TIMELINE: ANCIENT ROME
PAGE FOUR

Provides a chronological index of the history of Ancient Rome with extensive links to internet resources. Emphasis is placed upon the use of primary source material, numismatics, and a focus upon the roles of women in ancient time.

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The timeline is divided chronologically into eight sections:

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Ridley Scott's GLADIATOR is a great film.

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There can be nobody so petty or so apathetic in his outlook that he has no desire to discover by what means and under what system of government the Romans succeeded in...bringing under their rule almost the whole of the inhabited world. Polybius Histories 1.1.5

 

98 BCE b. || Titus Lucretius Carus

Lucretius was a Roman poet and philosopher who wrote De Rerum Natura, "On the Nature of the Universe", in which he laid the foundation for Epicurian philosophy, and claimed that matter was composed of smaller particles called atoms.

 

89 BCE || Lex Pompeia

 

Important law which granted "Latin right", the right of certain foreigners to marry and trade with Roman citizens together with the possibility, after transferal to Rome, of obtaining Roman citizenship.

 

 

88 BCE || Sulla's first march on Rome

82 BCE|| Sulla's Dictatorship

73-71 BCE || The Slave War of Spartacus

The famous slave and trained gladiator who led a class rebellion against Rome in an attempted flight to freedom. He defeated numerous Roman battalions, but was finally defeated by Crassus, with the aid of Pompey.

| The Life of Crassus by Plutarch

is one of few actual primary references to Spartacus. He writes:

"The insurrection of the gladiators and the devastation of Italy, commonly called the war of Spartacus, began upon this occasion..."

| The Battle of the Gladiators (detail) | Mosaic | Borghese Gallery, Rome | c. 200 CE |

"One Lentulus Batiates trained up a great many gladiators in Capua, most of them Gauls and Thracians, who, not for any fault by them committed, but simply through the cruelty of their master, were kept in confinement for this object of fighting one with another. Two hundred of these formed a plan to escape, but being discovered, those of them who became aware of it in time to anticipate their master, being seventy-eight, got out of a cook's shop chopping-knives and spits, and made their way through the city, and lighting by the way on several wagons that were carrying gladiators' arms to another city, they seized upon them and armed themselves..."

The reference to the wife of Spartacus is very short, but important. It addresses the participation of women in cult and religious activities:

"who at this latter time also accompanied him in his flight, his countrywoman, a kind of prophetess and one of those possessed with the bacchanal frenzy"

The wife of Spartacus is thus referred to as a woman with a similar role to that in this portrait. Her name is unknown.

| Priestess of Bacchus | Marble | Victoria and Albert Museum, London | c. 390-400 CE |

The slaves quickly became a very organized and significant threat to Rome. So:

"Clodius, the praetor, took the command against them with a body of three thousand men from Rome"

Spartacus won handily and then:"Publius Varinus, the praetor, was now sent against them, whose lieutenant, Furius, with two thousand men, they fought and routed. Then Cossinius was sent with considerable forces..."

"But they, grown confident in their numbers, and puffed up with their success, would give no obedience to him, but went about and ravaged Italy; so that now the senate was not only moved at the indignity and baseness, both of the enemy and of the insurrection, but, looking upon it as a matter of alarm and of dangerous consequence, sent out both the consuls to it, as to a great and difficult enterprise..."

Organized pirates where a significant force and further complication. Later:

"Spartacus retreated through Lucania toward the sea, and in the straits meeting with some Cilician pirate ships, he had thoughts of attempting Sicily, where, by landing two thousand men, he hoped to new kindle the war of the slaves, which was but lately extinguished, and seemed to need but little fuel to set it burning again"

Disagreement upon strategy and objectives between Spartacus and too many of his group invited division which was exploited by the ultimately more powerful Crassus. Then:

"Crassus was afraid lest (Spartacus) should march directly to Rome, but was soon eased of that fear when he saw many of his men break out in a mutiny and quit him, and encamped by themselves upon the Lucanian lake"

It became clear that the defeater of Spartacus would have great honour in Rome; Pompey was a contender with Crassus for the triumph.

It is women performing the religious ceremony:

"two women that were sacrificing for the enemy, they had been in great hazard, had not Crassus immediately appeared, and engaged in a battle which proved a most bloody one"

The ultimate fate of Spartacus...

"making directly towards Crassus himself, through the midst of arms and wounds, he missed him, but slew two centurions that fell upon him together. At last being deserted by those that were about him, he himself stood his ground, and, surrounded by the enemy, bravely defending himself, was cut in pieces."

Power ruled his destiny more than did justice.

63 BCE || Birth of Octavian, later Augustus Caesar

 

| The Life of Augustus by Suetonius

COS IMP CAESAR AUG XI Sacrificial implements: simpulum, cruet, lituus, et cetera

 

 

 

 

 

60 BCE || First Triumvirate of Pompey, Crassus, and Julius Caesar

 

 

MVS III VIR MS AN QVI Julius Caesar laureate head right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

c. 59 BCE-CE 17 || Titus Livius (Livy)

A major Roman historian and tutor to the future emperor Claudius, Livy's lifework was a recording of the history of Rome. The volume of his work is staggering. Livy, writing on rolls of papyrus, wrote 142 books (not all of which are extant), from the founding of Rome to the events following the Battle of Actium. Some of his recordings contemporary to his lifetime were not published until years later, due to their politically sensitive nature.

Titus Livius || The History of Rome

He wrote:

I invite the reader's attention to the much more serious consideration of the kind of lives our ancestors lived, of who were the men and what the means, both in politics and war, by which Rome's power was first acquired and subsequently expanded, I would then have him trace the process of our moral decline, to watch first the sinking of the foundations of morality as the old teaching was allowed to lapse, then the final collapse of the whole edifice, and the dark dawning of our modern day when we can neither endure our vices nor face the remedies needed to cure them.

What chiefly makes the study of history wholesome and profitable is this, that in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see, and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings.

Livy's writing was didactic; it was meant to instruct humanity by providing exemplary models of greatness, demonstrate the consequences of particular actions, and give warning of the consequences of vice.

43-33 BCE || Second Triumvirate of Antony, Lepidus, and Octavian

 

M ANT IMP & ILLEGIBLE Bust of Antony, facing right

DIVUS AUGUSTUS PATER Radiate bust of Augustus, facing left

 

27 BCE - CE 68 || The Julio-Claudians

Important Imperial family, ruled Rome for nearly a century, laid the foundation for the politics of the Empire, and furnished Rome with its first eight emperors, from Augustus to Vitellius.

 

 

| Bust of Octavian | Marble | Roman | c. 20 BCE |

 

 

 

PACI AUGUSTAE Nemesis advancing right, holding caduceus and pulling veil; snake to right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19 BCE | | Composition of Virgil's Aeneid

This mythological epic was commissioned to tell the story of Rome in the manner of Homer.

 

The timeline is divided chronologically into eight sections:

This symbol indicates a link to a primary source text

Click here to learn the real story

behind the events and characters portrayed in the movie Gladiator.

Kindly report any suggestions, problems, errors, or dead links by emailing david(at)exovedate.com

Copyright © David Neelin: All Rights Reserved

Using info from this site?

For detailed copyright information and bibliographic citation, click here

contact the author by emailing david(at)exovedate.com (note: replace (at) with the @ symbol)