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The Roman Empire (60 BCE-160 CE)

Important Terms, People, and Events

Context

Timeline

Terms

equites  -  Knights-turned middling entrepreneurs from the provincial Italian towns with economic interests in Rome. Cultivated by Emperors as a counterweight in the imperial administration to senators, who saw them as a distinct class. Were co-opted into Senate, over time replacing most patricians.
Proconsul  -  Post given to consuls after their year of tenure. Was a provincial military leadership assignment, its appointment came into hands of emperors as early as Augustus.
Praetorian Prefect  -  Head of the Praetorian Guard, the palace guard of the Emperor and his possessions. Became king-makers at times of socio-political instability. An Augustinian innovation.
Alimenta  -  Nerva's loans to small agriculturalists, the proceeds of which went to help the fisci of Italian and Gaulic towns. Continued by Trajan.
Aelia Capitolina  -  Trajan's idea to rebuild and repopulate Palestine with a non-Jewish, Roman capital.
Latifundia  -  Middle to large estates in Italy and southern Gaul. Material basis for patrician-equestrian wealth and city-growth.

Names

Sextus Pompei  -  Consul in 70s BCE, procunsul thereafter. Toured through, Near East reorganizing provinces there. Was in First Triumvirate with Caesar, before the they broke ranks and became chief antagonists until 46 BCE, when Caesar triumphed at Munda.
Caesar  -  Consul, then procunsul in 60s-50s When denied power by the Senate, crossed the Rubicon with his loyal forces and wrested power in Rome. Established the Triumvirate with Sextus Pompei, then the two split and became bitter rivals for power. Built a faction around himself and soon defeated Pompei, after which he took power in Rome and enacted major reforms of the Senate, settlement, etc. Assassinated by the Senate, which feared he was destroying the Republic, on March 15, 44 BCE.
Marcus Antonius  -  A lieutenant of Caesar, saw self as his heir. After Second Triumvirate of 43-33, in which he shared power with Octavian, the two came into open conflict. Allied with Cleopatra, but was finally defeated in 30 BCE.
Lepidus  -  Second Triumvirate member. Retired soon after troops defected to Octavian.
Octavian  -  Nephew of Caesar, adopted by him before latter's death, and listed as heir in will. Fought Mark Antony, eventually establishing undisputed, unchallenged rule over Rome and inaugurating the Principate. Ruled 30 BCE to 14 CE.
Agrippa  -  Comrade-in-arms, friend, and adviser to Octavian. His generalship assured Octavian's victories, helped in the urban infrastructure of Rome, and assured the success of the Rhine campaigns. Died before he could become Emperor.
Augustus  -  'Bringer of Increase'; an epithet of the gods given to Octavian by the Senate in the 20s BCE.
Tiberius  -  Ruled 14-38 BCE. Strong general under Augustus, passed over as heir several times. Disliked by Senate for detached, reclusive, at times vicious behavior.
Marcomanni  -  Germanic tribe in the Rhine area, active from the first century CE.
Varrus  -  Roman legate sent to quiet the Marcomanni in 7 CE. Was defeated in Teutoburgian forest in what became a massacre.
Sejanus  -  Companion to Tiberius, he engineered excessive treason trials and nepotism in Rome while the Emperor was living on Capri. May have conspired against Emperor. Tiberius had him murdered in 31 CE.
Caligula  -  Gaius, 'little boots', son of Augustus' adopted heir Germanicus. Became Emperor in 38, soon descended into insanity and Hellenistic addictions. Murdered in 41 by Praetorian Guard.
Claudius  -  Son of Augustus, passed over several times, disliked for physical infirmities. Became Emperor upon Caligula's death and ruled from 40–54 CE. Was administratively and military successful—conquered Britain—but disliked by Rome elite. Died 54 CE.
Nero  -  Adopted son of Claudius, and was son of Agrippina the Younger. Early years of his rule (55-61) went well, then quickly descended into a vicious madness reminiscent of Caligula; became uninterested in army or administration, obsessed only with Greek Hellenism. Killed several generals and wives, committed suicide in 69 CE.
Vespasianus  -  Equestrian background general in Judaea who rose in 69, eventually fought off other military claimants to the throne, and became emperor from 69-79 CE, establishing the Flavian dynasty, of which Trajan was a member.
Plautinus  -  Generla from Claudius' era, conquered Britain for Empire in 44 CE.
Paulinus  -  General of Claudius who conquered Mauretenia and annexed it for Rome.
Burrus  -  One of Nero's early tutors during the good years.
Seneca  -  Roman scholar and early tutor of Nero. Killed by him in terrors.
Corbulo  -  Sucessfull Roman general in East. Summoned by Nero to Rome and ordered to commit suicide, which he did, in 66 CE.
Gessius Florus  -  Roman procurator in Judaea when Jewish Revolt began in 68 CE. Eventually became the imperial legate after the war.
Galba  -  Spanish governor revolting in 68-69, during Year of Four Emperors. From ancient senatorial family, he was accepted in Rome, but had insufficient forces to beat off other claimants. Was killed in 69.
Otho  -  One-time crony of Nero who bribed the Praetorian Guard to raise him as Emperor in 69 CE. Was defeated by Vitellus in 69 CE.
Vitellus  -  One of four claimants to the throne in 69 CE. Defeated Otho, though ultimately defeated by Vespasian.
Titus  -  Vespasian's son and successor, both in command of Palestine and, ultimately, the Principate. Ruled 79-81 CE.
Quadi  -  Germanic tribe in Rhine-Danube area.
Domitian  -  Second son of Vespasian. Unpopular ruler, but not ineffective. Murdered 96 CE.
Dacians  -  People of Transylvania, possessing organized, fortified kingdom. Harassed sub- Danubian Roman lands beginning in Domitian's time. Trajan finally burst through into their lands and annexed the region, leading to its Latinization.
Nerva  -  Place-holder Emperor after Domitian. Known for Alimenta and adoption of Trajan as heir.
Chosroes  -  Parthian king excessively friendly with Armenia, thus encouraging Trajan to invade Parthian lands from 113.
Trajan  -  Roman Emperor, 98-117. Most popular emperor after Augustus. Expanded Roman lands into Danube area and east. Under his rule, Rome had good government and finances. He treated the Senate well.
Hadrian  -  Ruled 117-138. Not popular, in that was not an agressive emperor externally, and seemed to hint at demotion of Italy's status domestically. Faced and put down another Jewish revolt in Palestine.
Antoninus Pius  -  Ruled 138-161. His reign was extremely uneventful internally, with external peace and wealth. Germans start to become restive. Rome's peak of power.

Events

Munda  -  Last Caesar-Pompei era civil war battle. Caesar defeats Pompei in 46 BCE.
Ides of March  -  Actually refers the middle of the month; the ides of March simple means March 15. Made famous because on March, 15 44 BCE, Caesar was murdered by a group of senators led by Brutus and Cassius. The Senators feared he was becoming a monarch, and killed Caesar to save the Republic.
Actium  -  Final Octavian-Marcus Antonius battle, 30 BCE. Mark Antony loses naval battel as his squadrons and Cleopatra abandon him.
Teutoburgian Forest  -  Site of Varrus' defeat and massacre of Roman legion by Germanic Barbarians in 7 CE. Only military disaster of Augustus' reign; ended his plans to conquer up to Elbe.
Piso's Conspiracy  -  Conspiracy of several Senators and Roman elites to unseat Nero and install the senator Piso in 64-65. It failed and all conspirators were murdered, leading to new trials and terrors.
Bedricum I  -  Battle between Otho and Vitellus at Cremona in 69 CE. Backed only by the Praetorian Guard, Otho was outnumbered and defeated.
Bedricum II  -  Battle between Antonius Primus and Vitellus at Cremona later in 69. Fighting on Vespasian's behalf, Primus defeated Vitellus when the latter's officers defected.

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