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1. The origin of the Empire.

Latins who founded Rome (eighth century BC) in a hilly area along the Tiber River, a
place suitable for agriculture and trade, first politically organized as a monarchy,
then as a republic whose conquests by the Mediterranean enriched it, but that
created huge social inequalities, civil wars and a growing role of military
One of them, Julius Caesar, was named dictator for life in 48 BC. His assassination
led to a new civil war that won his adopted son, Octavian: in 27 BC the Roman
Senate proclaimed him AUGUSTUS ("chosen by the gods"), he took all the powers
(consul for life = political power as chief minister; emperor = general, military
chief; Pontifex Maximus = high priest, religious leader) and inaugurated a new form
of government, the Empire.
The Roman Empire lasted from the first century BC to the 5th century AD (476
AD). It was the most powerful and extensive state throughout antiquity in the
West (in Asia it was the Chinese Empire). Its capital grew to one million
inhabitants. Its culture, law, art and language are the foundations, the basis of our

2. The Roman economy.

The Empire lived two centuries of peace, prosperity and development. There were
great Hispanic emperors as Trajan and Hadrian. As in all ancient societies, the

ECONOMY was based on agriculture, but thanks to political stability, to have an

inland sea (Mare Nostrum) and a good network of roads, trade flourished and as a
consequence, the craft and the development of the cities.
The power and wealth of Rome also relied on CONQUESTS of new territories,
where they got metals and especially SLAVES. The Roman economy was proslavery,
slaves carried out the bulk of the work in mines, farms, workshops and houses.

3. The crisis and the end of the Empire.

Ruling an empire so vast, in which a news could take over a month to get to Rome,
was complicated and needed a very powerful army, which Romans had to pay. When
they finished the conquests, in the 3 rd Century, economic problems (CRISIS)
began: less gains accounted for less gold to pay the legions, who often rebelled. In
addition, barbarians pressured at the borders to enter a country they knew was
very rich. With fewer gains, fewer slaves; so, the production and trade declined,
the cities were impoverished.
In 395, Emperor Theodosius (also Hispanic) divided the empire into two parts in
order to govern it better, the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman
Empire, with its capital in Byzantium: much richer and more populated, it resisted
the barbarians (BYZANTINE EMPIRE). GERMAN peoples ended the Western
Empire in 476 AD.

4. Pre-Roman people.
The history of the Iberian Peninsula in ancient times can not be separated from
the history of the Roman Empire, which was part of. IBERIA was the land of the
Iberians, the Mediterranean coast where the great river Iberus (Ebro) flows, but
eventually the entire peninsula will be called by the Romans HISPANIA (from a
Phoenician word I- SPN -YA, which means "land or coast of rabbits").

During the first millennium BC, the Roman peoples who inhabited the peninsula
were an evolution of the Neolithic people who benefited from two large
On the one hand, the east coast and south of the peninsula saw the arrival through
the Mediterranean of Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians, colonizer peoples
seeking metals and trade with the first known kingdom of the peninsula,
TARTESSOS (gold, silver and salted fish by fabrics, jewellery, pottery, iron tools,
etc.). They did not penetrate inland, but founded coastal and small towns as Gadir
(Phoenician) or Emporion (Greek), their economic and cultural influence was very
great, contributing to the development of IBERIAN CULTURE.
On the other hand, the center, north and west of the peninsula lived Celts
invasions from the valley of the Danube, with their militarily powerful iron
weapons. In these areas CELTIC CULTURE will be developed.

4.1. The Iberians.

Divided into different nations and tribes (Turdetani, Edetani, Ilergetae,
Laietans...), they occupied the Mediterranean coast and the valley of the
Guadalquivir. They were heavily influenced by Mediterranean colonizations, who
brought them writing, the currency, the potter's wheel, etc.
Their villages were located on hills and were walled. The houses were rectangular
and grouped in streets, their walls were of adobe and the roof of thatch.
They were farmers and stockbreeders, good horse breeders, and knew iron
metallurgy. Their society was dominated by a warrior aristocracy that owned the
land. Then there were the merchants, craftsmen, soldiers, farmers and miners.
Among the latter two there were slaves.

4.2. The Celts.

The peoples of central, northern and western peninsula (Gallaeci, Astures,
Cantabri, Vascones, Vaccaei, Vettones, Lusitani...) belong to the Celtic area,
although some like the Celtiberi of the Iberian System (Arevaci , Lusones ...) were
influenced by the Iberian culture (they used their alphabet and had coins).
Their villages, also walled and high, are known by the name of castros . The houses
inside did not form streets, they were circular, with walls of adobe or stone and
Stockbreeders and farmers, they were more warlike than the Iberians, used iron
weapons, had no writing or coins and woolen clothes were linen instead. They were
organized into clans and tribes dominated by warriors. They cremated their dead,
placing their ashes in urns with their trousseau (weapons, jewellery).

5. Roman arrival to the peninsula.

The Carthaginians, descendants of the Phoenicians, had conquered the southern
peninsula from the third century BC, to secure supplies of metals and horses,
founding Carthage. In fact, the wars between Rome and Carthage for control of
the western Mediterranean (PUNIC WARS) were the origin of the Roman
occupation: the Carthaginians under Hannibal's command had attacked an ally of
Rome, the city of Sagunto (220 BC).
The CONQUEST lasted 200 years (218-19 BC), with four phases:
1. 218-201 B.C. Mastery of the Mediterranean coast, very easy because most
of the Iberian cities agreed with Rome.
2. 201-154 B.C. Conquest of the Iberian System and eastern plateau. The
Celtiberi resisted.
3. 154-133 B.C. Conquest of the rest of the plateau and the West. The Arevaci
of Numancia (Celtiberi) and the western Lusitanian (commanded by Viriato)
raised strong resistance to the invaders.

4. 29-19 B.C. Northern Conquest by Augustus, fighting hard with Gallaeci,

Cantabri and Astures.

6. Roman Hispania.
The territory of Hispania was divided by Rome in provinces, headed by governors
(praetors). Rome exploited the peninsula as a colony, extracting large amounts of
metals (silver, gold, copper, iron, mercury) and agricultural products (wheat, oil,
wine), which normally came from large farms called villas (estates) and were
harvested by hand slave labor. Slaves also worked in the mines and factories of
cured (salted fish). Life expectancy did not exceed 30 years.
In the process of ROMANIZATION, that is, adoption of Roman culture by
Hispanic people (law, religion, language, art, currency, slave economy), they played a
key role discharged soldiers of the legions who established in the new cities as
settlers (the state paid their "pension" with confiscated land). Hispanics, as the
rest of the empire, were given Roman citizenship by emperor Caracalla year 212
Hispanic Society was organized in the Roman way: there were free people and
slaves (they were not persons legally). Free people could be citizens (with rights to
political participation) or foreigners.
But the citizens are divided by huge wealth inequalities: the society and the
government of cities were controlled by a landed aristocracy (nobilitas), which
mimicked the old patrician founders of Rome. Then there were the knights
(equites), dedicated to business, trade and craft, they were the richest
commoners or plebeians (the people). The rest of the people were peasants or
urban workers in the workshops.
Some freed slaves (freedmen or liberti) exerted by teachers, accountants,
doctors... Women were always subject to the father or husband, without public life
outside the house.

The cities, linked by a good network of roads (viae), were the center of political,
religious and economic power (markets), they were organized in imitation of the
Roman camps (grid plan), boasting splendid public buildings and services. Their
government was copying Rome: their citizens joined in assembly (comitium) and
elected their rulers (magistrates: Aediles and Questors), but these were
controlled by a small parliament (Senate), in the hands of the powerful families (we
should clarify that being a magistrate you werent paid, it was an honor to serve
your city).

State: political organization of a society (or nation) over a territory (or

country). For example the Roman Empire.

Monarchy: form of state headed by a king, which inherits the position.

Republic: form of state whose top leader is chosen (for example, in Rome,
the consuls).

Senate: assembly that represents the people and that makes the laws, as a

Empire: form of state that occupies large territories and is headed by an

emperor (military leader), which acts as an absolute monarch, with power to
govern, legislate and administer justice.

Legion: Roman army. At first, people were forced to join the army. After, it
turned professional. In each legion the fighting men were 5500 and
remained 20 years on service. With their pay (a bag of salt = salary) they
had to get their food, clothing and weaponry.

Viae (calzadas): Roman roads linking major cities. They were made with a
base of crushed stone layers, the upper thinner. Their surface was convex
to allow water to seep and it was covered with slabs.


1) Paint on the map with four different colors the phases of Roman expansion.

Conquista de la pennsula
Itlica (343-272 a.C.)

2) Social groups that existed in Rome. Who among them could be citizens and
what rights had they?
3) How the Empire was organized? Did it keep republican institutions?
4) Biographies of two emperors (ten lines).

5) Why did the crisis of the third century take place and which were its
6) What were the differences between the ways of life in the countryside and
in the city, how were the homes and jobs of their inhabitants?
7) What peoples inhabited the Iberian Peninsula to the arrival of the Romans?
What are the differences between Iberians and Celts?
8) What other settlements were established in the peninsula before the
9) Phases of the Roman conquest of Hispania. Report some highlights of the
wars against the Romans (Numancia, Viriato, the Cantabrian wars...).
10) On the map of the peninsula, paint every Roman province in a color, put the
name of the main Roman roads and cities and locate some important monument.

11) Describe a building, monument or work of Roman art.

12) How were the shows and entertainment in the Roman Empire?
13) What were the differences between Roman religion and that one introduced
by the Christians?