbles that practitioners used all sorts of questionable methods to gain patients, ranging from escorting the prospective patient home from bars to sharing dirty jokes with him."
Military Medicos  -
"In the case of the Roman army, it is clear that it was the wartime doctors that created most of the innovations because they were organized, they were distributed throughout the Empire, they were careful about capturing and spreading any new inforamtion or technique that worked, and they were highly motivated by the great loss of life suffered by their soldiers during the many battles."
Sanitation Engineering
Hippocrates and Galen. 
Writings of Hippocrates and Galen.   "It is difficult to overstate the importance of Galen for European medical thought in the centuries between the fall of Rome and modern times. Even as late as 1833, the index to Karl-Gottlob Kühn's edition (still the only nearly complete collection of Galen's Greek works) could be designed for working medical practitioners as well as for classical scholars. Galen absorbed into his work nearly all preceding medical thought and shaped the categories within which his successors thought about not only the history of medicine, but its practice as well."
The Surgery of Ancient Rome:  A Display of Surgical Instruments from Antiquity
From the University of Virginia.  Incredible. And Surgical Instruments from a second source.
Poison, Poisoning and Poisoners in Rome
"It is clear that mass poisoning in early times occurred more frequently during stressful periods like wars and epidemics."
Sex and Childbirth in Ancient Rome
"The aim of Roman matrimony was procreation, rendering theories of procreative potential extremely important. Soranus suggests that women "from the ages of fifteen to forty…not mannish, compact, oversturdy or too flabby and very moist," with uteri as, "neither very moist or dry, not too lax or constricted,"were one's best shot at producer of offspring."
Opthalmolgy in Ancient Rome
"Physicians in classical times devoted great attention to eye diseases, from both a surgical and clinical point of view.   Instruments consistent in size and shape with use in ophthalmology are frequently mentioned in the inventory of Roman surgical implements found in archaeological escavations.   Moreover, ancient Roman writings, imply that such knowledge and practices were much older, restilying that eye physicians were numerous, specially in the northern regions of the Empire.   These physicians were really specialized in the treatment of eye diseases and were capable of performing at least 24 different kinds of treatment." See how they treated cataracts!


Discovering Roman Technology - from the BBC
"Adam Hart-Davis rises to the challenge, investigating the innovations of the invaders. From roads to recipes, Adam looks at the lasting impact that Roman ingenuity still has in our lives today."
Ancient Roman Technology
Good list of Roman inventions and technology
Historical Background on Roman Roads
"Roman roads made Greek roads look like footpaths. Constructed with great skill, the Roman roads were strong enough to support metal-wheeled wagons weighing over half a ton. Many of the roads were wide enough to accommodate two chariots riding side by side. Although built by Roman soldiers, along with plenty of muscle provided by slaves, the Roman roads depended on the indispensable surveying skills of Roman engineers. . . . The Romans built about 50,000 miles of paved roads throughout their empire, in comparison to the United States which has built about 52,000 miles of interstate highways."
Roman Traction Systems
"The network of roads connecting various parts of the Roman Empire was one of the crowning achievements of Roman engineering and stretched for 85,000 km. (53,625 miles) under Diocletian. Large portions of this network were paved with brick making for fast movement on land. The emphasis was on speed – the roads were designed to speed government officials, and couriers, as well as the military; they were only secondarily for commercial and private use."
A History of Collar Harnessing
"No horse collars in Roman times! Most English science books on Rome and the Middle Ages say so. According to them, the ancient world was economically hampered by inefficient horse or mule harnessing. A problem which, they say, was only solved at the height of the Middle Ages."  So how did the Romans do it?  Take a look.
The Construction, Makeup of Ancient Roman Roads
"A little planning goes a long way, a Roman road from the bottom up, a ditch for every occasion, a road is not a piece of cake."
Roman Concrete
"Articles on Roman Concrete that attempt to explain how the Romans were able to create such durable structures, even when compared against modern concrete construction. A thesis presented here is that the "secret" does not so much lie in the ingredients, as some believe, but instead results from low water ratio and placement. "
Roman Roads
"The engineers of ancient Rome built an unparalleled network of roads in the ancient world. Approximately 50,000 miles (80,000 km) of roads spanned the Roman Empire, spreading its legions, culture and immense influence throughout the known world. The old saying "all roads lead to Rome", simply couldn't have been truer. Rome was the hub of commerce, trade, politics, culture and military might in the Mediterranean, and the grand achievement of her road network all led directly to the city and back out to her many territories."
The Roads of Ancient Rome
"It is often said that "all roads lead to Rome," and in fact, they once did. The road system of the Ancient Romans was one of the greatest engineering accomplishments of its time, with over 50,000 miles of paved road radiating from their center at the miliarius aurem in the Forum in the city of Rome. Although the Roman road system was originally built to facilitate the movement of troops throughout the empire, it was inevitably used for other purposes by civilians then and now.

History of Plumbing Index - Click to get to the Roman ones such as Pompeiii and Herculaneum, and thr Roman legacy.
"Water closets were in vogue in Pompeii, and archaeologists have found ancient closets in the back of one palace, including a cistern to flush water to the different seats. Near the palace kitchen they also found an arched recess approximately 3 feet deep. Although the actual wood had long disappeared, archaeologists say they could still see outlines of hinges for the privy seats. The kitchen's brick oven sat four feet from the privy. To the efficient Romans who had no inkling of germs, the proximity allowed the easy disposal of both scraps and excreta. The women used the privy alongside the kitchen; the men went around to the back and used their own." Great essay.  And
who has looked at Roman ruins in Britain and elsewhere, has been stunned by the expertise and advancement. And wondered how they did it. Excellent article explains in detail.
Question of the Day
How did public fountains, like those in Rome, work without any type of motor to pump the water?   "In the earliest days of Rome there were more pressing concerns other than the building of grandiose fountains. The first priority was getting enough water for hygiene and drinking."  And finally, The History of Roman Plumbing.  "The Roman Empire eventually encompassed all the countries along the Mediterranean Sea, Mesopotamia, the Balkans, and most of modern Europe, including Britain. With their plumbing engineers in tow, the Romans left in their wake large - and small - scale water systems that incorporated similar-style aqueducts, lead pipes, heated floors, dams and drains. From Rome's Cloaca Maxima, largest of the ancient sewers, to the famous spas of Aquae Sulis in Bath, England, and the colossal baths of Emperors Caracalla and Diocletian, the early Roman plumbers left indelible marks on civilization."
Museum of Ancient Inventions - Visit the excellent Smith College Museum.


The Aquaducts of Rome
"The Romans are renowned for engineering marvels, among which is the aqueduct that carried water for many miles in order to provide a crowded urban population with relatively safe, potable water, as well as less essential but very Roman aquatic uses."
Aquaducts of Rome - Detailed and Important Paper
Roman Aquaducts - History and Details
And   Roman Aquaducts Today..  "During the early days of Rome the water supply came from the River Tiber, wells, and springs. It was no wonder that Father Tiber was an important deity to the Romans. The Tiber, however, is a very muddy river and also received all the refuse from the Cloaca Maxima, the sewer which flowed under the Forum Roman. By the late 4th century, when the Romans were engaged in the second Samnite War, they urgently needed an alternate water supply. Not only was the water supply no longer reliable for the growing Roman population, it was also possible that enemies of Rome could poison the supply. As these needs began to present themselves, the Romans saw the urgency of an alternate water source."
The Arch:  Glory of the Architecture of Rome
"In Rome, the archaeological remains of the republican and imperial periods are numerous . . what now exists testifies how the succession of different civilisations on the same site for more than two millennia, caused the looting and to the destruction of considerable parts of this patrimony"  And "the expansion of the Roman empire supported by engineering and architectural works whose enormous functional and cultural value helped to create cohesion among the involved people."  
Hadrian's Wall - A World Heritage Site
"The ruins of Hadrian's Wall form the most spectacular Roman remains in Britain. The mighty wall ran across the whole width of Britain, from Wallsend (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west.. The wall was originally 15 feet high with 6 foot battlements on top of that. It was begun in about 120 A.D. on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian, and was manned until it was abandoned in 383." And Great Pictures!
Hechingen-Stein Roman Open-Air Museum
Roman villa in German tour dating from the end of the 1st to the middle of the 3rd Century AD.
History of Ancient Roman Baths
" It is early afternoon in 80 A.D. Clients have visited patrons, the curia has adjourned and every man in Rome has but one the baths! Why were the baths so much a part of daily life? Why did the wealthy frequent public or privately owned baths when they had their own in their homes? Why this need for cleansing daily?"  Answers! and a visit to a bath.
Roman Archaeology - Far Reaching Site
The Pantheon and the Triumph of Roman Concrete
Anything you wanted to know about how the Pantheon was built and its history. "The concrete dome of the Pantheon spans some 143 feet without the aid of metal reinforcement like modern buildings. The building even has unusual cracks and yet it still stands. The great painter Michelangelo offered one explanation: it is 'angelic, and not of human design. 'Certainly most if not all of our modern buildings would not meet the harsh weathering of 1800 years that the Pantheon has endured and survive."  Site Purpose:  "to answer many of the fundamental questions regarding the longevity of this beautiful structure and shows how modern concrete construction is just now learning to apply some of the same technologies used by the Romans. " Questions about their technology, labor force, tools, lifting devices.  And his site explains so much about the remarkable talents of the Romans.


Roman Music - [Site Down But Info Still Important]
"Until recently (the 1930s), it was believed that Roman music was impoverished, and that their musical culture was little more than a synthesis of forms, styles and instrumentation stolen from their empire. New theories, scientific methodology, and interpretations, supported by better analysis and the whole body of archaeological discovery have enabled the development of a very different view in which Roman life was pervaded by music in all aspects. Evidence shows  that music was central to Roman religious ceremony, civic activity, entertainment, the military and the culture of work as early as the era of the Kings. Roman music was definitely formed by many foreign influences."
"There is a view that Roman music should be more appropriately called Graeco-Roman music. This is too simple. Roman social, political and cultural institutions were initially influenced by the ancient and mysterious Etruscans. The subsequent influence of the Greeks although early and sophisticated was one among many, in the thousand year of Roman history. Later, as an imperial power, Rome absorbed, extended and modified music along with many other cultural forms from the various territories it conquered.. . . Some Emperors not satisfied merely to use the arts as an instrument of policy, also performed. The known performers were: Caligula, Nero, Hadrian, Commodus, Elagalabus and Severus Alexander. Only one of these has a surviving review. The Emperor Nero invented a new sport for the Olympic games, singing. He entered and naturally won the laurel wreath of victory."
Ancestral Instruments - Roman
"Music filled the lives of the Romans -- from private nightly dining to festive public celebrations, from serious musical performances to military parades, and from solemn to wildly erotic religious rituals. Here are their instruments, sans muzique, except for what your imagination might provide."
Discussion of Roman Music by Ancient Authors
Such as "I will provide entertainment which is neither serious nor frivolous: you will hear the music of a small flute."  Music was important in Roman.
Course - Roman Theatre and Drama
Downfall of Classical Drama
"It cannot be pretended that the doom which thus slowly and gradually overtook the Roman theatre was undeserved. The remnants of the literary drama had long been overshadowed by entertainments such as both earlier and later Roman emperors--Domitian and Trajan as well as Galerius and Constantine--had found themselves constrained to prohibit in the interests of public morality and order, by the bloody spectacles of the amphitheatre and by the maddening excitement of the circus. The art of acting had sunk into pandering to the lewd or frivolous itch of eye and ear."
Early Roman Drama and Theatre
Extensive info on a range of theatre topics.  " The turning point in Roman theatre construction came in the last days of the Republic, when the first permanent theatre was finally built in the city of Rome. None other than Pompey himself instigated and oversaw its construction, in the days of his greatest glory after he had triumphed more than once. For a man who had spent many years outside Rome, the absence of an impressive, permanent theatre in his home town, the imminent capital of the ancient world, must have seemed appalling."
Rome Project: Drama Resources
In full text, the plays of Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides, Sophocles.
Roman  Drama
Roman theatre derived from religious festivals. The Romans' carnival-like festivals included acting, flute playing, dancing, and prizefighting. Almost all festivals used music, dance, and masks in their ceremonies. 
Virtual Tour of Rome


Decline of Library of Alexandria
Brilliant article by Ellen Brundige tracing origin, Alexandria in the time of Caesar, Imperial Alexandria, the history of the city its decline and the rise of Christianity. And always the Libraries and their greatness and their loss.
The Alexandria Library - Myth, Legend, Reality
A Brief History of Roman Libraries
"Augustus, conscious that "a man is remembered by his works", created in Rome two great libraries with corresponding sections of Latin and Greek: one on the Campus Martius, the Portico of Octavia, in the year 33 b.C. It was one of the architectually most beautiful buildings of Rome, locked by one double colonnade, in the interior of which there were two temples, one dedicated to Jupiter and another one to Juno. The other, founded in the year 28 b.C., was on the Palatine, next to the temple of Apollo, and was constructed, like the temple, to commemorate the battle of Actium. It contained on a great porch, pictures of famous writers and a colossal statue of Apollo."

"Roman libraries were not important to education, being generally small collections, and because the demand of public reading was limited, since the Romans preferred to work in their private libraries or those of their friends. Private libraries became widespread thoughout the empire in the 1st Century AD. . . . The disintegration of the Roman Empire also brought about the collapse of the old traditional social order, and the light of the world that represented Rome first languished and finally it was extinguished for always.   The cities were left, and the libraries that conserved were set ablaze, destroyed or simply left to ruin. Many of the works that filled the libraries disappeared for always, and only few books, by different ways, was preserved until today."


Ancient Roman Slavery
"Slavery in the Roman Empire did not suddenly end, but it was slowly replaced when new economic forces introduced other forms of cheap labor. During the late empire, Roman farmers and traders were reluctant to pay large amounts of money for slaves because they did not wish to invest in a declining economy. The legal status of "slave" continued for centuries, but slaves were gradually replaced by wage laborers in the towns and by land-bound peasants (later called serfs) in the countryside."
Roman Civilization and Slavery
The Roman Slave Trade
" The Roman economy was built on a foundation of slavery, which was taken for granted as a normal feature of society. Even the early bishoprics and monastic houses kept slaves, despite the radical ideas of Christianity which emphasised equality. Most slaves fell into their unfortunate position after being captured in battle or condemned for a criminal offence. Julius Caesar brought back a million people from Gaul."  And HERE.
Selections from Roman Slave Laws
Very interesting collection. And a good Roman slavery presentation.
Slavery and Christianity
How numerous the slaves were in Roman society when Christianity made its appearance, how hard was their lot, and how the competition of slave labour crushed free labour is notorious. It is the scope of this article to show what Christianity has done for slaves and against slavery, first in the Roman world, next in that society which was the result of the barbarian invasions, and lastly in the modern world."
Slavery at the Time of the Roman Empire
Cost, work, earning freedom.
Slavery in the Roman Empire: Numbers and Origins
John Madden's article on slavery, exposure, children.
Slavery in the Roman Empire - Ancient Sourcebook
The Conduct and Treatment of Slaves. How to Manage Farm Slaves, et. al.  Writings of the time.
The Story of Slave Revolts in the Roman Empire
"The view that ancient Rome was an enlightened and gentile society can certainly be tested on many grounds, but the matter of slavery is often overlooked. The prevalency of slavery in ancient Rome perhaps convinces us that it was not a brutal institution on the terms of slavery as we know of it in nineteenth century America; this is far from the truth. How were slaves treated by their Roman masters? And how did the historically-voiceless slaves react?"


The Roman Army - Start Here
Armamentarivm:  The Virtual Book of Roman Arms and Armor
Excellent brief survey by Museum of Antiquities
Imperial Battle Descriptions
ABCD Encyclopedia of every battle the author could think of.  Including maps and essays.  Outstanding.
Roman Army: Bibliography
Exhaustive resource of texts, books, articles on every aspect of the Roman army.
The Roman Army
The Roman army of the empire. The Roman army pages. Roman army sites. Roman army bibliographies. Roman reenactment. Roman citizenship.  Extensive.
Roman Army in the Late Republic and Early Empire
The legions, camps, standards, uniforms, models, the works!
Livy: The Roman Way of Declaring War, c. 650 BCE
Among the very old formulas and usages that survived at Rome down to relatively late times, this method of declaring war holds a notable place. It was highly needful to observe all the necessary formalities in beginning hostilities, otherwise the angry gods would turn their favor to the enemy.
The Collapse of the Roman Empire--Military Aspects
"It is difficult to reach a conclusive verdict on why the western Roman empire fell. As these arguments show, it was a long and complex process, made more difficult to understand by the patchy nature of our evidence. If there was a simple answer, the Romans would surely have found it. Whatever the reasons, throughout the fifth century, when emperors could find money and assemble troops, the Roman army was a powerful and effective force. The institution itself was not at fault, but the support it received from its commanders-in-chief, the Emperors, was often lacking. If there was a single reason for the collapse of the western Empire, it was poor leadership, not military failure."
"Barbarization" in the Late Roman Army
"The term 'barbarization' is used to describe the use of soldiers whose origins were outside the Roman Empire in the late Roman army. It has been argued that this caused the army to decline in efficiency, though this is a view that is coming under some revision. There were two types of this 'barbarization.' The first type was the recruiting of individual 'barbarians.' Many of the army's recruits did come from beyond the empire, from Frankish, Alamannic or Gothic tribes in Europe, from Persia or Armenia in the east. None of our evidence suggests that this affected the battlefield effectiveness of the army. In number, they may have made up as many as a third of the empire's troops. The second type of barbarization was the short-term use of tribal groups of barbarian allies. These supplemented Roman forces, for the most part in civil wars. . . . But the continued presence of these contingents meant that within a generation the Romans saw them as allies, not as enemies. As allies, it was difficult to destroy them, but their increasing occupation of Roman territory eroded the Roman tax base. This in turn reduced the capacity of the western empire to defend itself, though these problems were not present to such a severe extent in the east."
Why Did Caesar Win the War Against Pompei?
"From the outset, the war between Caesar and Pompey looked like a one-sided affair. The situation was clearly in favour of Pompey. Gnaeus Pompey was the current 'tool' used by the Optimates in the Senate to counteract the threat that Caesar posed to their rule. The mass political backing of Pompey by the Senate was therefore in conjunction with control of all provinces of the Empire except those under the influence of Caesar. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon, he only controlled Gaul and the Po Valley in Italy. Pompey, in contrast, held the provinces of the East, Spain and Africa and most of Italy. Pompey also controlled the vast resources of men and grain in these parts. However, Caesar was able to use weaknesses in Pompey's strategic planning to ultimately change the tide of battle in his favour."

"The first question that has to be asked is why did Caesar win the civil war with Pompei? Most basically, he was the better general of the two. His army was better and faster, allowing him always to be on the offensive, and allowing him in turn to always provide his (retiring) soldiers with the material bases for survival. In the post-Marius era, a general's ability to support his current and retired soldiers was paramount in determining his own survivability. As well, Caesar demonstrated repeatedly his ability to provide clemency to erstwhile opponents, and was thus able to a gather more supporters to his banners. Therefore, through growing army power, increasing finances, and patronage, Caesar ascended to the rank of the most powerful Roman warlord and obtained powerful supporters, made up of a coalition of some senators, growing numbers of mounted and wealthy equities from provincial Italian municipalities, as well as foot-soldiers and elites fro regions where his own reputation was based, such as Gaul. All the while, he could count on the support of centurions and veterans. While they made him great, he looked after them, and al these groups came together into the factio--Caesar's faction. Caesar was also unusual, in that he combined being a good general with great political and legislative skills, as well as excellent rhetorical capabilities."


Hannibal - A Short Bio
Colonial Punic Wars and Hannibal
" From the middle of the 3rd century to the middle of the 2nd century BC, Carthage was engaged in a series of wars with Rome. These wars, known as the Punic Wars, Wars, ended in the complete defeat of Carthage by Rome. The most prominent figure of the Punic wars was General Hannibal of Pheonician Carthage."  A history of the wars and a biography of the Great Hannibal.
Carthage and Rome: 
 The Punic Wars Excellent summary from Reed College. Sicily and the Carthaginian control over the Straits, Carthage government, its navy.  " The navy, for which the Carthaginians (as befits Phoenicians) were famous, depended upon tribute. In antiquity naval warfare was high-tech warfare; a navy was relatively expensive compared to a land force, in which combatants would ordinarily supply their own weapons. Culturally, a fuller picture of Carthage is only gradually beginning to emerge from excavations. Although there must have been Carthaginian histories, they all perished completely (a phenomenon perhaps connected with the Roman insistence upon stamping out every last vestige of Carthaginian life, in 146 BC). Of poetry and other literature we have nothing."  And "For all that Carthage was wealthy and well governed, the Greeks and Romans viewed them as bejeweled, perfumed, effeminate, sybaritic easterners. Nor has it helped their reputation to have it confirmed, by the excavations on the site of Carthage itself, that the Carthaginians routinely performed human sacrifice; not only do inscriptions mention it, but numerous urns containing the burnt bones of sacrificial victims (some animal, some human) have been found. In times of crisis the gods would get the choicest sacrificial victim of all: human babies."  The result of the 1st Punic War?  "The decisive battle came in 241 off the Aegate Islands (NW corner of Sicily), and the overwhelming Roman victory ended the war. The Carthaginians agreed, more than twenty years after Rome intervened on behalf of the Mamertines, to evacuate Sicily completely and to pay 3,200 Talents as a war indemnity."  
The Fun Story of Hannibal and the Cattle
"After having fought that battle, Hannibal advanced upon Rome without resistance. He halted in the hills near the city. After he had remained in camp there for several days and was returning to Capua, the Roman dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus opposed himself to him in the Falernian region. But Hannibal, although caught in a defile, extricated himself by night without the loss of any of his men, and thus tricked Fabius, that most skillful of generals. For under cover of night the Carthaginian bound torches to the horns of cattle and set fire to them, then sent a great number of animals in that condition to wander about in all directions. The sudden appearance of such a sight caused so great a panic in the Roman army that no one ventured to go outside the entrenchments. Not so many days after this exploit, when Marcus Minucius Rufus, master of horse, had been given the same powers as the dictator, he craftily lured him into fighting, and utterly defeated the Romans. Although not present in person, he enticed Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, who had been twice consul into an ambuscade in Lucania and destroyed him. In a similar manner, at Venusia, he slew Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who was holding his fifth consulship." [From Cornelius Nepos: Hannibal - Chapter 5].
Punic Wars
The greatest naval power of the Mediterranean in the third century BC was the North African city of Carthage near modern day Tunis.  But, in the end, " Carthaginians who weren't killed were sold into slavery. The harbor and the city was demolished, and all the surrounding countryside was sown with salt in order to render it uninhabitable. "
Livy's Introduction - From History, Book 21
"Second Punic War."  "I consider myself at liberty to commence what is only a section of my history with a prefatory remark such as most writers have placed at the very beginning of their works, namely, that the war I am about to describe is the most memorable of any that have ever been waged, I mean the war which the Carthaginians, under Hannibal's leadership, waged with Rome. No states, no nations ever met in arms greater in strength or richer in resources; these Powers themselves had never before been in so high a state of efficiency or better prepared to stand the strain of a long war; they were no strangers to each other's tactics after their experience in the first Punic War; and so variable were the fortunes and so doubtful the issue of the war that those who were ultimately victorious were in the earlier stages brought nearest to ruin. And yet, great as was their strength, the hatred they felt towards each other was almost greater. The Romans were furious with indignation because the vanquished had dared to take the offensive against their conquerors; the Carthaginians bitterly resented what they regarded as the tyrannical and rapacious conduct of Rome. The prime author of the war was Hamilcar. There was a story widely current that when, after bringing the African War to a close, he was offering sacrifices before transporting his army to Spain, the boy Hannibal, nine years old, was coaxing his father to take him with him, and his father led him up to the altar and made him swear with his hand laid on the victim that as soon as he possibly could he would show himself the enemy of Rome. The loss of Sicily and Sardinia vexed the proud spirit of the man, for he felt that the cession of Sicily had been made hastily in a spirit of despair, and that Sardinia had been filched by the  Romans during the troubles in Africa, who, not content with seizing it, had imposed an indemnity as well.
Livy - Book 22 - The Roman Disaster of Cannae
Livy - Book 23 - Hannibal at Capua
Livy - Book 24 - The Revolution in Syracuse and Bk 25 - The Fall of Syracuse and Book 26 The Fate of Capua
Book 27 Scipio in Spain and Book 28 The Final Conquest of Spain
Book 29 Scipio in Africa and Book 30 Close of the Hannibalic War (This book is key) :"After 16 years of war. . ."
Scipio Africanus
"After avidly studying the tactics of Hannibal, Scipio Africanus eventually bested his Carthaginian adversary."  The man who defeated Hannibal did not fare so well for himself.  "Scipio's popularity soon came to be marred by controversial behavior. His love of Greek customs, literature and art soon brought him into direct conflict with the traditional Roman party, led by the Censor Marcus Porcius Cato. In 187 bc, his brother Lucius Scipio was accused of accepting bribes, to which Africanus responded by tearing up the incriminating documents before the tribunal. Later, Scipio Africanus himself was called to the Senate to answer corruption charges--a summons that he simply refused to obey. Retiring to his estate outside Rome at Liternum, Scipio spent his final years complaining of his countrymen's ingratitude, until his death in 184 bc."
Scipio Africanus Major - Roman general, Conqueror of Hannibal in the Punic Wars.
The Punic Wars:   A Retelling of the Struggle between Rome and Carthage
Rome at the End of the Punic Wars
ROME, with the end of the third Punic war, 146 B. C., had completely conquered the last of the civilized world. One writer of the war is Polybius.
The Wars With Carthage and Macedon
The Macedonian Wars - Livy
"I, too, feel as much relief in having reached the end of the Punic War as if I had taken a personal part in its toils and dangers. It ill befits one who has had the courage to promise a complete history of Rome to find the separate sections of such an extensive work fatiguing. But when I consider that the sixty-three years from the beginning of the First Punic War to the end of the Second take up as many books as the four hundred and eighty-seven years from the foundation of the City to the consulship of Appius Claudius under whom the First Punic War commenced, I see that I am like people who are tempted by the shallow water along the beach to wade out to sea; the further I progress, the greater the depth, as though it were a bottomless sea, into which I am carried. I imagined that as I completed one part after another the task before me would diminish; as it is, it almost becomes greater. The peace with Carthage was very soon followed by war with Macedonia. There is no comparison between them as regards the critical nature of the contest, or the personality of the commander or the fighting quality of the troops. But the Macedonian war was, if anything, more noteworthy owing to the brilliant reputation of the former kings, the ancient fame of the nation and the vast extent of its dominion when it held sway over a large part of Europe and a still larger part of Asia. and "Bk. 32.


The Landings of Caesar in Britain, 55 and 54 BC  - From the "Athena Review"
Late Roman Army
ORB Online Essay by Hugh Elton. Reforms, changes, impact.


Roman Coins of the Early Empire
"Roman coins offer a unique view into ancient Roman life because they were used by almost everyone on a daily basis, from the emperor down to the Head Count. Coins tell us much about what was important to the Roman people, how they celebrated holidays and religious occasions, and how the emperors wanted to be viewed by their subjects."
Rome: Map of Trade Routes
Excellent view of the extent and variety of trade.

Legal Opinions on Prostitution - From Justinian's Code
Legal Status in the Roman World
Interesting links to various Roman laws: On women, including guardianship, pregnancy, adultery, life and death, prostitute, abuse.
The Twelve Tables, c. 450 BCE
Roman Law Resources - All About Roman Law
Questions and Answers on Roman Law

THE MIGHTY EMPERORS OF POWERFUL ROME - A Collection of Humans and Not-So Human Fellows

Brilliant, stupid, brave, crazy and cowardly, enlightened, dazed, talented, crippled, insane.  But always powerful.  Who were they? What caused them to "be as they were?"  They each held an "impossible" job. To govern half of the then known world?  With hundreds of different peoples, languages, cultures, conditions, characteristics.  Most a comparative "thousands" of miles from the center.  A range of the conquered from passive to horrendously aggressive.  Yet, some emperors performed with unbelievable ability.  Others with almost unimaginable incompetence.  The Roman Empire cannot be understood without "knowing" the Emperors.  I have created a special page for your "emperor education!"  Please join us at EMPERORS.


THE WOMEN WHO BORE IT - And Their Weddings, Marriages, Families, Funerals, Lives

(Many important sources are offline in books, journals, articles)

BOUDICCA: A Mother's Revenge
For the Romans, rape "was a property crime against the husband or paterfamilias. The story of Lucretia (who stabbed herself rather than allow her name to go through posterity tainted) epitomizes the shame felt by Roman victims. Boudicca, one of history's most powerful women, suffered rape only vicariously -- as a mother, but her revenge detroyed thousands. Here is the story.  Then move to the description by Tacitus.
Images of Rape: The "Heroic" Tradition and its Alternatives
"'Rape of the Sabines, painted in the 1630s and today in the New York Metropolitan Museum, may well be the rape image most familiar to American art historians. It illustrates an episode from the early history of ancient Rome. The Romans, unable to obtain wives peacefully, staged a festival, invited the neighboring Sabines, and, at a signal from Romulus, each violently seized a Sabine woman. Art historians /p. 8: generally focus on Poussin's classical style or his sources in ancient art and literature. The painting is often termed "heroic" or cited as an embodiment of Poussin's belief that the highest goal of art is the depiction of noble human action. Avigdor Arikha, for example, finds the work "sublime...heroic...divine" and argues that "Poussin looked for nobility in his subject."  This terrible story and the art.
Dying to Have a Baby - The History of Childbirth
"The classical Romans had considerable obstetric skill. Soranus (A.D. 98-138), wrote a textbook of obstetrics which was used until the sixteenth century. Soranus described podalic version, and the use of the obstetric chair, and gave detailed instructions on the care of the new- born-- boiled water and honey for the child for the first two days, then on to the mother's breast.   These skills largely disappeared during the Dark Ages; there is little record of obstetric practice after this until early modern times."  And the Caesarean. "The oldest reference to Caesarean section on the dead mother was in the Roman Law of Numa Pompilius. (715-673 BC). There is no doubt that this was sometimes successful, but there is no good documentation of section with survival of both mother and child."
Roman Family and Marriage
Imperial Family Roles:  Propaganda and Policy in the Severan Period
Paper focusing on the role of the father in the family.  "There are three types of family that figure in the propaganda and policy of the Roman empire: the family of the emperor, the family of the imperial subject, and the metaphorical family that the emperor and subjects together constitute.  Emperors and public alike had ideals in mind for the various roles within these families; in this paper I will primarily be considering the role of the father in the three types of family."
Ancient Roman Marriage
"Throughout most of the history of the Roman Republic marriage transferred a woman from the authority of her father to the authority of her husband or her husband's father or grandfather, if he were alive. The senior father was the pater familias who had total control over all members of his family."
"The Roman institution of marriage has been lauded as being the first purely humanistic law of marriage, one that is based on the idea of marriage being a free and freely dissolvable union of two equal partners for life. (Schulz, 1951;103) This is quite a simplistic view, as there were many differing forms of marriage in Rome, from the arranged marriages of the elite to the unions of slaves and soldiers. As we shall see, the Romans' actual expectations of married life and the gains they envisioned they would receive from the experience depended greatly on their age, sex and social status.. . Were the Roman's expectations of marriage likely to be met? The foremost function of marriage, the production of children, was likely to be met by most marriages. Having those children survive and succeed you as heirs or to look after you in old age was another matter."
Like a Greek woman, a Roman woman was usually under the guardianship, manus, of her paterfamilias, male guardian, her whole life. However, during the end of the Roman Republic and at the time of the elegiac poets, women tended to have more freedom.  " It is undeniable that the Romans, like the Greeks before them, demanded different standards of chastity from women and men. The preservation of virginity before marriage was essential. A few cautionary tales were handed down as a deterrent, but the offence was more effectively avoided by the practice of marrying girls off soon after they reached puberty and by the strict upbringing of the daughters of the upper classes."
Midwives and Maternity Care in the Roman World
Fine article by Valerie French with its detailed discussion of midwives and maternity care, and its examination of the gap between "professional" care (the midwifes and doctors) and folk medicine.
Slave-Mistress Relationships in Rome
"Roman society had never favored the idea of a free woman having a sexual relationship with a slave, and the insinuation that they consort with slaves or low-born males is a favorite slur of Roman satirists against  supposedly respectable women.[2] To the elder Seneca and his upper-class audience, even legitimate marriage between a freedman and his former master's daughter was abhorrent, for it threatened the proper hierarchy of male over female and brought disgrace upon the woman and her family. In the eyes of the educated male élite who made and interpreted the law, legitimate Roman marriage was a union between social equals, an alliance not only of two people but of their families, intended to produce children whose legitimacy and status were not in question and who could fittingly succeed to their parents' property and role in the social order."  Scholarly article examines the evidence for monogamous unions between free women and slave men in imperial Roman society, with particular attention to the relationship of a woman with her own slave or former slave. "
"In all of Roman literature surviving the fall of its Empire, only six short poems from a woman named Sulpicia have come down to us that speak in a woman's authentic voice. Yet more has been learned of Roman women in the past thirty years than in centuries before. From the Empress to her freedwoman, the good wife to the prostitute, the midwife to the scholar, this site presents an introduction to the history of the women of ancient Rome." Historical context, heroines of Rome, Republican women, imperial women, women of influence, forgotten women.  Essential site.  
Women in the Ancient World 
The status, role and daily life of women in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Rome, Athens, Israel and Babylonia.  Good sources.
The Women of Rome:  Private Lives and Public Personae
Valuable article by Dr. Susan Martin, University of Tennessee.  Exploring "the enigmatic, complex world of Roman women: The ideals and cultural expectations placed on them, and, by contrast, the taboos and tensions they lived with as well as the system of rights and duties that mediated their lives in public and private."
 Roman Elite Women
Brief but helpful excerpts from ancient writings.
Six Vestal Virgins
"The Vestal Virgins were venerated priestesses of Vesta (the Roman goddess of the hearth fire) and guardians of the luck of Rome who could intervene on behalf of those in trouble. . . Their term as priestesses of the goddess Vesta was thirty years, after which they were free to leave and marry. Most preferred to remain single after retirement. Before that, they had to maintain chastity or face a frightening death. Girls between the ages of six and ten, originally from patrician and later from any freeborn family were eligible to become Vestals provided they met certain criteria, including being free of bodily imperfection and having living parents. In exchange for a commitment of thirty years (ten in training, ten in service, and ten training others) and a vow of chastity, Vestals were emancipated and so, free to administer their own affairs without a guardian, given honor, the right to make a will, luxurious accommodations at state expense, and when they went out, fasces were carried before them. They wore distinctive dress and the hairstyle of a Roman bride."
Valeria Messalina
"One needs not be an historian to note that the very name 'Messalina' has become synonymous with all the faults, vices and machinations of womankind. While it is true that many of the lusty and criminal infamies that are attributed to Claudius' Empress are evidently fables, not all are. Though Tacitus and Suetonius have made us think the worst at the mention of her name, she was more than a schemer and a senseless wanton. Surely, she was a captivating, capricious, unscrupulous wife who never minded using the weaknesses of her husband for gain. She came by her lust for power quite naturally it seems.Messalina was beheaded by the guard at the order of her husband, thus ending her seven year reign of terror."
Women and Religion in Rome
Women's Life in Greece and Rome
From the work by Mary Lefkowitz.  10 important categories, particularly Legal Status in the Roman World, and Medicine and Anatomy.



Collapse of the Roman Empire - Military Aspects: Online Essay by Hugh Elton
 How Excessive Government Killed Ancient Rome
Covers free market policies, food subsidies, taxation, inflation, state socialism, reforms.  Outstanding article from The Cato Journal.
The "Best of" Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
"Some Excellent Bits from Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Gibbon's prose is superb, and obviously relevant to life and world events today." Excerpts.
Gibbon: General Observations
"The Fall of the Roman Empire is one of the most widely contested issues in ancient history. Almost every possible viewpoint has at one time or another been presented by scholars from all across the world. '"It has remained a vital question because each age has seen in the tale of Rome's fall, something significant and relevant to its own situation" '(Kagan). Site presents some of the most widely articulated theories regarding this historical dilemma": The Economic Collapse, The Military Decay,  A Gradual Transformation.
The Fall of Rome II
"Rome fell, to be sure. It just didn't fall when it was supposed to. All the reference books say it fell in A.D. 476. But Romans didn't know this, and kept the empire going for another two centuries or so. Why have we been taught to believe it ended in A.D. 476? Because one day, about three hundred years ago, historians decided it would be easier for students if world history were divided into three periods: Ancient, Medival, and Modern. And they figured that 476--the year of Rome's last emperor--was a nice date to use in marking the end of an epoch. But the selection of 476 was arbitrary. Why did Rome fall? Was it because Christianity weakened the bonds that had held it together? Was it because people became corrupt? Was it because it just got too big? Was it because of the barbarian attacks? Was it because they had started using lead pots and got lead poisoning? (Yes, even this argument had been advanced) Or was it simply that empires always fall and somebody decided this was as good a time as any? The correct answer is, of course, that none of these answers is correct. There wasn't any single cause.
An underestimated factor may have been that they made too many stupid mistakes. "
The Fall of Rome III
"In the end, I am amazed it lasted so long.There were Emperors who were totally insane and feared any man who showed the least amount of skill or intelligence in either running an army or running the government. There were Generals who marched on Rome with their legions, leaving the frontier to defend itself. The Games bled the empire as thousands died and free grain was given to the poor people of Rome to keep them happy. Slaves worked the empire's farms and factories and mines. I guess what we should really ask is; Why did it NOT fall earlier?"
The Decline and Fall of Rome
One thing can be said with certainty -- although Rome ultimately fell in A.D. 476, the its decline was a process that had been going on for centuries. This goes back to the comment we've been making all along, that Roman strengths eventually became Roman weaknesses. Another thing which we ought to remember is that the Roman Empire was large, and when we speak of the fall of Rome, we are talking about the western half of the Empire. The eastern half survived as the Byzantine Empire until 1453. Lastly, there is no one explanation that accounts for Rome's decline and fall."
Why Rome Fell
"There was the cost of repairing and maintaining the temples, public baths, and the like. There were also heavy expenditures for civic sacrifices, religious processions, feasts and for the games necessary to amuse the proletariat. The wealthy citizens of the municipalities who were, in effect, the middle-class, began to grow weary of the load: especially since the constantly rising taxation rates were shearing them closer and closer. . . .There were other cases, beginning with Hadrian, where, when municipalities got into financial difficulties, imperial curators were pat in change and the cities lost their independence. The people did not seem to mind. As often happens today, they were quite willing to resign their control of affairs and to let the government take care of them. . . .Mere words can scarcely convey the agony through which the inhabitants of that world passed. There was murder, rape, and pillage. What the soldiers or the barbarians spared, the agents of the emperors took for taxes. The old bureaucracy of senators and knights was pretty well exterminated. In its place came a military hegemony of soldiers who had risen from the ranks."


Internet Ancient Sourcebook:  Rome
Almost any original writer or leader you should or would want to read is here. In very helpful categories, particularly:  Major Historians: Complete Texts , Roman Foundations, The Growth of Republican Institutions, The War with Carthage, Imperial Expansion under the Republic, Civil Wars and Revolution, Cicero (105-43 BCE), The Principate to 192 CE, Augustus, The Adoptive Emperors 96-192 CE, Roman Law, The Army, The Empire and Provinces, Rome: As Imperial Capital, Britain, Later Empire (after 192 CE), Education, Economic Life, Life of the Upper Classes, Trade, Slavery, Everyday Life, Food, Sport and Games, Gender and Sexuality, Women.
Latin Literature Pages: Use for Outline of Writers (not for Texts)
Translation of Latin phrases, excellent summary of writers, phases.
Tech Classics Archive
Indispensable searchable archive of 400+ classical Greek and Roman texts in translation.  Use the Search Engine.
Perseus Collection

Rome Project: Philosophical Resources:  Plato, Aristotle.
Catullus Page - Latin Poetry For All
Marcus Cicero - A Comentary on His Life and Each of His Works (No  Original Texts)
Horace - Vignette And then to A Brief Bio (No Original Text)
Juvenal:  The Satires
Livy - (59 BCE-17 CE): History of Rome
Volume I [Books 1-5], Volume II [Books 6-10],
Volume III [Books 21-25], Volume IV [Books 26-32]
Volume V [Books 33-39], Volume VI [Books 40-45]
Marcus Aurelius:  Meditations
Ovid:  Metamorphoses
Pliny and Trajan on the Christians
Plutarch on Marcellus
Plutarch - Lives
The Poetry of Praise: Pindar's Epinician Odes
Livy - (59 BCE-17 CE): History of Rome
Polybius - (c.200-after 118 BCE)
Rome at the End of the Punic Wars [History, Book 6]
Sallust - THE ! ! ! Sallust Collection
Seneca - A Thinker For Our Times
The Tacitus Home Page - Great Stuff!
Annals of Tacitus
Histories of Tacitus

OkayVirgil page.   And a range of important links.
A Bibliographic Guide to Vergil's Aeneid   -  For "regular" books and articles in libraries.
Classics' Page - Virgil
Probably the best site.  Click to the translations of the Aeneid.
Latin Poetry - Virgil's Aeneid
Vergil Project
Very interesting, creative, challenging project - "a collaborative enterprise dedicated to collecting, creating, and disseminating resources for teaching and research about Vergil...Main goal to develop on-line, interactive hypertext database of all materials that might be of interest to any student of Vergil, from the novice to the professional scholar, from the passionate amateur to the casual browser."
Vergil's Home Page
The Biggie. courses, exams, lectures, discussions, questions, audio files, syllabi, online and downloadable TEXTS, bibliography, book reviews, archaeology.
Virgil Home Page
The sources, bibliography, background and essays, discussion groups.
Virgil: The Aeneid - Complete - This is all you need of the full works.


The Transport to the Games and Gladiators --->  


We thought it was time for a special section on early Christianity.  Although the resources are vast, online students picked a few they found helpful. Thanks to special students who prepared this section.  These links are not necessary the best nor are they comprehensive by category.  Simply, students learned from them.



Fox's Book of Martyrs
"History of Christian Martyrs to the First General Persecutions under Nero" - first long, thorough chapter in a series covering entire history of Christian Martyrs. More reverent treatment than the site, "The Martyrs."
Who was martyred, when, where, why. Also who was not martyred. Author believes probably were a lot fewer  martyrs than commonly said today. Proposes options persecuted Christians might have actually taken besides renouncement of faith or execution (fleeing, bribing). Written by an atheist, and includes link to a response.
Throwing Christians to the Lions:  Fact and Legend
"The persecution of Christians by the Roman Government was not a consistent policy that was enforced the same way by every Roman provincial governor or government official or even by different emperors. Most of the time, Christians were tolerated but were viewed as strange and somewhat antisocial by most of the Roman people. Because the Roman gods were actually a part of the state religion, and it was thought that they must be worshipped regularly in order for the Romans to have victory in war and prosperity at home, it was considered a roman's patriotic duty to sacrifice regularly to the Gods. . . .As a result, the Roman government saw fit to persecute the Christians from time to time, especially during unsettled periods when a popular reform movement arose to return to the old Roman waysand values. . . They absolutely could not understand why a Christian would choose a shameful, agonizing public death over being reinstated as a full citizen with all privileges when all the person needed to do was make a sacrifice for the health of the emperor or even just sprinkle a little incense over a lighted altar. The crowds who came to witness the games were a different matter altogether. Sometimes they became worked up into a frenzy of hate. They considered the Christians to be antisocial scum and clamored for a painful death for them in the arena."


Frontline: From Jesus to Christ - The First Christians
Probably the best available site for history. PBS overview of the ancient world in which Christianity originated, maps, facts. Huge comprehensive site with articles on many different aspects of early Chritianity. Includes role of women in early Christianity.
Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ
Did  Christ ever really exist? Treats Jesus Christ as more a myth like ancient Greek and Roman myths, less a real historical figure. Borrowed elements from pre-existing tales and myths. Examples of other god-men such as Buddha, Horus of Egypt, Mithra of Persia. Scholarly, clear and easy to read.
Paul's Missionary Journeys:  Outline, Maps
Scrolls from the Dead Sea
History on the people of Qumran - the writers of the scrolls. "The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls ranks as one of the most prominent archaeological events of the twentieth century. Because of their unearthing, we now know more about the Essenes than any other Jewish group of the Second Temple period." Full service site.
Rise of Christianity and the Fall of Rome
Hodgepodge of interesting ideas.


Christianity in Rome
Origin of Christianity in Rome and the path Christianity took.
Jews and Christians in Rome's Golden Age
Interesting chapter from an online Web book.
Origins of Christian Anti-Semitism
Insists the Church Fathers bear the major responsibility for the origins of Christian anti-Semitism.
Christian Catacombs of Rome                                                                                                        
Site intended for people who wish to deepen their knowledge of the Christian Catacombs of Rome and of the Church history in its origins. Provides extensive material, in separate sections, dealing with this fascinating and largely unknown topic. Detailed and great site. Discusses the catacombs beneath Rome. Special focus on St. Callixtus. Also a section on communication between Rome & Carthage.  ""The catacombs were underground rooms and passageways that served as mausoleums in which the ancient Romans buried their dead. When the persecutions began and intensified under Nero, the Christians found that they could retreat into these labyrinthine networks of tunnels to escape the notice or pursuit of Roman soldiers or citizens wishing to turn them in to the authorities. The Early Church developed a vast support network and series of hiding places based on the catacombs. Meanwhile, the use of a public mausoleum as a hiding place caused wild rumors about Christian rituals and practice to spread amongst the Romans."


Women in the Biblical Tradition
Informative page with insight into the role of women in historic Christianity.
Women in Ancient Christianity:  New Discoveries
Scholar Karen King examines the evidence concerning women's important place in early Christianity.  She draws "a surprisingly new portrait of Mary Magdelene and outlines the stories of previously unknown early Christian women."


Chronology of Christianity
Chronology locating events in the Roman empire and using them to assign dates to events in the life of Jesus and the writings of Biblical disciples.
Cross Cultural Timeline
Neat and colorful display from the History Channel, spanning 500 years beginning at 500 BC.
Internet Resources for the Study of Judaism and Christianity
Full and extensive.
ICLnet Guide to Early Christian Documents
Splendid site. Contains letters, creeds, cannons, texts, sites pertaining to struggles of 2nd century Roman Christians.
Resource Pages for Biblical Study
Focus on early Christian writings and their social world.
World Wide Study Bible - Central Source


Byzantine Empire
Long, helpful essay.
Eusebius: The Conversion of Constantine
Ancient source on reasons for Constantine's conversion.
The Emperor Constantine and Jerusalem
"Some see him as a wily statesman who exploited Christianity for political purposes, while others
maintain that the emperor believed wholeheartedly that he had been chosen by the Christian God and that Jesus was his protector and guardian and the cause of his victories in battle." "Constantine is one of the best known of the Roman Emperors. Some important events of his reign included the issuance of the Edict of Milan, which ended the persecution of Christians and made their worship legal, the battle of the Milvian Bridge, and the completion of the political and economic reforms begun under Diocletian. Constantine was also important in the history of the Catholic Church for his role at the Council of Nicaea."


Noah's Search.Com
Comprehensive web site dedicated to the search for Noah's Ark


Early Church Fathers
Good effort covering Christianity's founding fathers .  Their writings through the 4th Century.
Links to sites about this Saint.  Life of Paul
Basic site on aspects of the life of the early missionary.


Anatolia Until the Turks
Alexander The Great; the Hellenistic Age; the Roman Age; christianity; St.Paul of Tarsus; Seven Churches of Revelation; Constantine the Great; the Byzantine Period.
Antiquity Online
Thirty wonderful sites with endless searching and links. Extends from the rise of Sumer to the Middle Ages. Great information on early Christianity.
History of Christianity in Egypt
Although not of the Greek or Roman periods, a fascinating site of the little-known Egyptian Christians.
The Jesus Puzzle - Was there no historical Jesus?
An interesting overview of the arguments against Jesus being the cause and leader of the emerging religion. With discussion of the changes that occurred in the first and second centuries.


THE BOOKS(click on each to surf)


   Internet Book and Site Created, Designed, Executed
By Dr. K. Feig, Professor of History/Political Science. Author, Hitler's Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness. Site Full Copyright, Dr. K. Feig. Revised, regularly, 2012-2013

Internet Books and Sites on loan to Foothill College for Web Courses. I created this site and online courses beginning in 1994! - for folks in the Web World who enjoy Ancient history as much as I do: the "public," history buffs, families, students of all ages, elementary and high school teachers, university faculty.  I have tried to be intensely aware of others' work and respect copyrights.  I don't think I have violated anyone's work - and only highlighted the special efforts of others. If anyone feels to the contrary, contact me. I wanted this site to be available for public use, personally or in a classroom - and as a resource for teachers at all levels.  Thus no passwords are required. I only ask that if you refer your students to this site, that you credit me properly for the years of work this entailed.


THANKS TO THE FOOTHILL COLLEGE FOLKS: Whose commitment to technology excellence is outstanding.

Ancient World Egypt prehistory Other Ancients Greece Rome   Medieval Renaissance West Civ 1800-2000   Index

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