Welcome to the World
of the Roman Empire
taken 2001 with Webview/Livescope
A thousand years ago Rome was one of the most
important cities in the world. A legend tells of the city being formed by twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, who were abandoned at birth and raised by
a wolf. When the twins grew up, they decided to build a city where they had been
abandoned. Remus and Romulus argued over the boundaries of this city. Romulus, in a rage,
killed Remus. After Remus's death the city was named Rome after Romulus who ruled the
Whether the legend is based on facts can't be
determined. Scholars know the city of Rome began as a small village around 753 B. C. The
early settlers made a living by farming. Gradually the village grew into a city. It was
ruled by kings. In 509 B. C. the citizens decided the city would no longer be ruled by
kings. They elected two consuls to rule. The villagers began to conquer the surrounding
territory and the city grew. By 250 B. C. the Romans ruled all of Italy.
In 206 B. C. the Romans built a fleet of ships to
fight the Carthaginians of North Africa. The Romans won causing the Carthaginians to move
to Spain. One Carthaginian soldier named Hannibal led an army against Rome. He used
elephants to cross the Alps from Spain to attack the Romans. Hannibal won many battles,
but the Romans finally defeated him by cutting off his food supply.
In 204 B. C. the Romans attacked Carthage. Hannibal
tried to defend his homeland, but he was defeated. The Romans completely destroyed
Carthage and killed many citizens.
Rome became a very powerful city by 100 B. C.
Government officials became greedy and corrupt. Some demanded huge taxes from the Romans.
Civil war broke out when two generals tried to take the power. In 73 B. C. a slave named
Spartacus led a revolt. He escaped to Mount Vesuvius and gathered an army of 90,000
slaves. He fought the Roman army until he was killed in 71 B. C.
||Caesar and Pompey struggled to control
the government. Caesar defeated Pompey's army and Pompey escaped to Egypt. He was murdered
there. Caesar went to Egypt to help Queen Cleopatra keep her throne. After several
conquests he returned to Rome.
In 45 B. C.
Caesar became the sole ruler of Rome. He planned improvements for Rome. Before he could
carry out these plans Caesar was murdered in 44 B.C. After this there was struggle
for power between Mark Antony and Octavian, Caesar's heir. Octavian became Rome's first
emperor of Rome when Mark Antony and his wife, Cleopatra, killed themselves rather than be
defeated. Octavian changed his name to Augustus. Augustus built up the Roman army. With
this force, he was able to conquer surrounding territories increasing the Roman Empire.
In 117 A. D. Hadrian became emperor.
He strengthened the frontiers and built a stone wall across northern Britain to keep out
intruders. In Judea the Roman army stopped a revolt led by the Jews. They killed thousands
The Roman Empire began to rule over the entire
Mediterranean world including most of Europe and parts of East and North Africa by the
second century A. D. Barbarians attacked northern Italy, but were defeated.
In the third century the army controlled the
government. Generals were often chosen as emperors. The empire was too big to control.
This led to many civil wars. With the weakened state, the Persians began to regain the
land they had earlier lost.
Soldiers posted across the empire learned of new
religions. One was Christianity. The emperors blamed the Christians for the troubles the
empire was having. The Romans killed many Christians because of this.
In 284 A. D. Diocletian was elected emperor by his
troops. He divided the empire into the eastern and western halves. This helped the empire
to be easier to control. Still the empire did not have enough funds to build the army they
needed to protect their immense boundaries.
In 320 A. D. Emperor Constantine made Christianity
the state religion. He moved the capital, and named it Constantinople after himself. There
he ruled the eastern half of the empire.
Barbarians attacked the western empire. In 410 A. D.
they destroyed Rome. In 476 a barbarian became the ruler of Italy. Constantinople was able
to hold off the barbarians until it was captured by the Turks in 1453. This empire was so
great that the influence of the Romans can still be seen today.