Week 8: Thursday, December 1, 2016
The Decay of the Republic


Decay of the Republic, 150 BC to 70 BC

139 BC First Servile War, Sicily

Four hundred slaves accepted the call of Eunus to massacre the free population in the town of Enna; slaves poured from the farms and private dungeons of Sicily, swelling the number of the rebels to 70,000. They occupied Agrigentum and defeated the forces of the Roman praetor. They held nearly all of the island till 131, when a consular army penned them into Enna and starved the rebels into surrender.

133 Tiberius Gracchus

Tiberius Gracchus introduced his Agrarian Reform Laws, provoking massive opposition. He was assassinated in 133. His brother Caius continued the reform. He tried to pack the Senate, but it opposed his effort. He began to block the Gracchan reforms. The matter led to blows in the Forum in 121.   Caius Gracchus died in 121 BC.  His mother was Cornelia.
119 Marius returned as Tribune
118 Abolition of the Land Board
106 Birth of Cicero, birth of Pompey
104–100 Marius elected to the Consulate ( four times), an action against the Constitution
101 Marius triumphant against German tribes (the Teutones), greeted in Rome as a savior, later became rich with spoils of war
103-99 Second Servile War, Sicily
100 Birth of Julius Caesar
91 Drusus proposes citizenship to all; Italians and Romans enraged.  A social war erupts in Italy, against Rome. Drusus was assassinated. War between Rome and rest of Italy begins.
90 Rome proclaimed an independent federal republic; independence from Rome declared at Confinium
89 Rome ends war with Italians, awards a watered-down citizenship.
88 Sulla as Consul; flight of Marius
87 Marius, a reign of terror
83 Sulla lands at Brundisium, begins march to Rome.
82 Sulla takes Rome.
78 Sulla dies.
73-71 Third Servile War, Spartacus
70 Pompey and Crassus were Consuls; Virgil born


Scenes from Spartacus, one of the best films ever made about Rome

From Wikipedia:

Spartacus is a 1960 American epic historical drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas as the rebellious slave of the title. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was based on the novel Spartacus by Howard Fast. It was inspired by the life story of the historical figure Spartacus and the events of the Third Servile War. The film also starred Laurence Olivier as the Roman general and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus, Peter Ustinov, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as slave trader Lentulus Batiatus, John Gavin as Julius Caesar, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton and Tony Curtis. The film won four Oscars in all. Douglas, whose Bryna Productions company was producing the film, removed original director Anthony Mann after the first week of shooting. Kubrick, with whom Douglas had worked before, was brought on board to take over direction.


Michael Grant, History of Rome, Part IV, “The Imperial Republic,” and Part V, “The Fall of the Republic.”


Goldsworthy presents a wonderful exploration of Caesar's life, including his military and political conquests, revealing his personality in a sympathetic telling. Many, many books have been written about Caesar and his time. This one is very accessible and worthwhile, and, I think, the best.

Adrian Goldsworthy,

Caesar: Life of a Colossus,

Yale University Press,

ISBN 0300126891