Guide The Roman Empire: A Brief History

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Contents:
  1. History of the Roman Empire
  2. History of the Roman Empire - Wikipedia
  3. The Low Empire (305 AD – 476 AD)
  4. A very short history of Rome
  5. Main navigation

The first rebellion or servile war lasted from to BC when slaves in Sicily rebelled. Sicilian slaves rebelled again in BC but they were crushed in 99 BC.

History of the Roman Empire

Finally, Spartacus led a rebellion of Italian slaves in 73 BC. However, the rebellion was crushed in 71 BC. They demanded certain rights and privileges. Roman troops under Cornelius Sulla crushed the revolt. Nevertheless, in 89 BC all free Italians were granted Roman citizenship.

In the first century BC the Roman republic slowly broke down and power was increasingly in the hands of successful generals. In times of emergency, the Romans sometimes appointed a temporary dictator to take charge. In 83 BC Sulla made himself dictator. He ruled until 80 BC. Then, in 67 BC another powerful general, Gnaeus Pompey waged a successful campaign against pirates in the Mediterranean. The triumvirate only lasted about one year but it was renewed in 56 BC.

Brief Histories

Meanwhile the third member of the triumvirate, Julius Caesar conquered Gaul. His military victories made him very popular with his men. However, in 49 BC the Senate voted that Caesar should give up command of the army and return to Rome without his troops. Caesar refused and instead marched on Rome. Lacking troops to defend the city Pompey fled to Greece to raise an army. Caesar followed and defeated him.

History of the Roman Empire - Wikipedia

Pompey fled to Egypt where he was murdered. Julius Caesar was the dictator of Rome until 44 BC when he was assassinated. After his death another triumvirate took power. Octavian defeated mark Anthony at the naval battle of Actium in 31 BC. Octavian became the first Roman emperor in all but name. In 27 BC he was granted the title 'Augustus'. The Roman republic was at an end. Augustus kept the senate but he held the real power. He controlled the army and the civil service. Augustus managed to restore order to the Roman empire and when he died in 14 AD it was peaceful and prosperous. He was followed by his stepson Tiberius AD.

The next emperor was Gaius or Caligula AD , who ruled so badly he was assassinated by his bodyguard, the praetorian guard.

The Low Empire (305 AD – 476 AD)

He was succeeded by his uncle Claudius AD. During his reign the Romans conquered Britain.


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Next came Nero Vespasian built the coliseum and under Trajan and Hadrian the Roman empire was at its peak. Marcus Aurelius followed the philosophy of stoicism and he wrote a famous book Meditations. However he died in in a terrible plague that killed many people throughout the empire.

A very short history of Rome

He was succeeded by his unworthy son Commodus In the emperor Caracalla granted Roman citizenship to all free people in the empire. By then the Roman empire was beginning to decline. When the emperor Severus Alexander was murdered in there were decades of political instability. Between and there were 22 emperors.

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Order and prosperity were temporarily restored by Diocletian He abdicated in and there was a struggle for the succession. Constantine was proclaimed emperor in but he was not in complete control of the empire until Crucially Constantine introduced a policy of tolerating Christianity.

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He was baptized on his deathbed in Diocletian split the empire into two halves, western and eastern. Constantine united them in but they split again after his death. Though the Gauls sacked and burned Rome in B. Rome then fought a series of wars known as the Punic Wars with Carthage, a powerful city-state in northern Africa.

In the Third Punic War — B. At the same time, Rome also spread its influence east, defeating King Philip V of Macedonia in the Macedonian Wars and turning his kingdom into another Roman province. The first Roman literature appeared around B. The gap between rich and poor widened as wealthy landowners drove small farmers from public land, while access to government was increasingly limited to the more privileged classes.

Attempts to address these social problems, such as the reform movements of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus in B. Gaius Marius, a commoner whose military prowess elevated him to the position of consul for the first of six terms in B.


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By 91 B. After Sulla retired, one of his former supporters, Pompey, briefly served as consul before waging successful military campaigns against pirates in the Mediterranean and the forces of Mithridates in Asia. During this same period, Marcus Tullius Cicero , elected consul in 63 B. When the victorious Pompey returned to Rome, he formed an uneasy alliance known as the First Triumvirate with the wealthy Marcus Licinius Crassus who suppressed a slave rebellion led by Spartacus in 71 B.

After earning military glory in Spain, Caesar returned to Rome to vie for the consulship in 59 B. From his alliance with Pompey and Crassus, Caesar received the governorship of three wealthy provinces in Gaul beginning in 58 B. With old-style Roman politics in disorder, Pompey stepped in as sole consul in 53 B.

In 49 B. Less than a year later, Caesar was murdered by a group of his enemies led by the republican nobles Marcus Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius. With Octavian leading the western provinces, Antony the east, and Lepidus Africa, tensions developed by 36 B. In 31 B.

In the wake of this devastating defeat, Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. By 29 B. In 27 B. He instituted various social reforms, won numerous military victories and allowed Roman literature, art, architecture and religion to flourish. Augustus ruled for 56 years, supported by his great army and by a growing cult of devotion to the emperor.

When he died, the Senate elevated Augustus to the status of a god, beginning a long-running tradition of deification for popular emperors. The line ended with Nero , whose excesses drained the Roman treasury and led to his downfall and eventual suicide. The reign of Nerva , who was selected by the Senate to succeed Domitian, began another golden age in Roman history, during which four emperors—Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius—took the throne peacefully, succeeding one another by adoption, as opposed to hereditary succession.

Under Antoninus Pius , Rome continued in peace and prosperity, but the reign of Marcus Aurelius — was dominated by conflict, including war against Parthia and Armenia and the invasion of Germanic tribes from the north. When Marcus fell ill and died near the battlefield at Vindobona Vienna , he broke with the tradition of non-hereditary succession and named his year-old son Commodus as his successor. The decadence and incompetence of Commodus brought the golden age of the Roman emperors to a disappointing end.

His death at the hands of his own ministers sparked another period of civil war , from which Lucius Septimius Severus emerged victorious.