National Latin Exam
The decemviri were in charge of the Twelve Tables, tablets which contained codified laws.
Pliny the Younger wrote letters to the historian Tacitus describing the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.; his uncle Pliny the Elder, a famous natural historian and admiral, took boats across the bay to rescue people, and dropped dead.
Julius Caesar wrote memoirs of his campaigns, the de bello gallico, and the de bello civili. The Gauls had sacked Rome in 390 B.C., and were always in the Roman conscience as a threat. They were finally defeated in their homeland by Caesar in 52 B.C. Caesar is famous for his conquest of Gaul, and for breaking Roman law by crossing the Rubicon river into Italy with his army, and thus starting the civil war. He defeated Pompey at Pharsalia in 48 B.C., but was later assassinated by conspirators lead by Brutus and Cassius. He died in front of Pompey's statue in Pompey's theater on the ides of March (March 15), 44, B.C. Cicero's letters provide an eyewitness account of the Civil War between Caesar and Pompey.
Pompey was called Magnus (the Great); he held the military ascendancy prior to the rise of Caesar. He had been married to Caesar's daughter Julia, who died in childbirth. He was part of the First Triumvirate; he rid the Mediterranean Sea of pirates and defeated Mithradates.
The battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. marked the victory of Octavian and Antony over the assassins of Caesar.
Hadrian's wall was designed to keep the barbarians out of Roman Britain. Hadrian also built a mausoleun in Rome.
Augustus, Nero and Trajan were all emperors who ruled in the Empire period of Roman history. Tiberius was the successor of Augustus. He was paranoid and abandoned Rome to rule from the island of Capri.
Hannibal invaded Italy, crushed 3 Roman armies in one year, tried to bring Rome's allies over to his side in order to crush Rome. Rome's arch-enemy was Carthage. The wars Rome fought against Carthage are known as the Punic Wars. Delenda est Carthago is a famous passive periphrastic phrase uttered by the Censor Cato. During the first two Punic wars, the island of Sicily was claimed by both Rome and Carthage.
Carthage was Rome's arch-enemy; and they fought 3 Punic Wars against each other. The battles of Trasimene, Cannae and Zama are all battles Rome fought against Carthage. The Punic Wars were fought for control of the Western Mediterranean.
Actium, in western Greece, was the site of Antony's camp in 31 B.C.. It gave its name to the naval battle in which Antony and Cleopatra were defeated by Ocatavian. Antony defeated the Parthians and helped Cleopatra rebuild Egypt's power but lost to Octavian at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C. Octavian became known as Augustus and was later deified by the Roman Senate. Of Augustus' many titles, that of imperator signified control of the army. Augustus was the first Roman emperor and his rule began the Pax Romana.
Romulus is to the Monarchy what Augustus is to the Empire. Romulus was the first king of Rome; Augustus was the first emperor. The Senate granted Octavian Caesar the title Augustus in 27 B.C. Just before he died, Augustus is said to have uttered, "Acta est fabula" = "The drama is finished."
The great library of Alexandria was burned when Caesar was besieged there in 47 B.C.
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