The Consequences of Success: The Balance of Old and New

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The island of Sicily was the theater for two major slave revolts which eventually led to full fledged warfare between the revolting slaves and the Roman army. Both slave wars had dire consequences both due to the widespread of violence, but also made the Romans painfully aware of the reality of a number of concerns and anxieties, which had been brewing for several years. The result of the Sicilian Slave Wars led to an increased discomfort that came with the ever-increasing expansion of the Roman Empire. Many citizens shared concerns and anxieties over a number of issues being caused as the ever-expansive borders continued to grow. Roman Citizens held anxieties over three major factors playing a large part in the shaping of the empire. The first being a great number of slaves were being brought into the Roman provinces, often greatly outnumbering the number of citizens. Secondly, more citizens of Rome were actively pursuing luxury and expensive lifestyles as they came into contact with new goods and resources, many of which were new to wealth and did not fully know how to behave with such power at their disposal. The third being the alienation of non-Roman subjects and allies, holding free men as slaves and unwilling to grant freedoms to those working in the provinces of Rome for fear of the collapse of the large estates owned by wealthy individuals. These three factors act as the foundation for The Sicilian Slave Wars as the actions of the slaves are viewed by many as the fault of the landowners in Sicily for their mistreatment of those who worked for them. The actions of the slaves caused Romans to not only second guess their perceptions of slaves and the system in which they were used, but also caused a great number of concerns ...

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...borders expanded, as wealth continued to flow in that the citizens must keep in mind the lessons learned from the slave revolts in order to prevent declining moral values leading to critical and dangerous political situations and maintain the safety of the Empire.

Works Cited

1. R. T. Pritchard, Land Tenure in Sicily in the First Century B.C. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Bd. 18, H. 5 (Dec., 1969), pp. 545-556
2. Keith R. Bradley, Slave Kingdoms and Slave Rebellions In Ancient Sicily. Historical Reflections, Vol. 10, No. 3 (Fall 1983), pp. 435-451
3. Peter Green, The First Sicilian Slave War. Past & Present, No. 20 (Nov. 1961), pp. 10-29
4. J. P. Mahaffy, Hermathena, Vol. 7, No. 16 (1890), pp. 167-182
5. Verbrugghe, Gerald P.. The Sicilian economy and the slave wars C. 210-70 B-C: problems and sources. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms, 1972.

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