What was the Roman Empire? Definition of the Ancient Roman Empire
What was the Roman Empire? Definition: The Roman Empire is the term used to refer the period in Ancient Roman history and civilisation when when Rome and its territories were ruled by autocratic Emperors.
What were the territories of the Roman Empire?
At its most powerful the territories of the Roman Empire included lands in West and South Europe (the lands around the Mediterranean), Britain, Asia Minor, North Africa including Egypt.
When was the Ancient Roman Empire established? Who was the First Emperor of the Empire?
The Roman Empire was established in 27 BC when Octavian, the adoptive son of Julius Caesar, was given the title 'Augustus' by the Roman Senate and became the first emperor of Rome, known as Augustus Caesar.
The Split of the Roman Empire
The Roman Empire became so vast that in 285 AD the Roman Empire was split in half by Diocletian - the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire (aka the Byzantine Empire). Theodosius I was the last emperor of both the Eastern and Western Roman Empire. After his death in 395 AD the two parts of the Roman Empire were split permanently.
What reasons led to the Decline of the Roman Empire?
The Roman Empire lasted from 27 BC - 476 AD. The Decline of the Roman Empire was due to many reasons but in brief the major causes of the decline were as follows:
Division between the Senate and the Emperors. Either the Senate didn't like the Emperor or the Emperors was at odds with the Senate ***
Political Corruption and the power of the Praetorian Guard ***
Constant warfare requiring heavy military spending ***
The rapid growth of the Empire leading to the need to defend the borders and territories of Rome ***
The cost of defending the Empire, the failing economics, heavy taxation and inflation ***
The massive divide between the rich and the poor ***
The dependency on slave labor leading to the stagnation of any new technology to produce goods more efficiently ***
Cheap slave labor in turn resulted in the unemployment of the the people of Rome who became dependent on hand-outs from the state ***
The 'Mob' needed to be amused - games had to be provided ***
Life became cheap - bloodshed led to more bloodshed and cruelty ***
Decline in morals and values ***
Fierce foreign enemies - the Barbarian armies such as the Visigoths, Huns and the Vandals ***
There were revolts, civil wars, street fights, plagues, famines, fire and earthquakes. ***
Christianity - Life and the future seemed hopeless for the millions who were ruled by Rome. Christianity taught the belief in an afterlife and the attitudes changed from being antagonistic to becoming pacifists
The Fall of the Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire fell after the city of Rome was first sacked by the Visigoths in 410 and then by the Vandals in 455. The sacking of Rome signalled the disintegration of Roman authority and the ultimate Fall of the Roman Empire.
When did the Roman Empire fall?
The Fall of the Roman Empire (the Western Empire) ended officially with the abdication of Romulus Augustus on 4 September 476. The Eastern Empire (Byzantium) continued for nearly 1000 more years.
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