Saturday, March 24, 2007

202BC to 37BC

202BC. Battle of Sama, Oct. 19, ends the Second Punic War; largely destroys the power of Carthage.

201BC. Carthage surrenders all her Mediterranean possessions to Rome.

167BC. Led by the Maccabees, a Jewish revolt against the Syrians begins.

146BC. Carthage falls to Roman legions. It becomes the Roman province of Africa.

142BC. Judea gains independence from Syria under the leadership of Simon Maccabee.

95/55BC. On the Nature of Things. Lucretius. Roman. Poetry. (De rerum natura). Book 1: All things are made up of eternal atoms moving through infinite space. Book 2: The entire world of material substances is produced through joining of these atoms. Book 3: Mind and spirit are also arrangements of atoms. At death the soul is dispersed as imperishable atoms fly apart. Book 4: Sensation, perception and thought are produced by images emitted by external surfaces. Book 5: The world as we know it is created by a fortuitous concourse of atoms. Book 6: All natural phenomena can be explained according to this atomic theory. All things operate according to their own laws and are not influenced by supernatural powers. Lucretius committed suicide before completing the final draft of his poem.

87BC. A new Roman demagogue appears in the person of L Cornelius Cinna.

64BC. Jerusalem falls to Pompey after a siege as the Romans move to subdue Judea.

60BC. A triumvirate to rule Rome is created by Gaius Julius Caesar, 42; forges alliance with Pompey and Crassus. Caesar is the son-in-law of the late Cinna.

58BC. Julius Caesar invades Gaul.

58/44BC. Commentaries on the Gallic War. Julius Caesar. Roman. History. Seven books. Each book covers one year. Caesar made Gaul a permanent part of the empire. Clear, concise Latin. Historical accuracy.

54BC. Julius Caesar invades Britain.

49BC. Julius Caesar leads his forces across the Rubicon River into Italy to begin a civil war. Caesar defeats Pompey on June 29, 48BC, and becomes absolute ruler of Rome.

44BC. Julius Caesar is assassinated at the Senate on March 15. Roman orator Marc Antony, 39, persuades the Romans to expel Caesar's assassins.

44BC. De amicitia (Friendship). Cicero. Roman. Essay. Dialogue on the subject of friendship.

44BC. De senectute (Old Age). Cicero. Roman. Essay. Essay on old age in the form of a dialogue. The advantages of serene old age.

43/37BC. Bucolics. Vergil. Roman. Poetry. Ten pastoral poems. Eclogues. Allegories of contemporary events, persons. First: anguish of shepherd forced to leave his ancestral lands. Second: love song of Corydon for boy Alexis. Third: singing contest. Impromptu couplet must be answered with variation of tone, subject. Fourth: Most famous. Predicts new age of peace, ushered in by the birth of a child. Called the Messianic Eclogue. Fifth: exchange of songs. Elegiac. Death of young shepherd, actually Julius Caesar. Sixth: capsule cosmogony. Shows Vergil's acquaintance with Lucretius's De rerum natura. Seventh: another singing contest. Eighth: two love elegies. Magical refrains. "Sorcery." Ninth: exchange of songs between old and young man. References to the death of Caesar, Roman civil wars, and confiscations. Tenth: To Gallus, brokenhearted over the infidelity of his mistress. Actually a pastiche of Gallus's love lyrics? The Bucolics influenced the pastoral tradition after the Renaissance. Calm elegance is the dominant tone of pastoral verse.

41BC. Egypt's Cleopatra, 28, meets Marc Antony, 42, and he succumbs to her charms.

37BC. Judea's Herod the Great begins a 33-year reign at age 36.

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