Roman citizenship

Citizenship in ancient Rome (Latin: civitas) was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws, property, and governance.

  • A male Roman citizen enjoyed a wide range of privileges and protections defined in detail by the Roman state. A citizen could, under certain exceptional circumstances, be deprived of his citizenship.
  • Roman women had a limited form of citizenship. Though held in high regard they were not allowed to vote or stand for civil or public office. The rich might participate in public life by funding building projects or sponsoring religious ceremonies and other events. Women had the right to own property, to engage in business, and to obtain a divorce, but their legal rights varied over time. Marriages were an important form of political alliance during the Republic.
  • Client state citizens and allies (socii) of Rome could receive a limited form of Roman citizenship such as the Latin Right. Such citizens could not vote or be elected in Roman elections.[1]
  • Slaves were considered property and lacked legal personhood. Over time, they acquired a few protections under Roman law. Some slaves were freed by manumission for services rendered, or through a testamentary provision when their master died. Once free, they faced few barriers, beyond normal social snobbery, to participating in Roman society. The principle that a person could become a citizen by law rather than birth was enshrined in Roman mythology; when Romulus defeated the Sabines in battle, he promised the war captives that were in Rome they could become citizens.[2]
  • Freedmen were former slaves who had gained their freedom. They were not automatically given citizenship and lacked some privileges such as running for executive magistracies. The children of freedmen and women were born as free citizens; for example, the father of the poet Horace was a freedman.

Possible rights

  • Ius suffragii: The right to vote in the Roman assemblies.
  • Ius honorum: The right to stand for civil or public office.
  • Ius commercii: The right to make legal contracts and to hold property as a Roman citizen.
  • Ius gentium: The legal recognition, developed in the 3rd century BC, of the growing international scope of Roman affairs, and the need for Roman law to deal with situations between Roman citizens and foreign persons. The ius gentium was therefore a Roman legal codification of the widely accepted international law of the time, and was based on the highly developed commercial law of the Greek city-states and of other maritime powers.[3] The rights afforded by the ius gentium were considered to be held by all persons; it is thus a concept of human rights rather than rights attached to citizenship.
  • Ius conubii: The right to have a lawful marriage with a Roman citizen according to Roman principles,[4] to have the legal rights of the paterfamilias over the family, and for the children of any such marriage to be counted as Roman citizens.
  • Ius migrationis: The right to preserve one's level of citizenship upon relocation to a polis of comparable status. For example, members of the cives Romani (see below) maintained their full civitas when they migrated to a Roman colony with full rights under the law: a colonia civium Romanorum. Latins also had this right, and maintained their ius Latii if they relocated to a different Latin state or Latin colony (Latina colonia). This right did not preserve one's level of citizenship should one relocate to a colony of lesser legal status; full Roman citizens relocating to a Latina colonia were reduced to the level of the ius Latii, and such a migration and reduction in status had to be a voluntary act.
  • The right of immunity from some taxes and other legal obligations, especially local rules and regulations.[5]
  • The right to sue in the courts and the right to be sued.
  • The right to have a legal trial (to appear before a proper court and to defend oneself).
  • The right to appeal from the decisions of magistrates and to appeal the lower court decisions.
  • Following the early 2nd-century BC Porcian Laws, a Roman citizen could not be tortured or whipped and could commute sentences of death to voluntary exile, unless he was found guilty of treason.
  • If accused of treason, a Roman citizen had the right to be tried in Rome, and even if sentenced to death, no Roman citizen could be sentenced to die on the cross.

Roman citizenship was required in order to enlist in the Roman legions, but this was sometimes ignored. Citizen soldiers could be beaten by the centurions and senior officers for reasons related to discipline. Non-citizens joined the Auxilia and gained citizenship through service.

Classes of citizenship

The legal classes varied over time, however the following classes of legal status existed at various times within the Roman state:

The Orator, c. 100 BC, an Etrusco-Roman bronze sculpture depicting Aule Metele (Latin: Aulus Metellus), an Etruscan man wearing a Roman toga while engaged in rhetoric; the statue features an inscription in the Etruscan alphabet

Cives Romani

The cives Romani were full Roman citizens, who enjoyed full legal protection under Roman law. Cives Romani were sub-divided into two classes:

  • The non optimo iure who held the ius commercii and ius conubii (rights of property and marriage)
  • The optimo iure, who also held these rights as well as the ius suffragii and ius honorum (the additional rights to vote and to hold office).


The Latini were a class of citizens who held the Latin Right (ius Latii), or the rights of ius commercii and ius migrationis, but not the ius conubii. The term Latini originally referred to the Latins, citizens of the Latin League who came under Roman control at the close of the Latin War, but eventually became a legal description rather than a national or ethnic one. Freedmen slaves, those of the cives Romani convicted of crimes, or citizens settling Latin colonies could be given this status under the law.


Socii or foederati were citizens of states which had treaty obligations with Rome, under which typically certain legal rights of the state's citizens under Roman law were exchanged for agreed levels of military service, i.e. the Roman magistrates had the right to levy soldiers for the Roman legions from those states. However, foederati states that had at one time been conquered by Rome were exempt from payment of tribute to Rome due to their treaty status.

Growing dissatisfaction with the rights afforded to the socii, and with the growing manpower demands of the legions (due to the protracted Jugurthine War and the Cimbrian War) led eventually to the Social War of 91–88 BC in which the Italian allies revolted against Rome.

The Lex Julia (in full the Lex Iulia de Civitate Latinis Danda), passed in 90 BC, granted the rights of the cives Romani to all Latini and socii states that had not participated in the Social War, or who were willing to cease hostilities immediately. This was extended to all the Italian socii states when the war ended (except for Gallia Cisalpina), effectively eliminating socii and Latini as legal and citizenship definitions.


Provinciales were those people who fell under Roman influence, or control, but who lacked even the rights of the Foederati, essentially having only the rights of the ius gentium.


A peregrinus (plural peregrini) was originally any person who was not a full Roman citizen, that is someone who was not a member of the cives Romani. With the expansion of Roman law to include more gradations of legal status, this term became less used, but the term peregrini included those of the Latini, socii, and provinciales, as well as those subjects of foreign states.

Citizenship as a tool of Romanization

The Mausoleum of the Julii, about 40 BC, Glanum (14607576177)
A young woman sits while a servant fixes her hair with the help of a cupid, who holds up a mirror to offer a reflection, detail of a fresco from the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii, c. 50 BC

Roman citizenship was also used as a tool of foreign policy and control. Colonies and political allies would be granted a "minor" form of Roman citizenship, there being several graduated levels of citizenship and legal rights (the Latin Right was one of them). The promise of improved status within the Roman "sphere of influence", and the rivalry with one's neighbours for status, kept the focus of many of Rome's neighbours and allies centered on the status quo of Roman culture, rather than trying to subvert or overthrow Rome's influence.

The granting of citizenship to allies and the conquered was a vital step in the process of Romanization. This step was one of the most effective political tools and (at that point in history) original political ideas (perhaps one of the most important reasons for the success of Rome).

Previously Alexander the Great had tried to "mingle" his Greeks with the Persians, Egyptians, Syrians, etc. in order to assimilate the people of the conquered Persian Empire, but after his death this policy was largely ignored by his successors. The idea was not to assimilate, but to turn a defeated and potentially rebellious enemy (or their sons) into Roman citizens. Instead of having to wait for the unavoidable revolt of a conquered people (a tribe or a city-state) like Sparta and the conquered Helots, Rome tried to make those under its rule feel that they had a stake in the system.

The Edict of Caracalla

The Edict of Caracalla (officially the Constitutio Antoniniana (Latin: "Constitution [or Edict] of Antoninus") was an edict issued in 212 CE by the Roman Emperor Caracalla, which declared that all free men in the Roman Empire were to be given full Roman citizenship and all free women in the Empire were given the same rights as Roman women. Before 212, for the most part only inhabitants of Italia held full Roman citizenship. Colonies of Romans established in other provinces, Romans (or their descendants) living in provinces, the inhabitants of various cities throughout the Empire, and a few local nobles (such as kings of client countries) also held full citizenship. Provincials, on the other hand, were usually non-citizens, although some held the Latin Right. However, by the previous century Roman citizenship had already lost much of its exclusiveness and become more available.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Hans Volkmann: Municipium. In: Der Kleine Pauly. vol. 3, Stuttgart 1969, col. 1464–1469.
  2. ^ Plutarch, Life of Romulus 16.4.
  3. ^ "Roman Law". The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. New York: Columbia University Press. Archived from the original on 2007-06-22. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
  4. ^ conubium. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  5. ^ Catholic Resources
  6. ^ Geoffrey W. Bromiley (1979). The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 965–. ISBN 978-0-8028-3781-3.

External links

  • Goldsworthy, Adrian (2003-10-27). The Complete Roman Army. Thames & Hudson. p. 224. ISBN 0-500-05124-0.
  • Jahnige, Joan (May 2002). "Roman Citizenship". Kentucky Educational Television Distance Learning. Retrieved 2008-09-06.
  • Lassard, Yves; Alexandr Koptev. "The Roman Law Library" (Library). Retrieved 2008-09-06.
  • Just, Felix. "Social Aspects of Pauline World". Catholic Resources for Bible, Liturgy, Art, and Theology. Retrieved 2008-09-06.
A. N. Sherwin-White

Adrian Nicholas Sherwin-White, FBA (10 August 1911 – 1 November 1993) was a British academic and ancient historian. He was a fellow of St John's College, University of Oxford and President of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. His most important works include a study of Roman citizenship based on his doctoral thesis, a treatment of the New Testament from the point of view of Roman law and society, and a commentary on the letters of Pliny the Younger.


Appian of Alexandria (; Greek: Ἀππιανὸς Ἀλεξανδρεύς Appianòs Alexandreús; Latin: Appianus Alexandrinus; c. 95 – c. AD 165) was a Greek historian with Roman citizenship who flourished during the reigns of Emperors of Rome Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius.

He was born c. 95 in Alexandria. After holding the chief offices in the province of Aegyptus (Egypt), he went to Rome c. 120, where he practised as an advocate, pleading cases before the emperors (probably as advocatus fisci). It was in 147 at the earliest that he was appointed to the office of procurator, probably in Egypt, on the recommendation of his friend Marcus Cornelius Fronto, a well-known litterateur. Because the position of procurator was open only to members of the equestrian order (the "knightly" class), his possession of this office tells us about Appian's family background.

His principal surviving work (Ῥωμαϊκά Rhomaiká, known in Latin as Historia Romana and in English as Roman History) was written in Greek in 24 books, before 165. This work more closely resembles a series of monographs than a connected history. It gives an account of various peoples and countries from the earliest times down to their incorporation into the Roman Empire, and survives in complete books and considerable fragments. The work is very valuable, especially for the period of the civil wars.The Civil Wars, five of the later books in the corpus, concern mainly the end of the Roman Republic and take a conflict-based view and approach history.

Despite the apparent lack of sources for his works, his books 13–17 of the Roman History are the only comprehensive description of these nine momentous centuries of the Roman Empire.


The Auxilia (Latin, lit. "auxiliaries") were introduced as non-citizen troops attached to the citizen legions by Augustus after his reorganisation of the Imperial Roman army from 30 BC. By the 2nd century, the Auxilia contained the same number of infantry as the legions and, in addition, provided almost all of the Roman army's cavalry (especially light cavalry and archers) and more specialised troops. The auxilia thus represented three-fifths of Rome's regular land forces at that time. Like their legionary counterparts, auxiliary recruits were mostly volunteers, not conscripts.

The Auxilia were mainly recruited from the peregrini, free provincial subjects who did not hold Roman citizenship and constituted the vast majority of the population in the 1st and 2nd centuries (c. 90% in the early 1st century). In contrast to the legions, which only admitted Roman citizens, members of the Auxilia could be recruited from territories outside of Roman control.

Reliance on the various contingents of non-Italic troops, especially cavalry, increased when the Roman Republic employed them in increasing numbers to support its legions after 200 BC. The Julio-Claudian period (30 BC–68 AD) saw the transformation of the Auxilia from motley levies to a standing corps with standardised structure, equipment and conditions of service. By the end of the period, there were no significant differences between legionaries and auxiliaries in terms of training, and thus, combat capability.

Auxiliary regiments were often stationed in provinces other than that in which they were originally raised, for reasons of security and to foster the process of Romanisation in the provinces. The regimental names of many auxiliary units persisted into the 4th century, but by then the units in question were different in size, structure, and quality from their predecessors.

Cisalpine Gaul

Cisalpine Gaul (Latin: Gallia Cisalpina, also called Gallia Citerior or Gallia Togata) was the part of Italy inhabited by Celts (Gauls) during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. Conquered by the Roman Republic in the 220s BC, it was a Roman province from c. 81 BC until 42 BC, when it was merged into Roman Italy. Until that time, it was considered part of Gaul, precisely that part of Gaul on the "hither side of the Alps" (from the perspective of the Romans), as opposed to Transalpine Gaul ("on the far side of the Alps").Gallia Cisalpina was further subdivided into Gallia Cispadana and Gallia Transpadana, i.e. its portions south and north of the Po River, respectively.

The Roman province of the 1st century BC was bounded on the north and west by the Alps, in the south as far as Placentia by the river Po, and then by the Apennines and the river Rubicon, and in the east by the Adriatic Sea. In 49 BC all inhabitants of Cisalpine Gaul received Roman citizenship, and eventually the province was divided among four of the eleven regions of Italy: Regio VIII Gallia Cispadana, Regio IX Liguria, Regio X Venetia et Histria and Regio XI Gallia Transpadana.

Civitas sine suffragio

Civitas sine suffragio (Latin, "citizenship without the vote") was a level of citizenship in the Roman Republic which granted all the rights of Roman citizenship except the right to vote in popular assemblies. This status was first extended to some of the city-states which had been incorporated into the Republic following the break-up of the Latin League in 338 BCE. It became the standard Romanization policy for incorporating conquered regions in building the Roman Empire.

Claudius Lysias

Claudius Lysias is a figure mentioned in the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles. According to Acts 21:31-24:22, Lysias was a Roman tribune and the commander (chiliarch) of the Roman garrison ("cohort" Acts 21:31) in Jerusalem.

Constitutio Antoniniana

The Constitutio Antoniniana (Latin for: "Constitution [or Edict] of Antoninus") (also called the Edict of Caracalla or the Antonine Constitution) was an edict issued in 212 CE, by the Roman Emperor Caracalla declaring that all free men in the Roman Empire were to be given theoretical Roman citizenship and that all free women in the Empire were to be given the same rights as Roman women.

Before 212 CE, for the most part only inhabitants of Italy held full Roman citizenship. Colonies of Romans established in other provinces, Romans (or their descendants) living in provinces, the inhabitants of various cities throughout the Empire, and small numbers of local nobles (such as kings of client countries) held full citizenship also. Provincials, on the other hand, were usually non-citizens, although some held the Latin Right.

Coria, Cáceres

Coria is a Spanish municipality in the province of Cáceres, Extremadura, formed by the city of the same name and the towns of Puebla de Argeme and Rincón del Obispo. The whole municipality has 12,896 inhabitants and a population density of 152.2 inhabitants/km ² (INE 2009), which makes this city the capital of Vegas de Alagón and the fourth largest city in the province of Cáceres.

Founded before the Romans occupied the Iberian Peninsula, and called Caura, the Romans gave it its present name in Latin, Caurium, and later the city was granted Roman citizenship. Later under the Visigoths, the Diocese of Coria was created and, except for the years of Muslim occupation, held at the Episcopal Coria until the twentieth century, when it was forced to share the capital of the diocese in Cáceres.

The centuries in which Coria was the only capital of the diocese were of great prosperity for the city. After the Reconquista, Coria became the capital of a lordship to which some towns are still named after, such as Guijo de Coria or Casillas de Coria. After the dissolution, Coria became the judicial capital of Coria.

Today, Coria is the largest city in the northwest of the province of Cáceres and an important commercial and tourist center, to preserve many monuments and hold an annual national tourist interest in honor of San Juan.


The Helvii (also Elui, ancient Greek Ἑλουοί) were a relatively small Celtic polity west of the Rhône river on the northern border of Gallia Narbonensis. Their territory was roughly equivalent to the Vivarais, in the modern French department Ardèche. Alba Helviorum was their capital, possibly the Alba Augusta mentioned by Ptolemy, and usually identified with modern-day Alba-la-Romaine (earlier Aps). In the 5th century the capital seems to have been moved to Viviers.From the mid-2nd to mid-1st century BC, Helvian territory was on the northern border of the Roman province of Gallia Transalpina (later the Narbonensis). As a border people, the Helvii played a crucial if limited role in the Gallic Wars under the leadership of Gaius Valerius Caburus, who had held Roman citizenship since 83 BC, and his sons Troucillus and Domnotaurus. Julius Caesar calls the Helvii a civitas, a polity with at least small-scale urban centers (oppida), and not a pagus ("sub-tribe").


The Hernici were an Italic tribe of ancient Italy, whose territory was in Latium between the Fucine Lake and the Sacco River (Trerus), bounded by the Volsci on the south, and by the Aequi and the Marsi on the north.

For many years of the early Roman republic they were allied with Rome and fought alongside it against its neighbours.

In 495 BC Livy records that they entered into a treaty with the Volsci against ancient Rome.They long maintained their independence, and in 486 BC were still strong enough to conclude an equal treaty with the Latins.In 475 BC they fought alongside the Latins against the Aequi and Volsci, and in the same year fought alongside Rome against the Veientes and Sabines. In 468 BC they fought alongside Rome against the Volsci.In 464 BC they warned Rome of the betrayal of Ecetra, and fought alongside Rome against the Aequi who were allied with the Ecetrans.They broke away from Rome in 362 and in 306, when their chief town Anagnia was taken and reduced to a praefectura, but Ferentinum, Aletrium and Verulae were rewarded for their fidelity by being allowed to remain free municipia, a position which at that date they preferred to the civitas.

The name of the Hernici, like that of the Volsci, is missing from the list of Italian peoples whom Polybius describes as able to furnish troops in 225 BC; by that date, therefore, their territory cannot have been distinguished from Latium generally, and it seems probable that they had then received the full Roman citizenship. The oldest Latin inscriptions of the district (from Ferentinum) are earlier than the Social War, and present no local characteristic.

Latin Rights

Latin Rights (also latin citizenship, Latin: ius Latii or ius latinum) were a set of legal rights that were originally granted to the Latins (Latin: "Latini", the People of Latium, the land of the Latins) under Roman law. "Latinitas" was commonly used by Roman jurists to denote this status. With the Roman unification of Italy, many settlements and coloniae outside of Latium had Latin rights.

All the Latini of Italy obtained Roman citizenship as a result of three laws which were introduced during the Social War between the Romans and their allies among the Italic peoples ("socii") which rebelled against Rome. The Lex Iulia de Civitate Latinis (et sociis) Danda of 90 BC conferred Roman citizenship on all citizens of the Latin towns and the Italic towns who had not rebelled. The Lex Plautia Papiria de Civitate Sociis Danda of 89 BC granted Roman citizenship to all federated towns in Italy south of the River Po (in northern Italy). The Lex Pompeia de Transpadanis of 89 BC granted the ius Latii to the communities of Transpadania, a region north of the Po, which had sided with Rome during the Social War. It also granted Roman citizenship to those who became officials in their respective municipia (cities).

The exact content of the ius Latii, under Roman law, varied from city to city. It could include some or all of the following rights:

Ius commercii: the right to trade, i. e., the right to have commercial relations and trade with Roman citizens on equal status and to use the same forms of contract as Roman citizens;

Ius connubii: the right to marry pursuant to law;

Ius migrationis: the right to migrate, i. e., the right to retain one’s degree of citizenship upon relocation to another municipium. In other words, Latin status was not lost when moving to other locales in Italy.

Ius suffragii: the right to vote, but only if they migrated to Rome.

Ius civitatis mutandae: the right to become Roman citizens.Outside of Italy, the term Latinitas continued to be used for other cases. Cicero used this term in relation to Julius Caesar's grant of Latin rights to the Sicilians in 44 BC. This use of "ius Latii" or "Latinitas" persisted to the reign of Emperor Justinian I in the sixth century AD. This status was later given to whole towns and regions: Emperor Vespasian granted it to the whole of Hispania and Emperor Hadrian gave it to many towns.

Lex Julia

A Lex Julia (or: Lex Iulia, plural: Leges Juliae/Leges Iuliae) is an ancient Roman law that was introduced by any member of the Julian family. Most often, "Julian laws", Lex Iulia or Leges Iuliae refer to moral legislation introduced by Augustus in 23 BC, or to a law from the dictatorship of Julius Caesar.

Nomen (Roman name)

The nomen gentilicium was the part of a Roman citizen’s name that identified them as Roman. Originally, it had also identified their membership of a particular Roman family or clan (gens) according to their patrilineal descent. However, as Rome expanded its frontiers and non-Roman peoples were progressively granted Roman citizenship and along with it an existing Roman nomen, the nomen lost its value in indicating patrilineal ancestry.


The Optimates (; Latin: optimates, "best ones", singular optimas; also known as boni, "good men") were a conservative political faction in the late Roman Republic.

They formed in reaction against the reforms of the Gracchi brothers—two tribunes of the plebs between 133 and 121 BC who tried to pass an agrarian law to help the urban poor, and a political reform that would have diminished the influence of the senatorial class. As the Optimates were senators and large landowners, they violently opposed the Gracchi, and finally murdered them, but their program was upheld by several politicians, called the Populares ("favouring the people"). For about 80 years, Roman politics was marked by the confrontation of these two factions. The Optimates favoured the ancestral Roman laws and customs, as well as the supremacy of the Senate over the popular assemblies and the tribunes of the plebs. They also rejected the massive extension of Roman citizenship to Rome's Italian allies advocated by the Populares. Although suspicious of powerful generals, they sided with Pompey when they came to believe that Julius Caesar—himself a Popularis—planned a coup against the Republic. They disappeared with their defeat in the subsequent Civil War.

While several leaders of the Optimates were patricians—belonging to the oldest noble families—such as Sulla or Scipio Nasica Serapio, many were plebeians: the Caecilii Metelli, Pompey, Cato the Younger, Titus Annius Milo, etc. Cicero—the most famous Optimas—was even a novus homo (the first of his gens to be senator).

Peregrinus (Roman)

Peregrinus was the term used during the early Roman empire, from 30 BC to AD 212, to denote a free provincial subject of the Empire who was not a Roman citizen. Peregrini constituted the vast majority of the Empire's inhabitants in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. In AD 212, all free inhabitants of the Empire were granted citizenship by the constitutio Antoniniana, abolishing the status of peregrinus.

The Latin peregrinus "foreigner, one from abroad" is a derivation from the adverb peregre "from abroad", composed of per- "abroad" and agri, the locative of ager "field, country".

During the Roman Republic, the term peregrinus simply denoted any person who did not hold Roman citizenship, full or partial, whether that person was under Roman rule or not. Technically, this remained the case during the Imperial era. But in practice the term became limited to subjects of the Empire, with inhabitants of regions outside the Empire's borders denoted barbari (barbarians).

Roman Italy

Italia (the Latin name for the Italian Peninsula) was the homeland of the Romans and metropole of Rome's empire in classical antiquity. According to Roman mythology, Italy was the new home promised by Jupiter to Aeneas of Troy and his descendants, ancestors of the founders of Rome. Aside from the legendary accounts, Rome was an Italian city-state that changed its form of government from Kingdom to Republic and then grew within the context of a peninsula dominated by the Celts in the North, the Etruscans in the Centre, and the Greeks in the South.

The consolidation of Italy into a single entity occurred during the Roman expansion in the peninsula, when Rome formed a permanent association with most of the local tribes and cities. The strength of the Italian alliance was a crucial factor in the rise of Rome, starting with the Punic and Macedonian wars between the 3rd and 2nd century BC. As provinces were being established throughout the Mediterranean, Italy maintained a special status which made it "not a province, but the Domina (ruler) of the provinces". Such a status meant that Roman magistrates exercised the Imperium domi (police power) within Italy, rather than the Imperium militiae (military power) used abroad. Italy's inhabitants had Latin Rights as well as religious and financial privileges.

The period between the end of the 2nd century BC and the 1st century BC was turbulent, beginning with the Servile Wars, continuing with the opposition of aristocratic élite to populist reformers and leading to a Social War in the middle of Italy. However, Roman citizenship was recognized to the rest of the Italics by the end of the conflict and then extended to Cisalpine Gaul when Julius Caesar became Roman Dictator. In the context of the transition from Republic to Principate, Italy swore allegiance to Octavian Augustus and was then organized in eleven regions from the Alps to the Ionian Sea.

More than two centuries of stability followed, during which Italy was referred to as the rectrix mundi (queen of the world) and omnium terrarum parens (motherland of all lands). Several emperors made notable accomplishments in this period: Claudius incorporated Britain into the Roman Empire, Vespasian subjugated the Great Revolt of Judea and reformed the financial system, Trajan conquered Dacia and defeated Parthia, and Marcus Aurelius epitomized the ideal of the philosopher king.

The crisis of the third century hit Italy particularly hard and left the eastern half of the Empire more prosperous. In 286 AD the Roman Emperor Diocletian moved the capital of the Western Roman Empire from Rome to Mediolanum. Nevertheless, the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Malta were added to Italy by Diocletian in 292 AD, and Italian cities such as Mediolanum and Ravenna continued to serve as capitals for the West.

The Bishop of Rome gained importance during Constantine's reign and was given religious primacy with the Edict of Thessalonica under Theodosius I. Italy was invaded several times by the barbarians and fell under the control of Odoacer, when Romulus Augustus was deposed in 476 AD. In the sixth century, Italy's territory was divided between the Byzantine Empire and the Germanic peoples. After that, Italy remained divided until 1861, when it was reunited in the Kingdom of Italy, which became the present-day Republic of Italy in 1946.

Roman military diploma

A Roman military diploma was a document inscribed in bronze certifying that the holder was honourably discharged from the Roman armed forces and/or had received the grant of Roman citizenship from the emperor as reward for service.The diploma was a notarised copy of an original constitutio (decree) issued by the emperor in Rome, listing by regiment (or unit) the eligible veterans. The constitutio, recorded on a large bronze plate, was lodged in the military archive at Rome (none such has been found; presumably they were melted down in later times).

Romano-British culture

Romano-British culture is the culture that arose in Britain under the Roman Empire following the Roman conquest in AD 43 and the creation of the province of Britannia. It arose as a fusion of the imported Roman culture with that of the indigenous Britons, a people of Celtic language and custom. It survived the fifth-century Roman departure from Britain, eventually finding itself a stronghold in Wales where it was to form the basis of an emerging Welsh culture. Scholars such as Christopher Snyder believe that during the 5th and 6th centuries – approximately from 410 when the Roman legions withdrew, to 597 when St Augustine of Canterbury arrived – southern Britain preserved an active sub-Roman culture that survived the attacks from the Anglo-Saxons and even used a vernacular Latin when writing.

Social War (91–88 BC)

The Social War (from socii ("allies"), thus in Latin: Bellum Sociale; also called the Italian War, the War of the Allies or the Marsic War) was a war waged from 91 to 88 BC between the Roman Republic and several of the other cities and tribes in Italy, which prior to the war had been Roman allies for centuries. The war was begun by the Picentes because the Romans did not want to afford them Roman citizenship, thus leaving the Italian groups with fewer rights. The war resulted in a Roman victory. However, Rome granted Roman citizenship to all of its Italian allies, to avoid another war.This war also led to a complete Romanization of Italy. The Etruscans and other Italic people quickly integrated themselves into the Roman world, after gaining Roman citizenship. Their own languages and cultures became extinct in the process.

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