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Roman expansion, first in Italy, then throughout the Mediterranean, was due to several factors: the ambition and desire for glory of its leaders, weaker states appealing to Rome for protection, and Roman fear of others' aggression.

Book: Billet, Richard W., et. al, The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History. 5th edition. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2010. Vol. 1. (pg 164) Section review

by Jonathan T. Dallas

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12y ago
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11y ago

Most of the expansion under the Roman Republic was not the result of wanting to build an empire and making it bigger. It was the result of a chain of events.

The Romans fought the First Punic War against the Carthaginians over the control of Sicily and as a result of the war also gained control of Sardinia and Corsica. Roman expansion could have stopped at this point. However, Hannibal, a Carthaginian general, sparked the Second Punic war and attacked Italy from his power base in Spain. By winning this war, Rome gained control of the western basin of the Mediterranean. The conquest of Greece was the result of Rome getting drawn into the conflicts between Greek states, not a desire to conquer it. Expansion into Turkey was due to king of Pontus, in northeast Turkey, starting a war against Rome and trying to get the Greek states to rebel against Rome. This lead to the Mithridatic Wars which Rome won, taking over Turkey. Successive expansion was due to concerns about political instability in the lands near the new borders of the empire. Syria was torn by civil war. The Romans annexed Syria to ensure political stability. Civil wars, this time among the Jews, was the reason for Roman intervention in Judaea. Rome sided with one faction and sieged Jerusalem to give power to her ally. Rome did not annex Judaea, but turned it into a client state.

Later expansion was due partly due to the fact that conquest by now was seen as a normal thing and partly to emperors seeing conquest as a source of power and prestige. Trouble along the frontier could be another factor.

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12y ago

world domination like most empires

Actually the Roman leaders did not want an empire each of their territorial gains were almost entirely by accident or thurst upon them by others. The islands of Sicily Corsica and Sardinia and the province of Africa were taken during the Punic Wars not in order to gain land but to prevent Carthage from threatening Rome. The Roman armies took Greece in 146 BCE when the two factions there could not stop fighting and called for Roman mediation and the Kingdom of Pergamum and then Numidia were willed to the Roman people when their kings saw no suitable rulers in their offspring. More land was gained when the people inhabiting them attacked Roman possesions and it was not until the middle to late empire that the empire sought to conquer land and then it only did so in order to shorten its borders and thus simplify their defense.

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14y ago

The Roman Emperors would want to expand theirs Empires because the more land that they controlled meant that they would have more room to grow vegetable crops, raise livestock, construct dwellings and the population of the people would also increase. This would mean that more work would completed if there were more people. They also would have believed that the more land that they controlled meant that they were more respected and powerful.

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8y ago

The Romans did not necessarily desire to expand their territory. Much of Rome's imperial expansion was the result of he winning wars, rather than a grand design to create an empire. Her attaining control over parts of central and southern Italy was the result of the three Samnite Wars against the Samnites which developed into a struggle over the control of this part of Italy. The annexation of mainland Greece came after four wars against Macedon and one against the Seleucid empire. One of these wars was fought because Philip VI, the King of Macedon had made alliance with Hannibal, who had invaded Italy. Two of these wars were fought to protect Roman allies in Greece. In each of these three occasions Rome withdrew from Greece after the war. The last two wars against Macedon were fought to stop this kingdom from causing trouble in Greece and guarantee Roman control in the area. Roman expansion into Turkey was the result of winning the MIthridatic Wars against Mithridates VI, the king of Pontus, who wanted to expand into Turkey at the expense of Roman allies in the area and attacked Roman civilians in western Turkey. The Syria was annexed because the Seleucid dynasty was decaying, was caught up in a civil war and was a source of instability in the region. The Roman presence in Judea was the result of their being called in to arbitrate a dispute between two brothers who were fighting a civil war over the throne. The take over of southern France was triggered by local tribes attacking the Greek city of Massalia (Marseilles), which was a Roman ally. Roman expansion into Spain was due to a number of wars triggered by rebellions by locals.

The first deliberate act of conquest was Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul. He did this for political gain and for paying off his large debts through the spoils of wars. Augustus conquered Rhaetia in the Alpine area because he saw it a as buffer area for the defense of Italy. He pushed inland from the Adriatic coast and into Illyria because he wanted to control this strategic area. He annexed Pannonia (eastern Austria and western Hungary) because it had participated in a rebellion against Rome. He ordered the invasion of central Germany following raids into the empire by Germanic tribes. This was ended by a confederation of Germanic tribes routing three Roman legions. Claudius ordered the conquest of southern England to strengthen his weak political position in Rome. Vespasian ordered the conquest of northern England because Venutius, the king of the Brigantes, the dominant tribe in the area , was in a dispute with his wife Cartimandua, who was an ally of Rome, and incited rebellions against the Romans. Trajan conquered Dacia because the Dacians repeatedly carries out raids into the Roman Empire.

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13y ago

for raw materials - such as oil, coal, wood, iron ect

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13y ago

More resources, more money, and they were taking over people that had been harassing them for centuries and they were sick of it.

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12y ago

prestige, wealth, resources, culture, slaves/people

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Q: Why do you think Romans desired to expand their territory?
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