The Roman Empire in the Middle Republic (c.241 – 146 BCE)

About this talk

What was ancient Rome like before the leadership of Augustus and Caesar? Explore the growth of the Roman republic and start of the Roman Empire in this period through this intriguing talk from Connor Beattie. Connor Beattie considers the democratic methods at play in the Roman Republic, and whether the imperialism should be viewed as defensive or aggressive. The talk also considers some of the significant wars in this period which shaped the power dynamics of Rome across the Mediterranean in this period. This talk may be most useful for students interested in Classics, History, Politics and Philosophy.

Scroll down to access the talk as well as some further resources if you want to broaden your knowledge of this topic!

Have a go at the task set by Connor Beattie:

Read about one of the “major wars of expansion” and decide whether you think the Romans were being “aggressive”, “defensive”, or both.

Key points to remember as you are working through this task:

  • The reliability of your sources
  • Were the Romans more or less aggressive/ defensive than other empires throughout history?
  • What do we mean by an “empire” or “imperialism”?
  • Was Polybius right that the Romans had a “grand plan” to conquer the world? Did Polybius only really the Mediterranean by the world?

Further Resources

For Harris’ argument about Roman imperialism, you can find a link to his book War and Imperialism in Republican Rome 327 – 70 BC by clicking here

For Burton’s argument on Roman imperialism in his book Friendship and Empire: Roman diplomacy and imperialism in the Middle Republic (353 – 146 BC) follow the link here

To learn more about the Punic Wars and the key causes, you can watch this YouTube video by following the link here . This may be particularly useful if you are unsure where to start on the task set above.

Connor Beattie
Connor Beattie

Connor Beattie is a DPhil student in Ancient History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, whose research focuses on Roman Imperialism. Connor Beattie previously completed a BA and MPhil at Magdalen College, Oxford in Ancient and Modern History, and Roman and Greek History. To learn more about Connor Beattie’s research, you can follow this link here.