2. Beginnings of Rome
3. Institutions of Early Rome
4. Etruscan Kings of Rome
5. Reorganization of Kingdom

6. Struggle against Kingship
7. Struggle for Economic Rights
8. Struggle for Equal Laws
9. Struggle for Political Equality
10. Conquest of Latium
11. Conquest of Central Italy
12. Conquest of Southern Italy
13. Supremacy of Rome in Italy
14. First Punic War
15. Second Punic War
16. Conquests in East
17. Reduction of Roman Conquests
18. Rome as a World Power
19. Times of Gracchi
20. Times of Marius and Sulla
21. Times of Pompey and Caesar
22. Times of Antony and Octavius

23. Reign of Augustus
24. Julian Emperors
25. Flavian Emperors
26. Five Good Emperors
27. Decline of Empire
28. Reorganization of Empire
29. Extinction of Western Empire
Outlines of Roman History
by William C. Morey, Ph.D., D.C.L.
New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: American Book Company (1901).



Table of contents




Reduction of Macedonia and Greece, I.Third Punic War and Reduction of Africa (B.C. 149-146), II.Pacification of the Provinces, III.


   Change of the Roman Policy.—We sometimes think that Rome started out upon her great career of conquest with a definite purpose to subdue the world, and with clear ideas as to how it should be governed. But nothing could be farther from the truth. She had been drawn on from one war to another, often against her own will. When she first crossed the narrow strait into Sicily at the beginning of the first Punic war, she little thought that in a hundred years her armies would be fighting in Asia; and when in early times she was compelled to find some way of keeping peace and order in Latium, she could not have known that she would, sooner or later, be compelled to devise a way to preserve the peace and order of the world. But Rome was ever growing and ever learning. She learned how to conquer before she learned how to govern. It was after the third Macedonian war that Rome became convinced that her method of governing the conquered lands was not strong enough to preserve peace and maintain her own authority. She had heretofore left the conquered states to a certain extent free and independent. But now, either excited by jealousy or irritated by the intrigues and disturbances of the conquered people, she was determined to reduce them to a more complete state of submission.

   New Disturbances in Macedonia.—She was especially convinced of the need of a new policy by the continued troubles in Macedonia. The experiment which she had tried, of cutting up the kingdom into four separate states, had not been entirely successful. To add to the disturbances there appeared a man who called himself Philip, and who pretended to be the son of Perseus. He incited the people to revolt, and even defeated the Romans in a battle; but he was himself soon defeated and made a prisoner.

   Revolt of the Achaean Cities.—The spirit of revolt, excited by the false Philip, spread into Greece. The people once more began to feel that the freedom of Rome was worse than slavery. It is true that Rome had liberated the Achaean captives who had been transported to Italy after the third Macedonian war; but these men, who had spent so much of their lives in captivity, carried back to Greece the bitter spirit which they still cherished. The Greek cities became not only unfriendly to Rome, but were also at strife with one another. Sparta desired to withdraw from the Achaean league, and appealed to Rome for help. Rome sent commissioners to Greece to settle the difficulty; but the Achaean came together in their assembly at Corinth and insulted the Roman commissioners, and were then rash enough to declare war against Rome herself.

   Destruction of Corinth (B.C. 146).—The war which now followed, for the subjugation of Greece, was at first conducted by Metellus; and afterward by Mummius, an able general but a boorish man, who hated the Greeks and cared little for their culture. Corinth, the chief city of the Achaean league, was captured; the art treasures, pictures and statues, the splendid products of Greek genius, were sent to Rome. The inhabitants were sold as slaves. And by the cruel command of the senate, the city itself was reduced to ashes. This was a barbarous act of war, such an act as no civilized nation has ever approved. That the Romans were not yet fully civilized, and knew little of the meaning of art, is shown by the story told of Mummius. This rude consul warned the sailors who carried the pictures and statues of Corinth to Rome, that “if they lost or damaged any of them, they must replace them with others of equal value.”

   Macedonia reduced to a Province.—The time had now come for Rome to adopt her new policy in respect to Macedonia. The old divisions into which the kingdom had been divided were abolished, and each city or community was made directly responsible to the governor sent from Rome. By this new arrangement, Macedonia became a province. The cities of Greece were allowed to remain nominally free, but the political confederacies were broken up, and each city came into direct relation with Rome through the governor of Macedonia. Greece was afterward organized as a separate province, under the name of Achaia.


   Revival of Carthage.—The new policy which Rome applied to Macedonia she also adopted with respect to Carthage. Since the close of the second Punic war, Carthage had faithfully observed the terms of the treaty which Rome had imposed. She had abandoned war and devoted herself to the arts of peace. Her commerce had revived; her ships were again plying the waters of the Mediterranean; and she seemed destined to become once more a rich and prosperous city. But her prosperity was the cause of her ruin. The jealousy of Rome was aroused by the recovery of her former rival. The story is often told, that Cato (the Censor) was sent to Carthage on an embassy; that he was astonished at the wealth and prosperity which everywhere met his gaze; that he pictured the possibility of another struggle with that queen of the seas; and that he closed every speech in the senate with the words, “Carthage must be destroyed.”

   Beginning of the Third Punic War.—Whether Rome was really alarmed at the growth of Carthage or only jealous of its commercial prosperity, the words of
Cato became the policy of the senate. The Romans only waited for an opportunity to put this policy into effect. This they soon found in the quarrels between Carthage and Numidia, whose king, Masinissa, was an ally of Rome. After appealing in vain to the senate to protect their rights against Masinissa, the Carthaginians were bold enough to take up arms to protect their own rights. But to Rome it was a deadly offense to take up arms against her ally. As a guaranty to keep the peace, the Carthaginians were commanded to give up three hundred of their noblest youths as hostages. The hostages were accordingly given up. The Carthaginians were then informed that, as they were then under the protection of Rome, they would not need to go to war; and that they must surrender all their arms and munitions. This hard demand was also complied with, and Carthage became defenseless. The demand was now made that, as the city was fortified, it too must be given up, and the inhabitants must remove to a point ten miles from the coast; in other words, that “Carthage must be destroyed.” To such a revolting and infamous command the Carthaginians could not yield, and they resolved upon a desperate resistance.

   Siege and Destruction of Carthage (B.C. 146).—Never was there a more heroic defense than that made by Carthage in this, her last struggle. She was without arms, without war ships, without allies. To make new weapons, the temples were turned into workshops; and it is said that the women cut off their long hair to be twisted into bowstrings. Supplies were collected for a long siege; the city became a camp. For three long years the brave Carthaginians resisted every attempt to take the city. They repelled the assault upon their walls. They were then cut off from all communication with the outside world by land—and they sought an egress by the sea. Their communication by water was then cut off by a great mole, or breakwater, built by the Romans—and they cut a new outlet to the sea. They then secretly built fifty war ships, and attacked the Roman fleet. But all these heroic efforts simply put off the day of doom. At last, under Scipio Aemilianus, the Romans forced their way through the wall, and the city was taken street by street, and house by house. Carthage became the prey of the Roman soldiers. Its temples were plundered; its inhabitants were carried away as captives; and by the command of the senate, the city itself was consigned to flames. The destruction of Carthage took place in the same year (B.C. 146) in which Corinth was destroyed. The terrible punishment inflicted upon these two cities in Greece and Africa was an evidence of Rome’s grim policy to be absolutely supreme everywhere.

   Africa reduced to a Province.—Like Macedonia, Africa was now reduced to the form of a province. It comprised all the land which had hitherto been subject to Carthage. Utica was made the new capital city, where the Roman governor was to reside. All the cities which had favored Carthage were punished by the loss of their land, or the payment of tribute. The cities which had favored Rome were allowed to remain free. Numidia, on account of its fidelity to Rome, was continued as an independent ally. In this way the condition of every city and people was dependent upon the extent of its loyalty to Rome. After Africa was made a province, it soon became a Romanized country. Its commerce passed into the hands of Roman merchants; the Roman manners and customs were introduced; and the Latin language became the language of the people.


   Condition of Spain.—While the Romans were thus engaged in creating the new provinces of Macedonia and Africa, they were called upon to maintain their authority in the old provinces of Spain and Sicily. We remember that, after the second Punic war, Spain was divided into two provinces, each under a Roman governor. But the Roman authority was not well established in Spain, except upon the eastern coast. The tribes in the interior and on the western coast were nearly always in a state of revolt. The most rebellious of these tribes were the Lusitanians in the west, in what is now Portugal; and the Celtiberians (see map, p. 112) in the interior, south of the Iberus River. In their efforts to subdue these barbarous peoples, the Romans were themselves too often led to adopt the barbarous methods of deceit and treachery.

   War with the Lusitanians.—How perfidious a Roman general could be, we may learn from the way in which Sulpicius Galba waged war with the Lusitanians. After one Roman army had been defeated, Galba persuaded this tribe to submit and promised to settle them upon fertile lands. When the Lusitanians came to him unarmed to receive their expected reward, they were surrounded and murdered by the troops of Galba. But it is to the credit of Rome that Galba was denounced for this treacherous act. Among the few men who escaped from the massacre of Galba was a young shepherd by the name of Viriathus. Under his brave leadership, the Lusitanians continued the war for nine years. Finally, Viriathus was murdered by his own soldiers, who were bribed to do this treacherous act by the Roman general. With their leader lost, the Lusitanians were obliged to submit (B.C. 138).

   The Numantine War.—The other troublesome tribe in Spain was the Celtiberians, who were even more warlike than the Lusitanians. At one time the Roman general was defeated and obliged to sign a treaty of peace, acknowledging the independence of the Spanish tribe. But the senate—repeating what it had done many years before, after the battle of the Caudine Forks—refused to ratify this treaty, and surrendered the Roman commander to the enemy. The “fiery war,” as it was called, still continued and became at last centered about Numantia, the chief town of the Celtiberians. The defense of Numantia, like that of Carthage, was heroic and desperate. Its fate was also like that of Carthage. It was compelled to surrender (B.C. 133) to the same Scipio Aemilianus. Its people were sold into slavery, and the town itself was blotted from the earth.

   The Servile War in Sicily.—While Spain was being pacified, a more terrible war broke out in the province of Sicily. This was an insurrection of the slaves of the island. One of the worst results of the Roman conquest was the growth of the slave system. Immense numbers of the captives taken in war were thrown upon the market. One hundred and fifty thousand slaves had been sold by Aemilius Paullus; fifty thousand captives had been sent home from Carthage. Italy and Sicily swarmed with a servile population. It was in Sicily that this system bore its first terrible fruit. Maltreated by their masters, the slaves rose in rebellion under a leader, called Eunus, who defied the Roman power for three years. Nearly two hundred thousand insurgents gathered about his standard. Four Roman armies were defeated, and Rome herself was thrown into consternation. After the most desperate resistance, the rebellion was finally quelled and the island was pacified (B.C. 132).

   Bequest of Pergamum; Province of Asia.—This long period of war and conquest, by which Rome finally obtained the proud position of mistress of the Mediterranean, was closed by the almost peaceful acquisition of a new province. The little kingdom of Pergamum, in Asia Minor, had maintained, for the most part, a friendly relation to Rome. When the last king, Attalus III., died (B.C. 133), having no legal heirs, he bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman people. This newly acquired territory was organized as a province under the name of “Asia.” The smaller states of Asia Minor, and Egypt, Libya, and Numidia, retained a subordinate relation as dependencies. The supreme authority of Rome, at home and abroad, was now firmly established.


Merivale, Gen. Hist., Chs. 26, 27, “Rome after the Conquests” (
Pelham, Bk. III., Ch. 3, “The Roman State and People” (1).
Liddell, Chs. 49, 50, “Rome at the Close of the Conquests” (1).
How and Leigh, Ch. 32, “Foreign and Provincial Affairs” (1).
Mommsen, Vol. II., Bk. III., Ch. 11, “The Government and the Governed” (2).
Arnold, Prov. Admin., Ch. 2, “Period of the Republic” (19).
Harper’s Dict. Antiqq., “Provincia” (8).


   TAXATION OF THE PROVINCES.—Pelham, pp. 185-187 (1); Liddell, pp. 389-393 (1); Mommsen, abridged, pp. 496-498 (2); Arnold, Prov. Admin., pp. 179-187 (19); Ihne, Hist., Vol. IV., Bk. VI., Ch. 7 (2); Ramsay and Lanciani, Ch. 8 (8); Harper’s Dict. Antiqq., “Stipendium,” “Publicani,” “Vectigalia,” (8).

1 The figure in parenthesis refers to the number of the topic in the
Appendix, where a fuller title of the book will be found.


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