Review for the
Final Examination
History 319: the Ancient World
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
In its earliest form Christianity had the potential to alter familial relations
profoundly. It challenged the old concepts of patriarchal dominance by
suggesting that all members of the Christian community were equal and
that the family of Christians had replaced the family of the secular world.
Roman citizens were potentially capable of a full political life at Rome. In
addition, they had certain rights in criminal law not possessed by anyone
In A.D. 212, the emperor Caracalla extended Roman citizenship to almost
everyone in the Empire.
Honestiores and Humiliores:
•Honestiores could claim special treatment under the law and were
subject to much less stringent criminal punishments.
•Those who belonged to the honestiores included first of all senators
and equestrians, then decurions (local senators), soldiers, veterans,
and some professionals. The scramble for citizenship became a
scramble for inclusion in one of the higher classifications. (p. 383.)
The Senate remained at the apex of the Roman social pyramid:
•Even though the Senate lost its political power as a corporate,
governing body, it never lost is social position.
•In a status-conscious society, membership in the senatorial order
represented the ultimate achievement of a man’s life.
The Equestrian Civil Service
The Decurion Class
Collegia: burial societies. The purpose of collegia
was to bury the dad and honor their memory with
inscriptions and with celebrations at banquets at
which all the members gathered.
The Roman cult of the dead was deeply ingrained, and
its perpetuation was of the utmost importance. If a
family should die out, the burial society would
indefinitely continue to honor the memory of its
deceased, especially if they were benefactors. (pp.
The collegia were open to all members of society,
servile or fee, male or female, all classes could
indulge in their desire to have a title, achieve some
distinction, and be above someone else.
Cinerary Urn
This biconical cinerary urn dates
to the Villanovan period (9th
century BCE). Cremation was a
common practice at this time,
with the ashes of the deceased
wrapped in linen or crimson
colored fabric, placed in large
vases of clay or bronze and buried
with a few grave objects in an
underground pit.
The culture that immediately
preceded that of the Etruscans is
known as Villanovan, and Italian
version of the great Urnfield culture
found urm about the twelfth to the
seventh century B.C. Urnfield
culture, so called from its practice of
burying the cremated remains of the
dead in urns placed side by side by
the hundreds, consisted of settled
agricultural communities of some
size that produced cereals and used
the traction plough in place of the
hoe or digging stick. Every known
Etruscan city is preceded by a
Villanovan settlement, a fact that
has led to the debate about whether
the Etruscans were transformed
Villanovans or whether the new
culture should be explained by the
arrival of immigrants from
somewhere else. (Nagle, p. 261.)
Tomb of the Reliefs, Tarquinia (4th century B.C.)
Tomb of Hunting and Fishing, Tarquinia
(6th century B.C.)
Tomb of the Leopards: Banqueting scene (6th century B.C.)
Sarcophagus of the
Married Couple, from
Cerveteri, dating
from 550 B.C.
This sculpture depicts a wealthy Etruscan
married couple reclining on a couch.
Haruspices (singular, haruspex) were priests who practiced
divination by the inspection of the entrails of animals.
Piacenza Liver
(4th century
The examination of the entrails of sacrificed animals, particularly the liver, was
one of the principal branches of the disciplina Etrusca, the Etruscan art of
divination. It was thought that the liver reflected the state of the world at the
moment the sacrifice was made and thus could reveal the will of the gods as
well as the future to those who could read the signs. In the ancient Near East
the art of examining livers had been reduced to a standardized technique, and
model terra-cotta livers were created to assist in the process of interpretation.
In northern Italy, near Piacenza, a similar model liver in bronze was found in
1877. It is divided into 16 compartments with 24 inner division to which the
names of various gods have been assigned. According to Cicero, the divisions
on the left side of the sacrificial liver were unfavorable and those on the right
favorable. Markings and unusual shapes and colorations could then be given a
positive or negative interpretation by the priest and the results were passed on
to the inquirer. (Nagle, pp. 258-259.)
Pomerium: circle inscribed around the city by
means of a plough. This circle designated
the enclosed area as holy and protected
against evil influences by its resident deities.
Contact with this space ensured the
inhabitants a continuous source of power
deriving from its sacred character. p. 259.
Ius, the term used for the secular concept of
law, came to be applied to one body of law.
Fas, which was reserved for sacred law, was
applied to another. p. 270.
escaping the
sack of Troy
with his father
and his son.
The Twelve Tables
Ancient Carthage
Scipio’s first successes
came in Spain, where he
drove out the Carhaginians
(210-205 B.C.) and
established his reputation
as a charismatic leader and
a general of the caliber of
Hannibal. Given the
opportunity to invade Africa,
he forced Hannibal’s
withdrawal from Italy and
then defeated him in a pitch
battle at Zuma in 202 B.C.,
when for the first time
Romans achieved cavalry
superiority in the field.
(Nagle, pp. 289-290.)
iura: reciprocal rights of marriage, commerce, and probably also
Civitas optimo iure: full citizenship
Civitas sine suffragio: citizenship without the vote
Sui iuris: legally independent
Potestas: under the control of someone else.
Manus form of marriage
Materna auctoritas: The real influence of wives and mothers that
may have been much greater than the strict letter of the law
recognized. (pp. 297-298.)
Clients, Patrons, and Fides
Fides: A complicated network of mutual duties and obligations that
bound clients and patrons together and, though not expressed in the
terms of formal law, possessed great moral weight. pp. 299-300.
Dignity, Honor and Order
Distinctions in Roman society were based not on an individual’s
professional skills or even wealth but rather on the capacity for
public service in a broad sense.
Romans looked for individuals who in war would be able to lead
their armies and in peace would be looked up to as sources of wise
legislation, jurisdiction, and religious guidance.
With such an emphasis it is easy to see why honor (honor)
and dignity (dignitas) were the two most important, interrelated
values in Roman life and why community esteem rather than
popularity was so important. p. 301.
Cato the Elder (234 BC - 149 BC)
With Cato the Elder, in the first half of the second
century B.C., Latin history writing first came into
existence, representing a new level of selfconfidence on the part of the Romans, who now
rose to the challenge of Greek letters by composing
their own literature in their own language.
This was an achievement matched by no other people with
whom the Greeks came into contact. For Cato, in fact, the
Greeks no longer counted; the Romans and the Italians had
nothing of which to be ashamed. On the contrary, he believed
they had incorporated the best of the Greek world with the best
of their own rich heritage—a pardonable exaggeration with
which many Greeks in the second century B.C. must have
agreed. From this time on, numerous accounts in Latin by
members of the senatorial class provided the growing reading
public of Rome and Italy with suitably patriotic, moralizing
histories, often laced with polemic tracts from the internal
political battles of the century. There were few qualms about
adapting history to the political needs of the Roman upper
classes, and history was seen as a means of glorifying one’s
achievements and the achievements of one’s family as well as
propagandizing for further advancement. Nagle, pp. 319-320.
The Stoic Diogenes
The Transformation of Rome
When three famous Greek
the head of the Academy;
the Stoci Diogenes; and
Critolaus the Peripatetic—
came to Rome to plead a
case on behalf of Athens,
they electrified the youth
of the city with their
Carneades, the
head of the
Nothing like Carneades’ lecture on justice and its application to
the problem of empire, delivered on two successive days—on
the second day of which the speaker refuted all the theories he
had put up on the previous day—had been heard before. Cato
urged that he philosophers be given a quick answer to their plea
so that they could return to their schools in Athens as soon as
possible, while the “youth of Rome could listen, as in the past,
to their laws and magistrates.” Nagle, p. 320.
As Rome grew and the bonds of
clientship (clientela) dissolved, the
confinement of religion to the higher
officials of state and to state functions
created a vacuum. Eastern religions
moved in to fill the void. The worship of
the Great Mother (Magna Mater, Mater
Deorum, or Cybele) was introduced
officially in 205 B.C., and unofficially the
worship of Dionysus crept into Italy and
was savagely repressed as being
dangerous to Rome both politically and
morally. However, the two religions
remained as the forerunners of many
others, including the one that was
ultimately to triumph: Christianity.
Nagle, p. 321.
Magna Mater, Mater
Deorum, or Cybele
Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus (The Gracchi Family)
Gaius Marius (157-86 B.C.) and
the Jugurthan War.
Mithridates VI
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
138-78 B.C.
In 83 B.C., Sulla routed his opponents
and initiated a reign of terror, showing
himself once again an apt pupil of the
violent politicians who had preceded
him. To raise money and eliminate his
political opponents, he hit upon a novel
method of murder, the proscription list,
which gave the names of his enemies
together with the prices he was willing
to pay for their deaths.
Pompey defeats a pirate menace, and
then between 66 and 62 B.C. he
defeated Mithridates and expands
Rome’s eastern territories.
The Roman Empire under
The Roman Peace
•Cultural pluralism and cultural unity
•The purpose of the educational system was not merely to teach how to
read and write but how to read and write well.
•Like wealth and titles, culture was regarded as a mark of distinction and
almost as eagerly sought.
•Greek and Latin.
•Focus on the classical texts
•The ultimate goal of the educational system was the mastery of the
spoken word.
•There was no philosophy of education as a tool for socialization in the
modern sense. Education was narrowly conceived as the prerogative of a
small elite that had the time and the money to spend on it. Extending this
kind of education broadly would have seemed absurd and probably
The middle class strove for culture and advanced as far as their
resources would permit them.
City life
•Greater degree of proximity between the classes
•Trials, elections, public announcements, games, theater, religious
celebrations, baths, gymnasia, markets.
•Life was carried on in a very personal, intimate manner
The rich were expected to make tangible contributions to the public life
of the city by serving, unremunerated, as magistrates, giving festivals,
maintaining the food and water supply, erecting public buildings, and
generally contributing to the essentials of civilized life. (p. 372)
The ranking of cities
•Title of Roman colony
•The Italian Right
•Cities of Roman and Latin citizenship
•Native cities
Ludi: state festivals honoring gods. At the time of Augustus, the
Roman calendar had 77 days of public games honoring the gods;
within two centuries the number had risen to 176.
•Circus races
•Raunch vaudeville
Gladiatorial shows were originally staged as funeral games
honoring the dead, and as a way of drawing attention to the
virtue of the deceased. They were not financed by the state
buy by the individual who felt he had an obligation (a munus;
munera, pl.) to a dead person. (p. 375)
•The munera became politicized.
•The slaughter of animals had symbolic value
•Perditi homines (prisoners of war, criminals, slaves)
The great cultural diversity of the Empire was reflected in the
chaotic variety of religions, cults, philosophies, and theosophies
that offered themselves to the inhabitants of the Roman world.
The emperor was the high priest and head of the Roman state
religion, and as such responsible for maintaining right relations
between the gods and humankind. While alive he was a semi
divine intermediary between human beings and the gods, and
when dead he was a god himself. (p. 377)
Mithraism: An Iranian religion, Mithraism, was popular in the army
and offered an attractive combination of doctrine, ritual, and
ethical practice. Its adherents believed that the cosmos was in
constant tension between the forces of good and evil, light and
darkness, life and death. (p. 378.)
Excluded women
Health of Paganism? pp. 378-379.
Judaism and Christianity: Judaism and Christianity were both
exclusive in the membership and both placed emphasis on the close
adhesion to strict ethical practices and dogmatic beliefs.
The liturgy of Judaism and Christianity had the advantages of both the
philosophers’ lecture hall and the sense of community and brotherhood
of the mystery cults.
To the Jewish belief that God was the Lord of History, Christians added
the assertion that history had found its culmination in the lowly person
of Jesus of Nazareth, who was executed by the imperial prefect Pontus
Pilate during the reign of the emperor Tiberius. (p. 379.)
Among the major issues settled in the early years of the Christian
community was the question of whether Jesus’ message was to be
limited to Jews or could be extended to gentiles as well. One of the
principal figures in this momentous debate was a Hellenized Jew, Paul
of Tarsus.
Rabbinic Judaism (The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the
Romans in A.D. 70.