Classic Civ 372

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Gens
Within the aristocracy, a group of individuals, probably all heads on individual familiae, who controlled the movement of property into and out of the group
Imperium
The legal poer of certain magistrates and, by extension, the area where that power was exercised (hence the Imperium Romanum, “power of the Romans”)
Comitia Centuriata
The Roman voting assembly, based upon the dividion of the Roman people into five classes and 193 centuries. Only a magistrate with imperium could summon this body. It had the power to vote on the elections of magistrates with imperium, declare war and peace, and enact laws.
Patrician
A member of the ruling elite of Rome. The aristocratic families who made up the patrician order claimes descent from the city’s original senators, who, according to legend were appointed by Romulus.
Plebian (“the plebs”)
Any Roman citizen who was not a Patrician. Plebians constituted a majority of the Roman populace and could include people of very high social standing and wealth.
Servian Constitution
Constitution of the early Republic which created the comitia centuriata and divided the Roman people into centuries with 170 centuries for the infanty and 23 centuries for everyone else.
Pietas
An attitude of dutiful respect towards those to whom one is bound by ties of religion, blood, relationship etc.
Mediterranean Climate
Hot dry summers, mild wet winters
Mediterranean Agriculture
Mostly consisted of cultivation of cereals (wheat and barley), olives, grapes, legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils), which made up the majority of the Mediterranean diet. The events of the agricultural calendar dominated the lives of almost everyone living in the ancient world and influenced the timing of festivals and games.
Malaria
A mosquito-borne disease active during summer and fall in the Mediterranean, especially common near Rome. It directly influenced settlement patterns, encouraging people to live in hilltop settlements (like Rome), since mosquitoes breed in low-lying areas.
Cornelius Publius Scipio (Africanus)
Roman general who received the agnomen (official nickname) “Africanus” after he defeated Hannibal in the second Punic war at the city of Zama in N. Africa in 202 BCE. Earlier in the second Punic War he had led the Roman troops to Spain to kick out the Carthaginians.
Punic Wars
Three wars between Rome and Carthage that in full ran from 264 BCE to 146 BCE. The first Punic War was fought over the island of Sicily, which the Romans ultimately won after a series of naval victories. The second Punic War started in 218 BCE when Hannibal attacked a Roman-allied city in Spain, crossed the Alps with his elephants, amassed an army, and killed a lot of Romans. The third Punic War started in 149 BCE when Carthage re-armed and attacked Numidia, a Roman ally; Carthage lost and was burnt to the ground.
Patronage
An informal power relationship between a patron and client. The patron was a wealthier well-connected man who provided services and protection; the client, in return, provided votes, reverence, and prestige. Patronage involved the custom of the morning greeting. Clients were sometimes manumitted slaves or cives sine suffragio (“citizens without the vote”) from outside Rome who needed a representative in the Roman assemblies.
Maniples
The result of a re-structuring of the troops into groups of 120 men trained as distinct elements of the legion (there were 40 in the legion). Maniples signified an improvement over previous formations because they were more lightly armed (and therefore more mobile) and because they allowed the front line of troops to rotate. Maniples did not, however, allow commanders much room for innovation or forgive much error.
Deditio in fidem/fides
“Surrendering into the good faith” of the Romans. The formal surrender by sacred oath of a conquered state into Roman control, whereby Rome promised decent treatment and protection in exchange for taxes and troops. This institution, developed in the late fourth century BCE after the dissolution of the Latin League, allowed cities in Italy to operate within the Roman system and gave them protection from other states.
Assimilation
The method by which Rome took on cultural traits of its provinces and vice versa. When people assimilate to Roman culture after conquest, we call it “Romanization.” Greek culture was especially adopted by the Romans, although some more conservative people objected to many elements of Greek culture.
Size of the empire in 133 BCE
The empire expanded its control and developed roads throughout North Africa and all of Greece and Macedonia, eastern Spain, and the western coast of Turkey (Asia Minor). The size of the empire at this point was rather unwieldy, since Rome had not yet developed the administrative infrastructure to manage it.
Fertility
The purpose of marriage in Roman society was to produce children. The most fertile period for women is between 20 and 29 years old, by which age most Roman women were already married. Fertility rates were about 45 ppl per 1,000 (cf. USA 16/1,000). Romans typically controlled fertility not through “family planning” but by capitalizing on natural cycles, like limiting sex during breastfeeding.
Contubernia
Informal unions between slaves (since they could not legally marry) which, when they resulted in childbirth, produced illegitimate children. These unions were sometimes recognized by slave owners.
The Antonine Plague
An epidemic probably of small-pox that began under the Emperor Antoninus Pius and lasted from 165-190 CE. 10% of the population died, including two emperors. It was probably transmitted by Roman soldiers returning from the East.
Urbani/rustici
Urbani were slaves employed in the city (domestic slaves giving personal services) or employed as administrators in the country. Rustici were slaves employed in the countryside (doing domestic duties in the country villa, farm work). There were more rustici than urbani. The rustici were often looked down upon by their urban counterparts and enjoyed fewer opportunities for advancement.
Division of labor among slaves
Sources suggest that job categories for slaves were very distinct, more than would seem necessary; for example, “doorkeeper” and “sweeper” were two different positions. This may have been because there was a prestige value in having more slaves to do extremely specific things. The specialization of slave labor also suggests that some people had an unnecessary number of slaves.
Slave population in peninsular Italy at end of 1st century BCE
2-3 million, which amounted to 33-40% of the population. Since more than twenty percent of the population was enslaved, Rome at this time can undoubtedly be called a “slave society.”
Peculium
The money/property a slave could collect to eventually purchase his or her own freedom, completely controlled by the master.
Familia
The whole Roman household including husband, wife, children, slaves, extended family, and freedmen dependents.
Paterfamilias
The oldest living male of a Roman familia who legally had the power of life and death over all family members — patria potestas — and served as “chief priest” for the familia (“mediator” between gods and humans). After the first century BCE his daughters usually remained under his jurisdiction even after they married.
Roman Education
Children learned from various people in the familia: from family dependents/slaves who acted as tutors and from observing their mothers and fathers at work. Literacy was important in the upper classes especially for men. Children’s daily activities also included physical education, meant to “harden” the body. After basic education, women learned from their mothers how to run the household and perform domestic tasks (e.g. weaving).
Toga
Unwieldy, hot, woollen outer garment worn by Roman men (not on a daily basis!) to display their citizenship and to show that they didn’t have to perform physical labor. Boys wore the toga praetexta.
Materfamilias
The wife of the paterfamilias, usually 5 to 10 years younger than her husband at first marriage. The materfamilias was in charge of the administration of the house (slaves, purchases) especially when the paterfamilias was absent, the education of her daughters, and the production of textiles.
Domus as public and private space
The Roman domus was both a private family residence and the site of daily business. The atrium, or courtyard, was used to receive visitors and conduct religious ceremonies, while the tablinium functioned as a home-office. Roman bedrooms were small, poorly lit, and seldom individualized.
Stephanitic games
Panhellenic, crown-awarding games. The Olympian Games (founded in 776 BCE) were dedicated to Zeus at Olympia. The Pythian Games were dedicated to Apollo at Delphi. The Isthmian Games were dedicated to Poseidon at Isthmia. The Nemean Games were (also) dedicated to Zeus at Nemea.
Arete
Greek word for “individual excellence” used to describe heroes’ strength and courage in Homer’s Iliad.
Funeral Games
Games held to honor a man who has died. The competitions held at funeral games create glory, not only for the person who has died, but also for the living people who compete in and win them.
Hoplitodromos
A Greek race in full armor two stadia long (approx. 400 meters). The hoplitodromos connects military training and athleticism
Marathon
According to legend, Pheidippides ran from the coastal town of Marathon to Athens to announce the victory won at Marathon against the Persians. He apparently collapsed dead as soon as he delivered his message. The only ancient textual reference we have to anything like this is in Herodotus who mentions someone running for two days from Athens to Sparta to ask for help on the eve of the battle. In the modern Spartathalon, the run from Athens to Sparta takes less than 24 hours. The run from Marathon to Athens does not amount to the length of a modern marathon (26 miles).
Pentathlon
Composed of the stadion race (200 meters), wrestling, discus throw, long jump, and javelin throw. The winner of any three won the entire competition, but we don’t know how a winner was determined if nobody won three of the five competitions. Some of the individual events were accompanied by flute-playing.
Pankration
A high-prestige Greek sport which combined boxing and wrestling. Pankratiasts competed naked; biting and eye-gouging were not allowed. Herakles may be the patron of the sport.
Egyptian vs. Greek Wrestling
Greeks wrestled naked, while Egyptians (mostly) competed clothed. Wrestling seems to have been a high prestige sport for the Egyptians, while Greeks valued the pankration more. The rules for Greek and Egyptian wrestling were essentially the same, but we don’t understand how the Egyptians won. While the Greeks abstracted wrestling into a sporting event, Egyptian wrestling was confined to funereal occasions and the entertainment of the Pharaoh.
Staves
Egyptian wooden fighting sticks approximately one meter in length, often branched at the end to provide a better grip and sometimes reinforced with metal at the tip.
Sacrifice
The basic act of Greco-Roman religion, sacrifice establishes a positive relationship between a human being and god. In exchange for favor and protection, a human being makes an offering
accompanied by prayer. Typical Roman sacrifices include libations (liquids), immolations (burned cakes and animals), and flowers.
Ludi Romani
“Roman games” mainly consisting of chariot races that began as occasional, votive offerings to Jupiter Optimus Maximus in return for military victory. The Ludi Romani were not held on a regular basis until 366 BCE.
Origins of the Gladiatorial Combats
Either adapted from the Etruscans, people living to Rome’s north, as funeral games, or from the Samnites, people living to Rome’s south, as an accompaniment to banquets. The Romans themselves favored the first explanation.
Munus/Munera
Originally a “duty” survivors owe the deceased in the form of a funeral and funeral games, later used to designate gladiatorial combats held on such an occasion.
Venationes
“Hunts” held in the circus and amphitheater, which involved the display of animals, and combat between animals or between animals and humans.
Aedile
A minor magistrate in charge of public works, religious ceremonies, and the organization of the games (including the Ludi Romani) after 366 BCE.
Lex Tullia and Lex Calpurnia:
Legislation of the first century BCE designed to curb spending on games and thus reduce both bribery and the threat of violence posed by gladiatorial schools.
Editores
The elite sponsor of a spectacle, who spends extravagantly on public games (as an aedile) or munera (as a private person) to gain popular support.
Role of gladiators in civil strife
Gladiators contributed to civil strife when they were used to start riots, kept as bodyguards, or retained as an informal army.
Forum Romanum
The commercial and political heart of Rome, where gladiatorial games were regularly held during the Republic after 216 BCE.
Amphitheater at Pompeii
One of the oldest permanent amphitheaters in the Roman world, built in 70 BCE.
Flavian amphitheater
The amphitheater with the largest capacity in the Roman world, seating 50,000-80,000 people. It employed sophisticated interior and underground organization, and was built by the Flavian emperors, who ruled Rome beginning in 69 CE.
Podia
Walls 2-4 meters high, sometimes reinforced with netting, which protected spectators from violence in the amphitheater, especially during venationes.
Circus Maximus
The most famous circus in the Roman world, the Circus Maximus sat 150,000-350,000 people and accommodated up to 12 charioteers at any one time. Although given its permanent form by the emperor Trajan, the site of the Circus Maximus was established as a venue for racing by Tarquinius Superbus in the sixth century BCE.
Metae
Turning points in the shape of large gilded cones at either end of the spina.
Spina
344 meter long barrier along the central axis of the circus where the eggs- and dolphin-counters were located, and around which chariots turned.
Quadriga and Biga
4 and 2 horse chariot, respectively.
Gracchi
Plebeian tribunes and brothers who agitated for greater popular control during the last hundred years of the Republic. T. Gracchus championed land reform and land redistribution, while his brother G. Gracchus introduced grain subsidization in the city and tried to extend Roman citizenship to all of Italy.
G. Marius
Roman equestrian (novus homo) who became consul seven times, reformed the army, and defeated northern barbarians in the late second century CE.
Social War
War fought from 91-88 BCE between Rome and her Italian allies (socii) over the citizenship rights of Rome’s conquered peoples. Resulted, in 89 BCE, in the extension of citizenship to all Italians willing to lay down their arms.
Sulla
Commander in multiple wars throughout the first century BCE including the Social War. He introduced legislative reforms that, in general, returned political power to the elite, increasing the size of the senate to 600 people and restricting the power of the tribunes. He marched on the city of Rome (illegally) twice in his career and was responsible for mass proscriptions.
Pompey the Great
Follower of Sulla and Roman general in the late Republic who defeated Mithridates and conquered much of Asia Minor for Rome. He built Rome’s first permanent theater and was the first private person to be granted imperium.
Cicero
Equestrian (novus homo), orator, philosopher, and politician of the last years of the Republic. Cicero succeeded in politics not as a general or military commander, like many of his contemporaries, but because of his rhetorical skill. A prolific author, Cicero is one of our primary sources for Roman history and philosophy.

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