.    ANCIENT ROME    .






Art of Classical Rome: The Republic


Italy Before Rome: The Eutruscans' most famous temple reconstructed




Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, brothers raised by a she-wolf




Roman Values: Love of the home and farm, hard work on the land brings great rewards, work hard and play hard, celebrate!




Roman women shown trying to stop a battle between the Romans and Sabines





Famous onyx carving of the symbol of the Roman Republic, the eagle (aquila)





The Forum of Rome, left in its ruined state but betraying the glory of its past




The Senate as it was, on the Capitoline Hill





Mighty Carthage as it was before its destruction in the 3rd Punic War




2nd Punic War: Hannibal taking his war Elephents over the Alpine Mountains and into Italy




The Ruins of the City of Carthage, 2200 years later




The wonderfully preserved Temple of Fortune at Rome, dating from Republican times- notice the Greek influence?





The most famous Roman Baths, called Caracalla,  in a park in the city




Pompeii today: with its nemesis in the background- Mt. Vesuvius




The Last Day of Pompeii, 79AD- sure was a bad day




Roman frescoes have not survived much, but here is an example from Pompeii, preserved in the dried lava




The Baker and His Wife. A famous and rare example of painting from the Roman World- from Pompeii




Slavery was a common thing in the Classical World, including Rome




The most famous road in Europe: The Appian Way leading to Rome, and the Arch of Titus




The Appian Way in the countryside, going by old roadside tombs of Roman senators and patricians




476- after being pounded by barbarian attacks for a hundred years, the Empire falls in the west

The ruins of the great Forum of Rome at night today.






Founders of Rome



Ruler of Rome




Founder of Roman Republic




Roman Farmer




Roman General




Carthaginian General




Roman General




Roman Senator




Roman General




Roman Tribune




Roman Tribune




Roman General




Ruler of Hellenistic Greece




Roman Banker



Roman Slave




Roman General



Marcus Tullius Cicero was the greatest orator and political philosopher of later republican Rome. He taught the chief schools of Greek philosophy to the Romans (constructing Latin vocabulary in the process), and his great stance against empire stands as inspriation to patriots throughout the West today.


Roman Orator




Emperor of Rome




Roman Writer




Celtic Leader




Roman Senator




Roman Ruler of Egypt




King of the Jews




Roman Writer




Queen of Egypt




Roman Writer




Greek Geographer




Roman General



63-14 AD

Emperor of Rome




Sides: Romans vs. Latins

Time: 500 BC

Place: Latium, north of Rome

Action: As the Romans grew in power after the founding in 753 BC, they encountered neighbors and fought them in the Greek style, using javelins, and and armored infantry in phalanx. The Romans were victorious here, and built the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Forum to celebrate their win.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Rome was a step closer to controlling central Italy.



Sides: Romans vs. Celts

Time: 390 BC

Place: Rome

Action: After defeating the Etruscans five years earlier, following a nine year struggle, the Romans were proud. Their representatives were arrogant in some way to a Celtic tribe besieging an Etruscan city. The Celts promptly marched on Rome instead. The Celts outnumbered the Romans and defeated them right outside their own city. The Celts fought in a disorganized way, with strange war cries and a wild appearance- which unnerved the Romans. Some Romans died in the Tiber because their armor was too heavy to swim. The victorious Celts surrounded the city, and only left when they were paid in gold.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The Romans never forgot the humiliation of that day. They retooled and rebuilt their walls. They looked at how to make improvements in the phalanx.



Sides: Romans and Samnites vs. Latins and Campanians

Time: 338 BC

Place: Campania, southern Italy

Action: At first the Campanians asked for Rome's help against Samnite raids, but Rome moved in to Campania and took it for themselves. The Latins and Campanians became allies and rose in revolt, fighting and nearly defeating the Romans at Mt. Vesuvius in 340 BC. General Torquatus vanquished the revolt at Trifanum. He was tough. He executed his own son for disobeying orders.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The Latins and Campanians came back into the Roman fold.



Sides: Samnites vs. Romans

Time: 321 BC

Place: Apennine mountians, southeast Italy

Action: This was an ambush by the Samnites on the Romans in the Apennines. The Samnites used large cut trees to block both sides of a pass, while they rained arrows down on the Romans caught in between. Forced to surrender, the Romans were only let out by going "under the yoke" of an arch made by Samnite arrows, as a symbol of their subservience and humiliation. The Roman Senate rejected the entire deal made by the Romans with the Samnites, however.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The Romans were infuriated.



Sides: Romans vs. Samnite-Etruscan-Celtic-Umbrian alliance

Time: 295 BC

Place: Umbria, central Italy

Action: Four Roman Legions split up to hunt down and destroy the alliance members. One side diverted the Celts and Etruscans while the other engaged the Samnites at Sentinum. It went well but then Celtic charioteers clashed with Roman cavalry. Roman consul Decius, leader of the legions, galloped into the center of the fray on a suicide mission to inspire his troops, which he did. With renewed vigor the Romans won the day.

Casualties: 8,500 Roman, 25,000 allied

Consequence: The Romans mastered central Italy



Sides: Romans vs. Greeks

Time: 280 BC

Place: Apulia, the 'heel' in the Italian boot

Action: Greek colonies had existed in southern Italy for hundreds of years. The Romans and other Italian tribes learned much from their contact with the Greek culture. Fearing being put under Roman rule, the Greek city of Terentum invited renowned General Pyrrhus to defend the region. He brought over 20,000 soldiers and elephants, and was made military commander of southern Italy. The Romans had never seen elephants, nor did their horses respond well to them. The two forces clashed and no quarter was given. The slaughter was so great that Pyrrhus said, "One more such victory and I am lost," hence the term 'pyrrhic victory.'

Casualties: 11,000 Greeks, 15,000 Romans

Consequence: Bloodshed was great on both sides. Phyrrus marched north to Rome but to his shock they would not do a deal. Instead they marched south again and fought another terrible battle. Despite their victory, the Greeks' days as independent in Italy were numbered.



Sides: Romans vs. Greeks

Time: 275 BC

Place: Campania (near Naples)

Action: Syracuse, the Greek city, had a beef with a new power on the other coast of the Mediterranean, Carthage, a Phoenician colony in North Africa (present day Tunis, Tunisia). Phyrrus went to help the Greek city against rising Carthage. When he returned a Roman army fought him into a corner. The hope of fighting Roman power was running out.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Phyrrus was recalled, and 7 years later was in a streetfight in Argos, and someone threw a tile out of a window and knocked him out. He was decapitated by a passing enemy soldier.



Sides: Rome vs. Carthage

Time: 260 BC

Place: Sicily

Action: Rome ruled Sicily but Carthage was mistress of the seas. The Punic Wars would decide the fate of the Mediterranean, clash of the titans style. Roman innovation came into play now. They built a full navy in two months' time by reverse engineering captured triremes and quinqueremes, and then outfitting them with corvus gangplanks so they could latch onto the Carthaginian ships and fight hand-to-hand.

Casualties: 31 Carthaginian ships captured, 14 sunk.

Consequence: Roman shock victory.



Sides: Rome vs. Carthage

Time: 256 BC

Place: Mediterranean Sea

Action: Four years after Mylae, the Romans amassed a huge force of ships, 330 of them, and sailed against Carthage with troop transports bound for North Africa. The clash in the sea saw the front of the Roman formation break through the Carthaginian defense and then turn around to help the Roman ships in the rear, winning the day and capturing ships by the corvus method.

Casualties: The Romans sank 30 Carthaginian ships and captured 64, losing 24.

Consequence: In a total reversal of fortuna, when the dominant Roman fleet reached North Africa and deposited its soldiers there, they did battle and were picked up. But a storm sank 100,000 soldiers to the bottom of the sea.



Sides: Rome vs. Carthage

Time: 249 BC

Place: Sicilian waters

Action: Five years after the catastrophe in the storm, the Romans rebuilt a fleet and had new soldiers at the ready, with the mission of expelling Carthage from Sicily completely. This meant taking the stronghold of Lilybeaum. The consul was on board ship, and spread seed for sacred chickens to eat. They did not eat, and he had them thrown overboard. Bad move. When the Roman fleet got to the place the Carthaginian fleet was supposed to be, it had already departed, and doubled back to entrap the Romans. They rammed down 93 Roman ships out of 130, losing only a few. It was a great victory for Carthage.

Casualties: 8,000 Romans

Consequence: A few years later, Rome cut the supply line for Carthage's forces still on Sicily, and they had to withdraw, giving the island to Rome.



Sides: Carthage vs. Rome

Time: 218 BC

Place: Milan, northern Italy

Action: General Hannibal of Carthage inherited a gripe against Rome from his father. He marched a large army of 30,000 up through Iberia (Spain) and laid siege to a Roman city. He lost most of his 37 elephants in the snowy Alps. His arrival was a shock. He beat the Romans along a northern river, and his success won him some Celtic recruits. At the Trebia river, he tricked the Romans into leaving their back exposed, where another army commanded by his brother hacked it down.

Casualties: 30,000 Romans, 5,000 Carthaginians.

Consequence: It was the start of the Second Punic War, the most devastating the Romans would face. Unlike the Persians, who often mismanaged their large, multiethnic armies by trying to standardize them, Hannibal found and used his Iberian (slingshots), Carthaginian (cavalry), Numidian Berbers (javelins) and Celtic (infantry) soldiers' best fighting traits. He would now deploy these.



Sides: Carthage vs. Rome

Time: 217 BC

Place: Perugia, Umbria, central Italy

Action: Continuing his dominance for over a year, Hannibal moved across the Apennines, a swamp and the Arno river to circle around the Roman army protecting the capital to the north. As he predicted, they would quickly move south to intercept, and prepared a guard at a pass between steep hills and Lake Trasimene. When the Romans were marching through, his infantry rushed down from the hills above. Many not killed were drowned, forced into the lake. Thousands surrendered.

Casualties: 30,000 Romans killed.

Consequence: The lakeside slaughter meant the road to the city was open, and Hannibal circled around it to the south, devastating the countryside as he went.



Sides: Carthage vs. Rome

Time: 216 BC

Place: Apulia, the Italian heel.

Action: The worst defeat ever inflicted on the Romans occurred after Hannibal captured a supply depot for the Legions, and a massive army set out to meet him decisively. Hannibal sent a messenger asking if they were ready to fight. They did not, and moved to a narrow field, where Hannibal's cavalry would not be as effective. Hannibal had his infantry move in, then withdraw, pulling the Romans into an encirclement with a river on one side and Numidian and Iberian forces coming from the other. As the Romans fought them off, his Carthaginian cavalry attacked the Roman horsemen, who could not maneuver in the tight spot. In hand to hand combat, Hannibal's men went to town on the Romans, killing 50,000 in one of the worst days in the history of warfare.

Casualties: 50,000 Romans, 6,000 Carthaginians.

Consequence: This crippling defeat inspired some Greek cities in the south of Italy, like Syracuse, to side with Carthage- a historic enemy just like the Romans. As the Roman farms were burned, things looked better and better for Hannibal, as he wore down the countryside.



Sides: Rome vs. Syracuse

Time: 212 BC

Place: Sicily

Action: Hannibal's victories underscored his biggest problem- he had no siege engines and he took no towns of importance in Italy, as all had defensive walls he could not break. But the Greek city of Syracuse had no love for Rome, and backed Carthage. A Roman amphibious force arrived to lay siege to it. The Romans had ladders they hoisted to the city's walls and then used pulleys to raise the other side for scaling the wall. But the great scientist Archimedes was in charge of the defense of the city. His catapults and ballistas fired upon the Romans. Time went by and the Syracuseans had a festival to Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Some Romans sneaked over the walls and rampaged in the town, killing many, including Archimedes, before being slain. But a traitor opened the gates, and the Romans sacked the city.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: Hannibal was still in Italy, and four more difficult years went by, and his army required reinforcements.



Sides: Carthage vs. Rome

Time: 207 BC

Place: north-central Italy

Action: Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal brought reinforcements numbering 30,000 from North Africa through Spain and the Alps. Would he be as successful as Hannibal? A large Roman army went out to meet him, numbering 40,000. Seeing himself outnumbered, Hasdrubal withdrew by night with his men across the river Metaurus. The moon was dark, however, and they lost their way. A Roman force ambushed them and it was a free-for-all, the Romans killing 5 for every 1 lost.

Casualties: Rome: 2,000, Carthage: 10,000.

Consequence: This battle marked the turn of the tide of the Punic Wars.



Sides: Rome vs. Carthage

Time: 202 BC

Place: Carthage (Tunisia, North Africa)

Action: It was 15 years into the war. Hannibal held southern Italy, and the peninsula was in shambles. Now Roman General Scipio made a brilliant if desperate move. He withdrew with a massive army to Iberia, where he did battle against lesser forces, and moved across the Straits of Gibraltar and east to Carthage itself. The city agreed to peace and recalled Hannibal. Scipio likewise returned to Italy- but then promptly returned, and attacked the city. Hannibal's forces went out to meet them, but Scipio learned how to manipulate the maniple formation "so that they could move aside and let the charging beasts pass harmlessly through the gaps in the line." Additionally, the Numidian Berbers switched to the Roman side, and the Roman infantry went to work on the open plains of North Africa. There was much bloodshed on both sides. Then Scipio's cavalry drove off Hannibal's horsemen, and at just the right time turned back to clash his foot soldiers from behind, driving them into the maniples of the Legionnaires.

Casualties: 35,000 Romans, 45,000 Carthaginians

Consequence: Carthage surrendered and the Second Punic War was over.


***Battle of Cynoscephalae***

Sides: Romans vs. Macedonians

Time: 197 BC

Place: Thessaly, Greece

Action: Five years after winning the terrible Second Punic War, the Romans had a grand reputation. At the Battle of Chios Island, perpetrated by Philip V of Macedonia, regional powers like Athens, Rhodes and Pergamum got wind of his expansionism, and appealed to Rome for help in limiting Macedonia's ambitions. Rome was happy to comply. Philip unexpectedly bumped into a Roman army with his own, and a battle of phalanx versus maniple began. Macedonia's phalanx was stronger up front, but the chessboard-style layout of the maniple made it more maneuverable. It broke the phalanx from the flank and cut the Macedonians to pieces.

Casualties: 700 Romans killed, 8,000 Macedonians.

Consequence: Macedonia would no longer be in Rome's way.


***Battle of Magnesia***

Sides: Rome and Pergamum vs. Seleucid Asia

Time: 190 BC

Place: Smyrna on the Ionian coast (Izmir, Turkey)

Action: At Raphia, the Seleucids lost much of their prestige, along with the Levant. Now the Romans smelled decay. Scipio advanced with Pergamon allies into Anatolia. Antiocus III the Great, however, fielded the same elephant brigades and Syrian fighters and chariots used against Ptolemy 25 years earlier. But that was just the problem. His strategy was stale. He sent needed forces around to harrass the Romans' camp, while leaving the infantry exposed. The Romans shocked his elephants and they bucked and made chaos. Then the slaughter began.

Casualties: 350 Rome-Pergamum killed, 53,000 Seleucids

Consequence: The decline and fall of Seleucid Asia was just a matter of time.


***Battle of Pydna***

Sides: Romans vs. Macedonians

Time: 168 BC

Place: near Mount Olympus, northern Greece

Action: This was the battle that ended the independence of Greece and Macedonia, turning them into provinces of the Roman Republic. At first, the Macedonian phalanx, sarissa spears lowered and shields interlocked, held their own. They stopped the legionnaires from fighting hand-to-hand. But as soon as the Romans could strike from the sides and back, opening holes in their formation, their unwieldy long spears became inappropriate. They dropped them and pulled their daggers, but that was no good against the Roman short swords. The slaughter was total. Later the Romans destroyed Corinth for resisting their rule. That was also complete.

Casualties: 1,000 Romans, 20,000 Macedonians killed

Consequence: Macedonia and Greece fell to Rome.



Sides: Rome vs. Carthage

Time: 149 BC

Place: Carthage

Action: Much time has passed, almost 50 years, since Zama. But Roman Senator Cato the Elder finished every speech he gave by slamming his fist down and yelling, no matter the subject he was speaking about, "Carthage must be destroyed!" At the time, Carthage was busy fighting with the Numidians who changed sides at Zama so many years before. Rome weighed the options and saw the opening. The city had 20 miles of walls like Athens, and like Athens it could be resupplied by sea if under siege. The Romans laid siege anyway, with battering rams, but not very successfully. Then Scipio's son Scipio Aemilianus took charge. Like Athens, Carthage caught plague and starvation. After three relentless years, the Romans broke down the city walls and Carthage surrendered.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The short and sweet Third Punic War was over, every last Carthaginian was captured, and sold into slavery. Many were sent to Italy or another province, and the Mediterranean Sea became "Mare Nostrum", "Our Sea", often referred to by now as "A Roman Lake." Rome reigned supreme.


***Battle of Aqua Sextae***

Sides: Teuton-Ambrone alliance vs. Romans

Time: 102 BC

Place: near present day Monte Carlo, France

Action: Aside from the Celts in Gaul were bands of Germanic warriors, some of whom made border skirmishes into Roman territory. An alliance of these bands defeated a Roman force at Arausio, and then the Senate gave Gaius Marius command of a Legion with orders to destroy them. His forces drew forward the Teutons, who attacked without considering the 3,000 hidden Romans in the mountain forest, who sprung with shield and sword extended from behind the barbarians. They were obliterated.

Casualties: 100,000 Teutons killed or captured

Consequence: This battle quieted the northern border for half a century.


***Spartacus' Uprising***

Sides: Romans vs. Slave Army

Time: 73 BC

Place: southern Italy

Action: North of Naples in the town of Capua was a gladiator's camp. The gladiators were slaves, of course, made to fight to the death to the sounds of a cheering Roman crowd in the arenas. One of them was Spartacus, a Greek captured in Thrace, who worked in a mine before being pulled as fit enough to be a gladiator. Over 80 gladiators escaped from Capua and instigated a slave rebellion across southern Italy, and defeated a Roman force, taking their weapons. With these they took on a larger force, and gained even more. The Senate acted, giving General Marcus Licinius Crassus a powerful army to subdue Spartacus' slave army. At the battlefield, Spartacus killed his own horse to show his men he intended on fighting to the death, which he did, but so did his men. Crassus gave no quarter. 6,000 slave-warriors were captured alive, and crucified along the road to show what happens to slaves who take up their hand against Rome.

Casualties: over 6,000 slaves, unknown number of Romans

Consequence: This was the largest slave revolt in history.


***Battle of Carrhea***

Sides: Romans vs. Parthians

Time: 53 BC

Place: Syrian desert east of the Euphrates river

Action: As the Romans expanded eastward past Greece into the Levant and beyond, Mesopotamia became the battleground between Rome and Parthia, the latest incarnation of the old polyglot Persian Empire, reborn under Mithriadates. The Parthian empire was moving its capital west to Mesopotamia (Ctesiphon) and focusing on gaining that region. The Roman Legions there were far from home. Their bows were strong enough that they fired the arrows at such as speed that it could pierce Roman armor. When the Parthians approached, they launched a hail of such arrows and swept their cavalry through the Roman lines. When General Crassus' son was killed, they decapitated his body and put his head on a spear, marching it in victory. After 10,000 Romans were captured, Crassus ordered a retreat. The Parthians gave no quarter, to these, and killed enormous numbers, including Crassus himself.

Casualties: 7,000 Parthians, 24,000 Romans

Consequence: This was the greatest victory of the Parthian Empire and the nadir of Rome. But while Crassus was skilled, there was yet another Roman general operating at the same time far from the eastern borderlands, in the forests of Gaul.


***Battle of Alesia***

Sides: Romans vs. Gauls (Celts)

Time: 52 BC

Place: Gaul (near modern Dijon, France)

Action: General Julius Caesar had swept through the northern borders of the Republic, subduing the Gauls and making of the land a Roman province. Now a Gallic rebellion broke out under the warrior Vercingetorix. Caesar himself emerged to stop him. With a large Roman force, he marched north in pursuit. Surrounding the heavily defended base camp of the Celts, with was really a whole town, Caesars' legions put down their spears and picked up their shovels and axes. They built long ditches around the entire fort, placed palisades on them, and built guard towers on the palisades, essentially reverse-fortifying the fort, or rather, making it into a gigantic prison! Seeing what was happening, however, Vercingetorix ordered a violent escape. Some of his cavalry broke out of the unfinished section, while women and children were sent out when the food ran out. Caesar did not let them go. He bid them return, and, standing in a field between the armies, the women, children and elderly Celts one by one fell to the ground, starved out. Celtic reinforcements arrived and sandwiched the Romans, assaulting them from two sides with javelins, arrows and slingshots. But Caesar flew at them with his legions, retaining a guard at the palisade. Vanquishing the reinforcements, Vercingetorix emerged from the besieged town, put down his sword in front of Caesar, and surrendered.

Casualties: 45,000 Romans, unknown number of Celts

Consequence: After this vicious battle, Caesar had the right hands of the Celtic warriors cut off to prevent them from picking a fight again, and each Roman soldier got a Celtic warrior to keep or sell as a slave.


***Battle of Dyrrachium***

Sides: Caesar vs. Pompey

Time: 48 BC

Place: northwest Greece (Albania)

Action: When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River in northern Italy with his loyal soldiers, something that was not legal for a general to do, he began to march on Rome. He was very popular- his Commentaries were read by all who could read. He was always in the middle of the battle himself, earning the love of his troops. A messenger told him in Gaul that the Senate might arrest him and put him on trial. At the same time, he was betting that Romans were fed up with the decadence of the late Republic, and tired of social war, and that they would support him in a major coup d'etat. By crossing the Rubicon, Caesar started a civil war. Gaius Pompey led legions loyal to the Senate against Caesar. He strategically allowed Caesar to occupy Rome while he moved to mount an amphibious assault with the loyal navy. But Caesar moved first. He moved his men across the Adriatic to the Balkans, in civilian merchant boats no less, and while outnumbered 2:1, Caesar's legions laid siege to Pompey's military base. He tried to wall Pompey in, but Pompey broke out and fought Caesar off.

Casualties: Caesar: 1,000, Pompey: unknown.

Consequence: Caesar moved off east into northern Greece.


***Battle of Pharsalus***

Sides: Caesar vs. Pompey

Time: 48 BC

Place: Thessaly, northern Greece

Action: After Dyrrachium, Pompey's army followed Caesar and the two forces set their camps in Thessaly on the plains of Pharsalus. They clashed, and Pompey's infantry was getting the best of Caesar's, a general fray ensued. Then Caesar led six cohorts of infantry under his personal command into the fray, stabbing with their special pila javelins (with a long, thin iron rod with an arrow point at the top) and knocking Pompey's men off their horses. When Pompey's infantry advanced, Caesar's men threw a hail of javelins and followed them with their swords. Pompey's men fled this shock attack and were chased and cut down by Caesar's cohorts.

Casualties: Caesar: 230 killed, Pompey: c. 2,000 killed

Consequence: This was a huge victory for Caesar. Two months later Pompey was assassinated and Caesar emerged victorious, and headed back to Rome. Four years later, his popularity grew and he was declared 'dictator-for-life.' The Republic now had a leader. However, in mid-March of 44 BC, he was assassinated by Senatorial conspirators (including his friend Brutus) in the Roman forum. It is said no one had ever been killed there before. Now, a power vacuum appeared.


***Battle of Philippi***

Sides: Republicans vs. Antony and Octavian

Time: 42 BC

Place: Macedonia

Action: With Caesar dead, his nephew Octavian and General Marc Antony allied together to hold off the forces of the Senate, but Brutus, Cassius Longinus and most of the Senate wanted to smote out any chance of another 'dictator-for-life.' Would Rome be a republic or an empire? Armies loyal to both chased each other around, and at Philippi in Macedonia, named for Alexander's father, Antony led his forces by surprise across a swamp. They encircled Longinus' army, who, believing there was no hope, took his own life. But meanwhile, Octavian lay ill back at the camp with a smaller force. Brutus attacked the camp by surprise. Octavian had to hide. Things being even now, the armies withdrew from each other. Three weeks later, Brutus attacked, and it was an epic fail. While he fought Octavian, Antony tested the resolve of his men and pulled the swamp trick once again, coming to the rescue and cutting Brutus' force to pieces.

Casualties: unknown

Consequence: The alliance between Octavian and Antony remained strong. Antony married his sister, and it seemed a royal family was in the making. However, a decade later Antony went to Egypt, divorced Octavian's sister, and chose to rule in oriental splendor with Cleopatra as his consort. While Octavian was happy in the capital as chief administrator, now the alliance was over.


***Battle of Actium***

Sides: Octavian vs. Antony

Time: 31 BC

Place: Mediterranean Sea

Action: Octavian saw Antony as a threat. His army from Rome marched into western Greece, while Antony's army from Egypt was brought across the sea to meet them. Instead of doing battle, however, Octavian slyly lay in wait, while his own naval force under Marcus Agrippa made its way toward Greece to lock in Antony's fleet. Antony sensed this and his army boarded their ships to return to Egypt, only to find Agrippa in their way. Antony ordered his fleet to split, some going left and others right, and the ship carrying Cleopatra made its way through the fighting. Fighters climbed on towers on the ships and threw flaming missiles from the height upon the enemy ships. Agrippa was winning the day. But Antony escaped (even though his flagship was sunk) on another ship. He made it back to Egypt with a broken force, and a year later, when Octavian arrived with an army in Egypt, Antony and Cleopatra took their own lives, together.

Casualties: Antony: lost 150 ships, Octavian-Agrippa: unknown

Consequence: The suicide of Antony and Cleopatra left Octavian as sole ruler of Rome. He was declared Emperor Augustus Caesar by the Senate, and ruled gloriously for decades, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a 200 year time of relative calm and stability in the new empire, which despite bad rulers like Caligula and Nero, was the place to be in the ancient world.



 Julius Caesar

1st Century B.C.

Commentaries on the Gallic Wars

A great story is attached to this book, it appeared as episodes in Rome, as Caesar was with his legions in Gaul (France) fighting with the local Celts (who later moved to Britannia). His victories and the action depicted in this book electrified the Roman public and they cheered him as a great hero- much to the nervousness of the Senate which had the right to be leery, for Julius Caesar, hero of these Commentaries, entered Rome with his Legions and became the first Emperor against the will of the Senate, but with that of the people, partly because he was so popular!




1st Century B.C.

On the Nature of Things

Way ahead of its time, On the Nature of Things tells us that nature is made up of 'uncuttable pieces' called atoms. As we know, Lucretius was correct, 2,100 years ago! The amazing beginning is his appeal to Venus for help in writing what he knew would be an important work. He is a little arrogant in the book but it serves to remind us of Greco-Roman master morality. A look at his face here to the left clues us in that Lucretius was a severe and asture, but just, man.




1st Century B.C.

The War with Hannibal

The most dramatic conflict in Roman history, the 2nd Punic War against Carthage is the focus of this exciting depiction of the whole conflict by Livy. All of the fantastic and true situations are presented: the elephants and exotic beast used by Hannibal against Scipio, the fear in Rome during the siege and the shocking Battle of Zama outside of Carthage (modern Tunisia, North Africa), where the decisive battle of Scipio vs. Hannibal takes place.




Vercingetorix surrenders Gaul to Caesar and he became the greatest man in the Republic he was about to overthrow



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