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Pharisees are members of one of the Jewish sects that existed during the Roman Empire. They were the rabbinical leadership, and they developed and codified the oral law. They also wrote the Talmud, which acted as a link between the rabbinate and the people. They believed in immortality and Divine Providence. This group was also popular with the "rank and file."

Sauducees are members of another of the Jewish sects, and coalesced around 150 BCE. They were Davidic high priests who de-emphasized the oral law as an interpretation by the Pharisees. They believed in temple-centered Judaism, emphasized free will, and denied immortality and the after-life. Together with the Pharisees, they created a coalition known as the Gerousia. This coalition advised the Hasmoneans, but they also opposed Hasmoneans because of the legitimacy issue, combining the priestly office with the kingship, and Hellenization.

Essens are members of another Jewish sect. They believed that women distracted them from their spiritual pursuits, and therefore lived in the dessert, isolated from civilization. They also became the Dead Sea sect. They separated after the Maccabean revolt for political independence because they were against Jews collecting taxes from Jews

Zealots/Sicarrii were the sects that were against Roman rule. Zealots were usually the ones who lead revolts against Rome, and therefore increased in number during the Pax Romana as more and more governors angered the Jews. The Sicarrii were known for assassinating political people.

Messianism is the belief in the coming of a Messiah who will redeem. This belief came up as Roman Procurators began to enrage Jews by doing acts of sacrilege in Jerusalem. It was also connected with the Parthians, who the Jews looked upon as a would-be redeemer. During the revolts against Rome, Jews hoped for Parthian interference. Even the Talmud says that we would know that the Messiah has arrived if a Parthian-horse is seen in Israel.

The destruction of the temple occurred in 70 CE, during the rule of the Emperor Vespasian. He destroyed it during a Jewish revolt while conquering Jerusalem. This was one of the signs of the dying Jewish Community in Judea at the time.

Masada is a mountain fortress in the dessert that was built by Herod while he was the governor of Judea. Many years later, the Zealots used it as a fortress during a revolt against Rome.

Antipater was the governor of Judea from 47-44 BCE, and was also Herod’s father. He was a descendant of the Idumeans, a group that was forced to convert by the Hasmoneans. He allowed Jewish autonomy and religious freedom. He also had close ties to Caesar. His rule ended when the Parthians took of Judea after the death of Caesar, and restored Hasmonean rule.

Antigonus was a Hasmonean Governor who ruled in Judea from 44-37 BCE. He ruled after the Parthians overthrew the Roman garrison in Judea shortly after the death of Caesar. His reign ended when Antipater’s son, Herod, overthrew him, restoring rule of Judea to Rome.

Archelaus was Herod’s son, who ruled after his death. However, he was unable to keep things together, and 10 years of civil war ensued because of this. Because of his failure, he was banished to Gaul. Roman Procurators replaced the rule of Jews as governors, and were not as attentive to Jewish practices as the former governors were.

Herod was the governor of Judea from 37-4 BCE, succeeding his father in this position. He obtained it after kill Antigonous, a Hasmonean who ruled with Parthian help. He married a Hasmonean princess, Marianne, and appointed her brother as High Priest, but killed the two of them after hearing of a conspiracy by the Hasmoneans against him. He also killed other Hasmoneans, showing his paranoia. He built forts, such as Masada, and cities, such as Caesarea. He also renovated Jerusalem by fixing up the Western Wall and putting an eagle on the faηade. He also secured the borders, forgave taxes during famines, and set up irrigation. He also abolished the consulting power of the Sanhedrin.

Pontius Pilate was one of the procurators, who were governors of Judea who ruled after Archulaus, the son of Herod, who was unable to "keep it together." He held this position from 26-36 CE. Pontius enraged the people by allowing soldiers to march through Jerusalem with banners that had an image of the emperor on them, using temple funds, and removing and replacing High Priest many times. He removed the banners, however, when he realized that the Jews would rather die that permit this act of sacrilege. These actions lead an increase in the number of Zealots and Sicarrii.

Caligula was a Roman emperor who ruled from 37-41 CE. He enraged the Jews by placing a golden statue of himself in the temple in Jerusalem. He removed the statue, however, when the Jews demonstrated readiness to resist.

Gessuius Florus was another of the procurators. He offended all of the Jews in Palestine by arresting Jewish leaders, taking money from the temple, and demanding that treasonous opposers be handed over.

Etruscans were members of a civilization the lived north of Rome and the Tiber river. They expanded their territory into Italy in the 7th and 6th centuries, but failed to establish a federal union with a centralized government. They were defeated in tern by the Celts, Greeks, and finally the Romans, and ceased to exist in the 3rd century. Rome became a republic after the patricians overthrew the Etruscan king in 509 BCE.

Patricians were members of the upper class in Roman society. Originally, only they could hold office, and therefore the controlled the entire political institution, and they enslaved plebeians for debt. They also did not intermarry with plebeians. All of this enraged the plebeians, and eventually led to the forming of the Plebian Assembly, and the Twelve Tables.

The Senate was a assembly that approved laws made by the Centuriate Assembly, advised the assembly, controlled public finances and foreign policy, and nominated a dictator who ruled during times of crisis for 6 months.

The Struggle of the Orders is the conflict between the patricians and the plebeians. The plebeians were angry with the patricians because of enslavement for debt, discrimination in the courts, prevention of intermarriage with patricians, lack of political representation, and the absence of a written code of laws. The patricians gave in after the plebeians threatened not to pay taxes and serve in the army. The plebeians gradually gained equality as their own assembly was formed, the Twelve Tables were written in 450, and the Tribal Assembly was allowed to make laws without the consent of the Senate in 287. It was after this that the struggle was ultimately over.

The Twelve Tables were the first codes of laws that Rome had put together, written in 450. They protected plebeians by prohibiting enslavement for debt, allowed plebeians and patricians to intermarry, and gave plebeians access to the highest office in Rome.

The Tribal Assembly was a plebian assembly that was created during the Struggle of the Orders as a way to please the plebeians. The Assembly finally gained full political power when it was allowed to create laws without political consent in 287.

Jus Gentium is the law that Rome enforced throughout the empire. Translated from Latin, it means the law of the people. This law is special because of how it evolved empirically.

Virtus, dignitas, and fama are three virtues that were included in the aristocracy’s view of liberty. They believed that Rome’s best men had the freedom to achieve these virtues.

Carthage was a North African city that was founded by Phoenicians around 800 BCE. It had become a prosperous commercial center because of its virtual monopoly of trade in the Mediterranean.

Hannibal was a general and military genius, who lived from 247-183 BCE. He led a seasoned army, complete with war elephants for charging enemy lines. He was able to defeat the Romans at the battle of Cannae, close to home, and then made a treaty with Philip V of Macedonia. Rome, however, defeated Macedonia in the First Macedonian War in 205. Soon after, the Greek general Scipio defeated Hannibal at the battle of Zama in 202.

The Punic Wars are three wars that Rome fought against Carthage. The first war was caused by Greek and Carthaginian tensions, and lasted from 264-241. Rome won this war by learning how to fight naval battles. The second one lasted from 218-201. Rome started it because of they were jealous of Carthrage expanding into Spain. Hannibal led the Carthaginians during this war. He was able to beat Rome in the battle of Cannae, turning them into a threat toward Rome itself. Therefore, Rome launched a direct attack on the area around Carthrage, which forced Hannibal to leave the Italian peninsula. In 202, a Roman General, Scipio, defeated Hannibal at the battle of Zama. This war gave Rome control over the Mediterranean. A third Punic War was fought in 149 because of hatred toward Carthage and the memory Hannibal’s near-conquest. In this war, Rome captured and destroyed Carthage, and sold all of the people into slavery.

Scipio was a Roman General. He is most known for his victory in the Second Punic War at the battle of Zama, in 202 BCE. This battle was important because it was fought against Hannibal, and it was the final battle of the Second Punic War ultimately leading to Carthage surrendering.

Cannae - *see Second Punic War

Zama - *see Second Punic War, Hannibal, Scipio

Polybius was a Roman historian who lived from 204-122 BCE. He was known for writing The Rise of Rome. In it, he compared Persia, Sparta, and Macedonia to Rome.

Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian who lived from 80-29 BCE. Under the republic, slaves were not treated well. Nothing was done to protect slaves until the Greek Stoic philosophy penetrated the governing class. Diodorus described the condition of Roman slaves toiling in silver and gold mines in Iberia, and an uprising of slaves that lasted from 135-132 BCE.

Spartacus was a Roman gladiator. He was known for leading several other gladiators in slave revolt in 73 BCE. After escaping from Italy to Gaul and Thrace, they organized a slave army grew to 150,000. After several battles, Rome finally defeated his army, 6,000 of the slaves were crucified.

Livy was a historian who lived from 59 BCE-17 CE. In a section from his book History of Rome, he describes the speech of Consul Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder, who lived from 234-149 BCE, in 194. Cato argued against the repeal of the Oppian Law, which was passed in 215. The Oppian Law stated that no woman should possess more than half an ounce of gold or wear a parti-colored garment or ride in a carriage in the city or in a town within a mile from the city, except on the occasion of a religious festival. Cato was known as a strong defender of traditional Roman morals and manners, and was concerned about law and behavior.

Cato - *see Livy

Plautus was a Rome’s greatest playwright, who lived from 254-184 BCE. He adopted features of 4th and 3rd century Greek comedies, used Greek characters, Greek setting, and Greek style of dress in his plays. He also used elements that appealed to Roman audiences, such as scenes of gluttony, drunkenness, womanizing, and the pains of love.

Terrence was another playwright, who lived from 185-159 BCE. He also adopted features of Greek comedies. His plays, however, were less popular because he did not include elements that appealed to Roman audiences.

Cicero was a stoicist, states-man, and orator, who lived from 106-43 BCE. He said "true law is reason right and natural," which is a similar principle to the Logos. He was known for being universalistic.

Lucretius, who lived from 96-55 BCE, was the leading Roman Epicurean philosopher. He was opposed to politics and civil war because he thought that people should leave a peaceful life. He was opposed to religion because he thought that it caused too much stress. He was also against the Roman ideal of dignitas, virtus, and fama.

Catullus was a poet who lived from 84-54 BCE. He is known for writing love poetry, and is generally regards as one of the greatest lyric poets in world literature.

The Gracchi revolution was the combination of the leadership of the two Gracchi brothers who tried to resolve the agricultural crisis. The first one, Tiberius, who lived from 163-133 BCE, ruled in 133. He initiated a land reform that stated that the limit of the size of a Latif could be 312 acres, and the Assembly should administer the province of Pergamum. He was kicked out of office because he enraged the Senate and Rome’s leading families. He was assassinated when he tried to run as Tribune, and his body was dumped into the Tiber River. His brother, Gaius, who lived from 153-121, was elected tribune in 123. He gained the support of the Equites, Italians, and the poor by promising all Italians full citizenship, reintroducing the plan for a land reform, and selling grain at ½ price. All of this sparked a civil war, during which 3,000 of his followers perished, along with himself, although he may have committed suicide.

Latifundia are large plantations that thousands of slaves work on. Latifundia were also one of the factors that led small farm owners into poverty during the agricultural crisis.

Marius was a Roman General who lived from 157-86 BCE, and became consul in 107. In 100, he adopted a military policy that eventually contributed to the wrecking of the republic. He allowed people to enter the army who did not have the money to buy weapons and supplies. This caused several volunteers of the urban pool to fill his legions, and they only stayed because he promised them pay, loot, and land grants after discharge. In effect, the soldiers were loyal to him but not to Rome.

The Social War is a war that took place in the early 1st century BCE. It broke out after the Senate refused to give citizenship to several of Rome’s Italian allies. The war ended after the Senate finally conceded.

Sulla was a Roman General who lived from 138-78 BCE. In 88 BCE, the Senate entrusted command to him after Mithridates, the king of Pontus in northern Asia Minor, invaded the Roman province of Asia, crossed into Greece, and occupied several other cities. However, supporters of Marius forced the Senate to return command to him through intrigue and violence. Sulla refused to accept this loss in command, and marched on Rome. After he left again to fight Mithridates in Greece, Marius took over again. However, Sulla’s were enraged by this, fighting in Rome went on for 5 days. After Marius died, Sulla became dictator of Rome. He restored the Senate’s right to veto acts of the Assembly, limited the power of the tribunes and the assembly, and reduced the military authority of provincial governors. He also increased the membership of the Senate to 600. He retired after putting through these reforms.

Mithridates - *see Sulla

Julius Caesar, who lived from 100-44 BCE, was a politician, and was emperor from 49-44. He was one of three people who conspired to become emperor in 60 along with Pompey and Crassus. As a way to jumpstart his political prominence, he gained command of several Roman legions and campaigned in Gaul in 59. After the Senate took away his command in 49, he marched on Rome. Because Pompey’s troops were no match for Caesar’s, the Senate was forced to give in, and appointed him dictator, and 10-year office. As emperor, he created reforms that were designed to create order out of the chaos in Rome. He also lowered taxes, extended citizenship, began a public works program, and relocated several veterans and members of the lower class to provinces where he gave them land. He also reorganized town governments in Italy, reformed the courts, and planned to codify the law. After his dictatorship was converted to a lifelong office, the aristocrats grew jealous of him and killed him.

Pompey was a Roman General who was one of three people in 60 BCE who conspired to take over Rome. After the Senate ordered Caesar to relinquish his command in 49 BCE, he decided instead to march on Rome. Because Pompey was not able to hold Caesar’s troops back, the Senate was forced to make Caesar dictator.

Crassus was a wealthy banker, who conspired to become emperor of Rome in 60 BCE, along with Julius Caesar and Pompey. However, he had perished with his army in 53 during a disastrous campaign against the Parthians in the east.

Brutus was one of the two conspirators in the plot against Caesar, along with Cassius. The two were defeated when Mark Antony and Lepidus, who were Caesar’s trusted lieutenants, joined with Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son. Afterwards, Lepidus was forced into political obscurity, and Antony and Octavian fought with each other. Finally, in 31 BCE, Octavian crushed the forces of Antony and his wife, Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra.

Mark Antony was a lieutenant of Caesar, and fought with Octavian to become emperor of Rome. After he lost at the naval battle of Actium in 31 BCE. After hearing the Cleopatra had barricaded herself inside her mausoleum after this loss, he plunged on his sword, thinking that she had killed herself.

Cleopatra was the Greek queen of Egypt, and lived from 69-30 BCE. She was Caesar’s mistress, and bore him a son in 47. After he died, she married Mark Antony, and bore him twins. After they lost the battle of Actium in 31, she barricaded herself in her mausoleum. After Mark Antony killed himself thinking that she had killed herself, she poisoned herself out of pride so that Octavian would not kill her.

Octavian (Augustus), who was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, was the emperor of Rome from 27 BCE-17 CE. To avenge the assassination of his father, he joined with Mark Antony and Lepidus, two of Caesar’s trusted lieutenants, and defeated the armies of Brutus and Cassius. After defeating them, Lepidus was forced into political obscurity and Octavian and Mark Antony fought. Octavian finally beat him in the battle of Actium in 31 BCE. In 27 BCE, he said that he was willing to give up his power. He did this, however, because he knew that the Senate would ask him to stay, and that would make his power seem entirely justified. He was given the title of princeps, which means "first-citizen," and was named Augustus, which is a semi-religious and revered name. His rule was co-opted with the Senate. The Senate administered certain provinces and advised him. Also, the assemblies still selected magistrates. Augustus’ main job was to command the military. He also instituted several reforms during his reign. He created a volunteer standing army, and offered veterans homes. He also built aqueducts and water mains, restored Temples, created a fire brigade and a police force, and distributed free grain. He even funded a gladiatorial contest himself. In Italy, he built roads and secured the borders against barbarians. In the provinces, he reformed the governments, regulated tax collection, and allowed citizens to bring charges against Roman officials. He also allowed local customs to remain intact. He was even deified in the East.

Actium - *see Octavian, Mark Antony, Cleopatra

Lepidus - *see Brutus, Octavian, Mark Antony


The Pax Romana is the reign of several emperors, which lasted from the rule of Augustus and the Julio-Claudian Dynasty, the Flavian Dynasty, the reign of the "Five Good Emperors." The line of the Pax Romana left the Julio-Claudian Dynasty after Nero, the dynasty’s last emperor, committed suicide. After civil war raged in Rome, which included the death of two contenders and the suicide of one, Vespasian came out with the rule, and kept it from 69-79 CE. He is known for putting down a Jewish revolt, which included destroying the temple and the suicide of the Jews on Masada. His son Titus, who ruled from 79-81, succeeded him. His rule was capitalized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. His younger brother, Domitian, ruled after him from 81-96. He crushed a revolt le by a Roman commander in Upper Germany, and executed many leading Romans because this frightened him. Doing this led to his assassination in 96, ending the Flavian Dynasty. The Senate chose Nerva as the next emperor. His rule, however, only lasted until 98. Although his reign was uneventful, he initiated the practice of adopting a son who is suitable for becoming the next emperor. He adopted Trajan, who ruled from 98-117. During his reign, he eased taxation in the provinces, provided for the needs of poor children, and had public works built. He also conquered Dacia, which contained much gold and silver. He also waged war against the Parthians. However, he was forced to return the troops due to revolts by Jews in Eastern provinces. The next emperor was Hadrian, who ruled from 117-138. He strengthened border defenses in Britain, and fought off the second Jewish revolt in Judea, the Bar-Cochba revolt. After this revolt, Hadrian had the majority of Judean Jews either killed, sold as slaves, or forced to seek refuge in other provinces, renamed Judea as "Syria Palestina," forbade Jews to enter Jerusalem except once a year, and encouraged non-Jews to settle the land. After him came Antoninus Pius, who ruled from 138-161. He was known for instituting just and humane reforms for slaves, which included prohibiting the killing of a slave without a judicial sentence, and prohibited selling slaves into prostitution, castration of slaves, and abandoning of slaves’ children. He also established the principle of "innocent until proven guilty." The last emperor of the Pax Romana was Marcus Aurelius, who ruled from 161-180. He was a philosopher, and he wrote Meditations, which eloquently expressed Stoic thought. However, he had legions that retook Armenia from Parthia, but brought back an epidemic that decimated the population. He also had to deal with German incursions into Italy and the Balkan Peninsula. This war forced Marcus to devaluate the coinage. Although Marcus Aurelius’s only living son, Commodus, was a misfit and a megalomaniac, Marcus did not adopt a son and gave Commodus the rule, ending the Pax Romana. During the Pax Romana, the empire was stable, peaceful, and secure, and there was law and order because of the adoptive system, a responsible army, and bureaucracy. Several, aqueducts, sewer systems, irrigation, roads, and cities were built. Rome traded metals and salt with Spain, ham cheese, and glass with Gaul, wine, honey, and marble with Greece, and luxuries with Asia Minor. Also, citizenship was extended to almost all free-people by 212. There were some political women, women were allowed to do business and own property, and were allowed to initiate divorce. Greco-Roman culture also spread throughout the empire. Another positive about it was that slaves were finally protected under the law because of institutions initiated by Antoninus Pius.

Julio-Claudian Dynasty - *see Pax Romana

Citizenship - *see Pax Romana

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