History of Ancient Rome

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The History of Ancient Rome refers to Roman civilisation from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the eighth century BCE to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century CE. It encompasses the Roman Kingdom (circa 753–509 BCE), Roman Republic (circa 509–27 BCE), and Roman Empire (circa 27 BCE–476 CE) until the fall of the western empire.

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The history and archaeology of Ancient Rome offer a fascinating glimpse into one of the most influential civilizations in human history. Rome's origins date back to the 8th century BCE, when it was founded as a small settlement on the banks of the Tiber River. Over the centuries, Rome grew into a powerful republic and later into an expansive empire that ruled over vast territories.

Brief History

circa 760-509 BCE

Early Rome
Ancient Rome began as an Italic settlement, traditionally dated to 753 BCE, beside the River Tiber in the Italian Peninsula. According to legend, Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, twin brothers raised by a she-wolf. This mythic origin story reflects the blending of history and mythology that characterizes early Roman history. Rome's early history is divided into several periods, including the monarchy (753-509 BCE) and the early republic (509-27 BCE).

circa 509-44 BCE

Roman Republic
The Roman Republic (Res publica Romana) was established in 509 BCE following the overthrow of the monarchy. The republic was characterized by a system of checks and balances, with elected officials representing different social classes. The Senate, composed of wealthy and influential citizens, played a crucial role in shaping Roman policy.

During the republic, Rome expanded its territory through conquest and colonization. The Punic Wars against Carthage (264-146 BCE) and the campaigns of Julius Caesar in Gaul (58-50 BCE) are notable examples of Rome's military prowess and territorial expansion.

circa 44-27 BCE

Transition to Empire
The late republic witnessed internal strife and power struggles, culminating in the rise of Julius Caesar as a powerful military leader. Caesar's assassination in 44 BCE led to a power vacuum, which was eventually filled by his grandnephew and adopted son, Octavian (later known as Augustus).

In 27 BCE, Augustus established the Roman Empire, marking the end of the republic. This marked the beginning of the imperial period, characterized by a centralized form of government with emperors wielding substantial power.

circa 27 BCE–CE 395

Roman Empire
The Roman Empire[ was the post-Republican state of ancient Rome. It included territory around the Mediterranean in Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, and was ruled by emperors. The adoption of Christianity as the state church in 380 and the fall of the Western Roman Empire conventionally marks the end of classical antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

circa 27 BCE–CE 395

Division in to the Eastern and Western Empires
The Roman Empire faced numerous challenges, including economic instability, military pressures from external threats, and internal political struggles. The Crisis of the Third Century (235-284 CE) was marked by frequent changes in leadership and economic difficulties.

In 285 CE, Emperor Diocletian initiated a series of reforms to stabilize the empire. He divided it into the Eastern and Western Roman Empires to improve administration. However, the western half faced increasing pressure from invasions by various Germanic tribes. In 476 CE, the last Roman emperor of the West, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by the Germanic chieftain Odoacer, traditionally seen as the symbolic end of ancient Rome.

The Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire, continued to thrive until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 CE to the Ottoman Turks.

Archaeological discoveries, inscriptions, artworks, and written records have collectively contributed to our understanding of Ancient Rome's history, culture, and achievements, making it a captivating field of study that continues to reveal new insights about this remarkable civilization.


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