Celebrating the Successes of the Republic

Human Interest Story

The Vesuvius volcano did not form overnight, of course. In fact, scholars say that the mountain is hundreds of thousands of years old and had been erupting for generations. In 1780 B.C., an unusually violent eruption shot millions of tons of superheated lava, ash and rocks 22 miles into the sky. This destroyed almost every village, house and farm within 15 miles of the mountain. But it was easy to overlook the mountains bad temper in such a pleasant, sunny spot.

On a fateful summer morning in A.D. 79 Mount Vesuvius buried the vibrant Roman City of Pompeli - and many of its citizens - beneath tons of volcanic ash and debris. The dust "poured across the land" like a flood, one witness wrote, Two thousand people died, and the city was abandoned for almost as many years.

Darkness fell, not the dark of a moonless or cloudy nigh, but as if a lamp had been put out in a dark room, wrote Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the cataclysm from across the Bay of Naples.

The darkness Pliny described drew the final curtain on an era in Pompeli but the disaster also preserved a slice of Roman life. The bulidings, art, artifacts, and bodies forever frozen offer an unique window on the

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The Roman Republic - Civil Wars

By 49 BC, Caesar’s power and prestige in the Roman world had reached unprecedented heights. Using his position as proconsul, he had spent the years 58 to 50 BC conquering the entirety of Gaul, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rhine and the Alps, causing his already considerable popularity among the Roman masses to skyrocket. Indeed, back in Rome the political situation grew increasingly hostile as the senatorial elite became ever more estranged from the masses. Trying to mediate between the two sides was Gnaeus Pompeius, Caesar’s former mentor and current political ally in the Triumvirate.

Riots between pro-Senate and pro-Caesar parties broke out in Rome as early as 52 BC, disrupting the consular elections and resulting in Pompeius’ election as ‘consul without colleague’ for the year 52 BC, which for the moment appeased both sides. Pompeius wanted nothing more than such a role: a man above all civil strife, belonging to no party in particular but possessing the skill to bring both extremes to their senses, indeed a ‘first citizen’ almost. Hiding behind Pompeius in such a manner bears witness to the increasingly obvious powerlessness of the senators and how desperately they clung to the old Republic. Yet the Senate was in fact as internally divided as the Republic. One party wished for conciliation and unity, claiming it was still possible for Caesar and Pompeius to come together and defend the Republic alongside the Senate; the other party refused any token of appeasement towards Caesar, basically viewing him as an enemy of Rome, but one who was dangerously popular with the common people. Fear of Caesar eventually got hold of both the Senate and Pompeius. Thus, when Caesar’s term as proconsul ended, the Senate demanded that he step down, disband his armies and return to Rome as a mere citizen. Though it was tradition for a Roman leader to do so, rendering Caesar theoretically immune from any senatorial prosecution, the existing political situation made such demands hard to meet. Caesar instead offered the Senate to extend his term as proconsul and leave him in command of two legions until he could be legally elected as consul again. When the Senate refused, Caesar responded by crossing the river Rubicon – the northern border of Roman Italy which no Roman commander should cross with an army – and marched on Rome itself.

The Senate now panicked, knowing the Roman people would side with Caesar, and gave Pompeius the authority to defend the Republic against the Caesarian advance. Pompeius accepted, not so much because he despised his former friend but because he was horrified at the news of Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon, which was an illegal action against the Republic. Caesar’s armies advanced rapidly, causing Pompeius and most of the senators to flee to Greece and assemble forces there. Italy thus fell under the control of Caesar who – instead of pursuing – turned around and launched a lightning campaign into Hispania, where Pompeius had considerable forces. Defeating the Pompeian legions at the Battle of Ilerda and capturing Massilia gave Caesar a free hand to turn east and deal with Pompeius in Greece. He crossed the Adriatic Sea in 48 BC and – after a setback at Dyrrachium – advanced south, decisively defeating the forces of Pompeius at the Battle of Pharsalus. Despite his past ruthlessness to foreign enemies and the advice of his long-time friend and general Marcus Antonius, Caesar was more than benevolent to his defeated Roman enemies, pardoning all senators and offering Pompeius’ soldiers to enlist in his own armies. It was a mercy that would ultimately prove to be his downfall. Yet for now, Caesar’s success and popularity grew ever more.

Resentment and jealousy of Caesar’s political enemies turned into blind hatred. Moreover, doubt over what Caesar intended to do with his title of dictator perpetuus turned into paranoid fear. A conspiracy was thus put together to murder Caesar and ‘liberate Rome’ – that is, return to the old Roman Republic and undo Caesar’s work. The conspirators, of whom Brutus and Cassius are the most well-known, were successful and on 15 March 44 BC, Caesar was brutally stabbed to death.

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Julius Caesar Obituary

Gaius Julius Caesar Born 13 July 100 BC - Died 15 March 44 BC in Curla of Pompey, Rome.

Mother Aurelia Cotta

Father Gaius Julius Caesar

Married to Caomella Cinna Minor from (84-69 BC)

Pompeia (68 - 63 BC)

Calpumia Pisonis (59-44 BC)

Issue (kids)

Julia Caesaris


Augustus (adoptive)

Julius was a Roman general, statesman, counsul, and notable author of Latin propse. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Caesar was deemed to be one of the greatest military commanders in history.

When in control of government, Caesar began a program of social and governmental reforms, including the creation of the Julian Calendar. He centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic and was eventually proclaimed "dictator in Perpetuity" But the underlying political conflicts had not been resolved and on the Ides of March (march 15) 44 BC Caesar was assassinated by a group of Senators!!

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Everyday Life in Rome - From Women's Perspective

In early years of the Roman Republic: When a young women married she left her childhood home and the authority of her father and entered not only the home of her husband but his power and control as well. In law her status was not very different from her husbands daughter. As more money poured in things began to change. Day to day life gradually began to transform the way society viewed women and the way they viewed themselves. By the end of the first century women had achieved a level of freedom they would not see again in Western society until the last half of the Twentieth Century.

This new liberty was not felt and seen by all women, those on the bottom rungs of the social ladder said it did not apply to them. They were too busy earning a living to take advantage of whatever liberation was going on elsewhere in society. Outside the lower classes, women could not work, but they did not want to either. In fact they viewed this to be done only by slaves, and low class people who did not know any better.

At no time in Rome's history were women allowed to hold public office or work in the government. In the early days, women were not even allowed to make suggestions, but eventually men were seeking and even following the advise of their wives.

The tunica was a standard item in every woman's wardrobe. it tended to be long, floor length in fact for matrons, but color, weight, fabric, texture, fit, sleeves and method of construction varied according to social class and the dictates of fashion. They loved to wear color whenever possible and was expensive. Therefore if you saw picture of a women in short undyed tunic you would know that this was a slave.

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