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

I take your question as meaning: when did Romans realize that they were living in a monarchy ? (As opposed to the aristocratic regime previously known as "republic".) We must first realize that there ...
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45 votes
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Why did the Roman military start to favour swords over the spear phalanx?

Actually, the Romans used the same phalanx everyone else did for a very long time. Past Hannibal. The essence of winning a phalanx battle is to attack the flank of the phalanx. One may achieve that ...
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  • 546
37 votes
Accepted

Why did the original Carthage never become a Roman city?

First of all, Carthage did not fall in the First or Second Punic Wars. The Carthaginians were defeated twice, and compelled to surrender to particularly harsh terms the second time, but the City of ...
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  • 96.2k
36 votes

How did the Druids learn the Greek language by the time of Caesar's campaign in Gaul?

They most probably got that knowledge from cultural exchange with the greek city-states from southern France, like Massilia (Marseille), which was founded around 600 BCE and had plenty of relations ...
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  • 494
27 votes
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How many times did the the sacred fire of Vesta die?

The most (and maybe only) clearly recorded incident was in 206 BC when a novice vestal was whipped for letting the flame go out. Several historians record an incident that occurred in 206 BCE, in ...
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22 votes
Accepted

Seeking floor plan of a classical Roman building with 20 to 30 rooms

There are floor plans both for the House of the Vestals, the House of the Faun in Pompeii, and Fishbourne Palace in England, among others. Unfortunately, many of the floor plans available online do ...
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18 votes
Accepted

Is "Friends, Romans, ..." a historical speech?

@YannisRizos answered the question. It is not known what he said, but the result was that the Roman masses became very angry with Caesar's murderers, burnt down their houses and made them flee from ...
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  • 31k
18 votes

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

Disclaimer: As has been repeatedly pointed out, this is a gradual shift that cannot really be pinpointed. Moreover, in my opinion, it hugely depends on how one interpret any of the several parts in ...
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  • 96.2k
18 votes

Did Julius Caesar reduce the number of slaves?

Did Caesar reduce the number of slaves? Possibly, but we have no convincing evidence or reliable statistics with which to make such a statement with any certainty. The passage you cited seems to have ...
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16 votes

Why did the Roman military start to favour swords over the spear phalanx?

The Romans were very good in copying tactics and equipment from other peoples. They learned the Phalanx from the Etruscans. The phalanx works like a wall: difficult to get through, but also almost ...
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16 votes
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Why did Spartacus turn South at Mutina instead of continuing North towards Thrace?

I hesitate to try and answer this because I am not really sure there is an answer. I like to read about Roman history and I have heard of multiple theories as to why he turned back. I think the most ...
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  • 6,231
15 votes

Are there any ancient sources clearly testifying a frozen Tiber river in the year 398, 396, 271, and 177 BCE?

398 BC Livy, when writing about the siege of Veii in 398 BC in History of Rome: Book 5, says: The year was remarkable for such a cold and snowy winter that the roads were blocked and the Tiber ...
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13 votes

Why is Sulla's nose in the bust in Munich Glyptothek broken?

On very many statues from antiquity exserted parts are broken, in most cases hands, but noses are also very often. The purely mechanical reasons are evident. There are no reasons to conclude that this ...
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  • 37.5k
13 votes
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In the early Roman Republic, did every patrician family have at least one consul?

According to Titus Livius (Livy) the patrician families were founded during the reign of the first King of Rome, namely Romulus. Livy says of Romulus in his Ab Urbe Condita, 1.8: He created a ...
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13 votes

How did the Druids learn the Greek language by the time of Caesar's campaign in Gaul?

It's quite possible, but don't be so credulous of Caesar's judgement and reporting. Not everything he's written has turned out to be 100% accurate. I don't know about the nuances of the original Latin,...
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  • 110k
13 votes
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Are there depictions of horsemen in Roman Republic other than on the coins?

There are. Monument of Aemilius Paullus was erected in the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi shortly after 167 BCE in order to commemorate the Roman victory at the Battle of Pydna over King Perseus of ...
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  • 77.3k
12 votes

Is there any evidence that Celts produced chain mail?

There is extensive documentary and archeological evidence for Celtic chain mail; one Classical writer (Varro) even specifically named the Celts as the inventors of chain mail. You can take a look at ...
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  • 2,187
12 votes
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How common were private bathing facilities in Late Republican Rome?

This is really more of an extended comment - my impression is that it is believed to be standard for wealthier Romans to have had some kind of bathing facility at home, but specific references or ...
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  • 96.2k
12 votes
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What is the chair depicted in Cesare Maccari's 1889 painting "Cicerone denuncia Catilina"?

Roman senators sat on benches while the consuls had the privilege of sitting on curule chairs (which are not shown in the fresco). In addition to the arrangement of the seating, Cesare Maccari's ...
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12 votes

Did Post-Marian Republic or Imperial Legion cohorts have specific skill levels?

Not as such. But there were stronger and weaker cohorts. When a Roman legion of this period deployed for battle, the default formation was to arrange the cohorts in two rows from right to left. That ...
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  • 96.2k
11 votes
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Did Romans piss into aqueducts as a joke?

I doubt that very much. Pecunia non olet, remember? Money doesn't stink, said Vespasian to Titus, when the latter complained about his father for raising tax on urine. Urine was a valuable ...
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  • 17.8k
10 votes

Why didn't Tiberius Gracchus seek the consulship?

According to the Cursus Honorum, Tiberius was not eligible to be Consul until the age of 42. As he was killed at the age of only 30 (163/2 BC to 133 BC) he was a long cry from being eligible for the ...
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10 votes

Why did the Roman military start to favour swords over the spear phalanx?

As I remember, the biggest problems of phalanx were slow pace and inability to operate on a rough terrain (consider the length of their spears). In the battle of Pydna the macedonians had early ...
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  • 4,258
10 votes
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What happened to Caesar's hostages in Gaul?

they were not killed or sold into slavery unless a breach of loyality occured. That would end Caesars ability to hold the givers in sway through them, and enrage the gauls (hostages were demanded to ...
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  • 4,326
10 votes
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Was every Roman citizen part of a curia?

This is actually a topic of some dispute, hence the discordance in your sources. At the root of the debate are the plebs. One view, held since classical times, is that plebeians always meant all the ...
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  • 96.2k
10 votes
Accepted

What was the legal process of raising a legion in late Republican Rome?

Through the entire Republican era only Imperium-holding Magistrates of the Roman People were able to lawfully raise an army of citiziens. (a legion) Private individuals could also form fighting forces ...
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  • 4,326
10 votes
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Why Marcus Aurelius did not restore the Roman Republic?

That's a common misconception about this emperor. Julius Caesar made a huge mistake by working his way towards becoming an emperor. His successor Octavianus Augustus didn't make that mistake. He ...
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  • 17.8k
9 votes
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How was the Roman Princeps Senatus appointed?

It is not necessarily be problematic if the censors disagreed. Scholars have generally thought that only one censor was chosen by lot to nominate the Princeps Senatus alone. If correct, then in the ...
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  • 96.2k
9 votes
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Was Marc Antony with Julius Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon?

This is an interesting question, and one which I have heard debated by Roman historians/archaeologists more than once. You are right that in his Life of Marc Antony, Plutarch says: Antony himself ...
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