Project #29579 - Roman Empire Discussion Board

 

 

 

 Roman Empire Discussion Questions:  

 

 

These are from discussion boards and so therefore do not need to be written out like a paper.    I was supposed to respond to two people’s post every week but was too lazy.   So I’ll post the original question and then the student’s response.   All you need to do is respond to each student’s response separately.  One to two sentences a piece is enough for each response.  Nothing fancy needed.

 

All you need to do is respond to each student’s post separately.

 

Week 1 End of the Republic:

Original Question: The Roman Republic endured through some really bad times as well as good ones from 509 B.C. to the period of the civil wars which we read about this week. Never had it experienced such massive political upheaval as this latter! From the limited reading that you have done, opine about what might have led to this upheaval and eventual "fall" of the Republic. Can a single generation or two of significant individuals really bring down such a very strong, balanced power?

 

Larry’s Post:  The Roman empire was dynamic, influenced by many factors not just leaders that may have contributed the fall of the Republic. Roman generals such as Julius Caesar and Agustus utilized the Legions significantly to re-enforce political and social power effectively eliminating enemies and promoting alliances necessary for the success. Realistically many moving parts contributed to the fall of the Republic and one example is the grievances of the Latin and Italian alliances in the Social War between 91-88 BCE regarding grievances of "lex julia de civitate dande" that awarded citizenship to Italians. Immigrant Latin and poor Italians were denied the right to vote and citizenship that developed into resentment towards the upper classes. The resulting grievances from the poor that had allied with the Romans, helped with conquests, and paying taxes were denied rights as citizens. 

As more people immigrated to Rome, the Roman elite that led the Republic failed to balance the power by denying the poor alliances of Italian and Latin descent rights resulting in revolts. In Rome a large influx of immigrants resulting in the Republic losing support and the poor immigrants gained momentum. Later these lessons were learned by generals such as Julius Caesar and Agustus to be able to utilize the military for political and social support. 

Influences that contributed to the fall include greed, conspiracy to murder influential senators, battles that resulted in losses of powerful generals, failure to moderate classes to keep up with expansion, and manipulation of positions. So no single person or leader can bring down the Republic or Empire. Its a culmination of factors between military forces, collaboration of political influences, and support from the citizens that contribute to the government. Powerful and influential people can certainly contribute to the fall; But without military or public support it becomes very difficult to maintain stability necessary to control all the moving parts in running government that include logistics, money, enforcement, military, government, religion, and politics. 

Reference: Text A History of Rome Page 130. 

Your Response:

 

William’s Post:

The Roman Republic "Fell" in my opinion due to the coming together of several issues. One was that the aristocracy of the Senatorial class and their own belief in that aristocracy. They had long had their own ways of making laws, choosing leaders, and determining who was part of their group. Since they were the ruling class they had for years made the rules and the laws and felt that this was their calling. At the same time the equestrians had become more affluent with influx of riches from the wars. The new found affluence also lead to new influence as they found they could get their voice heard and sway members of the Senate or the consuls. Finally the poor had finally reached a saturation point. They had finally hit a low and their faith in the republic's leadership, their had been the slave and gladiator uprising leaving fear and suspicion of the thousands of slaves in the cities. This coupled with the power the triumvirate offered and the ego of Octavian lead to the opportunity and the chance to take charge of republic and crown himself Rex. The significance of the individuals from a couple of generations made it possible for the Octavian to take the step. The use of military might within Rome itself actually had the precedence set by other leaders and finally the appearance that a single leader could cut through the hassle and that his "adoptive" father had done so much of the people made the idea bearable. I think that another final straw was the lack of orators in the final years of the republic. We read about the fine orations of Cicero, Sallust, and others but as the orators disappeared so did the opportunity to sway opinion and inform not only the Senate but the public of the possible consequences of the decisions being made.

Your Response:

 

Week 2- Augustus

Original Question:  Augustus is probably the most famous of all the Roman emperors. If you've only heard of one emperor, he's probably it! He ruled for a long time, some forty-seven years. And with him, the Republic ended, and the Empire started. The official date of the start of the empire is 27 B.C., the year that the Senate voted Augustus the title of Imperator, not a new title but certainly a new job description! In any case, having read the various sources assigned for this week, take the chance here to express your opinion of Augustus. Was he truly a great leader? Why did he feel the need to publicize his deeds through the "Res Gestae" then, a document that was posted all over the Empire? (The best preserved copy, for example, is that still preserved on a temple wall in Ankara, Turkey.) Merely PR? Early "spin"?

 

 

Francis’  Post:  Love him or hate him, Augustus became a great ruler to the Romans, so great they even worshipped him after his death.  The great nephew and adopted son of Caesar, he had leaders blood in him and a leaders education and smarts, you could see this when he arrived back in Rome after Caesar’s assassination to acquire what was given to him and how he out played Marc Antony using 300 sesterces Antony refused to pay, so Augustus paid the same amount gaining himself favor with the people allowing him to start climbing the ladder of power, while at the same time knocking Antony down a rung or two on that same ladder (Le Gay, Voisin and LeBohec, 160).  He was a vicious unforgiving ruler, executing the son of Cleopatra and Caesar and also Antony’s son with Fluvia.  With all of the battles fought he was able to rise up from a faction in a civil war, to leader of the Roman world, extended her borders and gave her peace (Pax Romana).  He was the right man for the job, so I really love him for that, and it is just about surely possible that he had to be aggressive and unforgiving to get Rome to where she was during his lifetime. Sure the Res Gestae was for self-promotion, and what a job it did, and still does thanks to Ankara, Turkey, you can read it here:

 

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/14resgestae.asp

 

I also like the introduction: “Below is a copy of the deeds of the divine Augustus, by which he subjected the whole world to the dominion of the Roman People, and of the sums of money he spent upon the Republic and the Roman People, even as they are graven on the two brazen columns which are set up in Rome.”

 

 

Le Glay, Marcel, Jean-Louis Voisin and Yann Le Bohec. A History of Rome. Singapore: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

 

 

Your Response:

 

 

Travis Post:             There is much to be said about the accomplishments of Augustus. He achieved so much greatness in his lifetime, and even surpasses the great Julius Caesar. He had big shoes to fill and fill them is exactly what he did. In my opinion Augustus took the process of gaining power and turned it from a traditional strength equals power, to a political support equals power. After defeating Antony, he held the power that he needed to take control of the republic, and no enemies strong enough to oppose him. I believe, instead of taking his power by strength, Augustus devised a plan to gain, not just power by control, but true power. If he could be granted power by popular vote, then his power and control would be undeniable and therefore true, because it was given to him, not instead of taken from them.

In my opinion, to achieve this supreme undeniable power, Augustus put a plan into motion to act as if he wanted to relinquish his power and control over Rome and its provinces. In turn, his idea would be opposed and the senate and he people would vote to grant him the power that he had acted as if he did not want. This is just a theory and Augustus may have not wanted to be the Ruler, and first emperor. In my opinion however, Augustus out played the smartest people in Rome and this gave him true control. He put the decision to end the republic and forge the empire into the hands of the senate and the people, but he knew the answer before the question was posed. This strategic move made Octavian the supreme ruler, and soon to become Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome.

            I think that Augustus displayed his Res Gestae all over the Empire because he wanted everyone to understand that he did not take this power, and that it was given to him. By giving the knowledge of this to the people across the enemy, I believe Augustus knew that it would gain him more support and relinquish opposing enemies. His power was undeniable because he did not take it. Then in turn, even when he was given the full control, he wanted to gain even more support by displaying that he "gave the state back to the senate and the people", this earned him his name of Augustus. By making a public display of this, his popularity grew to a height that had not been reached in the past. By gaining this support, Augustus had free access to turn Rome into the Rome he envisioned.

Fortunately, Augustus was a good ruler, and had the people and the state in mind as he made his changes to the new Empire. Because he made the correct decisions in his time of power, he continues to be known as one of the greatest rulers of all time. Deep down, I do believe that Augustus wanted the power and title of emperor, and he was the first to be smart enough to out play his opposition in a game of the mind instead of a game of power.

Your Response:

 

Week 3- The first two dynasties

Original Question:   The Julio-Claudian and Flavian Dynasties both produced a mixture of good and bad emperors. Explain how it was that the Empire, as a new concept of government for that period, could survive the rule of poor emperors. What was it about the imperial form of government (or possibly the good emperors) that made this survival possible? Why didn't the whole thing just come crashing down during periods of poor leadership? Why not revert to a republican form of government? Because things aren't quite as peaceful in Rome anymore, are they? Wasn't that Augustus' strong point from the point of view of the Romans?

 

Victoria’s Post:  How did they survive?  Well that's an excellent question.  There were some extremely bad emperors, that's true. But there were also some good ones in between and some that were a mix of good and bad.  Sometimes the good elements of some might have outweighed the bad.  Honestly, much of Rome might not have known really how bad it was.  Those outside the city of Rome might not have heard or cared about the exploits of Nero.  Those inside the city may not have heard of strife in the territories that were far away.  Maybe it was sheer willpower that made the Romans endure the bad emperors.  Maybe they so trusted the system set up under Augustus that they figured if they waited long enough, they were bound to come up with a new Augustus.  They did always seem to find someone of his bloodline to take over, just none of those people were as good.  They had faith in Augustus and the system of government that evolved under him.  Maybe for them, that was enough.

Your Response:

 

Lino’s Post: One reason the Empire continued to exist during the rule of poor emperors was because the people of Rome expected that when one emperor died another family member would automatically take his place. Augustus had created a solid foundation for the future emperors to build on and Augustus was the model that most emperors tried to emulate. Additionally, during this period there were more years of reign by good emperors than bad emperors. The Empire survived during the rule of poor emperors because at one point or another, bad emperors were seen as good men. For example, in his early years as emperor, Caligula was adored by the people. I don’t think the imperial form of government came crashing down because the people knew that eventually there would be another family member in the line of succession. In fact, this period shows that bad emperors didn’t last long and met an untimely death. Rome didn’t resort to a republican form of government because they were used to the imperial form and good things happened under the reign of the good emperors.

 

Your Response:

 

Week 4- The good emperors:

 

Original Question:   So, why call them "good?" In contrast to the Julio-Claudians and/or Flavians? Yet these earlier dynasties had members who were "good."

 

Vicoria’s Post:

 Comparatively, most of the emperors talked about in chapter 11 could be considered better than some Julio-Claudian or Flavian emperors or worse.  That seems to be more a matter of perspective.  All in all, the Antonines were kind of tame in my opinion.  Nerva was only emperor for a few years and didn't do a whole lot during those two years anyways.  Trajan was pretty good.  He led some more important military conquests, was cool with the Senate, and went down as a generally devoted and good dude.  As it says in the book, "to emperors of late antiquity, the with was expressed that they should be more fortunate than Augustus and better than Trajan" (LeGlay 330).  Hadrian was alright too.  Traversed the empire, withdrew some of the military forces and abandoned some territories, changed some legislation, and added a different kind of administrative power that seemed to work out pretty well.  Marcus Aurelius was seen all-around as a pretty good emperor (Russell Crowe certainly seemed to like him) and it all kinda seemed to start going downhill with Commodus but there were quite a few years of pretty good emperors up until then.  Not the kind of bi-polar "will he be good or crazy?" kind of stuff they had going on with the Julio-Claudians.  I guess it's not really that the Julio-Claudians and Flavians didn't have good emperors or that all of the Antonine emperors were awesome but possibly they call the Antonines the "good" emperors because they had more good emperors in a row (or maybe just less insane emperors in general).

 

Your Response:

 

Beau’s Post:

I don’t necessarily  think it was because they were any better than the Julio/Claudians or Flavians, but due to the fact that they were generally more peaceful.  This group of emperors seemed to accept the senate and be more popular with the general public.  I think that the adoption of non family members rather than a dynasty of just one family assisted in making this possible along with the fact that now people that were of other origins  were able to come up in rank helping to bring the empire together as one and allowing Rome to run much more smoothly.

 Your response:

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