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Perched atop a squat hill surrounded by swamps, malarial marshes, and a river prone to frequent flooding lived a community of vagabonds, renegades, fugitives, cattle rustlers, and thieves.  Hardly a propitious beginning for a city that would one day rule an empire that spanned three continents.  But such were Rome’s humble beginnings.  For centuries Rome’s influence was felt barely beyond Italy.  Then, within the space of two centuries, Rome conquered a myriad of races from Portugal to the Persian Gulf, and from Scotland to the Sahara. But before the days of the Roman Empire, there was the Republic, one of the West’s earliest experiments in democracy.  

This class covers the rise and fall of the Roman Republic.


LECTURES


  1. Kings.  The foundation of Rome, the establishment of a monarchy, and the structuring of her “constitution” all took place under the guidance of Etruscan warlords.  In an act of dazzling political amnesia, later Romans wiped the slate clean of their Etruscan inheritance.
  2. The Republic:  An Infant Democracy.  Rome’s experiment in democracy was a rather haphazard affair.  Her “constitution” was a work in perpetual progress, changing repeatedly and often according to the exigencies of war and trade.
  3. The Road to Empire.  Rome, like Britain, “fell into herempire.”  Wars of defense led to wars of conquest.  And as her conquests expanded, Rome found herself ruling an unruly collection of alien and often hostile subjects.
  4. Politicians, Generals, and the Mob.  The stress of Empire led to the unraveling of the democratic machinery of Rome.  Generals seized power to “save” Rome; politicians acquiesced, the mob was placated, and the Republic died.
  5. Immigration and Conquest.  The expansion of Rome’s conquests brought more and more non-Romans into the Roman commonwealth; many flocked to the capital city.  Historians often tell the tale of the Romanization of the Mediterranean and Europe, but the other side of the story is the de-Romanization of Rome.
  6. Why the Democracy Failed.  There are serious systemic flaws in all democracies; these weaknesses were manifest early on in the Republic’s history.  That is why the history of Rome was of such interest to the Founding Fathers of the United States of America.

Before there was an Empire, there was the Republic.

THE RISE OF ROME

VIDEO LECTURES by Dr. William J. Neidinger

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The Rise of Rome


LECTURE 1


LECTURE 4


LECTURE 5


LECTURE 6


LECTURE 3


LECTURE 2

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Related Programs


Rome:  A History of the City



The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire




Augustus