The Growth of the Roman Empire Essay

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The Growth of the Roman Empire Rome was founded in 754 BCE and began as a small village in central Italy. This small town however managed to become the greatest political power of its age, and eventually happened to acquire the entire known world through alliances and war in the years preceding the second century BCE. This included six overseas provinces by the year 150 BCE. (Scullard, 1982: 4-5) Rome's rapid growth was unparalleled in ancient history, and to this day still leaves many …show more content…
Rome did not go to war with neighbors for conquest, but as a result of Rome's unique fetial law, a belief that is central to Roman morality. Fetial law was a long-standing religious rite, originating from an order of pagan priest and may pre-date the Iron Age (Wiedmann :). Though Rome's religion and morality were a factor in its lack of offensive maneuvers, these beliefs contributed to the expansion of the empire through protection, and shows that wars were primarily fought in defense or retaliation. This is explained by Harris in the following passage, "When Romans went to war they almost invariably felt that it was necessary to satisfy the formal requirements of the fetial law, according to which war could properly be fought only…to obtain compensation for wrongs suffered." (Harris, 1971: 1372) It is on this principle that Roman infrastructure was built, and s we can see that Rome indeed had no real intention to become an empire. An example of fetial law can be seen in connection with the Jugurthine war.

King Jugurtha had been rising up against Adherbal, his stepbrother and co-ruler of the kingdom of Numidia in the time of 118 BCE (Scullard, 1982: xi). Adherbal requested help from Rome, and as a result, Rome sent envoys in an attempt to settle any territorial tensions peacefully. After their failed attempts at peace however, the murder of Adherbal and

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