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Changes and Continuities in Rome

Essay by   •  December 11, 2012  •  Term Paper  •  1,048 Words (5 Pages)  •  2,284 Views

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During 500 BCE to 476 CE, Classical Rome underwent drastic changes. Rome remained independent of the conflicts of the peoples outside of the natural boundaries formed by large spans of Mediterranean ocean on three sides and the huge Alps. Rome maintained some aspects of stability, such as the rigid hierarchy, but also revealed the more significant changes experienced eventually by all empires such as the adoption of monotheistic Christianity as the official religion in comparison to the previous polytheistic belief of the Pantheon of Gods.

Rome's last and final king had been exiled from Rome, and had experienced the takeover of the Etruscans. At this time, Rome remained a united, whole nation of modest size, not yet making enemies in the tumultuous Mediterranean Basin. However, several dialects and money existed. Politically, Rome instituted a Republic, thus allowing citizens to vote. However, cultural barriers influenced the government as well. Plebeians, or the middle class or Roman citizens, were unable to hold office or vote. Despite the significant differences between classes, all of Roman religion as a whole was heavily influenced by Greek religion.

In the midst of the Mediterranean Basin, Rome was able to maintain stability due to the natural peninsula and Alps to the north. A prime example of Rome's ability to maintain stability is that despite the stages of growth and decay Rome experienced, the 12 Tables, fundamental laws that all others were based on, remained a significant part of Roman law. Rome being able to maintain the 12 Tables is exemplary of Rome's political stability. If Rome had an extremely unstable government, the 12 Tables would have surely been changed or disregarded. In addition, Rome maintained cultural continuity in examples such as the patriarchal cultural standard. Despite Rome's eventual conversion to an Empirical government, males still were superior to women in daily life. Males could become citizens, hold office, vote, and overall had more rights than women. As well as the stability or the male role in Rome, the social hierarchy remained unchanged. Rich patricians continued to dominate politics and government, while plebeians stayed as the middle class. Slaves continued to stay at the bottom of the social hierarchy. However, a huge economic gap separated the patricians and lower classes. In fact, the gap most likely contributed to the dominating nature of patricians as they remained at the top of the rigid social hierarchy. The economic gap continued to grow exponentially as Rome aged and progressed, no thanks to the, again, rigid social hierarchy. As a result, mass inflation occurred, further worsening the situation. Unfortunately, the slave population hovered at 1/3 of the total Roman population throughout its lifetime. The large slave population was partially due to the ever-expansive goals of Rome as well as the harsh judgment that Rome utilized during Spartacus' Slave Rebellion. In the history of Rome, Spartacus' Slave Rebellion was the first, and last, of its kind, due to the cruel punishment meted out by Rome. Roman patricians and legionnaires eventually defeated Spartacus and the rebellion quickly scattered. However, Roman legionnaires continued to crucify all the affiliated slaves along the roads. The saying, "All roads lead to Rome" seems



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