The Roman Empire

Setting The Stage
As Rome enlarged its territory, its republican form of government grew increasingly unstable. Eventually, the Roman Republic gave way to the formation of mighty dictator-ruled empire that contained to spread Rome's influence far and wide.

The Republic Collapses

Rome's increasingly wealth and expanding boundaries brought many problems. The most serious were growing discontent among the lower classes of society and a breakdown in military order. These problems led to a shake of the republic and the emergence of a new political system.

Economic Turmoil

As Rome grew, the gap between rich and poor grew wider. Many of Rome´s rich landowners lived on huge estates. Thousands of enslaved persons—many of whom had been captured peoples in various wars—were forced to work on these estates.

Small farmers found it difficult to compete with the large estates run by the labor of enslaved people. Many of these farmers were former soldiers. A large number of them sold their land to wealthy landowners and became homeless and jobless.

Two brothers, Tiberius and Gaius attempted to help Rome´s poor. As tribunes they proposed such reforms as limiting the size of estates and giving land to the poor.

Military Upheaval

Adding to the growing turmoil within the republic was a breakdown of the once-loyal military. As the republic grew more instable, generals began seizing greater power for themselves. They recruited soldiers from the landless poor by promising them land.

History Makers

Julius Caesar

Julius was assassinated by Gaius Cassius and his friend Marcus Brutus. In 44 B.C., on March 15, Julius Caesar went to claim to the Senate even though his wife told him not to because she had a dream of him dying. When Julius arrived, Marcos and Gaius already had everything planned and the arrival of Julius made their plan easier to accomplish. They saw Julius sitting on the chamber, and they got close to him with knives hidden under their toga. When the moment came, they stabbed Julius 23 times and killed him.



Augustus was one of the most powerful and respected rulers of the ancient time. He was a humble man and his home wasn't decorated with luxury, instead, his house was simple, decorated with some paintings. He had a simple and frugal life, which showed his modesty. Augustus was a man that highly respected the term of family and he was also very religious. His only daughter, Julia, was exiled from Rome because she was not being faithful to her marriage.


History in Depth

Gladiator Games

These gladiator games often started with a organizer determining the fate of the participant. The organizer would held the thumb up if the participant is going to survive and he would put the thumb down if the participant is going to die. If the crowd liked the fallen combatant, then he would most probably live for another day to fight, but if not, he is dead.

**Beginning of the Empire**

After Caesar died, what was left of the Roman Republic was destroyed due to a newly broken civil war. Octavius, Caesar's 18-year-old grandson, General MArc Antony, and Politician named Lepidus banded together to crush the assasins and took control of Rome in 43 B.C., ruling for ten years as the Second Triunvirate.

Their alliance was ended through jealousy and violence, starting with Octavian asking Lepidus to retire, and he and Marc Antony becoming rivals. During this time, Marc Antony met Cleopatra, the love of his life, and followed her to Egypt, her nation, where he was later accused by Octavian, of leading Rome from Egypt, which then brought another civil war. Octavian led his troops in a battle against Marc Antony and Cleopatra, in 31 B.C.

In this sea battle, Antony had 500 ships and 70,000 infantry while Octavian had 400 ships and 80,000 infantry. The reason Antony lost was because his soldiers were more experienced at land battle rather than a sea one. His plan was to destroy the ship carrying Octavian, and dishearten the Roman navy. But when he stormed the ship thought to be carrying Octavius, he discovered that Ocatvian was not on board. This trick created a noose around Antony's fleet and crushed it. So Antony and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt. Later, the soul-full couple committed suicide.


// Octavian was now the unchallenged ruler of Rome. He later became known as Augutus, or "exalted one". From then, Rome was ruled by one man.//


A Vast and Powerful Empire-

Roman power had met its highest point during the years that Augustus ruled it, which was from 27 B.C. to A.D. 180. Aside from some minor fights between tribes along the boarder, peace prevailed throughout the empire for 207 years. This period of peace and opulence is known as Pax Romana meaning “Roman Peace.” Throughout this age, the Roman Empire included more than 3 million square miles and its population was estimated to be within 60 to 80 million people. Approximately 1 million people lived in the city of Rome itself.

A Sound Government-

Through efficient government and proficient leaders Rome was able to hold its vast empire together. Augustus was Rome’s most competent leader. He stabilized the frontier, glorified Rome with spectacular public buildings, and created a government system that survived for centuries. He set up a civil service where he paid workers to manage government affairs, such as the grain supply, tax collection, and the postal system. Although the senate still functioned, civil servants drawn out from plebeians and even former slaves actually managed the empire.
After the death of Augustus in A.D 14, the system of government that he had established continued to maintain the empire’s stability. What kept it alive was how effective the civil service was in carrying out day to day operations. By the 2nd century A.D. the Romans had managed to control an empire that had reached from Spain to Mesopotamia and North Africa to Britain and in its provinces were people of multiple languages, cultures, and customs.

Agriculture and Trade-

Agriculture was the most valuable industry in the empire and everything depended on it. Approximately 90 percent of the Roman population was engaged with farming. Nearly all Romans survived on the produce from their local region. When needed, additional food and luxury items for the wealthy were obtained through trade. During the time when Augustus ruled, a silver coin called a denarius was used.
Rome had a vast trading network. Ships from the east traveled the Mediterranean accompanied by the Roman navy. Cities such as Corinth in Greece and Ephesus in Anatolia, and Antioch on the eastern coast became very wealthy. Rome had even traded with China and India.
An intricate network of roads associated the empire to widespread places such as Persia or southern Russia. These roads were originally built by the Roman army for military purposes. These roads made possible to spread the Roman ways to the provinces and beyond.


The Roman World and Slaves and Captivity

Roman society is often represented as one of social extremes - with the wealth, power and opulence of an emperor existing alongside the poverty, vulnerability and degradation of a slave.
At the end of the first century AD, the Roman administrator, poet and writer Pliny the Younger (today known particularly for his letters) attended a dinner party. He noted that the food and wine on offer differed in quality. The guests were not being treated equally. Instead the host was mirroring status distinctions in the standard of the food and beverages he presented to his guests.
As Pliny's observations show us, in Rome - and across the empire - status mattered. Who and what you were affected how you were treated and how you treated others. In the eyes of Roman law, people were not equal. Legal status helped to define power, influence, criminal punishments, marriage partners, even dress and where you sat in the amphitheatre.
The main legal distinctions were between those who were free, and those who were slaves. All inhabitants of the empire were either free or in servitude. Slaves were either born into slavery, or were forced, often through defeat in war, into it.
Slaves were the possessions of their masters and the latter had the power of life and death over them. Slavery was not, however, always a life-long state. Slaves could be - and regularly were - given their freedom.


Gods and Goddesses
At the founding of Rome, the gods were 'numina', divine manifestations, faceless, formless, but no less powerful. The idea of gods as anthropomorphized beings came later, with the influence from Etruscans and Greeks, which had human form. Some of the Roman Gods are at least as old as the founding of Rome.

The concept of numen continued to exist and it was related to any manifestation of the divine. For the Romans, everything in Nature is thought to be inhabited by numina, which explains the big number of deities in the Roman pantheon, as will be shown. Numina manifest the divine will by means of natural phenomena, which the pious Roman constantly seeks to interpret. That's why great attention is paid to omens and portents in every aspect of Roman daily life.

A groups of twelve Gods called Dii Consentes is especially honored by the Romans: Jupiter, Juno, Minerva, Vesta, Ceres, Diana, Venus, Mars, Mercurius, Neptunus, Volcanus, and Apollo. These are the ones listed by the Poet Ennius about the 3rd Century, B.C.E.. Their gilt statues stood in the Forum, later apparently in the Porticus Deorum Consentium. As there were six male and six female, they may well have been the twelve worshipped at the lectisternium of 217 BC.

A lectisternium is a banquet of the gods, where the statues of the gods were put upon cushions, and where these statues were offered meals. The number 12 was taken from the Etruscans, which also worshipped a main pantheon of 12 Gods. Nevertheless, the Dii Consentes were not identified with Etruscan deities but rather with the Greek Olympian Gods (though the original character of the Roman Gods was different from the Greek, having no myths traditionally associated). The twelve Dii Consentes are lead by the first three, which form the Capitoline Triad. These are the three cornerstones of Roman religion, whose rites were conducted in the Capitoleum Vetus on the Capitoline Hill.


Society and Culture
By this time social classes in Rome were very different, the rich living extravagantly while the poor had not even the necessary to live. There were many unemployed people, which the government had to feed daily. They entertained the population by providing free games, races, and gladiator contests.

A Vast and Powerful Empire
The Roman Empire was beginning of Augustu's rule in 27 B.C. and hold there peace treaty named the Pax Romana for 207 years. Although they did had some other fights along the border with tribes peace resigned throughout the empire. During this time they inlcluded more than 3 million square miles and between 60 nd 80 million people.
The Pax Romana was the long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force experienced by the Roman Empire in the first and second centuries AD. Since it was established by the Caesar Augustus it is sometimes called Pax Augusta. Its timing was approximately 207 years (28 BC to 180 AD).

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