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Civil War in Rome and the End of the Roman Republic
Free Printable Outline for History Teachers and Students - Scroll Down to Print (PDF) - American History - World History

       I.            Tiberius Gracchus and land reform

a.       The lower classes (plebeians) were suffering

                                                               i.      133 BCE – Tiberius Gracchus was elected as tribune of the plebeians

                                                             ii.      He promised land reform

b.      Tiberius Gracchus told the people: “You fight and die to give luxury to other men…but you have not a foot of ground to call your own.”

                                                               i.      Wanted to limit the amount of land each person could own

                                                             ii.      Wanted to rebuild the farming class by redistributing land

                                                            iii.      The patricians were not pleased with Tiberius Gracchus

                                                           iv.      Tiberius Gracchus and hundreds of his followers were murdered

     II.            Gaius Gracchus and reform

a.       Gaius was elected tribune in 122 BCE, about ten years after his brother was murdered

b.      He also wanted land reform

c.       Gaius wanted even more than land reform

d.      Gaius wanted the government to sell grain to the poor at reduced prices (subsidization)

e.      Gaius proposed that landless Romans be settled in the provinces

f.        Gaius wanted a public works program to employ the poor

g.       Gaius wanted to reform the way that taxes were collected by publicans in the provinces

h.      Gaius wanted to decrease the Senate’s power

i.         Riots erupted – in 121 BCE, he was killed along with thousands of his supporters

  III.            Differing parties continued to argue

a.       Optimates

                                                               i.      Senatorial party

                                                             ii.      Wanted to maintain the position and power of the wealthy patrician class

b.      Populares

                                                               i.      People’s party

                                                             ii.      Had its strength in the Comitia (Assembly)

                                                            iii.      Wanted reforms

  IV.            Military dictators come to power

a.       Why did military dictators come to power?

                                                               i.      Constant fighting in Rome between the rich and poor

                                                             ii.      Restlessness in the provinces

                                                            iii.      Slave rebellions (e.g., Spartacus)

                                                           iv.      Barbarian invasions (though not as serious as they became during the era of the Roman empire)

                                                             v.      The people needed strong leadership

     V.            Gaius Marius (circa 157-86 BCE)

a.       A leader of the Populares

                                                               i.      Elected consul in 107 BCE

b.      Successful military victories

                                                               i.      North Africa (106 BCE) against a rebellious chieftain

                                                             ii.      North Italy (102-101 BCE) against Germanic invaders

c.       Elected consul seven times

d.      Army reform

                                                               i.      Formed a paid, volunteer, professional army staffed by Rome’s landless people (no more property qualifications)

                                                             ii.      Soldiers shared in the spoils of war and earned pensions upon completion of their service

e.      Struggled with Lucius Sulla for power

  VI.            Lucius Sulla (circa 138-78 BCE)

a.       Patrician member of the Senate

b.      Military victories

                                                               i.      91 BCE – revolt of Roman allies who wanted full citizenship rights

1.       These people eventually won Roman citizenship, but not before Sulla had secured his reputation as a leader

                                                             ii.      87 BCE – revolt by King Mithridates in Asia Minor

1.       Assembly chose Gaius Marius for the same job

2.       Armies fought in Rome – Sulla won and marched off to Asia Minor

c.       Marius and his supporters came to power in Rome while Sulla was away

                                                               i.      Killed many leaders in the Senate

                                                             ii.      Sulla came back to Rome in 82 BCE

                                                            iii.      Sulla killed thousands of Marius’ followers and confiscated their property as booty for his troops

d.      Sulla ruled as dictator for three years

                                                               i.      Gave the Senate back control of the government

                                                             ii.      Then he retired

VII.            The First Triumvirate

a.       The First Triumvirate was an unofficial (and at first secret) pact to control Rome

b.      From 60 to 53 BCE

c.       Members:

                                                               i.      Pompey

                                                             ii.      Marcus Crassus

                                                            iii.      Julius Caesar

VIII.            Pompey (106-48 BCE)

a.       A general under Sulla

b.      Military victories

                                                               i.      Cleared pirates out of the Mediterranean

                                                             ii.      Put down a revolt in Iberia (Spain)

                                                            iii.      Finished Sulla’s fight against King Mithridates

                                                           iv.      Conquered Palestine (Israel and Judea) and Syria for Rome

c.       Became angry with the Senate

                                                               i.      Senate did not give him full recognition for his achievements

                                                             ii.      Senate refused to pay his soldiers

   IX.            Marcus Crassus (115-53 BCE)

a.       General who defeated Spartacus

b.      Became wealthy by devious means

                                                               i.      Abusing the proscription system

1.       Proscription was the legal confiscation of property of those who had fought against those now in power

2.       Crassus repeatedly had at least one person, whose fortune he coveted, added to the proscription list

                                                             ii.      Bought burning buildings

1.       Heard a building was on fire, then ran to buy it as it was burning

2.       After buying it, he’d have his people put out the fire before too much damage was done

a.       The traditional Roman firefighting method was to destroy a burning building in order to save the structures surrounding it

     X.            Julius Caesar (100-44 BCE)

a.       Elected consul in 59 BCE

b.      Military victories

                                                               i.      59-51 BCE – brought the Gauls (in modern-day France) under Roman rule

1.       He wrote the famous Commentaries on the Gallic Wars

   XI.            The First Triumvirate

a.       Pompey

                                                               i.      His perk – soldiers

                                                             ii.      Became leader of Italy

b.      Marcus Crassus

                                                               i.      His perk – money

                                                             ii.      Became leader of Rome’s eastern provinces

c.       Julius Caesar

                                                               i.      His perk – popularity

                                                             ii.      Became proconsul of Gaul (modern France)

XII.            Trouble in paradise

a.       53 BCE – Crassus killed in battle against the Parthians

                                                               i.      This ended the First Triumvirate

b.      Pompey was jealous of the successes Caesar was having in Gaul

                                                               i.      Pompey talked the Senate into demanding that Caesar return to Rome as a private citizen (without his troops)

XIII.            Crossing the Rubicon

a.       Caesar had a decision to make

                                                               i.      Following the Senate’s orders = powerlessness before Pompey

                                                             ii.      Disobeying the Senate’s orders = violating Roman law

b.      Rubicon River

                                                               i.      River in northern Italy

                                                             ii.      Tradition and law said that soldiers had to disband before crossing this river into Italy

c.       “The die is cast.  I have crossed the Rubicon.” – Julius Caesar

                                                               i.      He led his troops across the Rubicon River

                                                             ii.      Once he crossed the river, he could not take back his decision to face (and fight) Pompey

XIV.            Caesar chases Pompey to Egypt

a.       Pompey fled to Greece

                                                               i.      Pompey, who had more soldiers, made serious military blunders

                                                             ii.      Caesar said of Pompey: “Today the enemy would have won, if they had a commander who was a winner,” and, “That man does not know how to win a war.”

                                                            iii.      Caesar went after him, defeating Pompey at Pharsalus in 48 BCE

b.      Pompey fled to Egypt

                                                               i.      Ptolemy XIII, knowing Caesar’s army was in pursuit of Pompey, killed Pompey rather than give him shelter

                                                             ii.      Ptolemy later presented Pompey’s severed head to Julius Caesar

c.       Julius Caesar met Cleopatra VII of Egypt

                                                               i.      She was a co-ruler, alongside her husband/younger brother, Ptolemy XIII

                                                             ii.      Caesar restored Cleopatra to her throne

                                                            iii.      He also had a son with Cleopatra, Caesarion, born in 47 BCE

XV.            “Veni, vidi, vici!”

a.       Julius Caesar left and won victories in the east

                                                               i.      Mocked Pompey’s previous efforts in the region

                                                             ii.      Sent word to Rome: “Veni, vidi, vici!”  (“I came, I saw, I conquered!”)

b.      Military victories left Julius Caesar as sole ruler of Rome

                                                               i.      Defeated remnants of the senatorial party in north Africa

                                                             ii.      Defeated Pompey’s sons in Spain

c.       Julius Caesar returned to Rome in 45 BCE

                                                               i.      Aided by his close friend, Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony)

XVI.            Julius Caesar’s reforms

a.       Adopted a program of public works

b.      Distributed public lands to Roman citizens

c.       Granted Roman citizenship to many people in Rome’s provinces

d.      Reformed provincial governments

e.      Reformed the calendar (the “Julian” calendar with 365 days and an extra day during leap years)

f.        Reorganized the Roman system of coinage

XVII.            Dictator for life

a.       The Senate disliked many of Caesar’s reforms and feared his popularity and power

b.      Ides of March (March 15, 44 BCE)

                                                               i.      Senators conspired to assassinate Caesar

                                                             ii.      Mark Antony tried to stop Caesar from entering the Senate, but a group of senators intercepted Caesar and got him to enter the building using a side entrance

                                                            iii.      Caesar was stabbed to death (at least 23 times) on the floor of the Senate house

                                                           iv.      Among the conspirators was Marcus Junius Brutus, a descendent of the traditional founder of the Roman Republic

XVIII.            Chaos and more civil war

a.       Caesar left his grandnephew, Octavian, as his heir

b.      Second Triumvirate

                                                               i.      Octavian allied himself with Mark Antony and a politician named Lepidus

                                                             ii.      Went after Caesar’s enemies

                                                            iii.      42 BCE – defeated the forces of two of Caesar’s assassins, Brutus and Cassius, at Philippi, Macedonia

c.       Split the rule of the empire

                                                               i.      Octavian took Rome and the west

                                                             ii.      Mark Antony took the east

XIX.            Octavian versus Mark Antony

a.       Octavian was a smart, capable ruler of Rome

b.      Mark Antony made problematic alliances and ignored Rome’s dictates for the east

                                                               i.      Mark Antony formed a relationship with Cleopatra VII in Egypt

                                                             ii.      Antony and Cleopatra had three children together

                                                            iii.      Mark Antony divorced Octavia, Octavian’s sister

                                                           iv.      Mark Antony offended Rome by “going native”

                                                             v.      Mark Antony offended Octavian by publicly suggesting that Caesarion was a legal and rightful heir of Julius Caesar

c.       32 BCE – Octavian’s forces attacked Egypt

                                                               i.      31 BCE – Battle of Actium – Mark Antony’s fleet was destroyed

                                                             ii.      30 BCE – Mark Antony committed suicide

                                                            iii.      Cleopatra committed suicide a few weeks later

d.      Octavian was left as ruler of Rome

 XX.            Review questions

a.       How and why were the Gracchi brothers killed?

b.      How and why did military dictators come to power in Rome?

c.       Who were the members of the First Triumvirate, and what did each member bring to the equation?

d.      What steps led to Julius Caesar being Rome’s sole ruler?

e.      Describe Caesar’s assassination, including its causes and effects.

f.        Explain how and why Mark Antony and Octavian came into conflict.

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