Roman Empire

Roman Empire
27 BC–AD 395 (unified)[1]
AD 395–476/480 (Western)
AD 395–1453 (Eastern)
Flag of Roman Empire
Vexillum
with the imperial aquila
Imperial aquila of Roman Empire
Imperial aquila
  Roman Empire in AD 117 at its greatest extent, at the time of Trajan's death
Roman territorial evolution from the rise of the city-state of Rome to the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Roman territorial evolution from the rise of the city-state of Rome to the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Capital
Common languages
Religion
Demonym(s)Roman
GovernmentSemi-elective absolute monarchy (de facto)
• Emperor
(List)
Historical eraClassical era to Late Middle Ages
(Timeline)
Area
25 BC[15]2,750,000 km2 (1,060,000 sq mi)
AD 117[15][16]5,000,000 km2 (1,900,000 sq mi)
AD 390[15]3,400,000 km2 (1,300,000 sq mi)
Population
• 25 BC[17]
56,800,000
CurrencySestertius,[e] aureus, solidus, nomisma
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Roman Republic
Western Roman Empire
Eastern Roman Empire

The Roman Empire[a] was the post-Republican state of ancient Rome. It is generally understood to mean the period and territory ruled by the Romans following Octavian's assumption of sole rule under the Principate in 27 BC. It included territories in Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia and was ruled by emperors. The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD conventionally marks the end of classical antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Rome had expanded its rule to most of the Mediterranean and beyond. However, it was severely destabilized in civil wars and political conflicts which culminated in the victory of Octavian over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, and the subsequent conquest of the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt. In 27 BC, the Roman Senate granted Octavian overarching power (imperium) and the new title of Augustus, marking his accession as the first Roman emperor of a monarchy with Rome as its sole capital. The vast Roman territories were organized in senatorial provinces, governed by proconsuls who were appointed by lot annually, and imperial provinces, which belonged to the emperor but were governed by legates.[19]

The first two centuries of the Empire saw a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana (lit.'Roman Peace'). Rome reached its greatest territorial expanse under Trajan (r. 98–117 AD– ); a period of increasing trouble and decline began under Commodus (180–192). In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, as the Gallic and Palmyrene Empires broke away from the Roman state, and a series of short-lived emperors led the Empire. It was reunified under Aurelian (r. 270–275). Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West in 286; Christians rose to power in the 4th century after the Edict of Milan. The imperial seat moved from Rome to Byzantium in 330, renamed Constantinople after Constantine the Great. The Migration Period, involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and by the Huns of Attila, led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire finally collapsed. The Eastern Roman Empire survived for another millennium with Constantinople as its sole capital, until the city's fall in 1453.[f]

Due to the Empire's extent and endurance, its institutions and culture had a lasting influence on the development of language, religion, art, architecture, literature, philosophy, law, and forms of government across its territories. Latin evolved into the Romance languages while Medieval Greek became the language of the East. The Empire's adoption of Christianity resulted in the formation of medieval Christendom. Roman and Greek art had a profound impact on the Italian Renaissance. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Romanesque, Renaissance and Neoclassical architecture, influencing Islamic architecture. The rediscovery of classical science and technology (which formed the basis for Islamic science) in medieval Europe contributed to the Scientific Renaissance and Scientific Revolution. Many modern legal systems, such as the Napoleonic Code, descend from Roman law. Rome's republican institutions have influenced the Italian city-state republics of the medieval period, the early United States, and modern democratic republics.


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  1. ^ Morley, Neville (2010). The Roman Empire: Roots of Imperialism. Pluto Press. ISBN 978-0-7453-2870-6.; Diamond, Jared (2011). Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (Revised ed.). Penguin. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-1015-0200-6.
  2. ^ Bennett (1997).
  3. ^ a b Ancient Rome: The Definitive Visual History. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2023. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-2416-3575-9. Archived from the original on 22 June 2023. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  4. ^ Classen, Albrecht (2010). "The changing shape of Europe". Handbook of Medieval Studies: Terms – Methods – Trends. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-1102-1558-8. Archived from the original on 10 March 2024. Retrieved 26 April 2023. Constantine the Great transferred the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to the newly-founded city of Constantinople
  5. ^ Price, Jonathan J.; Finkelberg, Margalit; Shahar, Yuval (2022). Rome: An Empire of Many Nations. Cambridge University Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-0092-5622-3. Archived from the original on 22 June 2023. Retrieved 26 April 2023. the capital of the Empire was transferred from Rome to Constantinople in the fourth century
  6. ^ Erdkamp, Paul (2013). The Cambridge Companion to Ancient Rome. Cambridge University Press. p. 202. ISBN 978-0-5218-9629-0. Constantine sounded the death knell for Rome as a vital political centre with the dedication of his new imperial capital at Constantinople
  7. ^ Bjornlie, M. Shane (2013). Politics and Tradition Between Rome, Ravenna and Constantinople: A Study of Cassiodorus and the Variae, 527–554. Cambridge University Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-1070-2840-1. Archived from the original on 22 June 2023. Retrieved 26 April 2023. As a new capital, Constantinople provided a stage for imperial prestige that did not depend on association with the traditions of the senatorial establishment at Rome
  8. ^ Coffler, Gail H. (2004). Melville's Allusions to Religion: A Comprehensive Index and Glossary: A Comprehensive Index and Glossary. ABC-CLIO. p. 181. ISBN 978-0-3130-7270-3. Archived from the original on 22 June 2023. Retrieved 26 April 2023. It became Constantinople, capital of the entire Roman Empire
  9. ^ Maxwell, Kathleen (2016). "Art and Diplomacy in Late Thirteenth-century Constantinople: Paris 54 and the Union of Churches". Between Constantinople and Rome: An Illuminated Byzantine Gospel Book (Paris gr. 54) and the Union of Churches. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-3519-5584-3. Archived from the original on 22 June 2023. Retrieved 26 April 2023. Constantine the Great, the emperor who moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople
  10. ^ Grig, Lucy; Kelly, Gavin (2012). Two Romes: Rome and Constantinople in Late Antiquity. Oxford University Press. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-1999-2118-8. Archived from the original on 10 March 2024. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  11. ^ Loewenstein, K. (2012). The Governance of ROME. Springer. p. 443. ISBN 978-9-4010-2400-6. Archived from the original on 22 June 2023. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  12. ^ Harris, Jonathan (2009). Constantinople: Capital of Byzantium. A&C Black. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-8264-3086-1. Archived from the original on 22 June 2023. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  13. ^ Treadgold (1997), p. 734.
  14. ^ Tricht, Filip Van (2011). The Latin Renovatio of Byzantium: The Empire of Constantinople (1204–1228). Brill. pp. 61–82. ISBN 978-9-0042-0323-5. Archived from the original on 6 April 2023. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  15. ^ a b c Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D". Social Science History. 3 (3/4): 125. doi:10.2307/1170959. JSTOR 1170959.
  16. ^ Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D. (2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires" (PDF). Journal of World-Systems Research. 12 (2): 222. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 May 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  17. ^ Durand, John D. (1977). "Historical Estimates of World Population: An Evaluation". Population and Development Review. 3 (3): 253–296. doi:10.2307/1971891. JSTOR 1971891. Archived from the original on 16 October 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  18. ^ Wolff, Robert Lee (1948). "Romania: The Latin Empire of Constantinople". Speculum. 23 (1): 1–34, especially 2–3. doi:10.2307/2853672. JSTOR 2853672. S2CID 162802725.
  19. ^ "Imperial Rome vs. Provincial Rome: What's The Difference?". TheCollector. 7 October 2020. Retrieved 16 May 2024.
  20. ^ Roy, Kaushik (2014). Military Transition in Early Modern Asia, 1400–1750: Cavalry, Guns, Government and Ships. Bloomsbury Studies in Military History. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-7809-3800-4. After the capture of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The Osmanli Turks called their empire the Empire of Rum (Rome).