Tpcs in Roman History
One of the less documented periods in Roman history is also one of the most important. Following their victory at Sentinum over a coalition of Italian nations in 295 B.C., the Romans obtained dominance - though far from unchallenged - in central and southern Italy. Seventy-five years later, on the eve of the Second Punic War, they were not only in effective control of almost the entire Italian peninsula, but they had also made their first forays into overseas conquest and had defeated Carthage to become the most powerful empire in the Western Mediterranean. The same period saw major cultural changes at Rome, not least the first recorded Latin literature, and also economic changes, including the first introduction of Roman coinage. In this course we will be examining the various processes that transformed Rome in so short a time from a regional force to a Mediterranean power. One major focus will be on tracing Rome's military and diplomatic engagement, both hostile and otherwise, with her potential rivals and challengers; we will also consider the way in which the Romans developed networks of power via colonies and alliances in Italy, both formal and informal. Another important question is how far the Romans had (as our sources sometimes seem to suggest) genuinely overcome the legacy of social and political discord; we will also examine the cultural relationship between Rome and her neighbours inside and outside Italy, and the various influences in both directions. We will analyze these issues in light of what are still some of the most intensely contested questions in classical scholarship, including the nature of Roman imperialism, the relationship between Rome and her colonies, the extent of aristocratic control over Roman military and political decision-making, and the reasons for the cultural shifts in the city. We will draw on the widest possible set of evidence, primarily literary, but also archaeological, epigraphic, and numismatic.