Lecture 11A: Rome
We move now to the next crucial civilization to have made a lasting mark on
Western European civilizations.
The art, architecture, law code, and political
style of Rome profoundly impacted the development of medieval Europe.
course, Rome itself was so incredibly influenced by Greek art, religion,
architecture, and politics that it also provides continuity of that tradition.
Rome will nurture the early Christian movement and provide the base from which
the Roman Catholic Church will develop.
Rome is located in Italy.
divided into geographic regions.
The Apennines form a great central mountain
The zigzagging of the Apennines creates 3 natural lowland regions; the
Po valley in the north, Apulia in the south, and the West districts of Etruria,
Latium, and Campania.
The western districts had the richest agricultural land
and natural lines of communication.
Rome had the benefit of being in the central
location of communication routes and in the position to prevent movement north
or south or from the Mediterranean into the interior, but it was vulnerable to
attack from many sides.
Diplomacy was an early important element in Rome’s
dealings with its neighbors as it developed the principle of divide and conquer.
People of Italy
Diverse peoples inhabited the area we call Italy.
Celts infiltrated across the Alps
in the early 5
Then massive numbers of Celts arrived around 400
bce settled in Po valley and expanded southward along Adriatic Coast.
had been in Italy and Sicily since the 8
century, mainly along the southern
The Phoenicians were influential in Etruria.
The Interior of Italy was
mainly in the hands of 2 groups; Indo-European speakers called the Venetians of
the Po, the Oscans and Umbrians of central and east coast, and the Latins of the
west and then the Non-Indo speaking Etruscans, a small number of Apulia, and
The Oscans were the most widespread, the Celts the most
The Latins were confined between the Tiber River and Campania.
The Oscans and Celts were pre-state tribal people, who only slowly became
partially urban, but they had a significant military, and their raiding caused urban
populations of other areas problems
The Etruscans were an extremely wealthy and influential group inhabiting Italy.
We first find evidence of them around the year 700 bce.
Scholars are still
debating whether the Etruscans emerged from the earlier Italian culture called
the Villanovan, Urnfield culture, found also in the Alps, or if they moved into the
area and mixed with the native group?
Herodotus believed the Etruscans were
They certainly had undeniable affinities with the east.
They built tholos
tombs, practiced divination with animal remains, and had artistic similarities with
Neither scenario is entirely convincing; more evidence needs to
They were organized in a loose federation that met annually to plan
joint action and religious festivals.
Traditionally these tribes numbered 12, but at