Chapter 1: Rome at the Cross-Roads
September 14, 2004
I) Introductory ~
* The two chief themes of this book:
a) First the century in which the Republic failed to meet the challenge and in consequence crashed to its ruin amid civil war and military dictatorship.
b) Then the following century when the war-weary world was given peace and a stable government though at the cost of seeing the Republic restored only in name by a First Citizen whose authority did not differ widely from that of a constitutional monarch and whose successors became increasingly autocratic.
II) The Growth of Rome's Empire ~
* After the expulsion of the Etruscan king, Tarquinius Superbus, at the end of the Regal Period (510 B.C.), the Romans had established a Republic which gradually came to control all Italy. This process was not achieved by military conquest alone, and in fact Roman religious law (the ius fetiale) did not countenance wars of aggression designed to gain new territory.
* Very slowly, partly by accident and partly by design, Roman interest extended throughout central Italy and ultimately throughout the peninsula, so that by 264 B.C. she had become the dominant political and military power.
a) She had united all Italy within the framework of a Confederacy.
* The Romans were most generous in sharing their own citizenship with others:
a) Thus they had incorporated a considerable part of Italy in their own State by granting all or some of the privileges of Roman citizenship to many of the cities and tribes with which they had come into contact.
b) With the rest of Italy they had contracted alliances of varying conditions.
* The First Punic War (264-241 B.C.) when after a long and bitter struggle the Romans drove the Carthaginians out of Sicily. This they...