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
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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

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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