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Famous People

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on May 3, 2009 at 5:38:39 pm
 

http://www.iep.utm.edu/c/cicero.htm 

 

Below is a list of Famous Romans in order of importance, according to Matt Lipson, Amanda Lipson, and Kristin Harris. Included with each Roman will be a short biography and why they ranked what they did.

 

10 Saint Helena  

 

9 Justinian 

 

8 Nero 

 

 

 7 Constantine 

 

 

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 6 Mark Antony   

 

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Marcus Antonius, known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman Politician and General. He was born in Rome at around83 BC. Antony didn’t have a disciplined early life. His father died young, and left behind him and his brothers Lucius Antonius and Gaius Antonius in the hands of his mother. There was a lack of parental guidance and presence. According to historians, he spent his youth wandering Roman streets with his brother and friends, and frequently found trouble. He frequently drank, visited gambling houses, and got involved in scandalous love affairs, and already owed a debt of 250 talents, or $5 million, by the age of 20. Antony cleaned up his act, and moved to Greece to escape creditors and study rhetoric, the art of using language as a means to persuade. He became best friends with Caesar, along with being an important supporter and cousin of him. Antony assisted Caesar in carrying out his military campaigns. When Caesar became dictator for a second time, Antony was made Master of the Horse, or his right hand man. After a conflict arose between the two, they did not speak for about two years. Yet, Antony remained faithful to Caesar at all times. On February 15, 44 BC, Antony offered Caesar a diadem, which was a symbol of a king, at the Lupercalia festival. Later Antony hears news of an uprising conspiracy to kill Caesar. On the Ides of March Antony went to warn the dictator about the liberators, but was too late for the assignation. Antony fled Rome dressed as a slave in fear that people would soon try to kill him for being a supporter of Caesar. When he realized this would not happen, he returned to Rome to discuss a truce. Antony kept up the truce to seemingly end the political tension. On the day of Caesar’s funeral, Antony was the chosen one to give the eulogy for being Caesar’s second in command. In his speech, he showed his talent in rhetoric and dramatic interpretation as he made accusations of murder by the conspirators. He then showed Caesar’s stabbed body, shaming the conspirators who killed the dictator. He then read Caesar’s will, which left most of his property to the Roman people showing that Caesar had no intention of forming a royal dynasty. The opinion of the public changed, and they attacked the houses of the assassins, forcing them to flee. He became consul and ruled with Cicero, but there was tension between the two. Cicero made Antony an enemy of state. He ordered the assassination of Cicero, which was successful. Antony married and divorced Fadia, Antonia, Fulvia, and Octavia and left behind him a number of children. He later met Cleopatra, Pharaoh of Egypt and fell in love. He had twins and a son with her. He divorced Octavian and married Cleopatra. Octavian wanted to kill Antony and become ruler. In August 30 BC he invaded Egypt, where Antony now lived. With nowhere to escape, he stabbed himself with his sword in a mistaken belief Cleopatra had already committed suicide. His friends brought him to Cleopatra while he was still alive, and died in her arms. Some historians believe he was actually killed by an Egyptian priest that was in favor of Octavian.

 

 

 5 Cicero 

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Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He was born into a wealthy family on January 3, 106 BC in Arpinum, Italy, meaning he was not “Roman” in a traditional sense.  He was an extremely talented student, whose learning attracted attention from all over Rome. His childhood dream was “always to be best and far to excel the others”, a line from Iliad by Homer. Cicero was the son of a knight and mother who managed the household. He group learning both Greek and Latin and used his knowledge of Greek to translate theoretical concepts of Greek philosophy into Latin. This helped translate the work for more people. Romans chose personal names, which were usually down-to-earth, in ancient times. Cicero chose the name chickpea, which was originally given to on of his ancestors who had a cleft in the tip of his nose resembling a chickpea. He was urged to change his “belittling” name when he got into politics, but he refused. He studied Roman law under Quintus Mucius Scaevola. Cicero's students of law were Gaius Marius Minor, Titus Pomponiu, and Servius Sulpicius Rufus. He was asked to prosecute Gaius Verres, a governor of Sicily who plundered Sicily. It was a success for Cicero, and at the end of the case, he was considered to be the greatest orator in Rome. Oratory was considered a great art in ancient Rome. In the late 90's and early 80's BC Cicero fell in love with philosophy. He introduced philosophy to the Romans and created a philosophical vocabulary in Latin. He married around 79 BC to Terentia and had two children with her, Marcus and Tullia (who he was very close with). He divorced Terentia, and married a younger wife and divorced again very shortly. Cicero was elected Consul in 63 BC, where he diminished a conspiracy to overthrow the Roman Republic. For this, he earned the honorific Pater Patriae. While suppressing the conspiracy, he put Roman citizens to death without trial. Because of this, he was forced to go into exile in 58 BC and became depressed. He came back from exile in August 5, 57 BC to a cheering crowd. Cicero and Antony then became the two leading men in Rome following Caesar’s death. The two men did not like each other, and Cicero spoke speeches against Antony, trying to make him enemy of state and drive him out. The effort failed, and Cicero became a target of assassins. On December 7, 43 BC he was found, and his last words are said to have been “There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly”. He was decapitated, and his hands were cut off and nailed and displayed.

 

 

4 Augustus 

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Augustus Caesar(Octavius) was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar and was the first emperor of Rome from 27 BC to 14 AD. Augustus was born in Rome on September 23rd, 63 BC. His name given at birth was Gaius Octavius. Even though his family was related to Julius Caesar, they were plebeians and lived very simply. Augustus was not lifted out of this status until he was adopted by Julius Caesar. When Augustus was only four-years-old his father died and his mother married a wealthy man who was the former governor of Syria. However, Augustus was raised mostly by his grandmother and his aunt(Julius Caesar's sister)because his step-father had no interest in him. After his grandmother died, his parents became much more interested in him and became much more active parents. When Julius Caesar was assassinated Augustus was undergoing military training and returned to Rome to see if Julius left him anything. In Julius Caesar's will, he became the heir to two-thirds of his estate and his political heir because Caesar had no sons of his own. To hide his modest origins, he changed his name to Gaius Julius Caesar. As ruler he joined Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus and and lead a military dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate. Augustus ruled as an autocrat and ruled Rome and many other provinces as a dictatorship. The three rulers began to fight each other because they all became too ambitious. Lepidus was forced into exile and Mark Antony commited suicide after his troops were defeated at the battle of Actium. After the Second Second Triumvirate failed, Augustus began to bring back some of the Democratic ideas of the Roman Republic, but still ruled like a dictator by using the Roman Legions to alter the Senate's decisions by threatening them with the legions. Even though Augustus ruled with an iron fist, there was a long period of peace known as the Pax Romana. As ruler, he also massively expanded the Roman Empire by gaining Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Bavaria, Austria, Slovenia, Albania, Croatia, Hungary, and caused the borders of the African province to stretch East and South. He eventually changed his name to Imperator Caesar Divi Filus Augustus. He chose Imperator to be his first name because it meant "victorious commander". Besides expanding Rome, Augustus also helped fix the infrastructure of Rome. He reformed the tax system, constructed a network of roads, formed a standing Army and Navy, and established the police and firefighters of Rome. Rome was also beautifully rebuilt during his reign. Augustus passed away in AD 14 and was declared a god by the Roman Senate. Every Roman emperor after Augustus used both Augustus and Caesar as their names. The month Sextilis was named in honor of Augustus. Augustus is an important Roman for many reasons. He is one of Rome's most successful rulers because he started the Pax Romana and caused Rome to rise to power by gaining so much territory. His way of running Rome remained the framework of the government for hundreds of years until the Roman Empire failed. He was Rome's strongest leader and caused Rome to be the most powerful empire in the world for hundreds of years after his death. He left a legacy like no other ruler because he never really died. His influences lasted for so long and he was admired and regarded as one of Rome's best rulers.

 

3 Cleopatra  

Cleopatra VII Philopator was born January 69 BC. She was the third daughter of Ptolemy XII, who ruledEgypt until his death in 51 BC. Cleopatra ruled Egypt by her father’s side until his death. She taught herself politics from watching her father in court.  She then ruled it with her brothers/husbands Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV. Eventually she gained total control of Egypt. She was a Macedonian Greek, so she was not traditionally Egyptian, yet she still took the title of Pharaoh. Her main language was Greek, but she is supposed to have been the first member of her family in their 300-year reign in Egypt to learn the Egyptian language. Cleopatra was a distant ancestor from Alexander the Great. She was a lover to Julius Caesar, and had a child with him. They never married. Being in such close ties with Caesar helped her keep her grip on the throne. Cleopatra had four children in all. Her first son was Ptolemy Caesar, also known as Caesarion, by Caser. The other three where by Mark Antony, which were the twins, Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios, and the third son Ptolemy Philadelphus. The end of her reign was the end of the Hellenistic Era, and the beginning of the Roman Era in the eastern Mediterranean. She was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Her son Caesarion ruled with his mother for a few years until Octavian (Augustus) had him executed. In Ancient Roman times, women were not very powerful, but Cleopatra is considered the most important and powerful women of the time period. For more information on Cleopatra, click here

 

 

 

2Romulus and Remus 

 

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Romulus and Remus are known as the legendary founders of Rome. The story of Romulus and Remus goes way back to the time before they were born. Romulus and Remus' grandfather, Numitor and their uncle, Amulius, became the rulers of Alba Longa, an ancient Italian city. Amulius recieved the royal treasury which held a ton of gold, while Numitor gained the sovereign powers. Since Amulius had all of the royal riches, he had more power than his brother. Amulius dethroned Numitor as the king and made himself the king. Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, was forced to become a preistess so she could not have children. Amulius wanted Rhea Silvia to become a priestess because he did not want her to have children that would force him away from the throne. However, Rhea had children with the god of war, Mars, after disobeying Amulius. When Amulius noticed that Rhea was pregnant, he imprisoned her until she gave birth. Rhea gave birth to two twin boys, Romulus and Remus. Amulius was furious that Rhea disobeyed him and ordered that Rhea and the newborn twins were to be killed. There are many different accounts about the way Rhea was killed and the way the twins lived. One legend said that Rhea was buried alive and that the twins were ordered to exposure. Another legend said that both Rhea and the twins were ordered to be thrown in to the Tiber River. It is most commonly said the twins lived because the servant ordered to kill them did not have the heart to kill the babies, so she put them in a basket and let them float down the Tiber River. The twins were eventually found by Tibernius, the river deity. Tibernius brought the twins to Lupa, a wolf who raised the twins under a Fig tree and got food from a woodpecker. Coincidentally, both the tree and the woodpecker were sacred to Mars, their father. Eventually, Romulus and Remus were discovered by a shepherd who raised the boys. Eventually, Romulus became the king of the land that is now Rome. Romulus and Remus had a fight over who should rule the new city they founded. Romulus killed Remus in the conflict and named the city Rome, after himself. According to legend, Romulus and Remus stood on separate hills and a flock of birds flew over Romulus, which signified he should be king.  As ruler, Romulus invented the Roman Legions(the army) and the Roman Senate. He added massive amounts of territory to Rome and added citizens by kidnapping women of the Sabine tribe, which resulted in the mixture of Romans and Sabines. Romulus and Remus are important because they are the legendary founders of the Roman Empire, which was the world's largest empire for so many years. Their story has never died and whether it is fact or fiction, they will always be regarded as the founders of Rome. These men will always be looked at as some of the most important Romans due to their important legendary status that still lives on today.

 

 

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                                        1 Jupiter 

 Jupiter is the most famous Roman due to his position as the king of Gods. He holds the same position as the Greek god Zeus. In addition to being king of all the Gods, he is also the god of the sky and wind. He was also called Diespiter Optimus Maximus, which means "Father God the Best and Greatest." In Rome he ruled over all Roman laws and social order. In Latin mythology Jupiter is the father of Mars which would make him the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. He is the son of Saturn. He was greatly admired in Roman religion and is still admired today in Religio Romana Neopaganism, which is a modern-day Roman revivialist movement. Jupiter was worshipped at the largest temple in Rome along with two other Roman gods, Juno and Minerva. He was also worshipped outside the temple in the form of a stone sculpture. The stone was made an oath stone. Besides this huge Roman temple, there were many other temples around the Roman Empire dedicated to Jupiter. It was believed that Jupiter was the overseer of Cosmic Justice and all Romans swore to Jupiter in their courts. Jupiter is the most important Roman because he was known and worshipped by such a huge amount of people. Everyone respected Jupiter and many aspects of Roman society were based on Jupiter's legend and legacy. He was the only being considered to be higher than the rulers of Rome and he was deeply respected by all the rulers. Jupiter has left such a huge legacy that modern Roman religious revival movements still worship Jupiter as the king of all Gods and the ruler of everyone on Earth. Jupiter will always have a huge legacy and he will always remain a very important figure in Roman culture.


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