Questions about the period of ancient Roman civilization when the government operated as a republic from 509 BC to 27 BC.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

39
votes
5answers
5k views

When did the Romans finally acknowledge that they were living in an empire?

The Romans, during the time of the Republic, were a famously anti-monarchical society. There are plenty of stories of Roman politicians gaining favor by refusing crowns, or condemning kings, etc. As ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Why didn't Tiberius Gracchus seek the consulship?

Tiberius Gracchus tried to push through his reforms programme while holding the magistracy of a tribune of the plebs. I wonder, though, why he did not try to get elected as consul (very likely given ...
5
votes
2answers
134 views

Who were the candidates in the consular elections for 80 BC in Rome?

Wikipedia describes the political process of 80 BC thus: Near the end of 81 BC, Sulla, true to his traditionalist sentiments, resigned his dictatorship, disbanded his legions and re-established ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

Was Julius Caesar a hippie?

I was reading the question What was the hippie movement? Why did it decline? when I noticed this comment by Oldcat: There is even a story of Julius Caesar wearing a long fringe sleeved tunic to ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Is “Friends, Romans, …” a historical speech?

While searching for a canonical translation to my language of the phrase Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears I was surprised to find reference to it only in the Shakespeare play. As the ...
3
votes
1answer
54 views

Did Caesar hold proconsular imperium for his entire governorship?

In order to hold a governorship during the late Roman Republic the magistrate needed to be a pro magistratu, specifically proquaestor, propraetor or proconsular. Since Caesar was appointed his ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

Why was the Bald Eagle chosen as the national bird of the United States?

The Bald Eagle is a grand and beautiful bird of prey that once frequently soared majestically through the skies of the American wilderness. It is also very important in American Indian culture (See: ...
-2
votes
2answers
110 views

Christian and Etruscan end of times

I believe I've read somewhere, that the Etruscans (anymore knows any sources?) devoted ever more thought to the afterlife, as the Roman republic encroached on their territory. Similarly the Romans ...
0
votes
2answers
331 views

What was the source of the idea of a republic?

Where did the Greeks or the Romans find the idea of a "Republic"? What was the source of the idea? Did the idea come from philosophers, or citizens, etc.?
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Was Marcus Marcellus faced with Viridomarus or Britomartus?

I seem to have come to a discrepancy, as I'm sure a lot have, concerning the event in which Marcus Claudius Marcellus is supposedly meant to have slain the King of the Insubres in 222 B.C.E. Plutarch ...
6
votes
1answer
110 views

Who stood for the Roman consulship in absentia?

I'm trying to find precedents for Caesar's request in 50 BC to stand for the consulship in absentia (i.e. without returning to Rome as a private citizen), which was ultimately refused by the Senate. ...
6
votes
1answer
207 views

Was it widespread practice to grant freedom to slaves in early Roman Empire?

If a citizen owned a slave, he or she could free him / her. The Wikipedia article gives some reasons for doing this: Slaves were freed for a variety of reasons; for a particularly good deed toward ...
7
votes
1answer
261 views

What is the 'rank switching' done by Roman Legionnaires in HBO's 'Rome' called, and did it actually happen?

I'm talking about the formational fighting show in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJO2UfG9KcI Where did the show's creators get the source material? If so, what was it called, when did ...
5
votes
1answer
163 views

What roman legions in Spain revolted against Caesar before the battle at Munda?

I was debating an interesting topic recently about Pompey's legions in Spain and why they hadn't fought alongside him against Caesar at Pharsalus. Now Caesar forcefully convinced most of them to join ...
0
votes
0answers
75 views

What was the role of the college of consuls in Ancient Rome?

Wikipedia says: By law, only three persons were required to create a legal collegium; the only exception was the college of consuls, which included only the two consuls. I wonder what was ...
10
votes
1answer
517 views

Short or long Roman numerals?

TL;DR: Is 1995 correctly written as MVM, or as something more like MCMLVL? MCMVC? MCMLXLV? MCMLXXXXV? From what I recall from my Latin classes (European highschool...), you are not supposed to write ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

What form of home address did Romans use?

Were the buildings in an ancient Roman city numbered, named or something else? How would they tell each other where they lived? Were the numbers painted on the walls? Did they have apartment numbers? ...
8
votes
3answers
306 views

At the Battle of Zama, was the Roman army more “native” than the Carthaginian?

At the battle of Zama, which army had a higher proportion of native troops? Within the context of this question consider troops to be either "native" or "mercenary". Native troops serve out of ...
5
votes
1answer
170 views

Did the Carthaginians have the option of sending Hannibal to Sicily?

Sicily was a major focus of the First and Second Punic Wars. The first Punic war ended with Carthage handing over major grain-growing areas on the island, and the port of Lilybaem to Rome as spoils of ...
7
votes
2answers
282 views

Did the Gallic army besieged in Alesia conduct itself well when expecting relief?

During a Gallic revolution against Rome, a Gallic army of some 80,000 men took shelter in the fortress town of Alesia, where they were besieged by some 50,000 Romans under Julius Caesar. (His army may ...
7
votes
1answer
955 views

Did the Romans “copy” their political system from the Greeks?

This is an outgrowth of the discussion here. My sense is that the Romans developed their system autochthonously, probably with some influence from their Etruscan neigbours and one-time-overlords. ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

“No sane man will dance.”? When / where / about-what did Cicero say this?

I hate quotes out of context, even great lines like "No sane man will dance." -- which was allegedly uttered by Cicero. But every time the quote is used, context is omitted. Was Cicero really ...
10
votes
4answers
227 views

What is considered to be the pivotal battle between Caesar and Pompey?

Caesar and Pompey's forces battled with one another on numerous occasions during the Fall of the Roman Republic. What is the earliest battle that is commonly accepted as the one where it became clear ...
5
votes
1answer
506 views

What role did Jews play in the Punic Wars?

There were Jewish communities throughout the Mediterranean at the time of the Punic Wars? What role if any, did jews play in these wars?
7
votes
1answer
966 views

What kind of siege weapons were used during Punic wars

I would like to know which kind of siege weapons were used during Punic wars on both sides, there is not wery much information around.
3
votes
3answers
765 views

In Battle of Zama, how did Hannibal's use of war elephants lead to a Roman Victory?

Why did Hannibal attack with elephants from the front? Why not from side? Also why did the elephants just keep walking through the small gap? Why not wreak havoc in the middle of Roman troops? (like ...
12
votes
2answers
734 views

What factors contributed to earlier democratic states failing?

Conventional wisdom says that democracy is the superior form of government. If this is true, then factors might have contributed to earlier democratic states like Athens in 500 BCE and the Roman ...
19
votes
1answer
716 views

What did the Romans do for Judea?

I watched The Life of Brian and I heard this quotation: And from our fathers' fathers' fathers. Reg: Yes. Stan: And from our fathers' fathers' fathers' fathers. Reg: All right, ...
1
vote
0answers
80 views

Any suggestions on a book about the Roman conquest of Greece [closed]

I have read lots on the period of around the Punic war and the period during the civil war, but I have yet to read a good modern book on the Romanization of the east. I have read some of the ...
6
votes
2answers
477 views

Who proposed the motion that gave Gaius Julius Caesar the title Augustus?

In 27 BC, the Senate gave Gaius Julius Caesar the title Augustus. I am assuming that as the senate gave him that title, the motion must have been proposed by someone at the senate floor. Do we know, ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How well can cavalry fight infantry?

In the Battle of Pharsalus, Caesar's infantry won by throwing their spears at the horsemen's faces. So how come in Battle of Zama and many other battles, including the battle where Khalid ibn ...
9
votes
1answer
81 views

In which direction does the thumb point in the “pollice verso?”

Pollice verso was the gesture used to indicate death by roman crowds in the arena. However, wikipedia notes some debate over the exact gesture indicated by the phrase. Has there been any relevant ...
10
votes
1answer
205 views

What were the rights of various classes of people in the Roman Republic?

Ancient Rome is often cited as a republic/democracy, and one of the earliest examples of a civilisation enforcing some degree of human rights. However, it's no secret that slavery was present in Rome. ...
3
votes
1answer
172 views

Why was Caesar at the Rubicon?

«Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος» (anerriphtho kybos, lit. Let the die be cast) was attributed by Suetonius to Caesar when it was reported that some legionaries cross the Rubicon. Why did Caesar move to the Rubicon ...