Rivers and the Power of Ancient Rome

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Description: xvi, p. Series: Studies in the history of Greece and Rome Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and indexes. Dewey: 23 Subject: Rome Geography.

Ancient Roman Water Networks Made the Empire Vulnerable | Science | Smithsonian

Rivers and the Power of Ancient Rome. APA: Campbell, J. Rivers and the power of ancient Rome. Set language NL EN. Contact Live chat online E-mail: libservice ugent. By 27 BC, when Octavianus, having emerged from the chaos of the Civil Wars without significant rival to his powers, adopted the title "Augustus" and so became the first Roman emperor, the foundations of the empire were already laid, and Rome was already the leading power, in the western world.

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In the early years of the Roman Empire, each province was given its own constitution, agreed and loosely supervised by the Senate in Rome. For each province a governor was appointed; although, in theory, the tenure of governors lasted one year, in practice, their terms of office were often extended. By the time of Augustus, a hierarchy of provinces had developed: some, considered "public provinces", were administered by proconsular governors, appointed by the Senate, with no responsibility for the command of troops. The remainder were imperial provinces, effectively governed by appointees of the emperor.

For the more peaceful and stable imperial provinces, in which no more than a single legion of troops was based, the governor was a former praetor magistrate ; the more heavily garrisoned provinces were ruled by governors drawn from the ranks of former consuls chief magistrates. There were also some provinces in which the governor was of equestrian rank drawn from the lower echelons of the Roman nobility : Judaea, annexed in 6 BC after the collapse of the client kingdom of Herod , was an equestrian province, as was Egypt which long had a special status on account of its great wealth and strategic importance.

In times of crisis, a serving consul might be sent out to govern a province: this happened in Sicily after a serious slave revolt in BC. Aided by a procurator, who was charged with financial affairs, the governor was responsible for the running of the province, day-to-day matters being settled by a series of local and town councils. The provincial constitution would deal with, among other matters, the status of free towns and ports within the province; with the rights of the inhabitants whether or not Roman citizens ; and with the types and levels of taxation which were to be paid by the provincials.

Each province was usually made up of civitates, local communities that were to some extent self-administering, and often roughly equivalent to the national or tribal groupings existing before annexation of the territory by Rome.

At this early period the great majority of provincials were peregrini, citizens of a Roman province albeit without the rights of Roman citizens: many exceptions could, however, be found, in settlements such as the coloniae legally regarded as virtual extensions of Rome itself and in municipia to which citizen status had been granted.

Until at least the late 1st century AD, however, it is true to say that the provinces of the empire were entirely subordinate to the Italian homeland. From the beginning, the economic benefits of empire made themselves felt in Rome, and the city soon grew to depend upon the influx of provincial wealth. Taxes in kind, especially of grain, were enough to upset the balance of Italian agriculture, while the wealth of Spanish mines, of exotic goods, of slaves, and of custom dues from far-off caravan routes allowed huge programmes of public works in Rome and allowed its inhabitants relief from their own taxes.


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Increasingly, however, much of this wealth was required to sustain the ever-larger army needed to garrison and maintain the empire. Rome's future as an imperial power was affirmed by Augustus , who set out to stabilize and formalize the rather haphazard and vaguely defined boundaries of Roman possessions. This objective was approached in two ways, according to circumstance: either by direct military conquest or, more subtly, by encouraging client kingdoms in strategic buffer zones, where the services of friendly local rulers could be bought or otherwise gained, and would offer a measure of security along the borders.

This policy was used particularly to ally Rome to some of the sophisticated dynasties of the east, buying protection against the Scythian and Parthian peoples who threatened Asia Minor. Further east, however, legions were stationed in Syria to make a permanent frontier of the Euphrates and the edge of the Arabian Desert.

Vespasian: The Path To Power (Roman Empire Documentary) - Timeline

In Europe, the land of Gaul , which had been conquered by Julius Caesar, was organized into four provinces, and the older possessions in Spain into three. Attempts to find tenable frontiers for the Rhine and Danube provinces, however, were less straightforward, and attempts to push beyond the Rhine, and so to remove the threat posed by the Germanic peoples , led to one of Rome's most humiliating defeats when an army under Publius Quinctilius Varus was virtually wiped out in the Teutoberg Forest the clades Variani; literally, "the catastrophe of Vares".

Augustus, however, had been so shattered by the humiliation of the loss of Germany that he instructed his successor, Tiberius , not to increase further Rome's territories. The machinery of empire consolidated by Augustus was inherited by his successors. Tiberius ruled AD annexed the client kingdom of Cappadocia annexation being a policy commonly applied when clientage arrangements for any reason broke down.

The next significant territorial expansion, however, was the invasion of Britain, in AD 43, under Claudius. Partly justified in commercial terms and partly as a move to prevent British support of potentially rebellious Gaulish tribes, this adventure was probably largely a quest for personal prestige by the emperor, who played an active personal part in the conquest and consolidation. Although some difficulty was experienced in establishing a safe northern boundary eventually to be established by the building of Hadrian's Wall , which became the ultimate northern boundary of the empire , Britain rapidly became drawn into the Roman provincial modes of life, with several flourishing cities, including Camulodunum now Colchester , the original provincial capital, and many minor towns.

Claudius took a close interest in the provinces of the empire and did much to extend Roman citizenship by founding coloniae and municipiae, especially in Gaul.

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He also introduced measures to draw provincials into the higher ranks of Roman administration, particularly into the Senate: this did much to underline the increasing parity of the provinces with the Italian homeland, to which they were previously completely subordinate. The following year of dynastic struggle has been graphically named "the year of the four Emperors". From the turmoil emerged the able Vespasian , first of the Flavian Emperors. He and his sons Titus and Domitian ruled successively until 96, and maintained the empire. New territory was added in Germany, east of the Rhine, and the eastern frontiers were greatly improved and strengthened.

The empire was not, however, to grow for much longer: forces were at work, both internally and externally, which were to bring about the protracted end of the Roman Empire. For a while, however, the provinces flourished. The dynasty of the Antonines began in 96 with the murder of Domitian and his succession by Nerva : when, two years later, the Imperial purple passed to the Spanish-born Trajan ruled , the Roman world had for the first time a ruler who was himself a provincial. From this time, it is possible to see the empire develop as a genuinely cosmopolitan community.

Though, ultimately, it was Italy and Rome which mattered and which were subsidized by provincial revenues, there was at the same time a considerable amount of shared interest, as well as common culture and institutions. Trajan tried to increase the extent of the empire and, indeed, it was under his reign that it briefly reached what was to be its greatest size.

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These new possessions could not be consolidated, however, and were soon relinquished by Hadrian ruled , who was far more concerned with safeguarding the existing provinces than with acquiring new ones. Hadrian took a close, personal interest in the empire, and travelled extensively through every part of Rome's dominions.

Ancient Rome

He was an able and just administrator with an interest in philosophy. His long reign was, by and large, a period of peace, stability, and prosperity. Perhaps his most lasting gift to the empire was the system of formal, defended frontiers which he established in Britain and along the Rhine and Danube. He was succeeded by Antoninus Pius ruled , a Gaul married to a Spanish wife: Antoninus Pius continued the imperial policies of Hadrian, and the strongly garrisoned frontiers remained intact.

Crisis was to come in the following reign, that of the Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius ruled The expansion of Barbarian tribes outside the empire was producing ever more pressure on available territory, and the productive lands of the Roman provinces were irresistibly attractive not only to casual raiders and looters but, more importantly, to expanding or dispossessed peoples looking for land on which to settle. For a while the whole of the empire in the west was threatened when a host of Germanic tribes, the most powerful of whom were the Marcomanni, smashed through the Danube frontier, overran the adjacent provinces, and pushed as far as northern Italy, where they lay siege to Apuleia.

After a long and grimly fought war, they were pushed back, but the pattern of barbarian pressure and incursion was to continue. The Empire at its Height. At its greatest extent, the Roman Empire included all the lands bordering on the Mediterranean Sea, and reached far into northern Europe and the Near East. The northern limit was in Britain where, after an unsuccessful Antonine attempt to annex southern Scotland, the frontier was eventually established on Hadrian's Wall, which stretched from the Tyne to the Solway.

The whole of the Iberian Peninsula was occupied, and divided into the provinces of Tarraconensis, Baetica, and Lusitania. Along the southern bank of the Danube lay the provinces of Rhaetia, Noricum, and Pannonia. Virtually the whole of the coastal strip of northern Africa was part of the empire, divided into the provinces of Africa, Mauretania, Numidia , Cyrenaica , and Aegyptus Egypt. Roman influence spread even further than the far-flung boundaries of this Empire: major trade routes, especially to the Orient, had been opened, and Roman goods have been found as far east as India and as far west as Ireland.

Dana and M. One wonders, however, whether their evidence should have been treated in isolation from both documentary and narrative sources, amply discussed by C. Illustrations are not particularly numerous, but there are nineteen exceptionally clear and useful maps. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Mineral resource and marble extraction was an important component of the economy and administration of the Roman Empire, and central to the preservation of Roman power under the Principate. Metals were essential for military operations, the maintenance of a tri-metallic monetary economy, and revenue generation, whereas marble, as a building material of prestige, was fundamental to the symbolic projection of imperial power.

Analysing how the extraction of these materials was organized and sustained at all levels is thus vital to our understanding of the robustness and duration of the Roman Empire as a high-end ancient state. This makes sense in view of the geographical extent of the empire, the diversity of environmental conditions under which metal and stone extraction took place, labour constraints and imperatives, and the limits of Roman bureaucratic organization. Following an introduction ch.

Mines both opencast and underground operations and quarries posed different technical constraints requiring considerable customization of operations. Mining and quarrying was organized into distinct and largely autonomous territorial entities within the provinces and in the case of the Danubian provinces there was a direct connection as well between mining zones and customs districts, but the precise relationship between the two remains unclear 81—2. Even more uncertain is the question of whether mines and quarries were strictly speaking public property or part of the private domains of the emperor.

He also notes that well into the second century, emperors still honoured the legal and tax distinctions between imperial and state property Related Papers. Book Review: A.

By R Bruce Hitchner.



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