Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War

By Ramon L. Jiménez | Go to book overview

II
Rome and Its Neighbors

The Roman Republic of Caesar's youth was a vast and untidy collection of provinces, colonies, dependencies, and territories spread over thousands of square miles, and populated by citizens, freedmen, foreigners, slaves, other subjects, socii (allies), and amici populi Romani (friends ofthe Roman people). It was easily the largest and most powerful single nation that had arisen in the Western world; its ten provinces stretched from Spain in the west to Cilicia on the southern coast of modern Turkey. Rome had achieved this eminence during the previous six centuries primarily through its skill at making war, the central occupation of all ancient states.

Although the middle of the eighth century before Christ is the traditional date for the founding of Rome, archaeologists have found evidence that the site of the city had been continuously occupied for some eight centuries before that. Its Bronze Age settlers were an Indo-European people who had migrated into Europe from the east over the course of many centuries. It was not until the first millennium, however, that substantial settlements appeared on the circle of hills surrounding a marshy area at a particular curve on the Tiber River -- its lowest feasible crossing point. By this time other groups from the area of Latium (the region of modern Lazio south of Rome) had joined the settlers, as had migrants from other parts of the peninsula and from across the Adriatic Sea. Besides its convenient location, the area was especially suited to farming because it was covered with a thick layer of fertile soil, the result of volcanic eruptions of nearby Monte Cavo thousands of years earlier. 1

The legend of the founding of Rome by the migrant Trojan Aeneas and the traditional story of Romulus killing his brother Remus and becoming the first King of Rome are now regarded as folktales without historical basis. They are a type of origin myth that is common to many societies throughout the world. Similarly, the founding of Rome, that is, the creation of a unified political community, is now thought to have taken place somewhat later than the traditional date of approximately 750 BCE. Archaeological evidence indicates that it was about 625 that the hill settlements adjacent to the Tiber began to organize themselves for religious and political purposes. 2 They were influenced in these matters by a more advanced culture just to the north of them, on the other side of the Tiber. This society was stronger and richer than any other on the penin-

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Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chronology xiii
  • Part One - The Rise of Caesar 1
  • Prologue - Three Men 3
  • I - Sulla Against Caesar 7
  • II - Rome and Its Neighbors 15
  • III - Pompey and Cicero Conquer Rome 25
  • IV - The Road to Gaul and Back 43
  • Part Two Caesar and Pompey 63
  • V - Across the Rubicon 65
  • VI - The First Spanish Campaign 81
  • VII - The Siege of Massilia 99
  • VIII - Curio in Africa 115
  • IX - The Campaign in Macedonia 129
  • X - The Battle of Pharsalus 147
  • Part Three - Caesar and Cleopatra 165
  • XI - The Alexandrian War 167
  • XII - Veni, Vidi, Vici 187
  • XIII - The Last Campaign 205
  • XIV - The Ides of March 223
  • Epilogue 243
  • Notes 251
  • Selected Sources 261
  • Index of Persons 269
  • General Index 277
  • About the Author *
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