The rise of Rome - World History

The rise of Rome - World History
Posted on 30-12-2022

The rise of Rome ( 300 ) Rome becomes the greatest power in Italy.

At the beginning of the third century, the Greeks controlled most of the civilized world. The cities of Greece itself had been reduced to a shadow of their former self, but the remnants of the empire conquered by Alexander the Great were ruled by Greeks, making it very easy for any Greek from any walk of life to find a job, set up a business, travel, study or settle anywhere. Historians distinguish between the Hellenic Period, in which the political preponderance was held by the cities of mainland Greece, and the Hellenistic Period, which is traditionally accepted to have started after Alexander's death. The Hellenistic world was divided into four parts: the first included Greece, Epirus, and Macedonia, ruled by Cassander, the second included Egypt and Canaan, ruled by Ptolemy I, the third, under the rule of Lysimachus, contained Thrace and Asia Minor, except for the kingdom of Pontus, to the north, which had just become independent, and the fourth was the Seleucid Empire, under the power of Seleucus I, which included Syria and the entire Asian part of Alexander's empire. Apart was Demetrius, who had run out of territory, but still had his fleet. On the other hand,

Seleucus I celebrated the recent annexation of Syria to his Empire by building a city in the region in 300, about 15 kilometers from the sea. He named it Antioch, after his father, whose name was Antiochus, and made it the capital of his empire.

But the most important city of the century was undoubtedly going to be Alexandria. Ptolemy I ordered the construction of a great library. He hired an Athenian scholar to oversee the organization. The first copies of it were nothing less than those that had constituted the library of Aristotle, but new volumes were soon added. Next to the library there was a temple dedicated to the muses, it was the Museum, where the wise men could live and work quietly, with a salary from the state. It is said that at its peak the Museum housed 14,000 students.

On the other hand, Ptolemy I stimulated the emigration of Jews to Alexandria. It seems that he was interested in their culture and religion. At least he knew her well enough to have attacked Jerusalem on the Sabbath. In addition to cultural enrichment, perhaps the king thought that a Jewish presence in the capital would give it a cosmopolitan atmosphere that would ease the friction between the Greeks and Egyptians. To a certain extent it was like that, because in the capital the three cultures coexisted in relative peace, but the truth is that each part despised the other two: for the Egyptians, the rest were foreigners and did not want to know anything about them; for the Jews, they were the only ones who knew the true god and they abominated the heretical customs of the Greeks and Egyptians;

Rome had been strengthening its position in Italy. An Etruscan territory north of Samnio was annexed, thus reaching the Adriatic for the first time. She founded cities in the Apennines that would be of great help in a hypothetical war against the Samnites. The Roman expansion worried the Samnites as well as the Etruscans and the Gauls in the north of the peninsula, which led them to ally themselves against their common enemy. Thus, when in 298 some Lucanian tribes sent an embassy to Rome to complain that the Samnites were harassing them, Rome did not hesitate to start the Third Samnite War,and he invaded Samnium, but the Samnites put up no resistance, but his army forced its way northward, to join the Etruscans and the Gauls.

That same year Casandro died, leaving only two small children, the eldest of whom became Philip IV. In 295 Demetrius laid siege to Athens and took it again. From there he conquered Greece and then entered Macedonia, where he had Philip IV assassinated. He then descended on the Peloponnese and headed for Sparta. Once again the Spartans refused to surrender and Demetrius had to leave the city because of problems elsewhere. The fact is that, miraculously, a defenseless Sparta had been saved successively from the occupation by Epaminondas, Philip II, Alexander, Antipater, and now Demetrius. That same year the king of Epirus died, and the throne passed to his brother De he Pirro.He was one of the best generals of the time. In fact, war was his biggest, perhaps only, hobby. At seventeen he had participated in the battle of Ipso, on the side of Demetrius, and since then he had been fighting here and there.

Rome sent Fabius Maximus north, the one who had defeated the Etruscans years before, only this time he had to face Etruscans, Gauls, and Samnites together. A battle was fought near Sentinum, about 180 kilometers north of Rome. The Gauls and the Samnites held out, but the Etruscans dispersed as soon as Rome sent a detachment to sack Etruria. The second consul, along with Fabio, was Publius Decius Mus,son of the consul who had immolated himself in the Latin war. The son decided to do the same as his father and, after the appropriate rituals, he launched himself against the enemies to die and win the favor of the gods. Again the gods were pleased, for the Gauls were swept away and the remnants of the Samnite army retreated with heavy casualties. Thus the Romans were freed from the fear that the Gauls had inspired in them since Brennos entered Rome. Around this time the Via Appia was paved with large blocks of stone. Henceforth, Roman roads would be paved in this way and would last for more than a thousand years. In 294 Etruria made a separate peace with Rome and only Samnium continued to fight.

Around this time, Taranto once again requested external help to face its northern Italian neighbors. The last time he had appealed to Alexander of Epirus, she called Agathocles. Rome was too busy fighting the Samnites to pay any attention to the matter, but in the end it came to nothing, for, like Alexander of Epirus, Agathocles found that the Tarentines did not want their comfortable life disturbed unduly. so, seeing that he could not do anything serious in Italy, he decided to return to Syracuse.

Los samnitas se rindieron finalmente en 290, pero Roma no se vio en condiciones de exigir demasiado. La paz fue casi una alianza entre partes iguales. La única condición favorable a Roma fue que el Samnio renunciaba a combatir independientemente. Sus soldados sólo podrían luchar bajo la dirección romana. No obstante, el Samnio conservaba su independencia. En 289 murió Agatocles y Sicilia cayó en un periodo de anarquía y desorden. Esto se debió a que Agatocles había llevado a la isla un grupo de mercenarios italianos llamados Mamertinos (hijos de Marte) que formaban una especie de guardia de corps. Muerto su jefe, decidieron cobrar su salario saqueando una ciudad tras otra.

In 288 Lysimachus invaded Macedonia, took Demetrius prisoner, and allied with Ptolemy I, marrying his daughter Arsinoe. In 287 Theophrastus died, and the direction of the Lyceum passed to Strato, from Lampsaco, who carried out interesting physics experiments and had correct ideas about the vacuum, falling bodies and levers. In 286 Pyrrhus, the King of Epirus, decided to invade Macedonia, throwing the kingdom into a state of confusion. Pirro was expelled after seven months, but the confusion continued.

In 285 Ptolemy I was already eighty-two years old, and he decided to abdicate. The king had several children by various women. The firstborn was the son of his first wife, Eurydice, and was also called Ptolemy. He was known as Ptolemy Ceraunos (the thunderbolt) to distinguish him from his half-brother, also called Ptolemy, son of his second wife, Berenice. She had convinced her husband that her son was more qualified to govern Egypt, so a few years before she had exiled Ceraunos and since then she had shared the government tasks with the second Ptolemy, who now took over the throne definitively asPtolemy II. He married a daughter of Lisímaco, who was called Arsinoe, like his stepmother.

In 284 Arsinoe convinced her husband, Lysimachus, that his son Agathocles intended to assassinate him to usurp the throne, so Lysimachus had him killed. This caused an uprising in Asia Minor. Furthermore, Agathocles' wife, Lysandra, fled to the court of Seleucus I, and persuaded him to confront Lysimachus. Ptolemy I died in 283, the same year that Demetrius died in his captivity. Meanwhile, Ptolemy Ceraunos ended up at the court of Seleucus I, who probably saw in him a chance to take over Egypt.

In 282 a Greek city in southern Italy, Thurii, asked Rome for help against the Italian tribes in Lucania. Rome immediately offered and sent a detachment to Thurii. It was not the first Greek city to come to Rome, Naples had already signed a treaty with it some time ago, but Taranto was shocked to see some barbarians in Greek territory, so when their ships came across some small Roman ships heading towards Thurii, sank them and killed their admiral. Enhanced by their success, they sent an army to Thurii and drove the Romans out.

At that time, Rome was busy in the north, consolidating the territories of Etruria and Cisalpine Gaul, so he did not want problems in the south, and he sent an embassy to Taranto to arrange a truce and ask for the return of Thurii. The Tarentines made fun of the way the Romans spoke Greek, and as one of the delegates was leaving the meeting, someone in the crowd deliberately pissed on his toga to the laughter of those present. The ambassador angrily announced that the stain would be washed away with blood. He returned to Rome and showed the toga to the senate. in 281 Rome declared war on Taranto. It didn't take long for the Tarentines to understand that they had gotten themselves into a lot of trouble and that they needed help. Rome completely dominated Lazio, Campania and Etruria, had Samnio subjected, terrified the Gauls and maintained alliances with the peoples of Lucania and Apulia and some Greek cities. In short, it was the greatest power in Italy by far.

Finally, the Tarentines found the person they were looking for: it was Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus. After his Macedonian adventure, he had been immersed in a peace that bored him for several years, so he gladly accepted the request for help from the Tarentines and began to prepare an expedition.

That same year Seleucus I finally defeated Lysimachus near the city of Corupedion, in the interior of Asia Minor. Lisímaco died in the battle, with which Seleuco I was the last diádoco that was alive. With the help of Ptolemy Ceraunos he conquered Macedonia. Arsinoe, the widow of Lysimachus, married her half-brother Ptolemy Ceraunus. Seleuco I wanted to travel to Macedonia to take possession of the new territory, but there Ptolemy Cerauno stabbed him, which allowed him to appropriate Macedonia. The Seleucid Empire was inherited by Seleucus I's son, Antiochus I.

The change of king was taken advantage of by Filetero, a local governor of Asia Minor, to make his territory independent and set himself up as monarch of the kingdom of Pergamum, named after the fortress of the same name that became its capital, located about 30 kilometers from the Mediterranean coast, to the north, facing the island of Lesbos. Filetero had been in the service of Antigonus, Lysimachus and Seleucus, but he had appropriated a treasure entrusted to him by Lysimachus with which he consolidated his power in the region. Actually Filetero never held the title of king, but it was after his death that he was considered as such. The fact is that the territory ceased to be part of the Seleucid Empire.

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