Before there was an Empire, there was the Republic.


Perched atop a squat hill surrounded by swamps, malarial marshes,
and a river prone to frequent flooding lived a community of
vagabonds, renegades, fugitives, cattle rustlers, and thieves.  Hardly
a propitious beginning for a city that would one day rule an empire
that spanned three continents.  But such were Rome’s humble
beginnings.  For centuries Rome’s influence was felt barely beyond
Italy.  Then, within the space of two centuries, Rome conquered a
myriad of races from Portugal to the Persian Gulf, and from Scotland
to the Sahara.  But before the days of the Roman Empire, there was
the Republic, one of the West’s earliest experiments in democracy.  
This class covers the rise and fall of the Roman Republic.

The lectures are richly illustrated with images, and course materials
include detailed lecture notes and an extensive syllabus including
maps and ground plans.


  1. Kings.  The foundation of Rome, the establishment of a
    monarchy, and the structuring of her “constitution” all took
    place under the guidance of Etruscan warlords.  In an act of
    dazzling political amnesia, later Romans wiped the slate clean
    of their Etruscan inheritance.
  2. The Republic:  An Infant Democracy.  Rome’s experiment in
    democracy was a rather haphazard affair.  Her “constitution”
    was a work in perpetual progress, changing repeatedly and
    often according to the exigencies of war and trade.
  3. The Road to Empire.  Rome, like Britain, “fell into her
    empire.”  Wars of defense led to wars of conquest.  And as her
    conquests expanded, Rome found herself ruling an unruly
    collection of alien and often hostile subjects.
  4. Politicians, Generals, and the Mob.  The stress of Empire
    led to the unraveling of the democratic machinery of Rome.  
    Generals seized power to “save” Rome; politicians acquiesced,
    the mob was placated, and the Republic died.
  5. Immigration and Conquest.  The expansion of Rome’s
    conquests brought more and more non-Romans into the
    Roman commonwealth; many flocked to the capital city.  
    Historians often tell the tale of the Romanization of the
    Mediterranean and Europe, but the other side of the story is
    the de-Romanization of Rome.
  6. Why the Democracy Failed.  There are serious systemic
    flaws in all democracies; these weaknesses were manifest
    early on in the Republic’s history.  That is why the history of
    Rome was of such interest to the Founding Fathers of the
    United States of America.

Six lectures
120 DVD.  6 lectures on DVD $40.00.

Related Programs:
  The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire
  Rome:  A History of the City
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120 DVD:  6 lectures on DVD $40.00.