Roman Empire

Roman Empire
27 BC–AD 395 (unified)[2]
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
The Roman Empire in AD 117 at its greatest extent, at the time of Trajan's death (with its vassals in pink)[3][b]
The Roman Empire in AD 117 at its greatest extent, at the time of Trajan's death (with its vassals in pink)[3][b]
Capital
Common languages
Religion
Demonym(s)Roman
GovernmentDe Jure Republic, De Facto Semi-elective absolute monarchy
Emperor 
• 27 BC – AD 14
Augustus (first)
• 98–117
Trajan
• 138–161
Antoninus Pius
• 270–275
Aurelian
• 284–305
Diocletian
• 306–337
Constantine I
• 379–395
Theodosius I[d]
• 474–480
Julius Nepos[e]
• 475–476
Romulus Augustus
• 527–565
Justinian I
• 610–641
Heraclius
• 780–797
Constantine VI[f]
• 976–1025
Basil II
• 1143–1180
Manuel I
• 1449–1453
Constantine XI[g]
Historical eraClassical era to Late Middle Ages
32–30 BC
30–2 BC
• Octavian named augustus
16 January 27 BC
• Constantinople
becomes capital
11 May 330
• Final East-West divide
17 January 395
4 September 476
• Murder of Julius Nepos
9 May 480
12 April 1204
25 July 1261
29 May 1453
15 August 1461
Area
25 BC[6]2,750,000 km2 (1,060,000 sq mi)
AD 117[6][7]5,000,000 km2 (1,900,000 sq mi)
AD 390[6]3,400,000 km2 (1,300,000 sq mi)
Population
• 25 BC[8]
56,800,000
Currencysestertius,[h] aureus, solidus, nomisma
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Roman Republic
Western Roman Empire
Eastern Roman Empire

The Roman Empire (Latin: Imperium Romanum [ɪmˈpɛri.ũː roːˈmaːnũː]; Greek: Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, translit. Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, and was ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus as the first Roman emperor to the military anarchy of the 3rd century, it was a principate with Italia as the metropole of its provinces and the city of Rome as its sole capital. The Empire was later ruled by multiple emperors who shared control over the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. The city of Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until AD 476 when the imperial insignia were sent to Constantinople following the capture of the Western capital of Ravenna by the Germanic barbarians. The adoption of Christianity as the state church of the Roman Empire in AD 380 and the fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings conventionally marks the end of classical antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Because of these events, along with the gradual Hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire, historians distinguish the medieval Roman Empire that remained in the Eastern provinces as the Byzantine Empire.

The predecessor state of the Roman Empire, the Roman Republic, became severely destabilized in civil wars and political conflicts. In the middle of the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and then assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, eventually culminating in the victory of Octavian over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. The following year, Octavian conquered the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the 4th century BC conquests of Alexander the Great. Octavian's power became unassailable and the Roman Senate granted him overarching power and the new title of Augustus, making him the first Roman emperor. The vast Roman territories were organized in senatorial and imperial provinces except Italy, which continued to serve as a metropole.

The first two centuries of the Roman Empire saw a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana (lit.'Roman Peace'). Rome reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan (AD 98–117); a period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus (177–192). 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, often from the legions, led the Empire. It was reunified under Aurelian (r. 270–275). To stabilize it, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West in 286; Christians rose to positions of power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan of 313. Shortly after, 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 AD 476 by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire finally collapsed; the Eastern Roman emperor Zeno formally abolished it in AD 480. The Eastern Roman Empire survived for another millennium, until Constantinople fell in 1453 to the Ottoman Turks under Mehmed II.[i]

Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, religion, art, architecture, literature, philosophy, law, and forms of government in the territory it governed. The Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Empire's adoption of Christianity led to 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, and also had a strong influence on Islamic architecture. The rediscovery of Greek and Roman science and technology (which also formed the basis for Islamic science) in Medieval Europe led to the Scientific Renaissance and Scientific Revolution. The corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many modern legal systems of the world, such as the Napoleonic Code of France, while Rome's republican institutions have left an enduring legacy, influencing the Italian city-state republics of the medieval period, as well as the early United States and other modern democratic republics.

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ Morley, Neville (17 August 2010). The Roman Empire: Roots of Imperialism. ISBN 978-0-7453-2870-6.; Diamond, Jared (4 January 2011). Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition. p. 13. ISBN 978-1-101-50200-6.
  3. ^ Bennett (1997).
  4. ^ Treadgold (1997), p. 734.
  5. ^ Gillett, Andrew (2001). "Rome, Ravenna and the Last Western Emperors". Papers of the British School at Rome. 69: 131–167. doi:10.1017/S0068246200001781. ISSN 0068-2462. S2CID 129373675.
  6. ^ a b c Taagepera, Rein (1979). "Size and Duration of Empires: Growth-Decline Curves, 600 B.C. to 600 A.D". Social Science History. Duke University Press. 3 (3/4): 125. doi:10.2307/1170959. JSTOR 1170959.
  7. ^ Turchin, Peter; Adams, Jonathan M.; Hall, Thomas D. (2006). "East-West Orientation of Historical Empires" (PDF). Journal of World-Systems Research. 12 (2): 222. ISSN 1076-156X. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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 978-1-78093-800-4. 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).


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