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3. History of Civilization (3.8.2-3.9.1)

3.8.2    Ordinary man (Caesar) meets God (Cleopatra)

Beside his progress, Caesar became involved with Queen Cleopatra of Egypt during his conquests. Cleopatra was, as all kings and queens of Egypt, seen as a god by the people. As Caesar saw himself as a man equal to Romans, with status gained by honor, Cleopatra certainly made a special impression on him. Caesar wintered in Egypt in 48 BC–47 BC, and Cleopatra shored up her political advantage by becoming his lover. Egypt remained independent, but three Roman legions were left to protect it. Brutus and Cassius who used the opportunity and blamed Cleopatra for poisoning Caesars mind to gain power in the senate. The people of Rome had begun to dislike Cleopatra and gave her the nick name “Whore of Egypt” for her influence over him. Cleopatra visited Rome between 46 BC and 44 BC were she uncovered a child which she claimed to be Caesar’s. Internal problems peaked with Caesars assassination during Cleopatra’s visit to Rome.

I recommend HBO’s TV-Series named “Rome”, which picture this period in Roman history very well, especially the primitive and hard life of the Roman citizens and legionnaires as well as intrigues and politics of the Noble families. My biggest surprise was that HBO totally missed that Cleopatra (the Egypt Goddess) in fact were in Rome while Caesar was murdered. However, I liked the series and season 2 is being recorded during 2006 and will be released in 2007, which I can’t wait to watch. I hope the second season do not continue were the first ended but instead pictured another important period in Roman history. If HBO are smart, they should move thru history and make seasons of important parts all the way up to our present age. They even could stick with same casting, were especially Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson did a marvelous job. It would be a whole new concept – same casting that characterizes same type of individuals in different parts of history.

Back to history: After Caesars death, Roman republic was led by his grand-nephew Octavian and Marcus Antonius, who was Caesars right hand. Later on Marcus Antonius teamed up with Cleopatra in Egypt and was blamed by Octavian to have been captured by the same hook as Caesar. Civil war broke out in 31BC. One year later, Octavian ends the war by defeating Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra in Alexandria. Both Anthony and Cleopatra managed to create suicide just before they were captured. Thereafter there was no one left in the Roman Republic who could, or wanted, to stand against Octavian as he, the grand-nephew of Caesar, moved to take absolute control.

3.8.3    Birth of an Empire

Both the Senate and the Roman citizens were tired of the civil wars. In year 27 BC, Octavian offered back all his extraordinary power to the Senate and in a carefully staged way, the Senate refused. Octavian was careful to avoid going into the same footsteps as Caesar by not acceptation the title “King”. Instead he did choose the title “First Citizen”, “Imperator”, which normally was given by Roman troops to their victorious commanders. It is from “Imperator” that the modern title “Emperor” is derived. The Roman Empire now was literally born.

3.9    Roman Empire

3.9.1    Restore peace and order

Roman Empire

The Roman Empire

The first thing Octavian did was to ensure that all parts of the Empire were well run and that taxes were fair. He ordered construction of massive roads, bridges, government buildings, and huge public baths. He said, “I left Rome a city of marble, though I found it a city of bricks.” The Roman people awarded Octavian with the title Augustus, which means, “respected one”. Augustus ruled Rome for 41 year, though he did not call himself an emperor. Augustus was very respectful to the senators, but the Senate knew he controlled the army and could do as he pleased. Peace and order was restored in Rome. Augustus powerful and professionally trained legions would protect the Roman citizens from any outside attacks for 200 years. The successful Roman Empire flowered. The Roman model of government still is used as basic model in many nations today.

 

 


 
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