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An overview of the complex structure of the united roman empire

Although Greek coins under the Roman Empire were nearly all of bronze and intended for local circulation, exceptional coinages in silver were allowed by Rome as a continuation, for wider regional use, of important preconquest currencies.

The largest of these, running from Augustus… Imperial Rome A period of unrest and civil wars in the 1st century bc marked the transition of Rome from a republic to an empire. This period encompassed the career of Julius Caesarwho eventually took full power over Rome as its dictator.

Roman Empire

His reign, from 27 bce to 14 ce, was distinguished by stability and peace. The Senate still functioned, though Augustus, as princepsor first citizen, remained in control of the government. Under Augustus, Rome began to prosper once again, and the emperor came to be looked upon as a god. Thereafter, all good emperors were worshiped as gods after death. Decadentcruel men also rose to power: Caligula 37—41 and Nero 54—68 were so loathed that their reigns were struck from the official Roman records.

Holy Roman Empire

Statue of the Roman emperor Augustus, 1st century ad. Thereafter, Christians were tolerated at best—but often tortured or killed—until the reign of Constantine I 312—337.

In 313 an edict of toleration for all religions was issued, and from about 320 Christianity was favoured by the Roman state rather than persecuted by it. But the empire was dying. The Western Empire, suffering from repeated invasions and the flight of the peasants into the cities, had grown weak compared with the East, where spices and other exports virtually guaranteed wealth and stability.

Roman Empire: The Paradox of Power

When Theodosius died, in 395, Rome split into Eastern and Western empires. The West was severely shaken in 410, when the city of Rome was sacked by the Visigothsa wandering nation of Germanic peoples from the northeast.

  • Caligula 37—41 and Nero 54—68 were so loathed that their reigns were struck from the official Roman records;
  • Learn More in these related Britannica articles:

The fall of Rome was completed in 476, when the German chieftain Odoacer deposed the last Roman emperor of the West, Romulus Augustulus. The fall of RomeExplore the possible origins of the fall of the Roman Empire in this video.

The Romans possessed a powerful army and were gifted in the applied arts of law, government, city planningand statecraft, but they also acknowledged and adopted contributions of other ancient peoples—most notably, those of the Greeksmuch of whose culture was thereby preserved. Roman lawfor example, was a considered and complex body of precedents and comments, which were all finally codified in the 6th century see Justinian, Code of. Roman city planners achieved unprecedented standards of hygiene with their plumbing, sewage disposal, dams, and aqueducts.

Roman architecture, though often imitative of Greek styles, was boldly planned and lavishly executed. Triumphal arches commemorated important state occasions, and the famous Roman baths were built to stir the senses as well as to cleanse the body.

  • The largest of these, running from Augustus… Imperial Rome A period of unrest and civil wars in the 1st century bc marked the transition of Rome from a republic to an empire;
  • Trimalchio, the memorable creation of Petronius's Satyricon, is the caricature of this phenomenon.

Interior of the Colosseum in Rome. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: