Roman Republic

Crossing the Rubicon. January 10, 49 BC.

During the Roman Republic, the river Rubicon marked the boundary between the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the north-west and Italy proper (controlled directly by Rome and its allies) to the south. Exercising imperium when forbidden by the law was a capital offence. Furthermore, obeying the commands of a general who did not legally possess imperium was a capital offence. If a general entered Italy whilst exercising command of an army, both the general and his soldiers became outlaws and were automatically condemned to death. Generals were thus obliged to disband their armies before entering Italy. In 49 BC, perhaps on January 10, Julius Caesar led a single legion, south over the Rubicon from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy to make his way to Rome. In doing so, he deliberately broke the law o...

The Julian Calendar. January 1, 45 BC.

  In the mid-1st century BCE Julius Caesar invited astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria to advise him about the reform of the calendar, and Sosigenes decided that the only practical step was to abandon the lunar calendar altogether. Months must be arranged on a seasonal basis, and a tropical (solar) year used, as in the Egyptian calendar, but with its length taken as 365 1/4 days. To remove the immense discrepancy between calendar date and equinox, it was decided that the year known in modern times as 46 BCE should have two intercalations. This insertion amounted to an addition of 67 days, making a year of no less than 445 days and causing the beginning of March 45 BCE in the Roman republican calendar to fall on what is still called January 1 of the Julian calendar. Previous errors havi...

The Battle of Trebia. December 18, 218 BC.

The Battle of Trebia was the first important battle of the Second Punic War between the Carthaginian forces of Hannibal and the Roman Republic, fought around the winter solstice. It was a huge defeat for the Roman Republic, and in spite the heavy losses, around 10.000 soldiers, over two legions, survived on the field and retreated to Placentia. Hannibal´s opposing general, the consul Tiberius Sempronius Longus acted too impetuously and allowed himself to be provoked into frontal assault and failed to see that he was being led to a trap, named Mago´s ambush, after Hannibal´s brother, Mago, that commanded a detachment of 1,100 infantry and 1,100 cavalry concealed in the underbrush of the Trebia River under the cover of night. Theodore Ayrault Dodge, a military historian, wrote of the battle:...

Battle of Lake Trasimene – June 24, 217 BC

Unrest within the city government in Saguntum led to the assassination of the supporters of Carthage in 219 BC. Hannibal responded by laying siege and eventually took over the Iberian city with diplomatic ties to Rome. It was on the boundary between the two empires, where the liberty of the city should be preserved, as agreed between Rome and Hasdrubal the Fair. This triggered the Second Punic War between Hannibal and the Carthaginians and the Roman Republic in 218 BC. This is a category of  hannibal coins. Hannibal began to move through the Alps and invaded northern Italy in Spring 218 BC, surprising the Romans and gathering support of the Gallic tribes along the way. The Roman consul, Publius Cornelius Scipio, moved to block Hannibal at Ticinus in November, but was defeated and wounded i...

Cicero: Orator, Lawyer, Politician – December 7, 43 BC

Marcus Tullius Cicero came from a wealthy family of the equestrian order in the ancient Roman Republic. His prose influenced European languages through his Latin for thousands of years and is considered one of the greatest orators of Roman times. His letters, rediscovered in the 14th century, are often cited as the spark for the renaissance of public affairs and Roman culture. Coupled with all of his linguistic abilities, Cicero was also an accomplished politician and successful lawyer. This is a catgory of  roman republic coins. His political career began in 75 BC as quaestor in western Sicily. He was honest and trustworthy in this position accounting for the public treasuries, and as such was pleaded by the public to take up a case against Gaius Verres, a local corrupt governor (some thi...

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