Portal:Ancient Rome Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Ancient_Rome

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In modern historiography, ancient Rome refers to Roman civilization from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. It encompasses the Roman Kingdom (753–509 BC), Roman Republic (509–27 BC) and Roman Empire (27 BC–476 AD) until the fall of the western empire.

Ancient Rome began as an Italic settlement, traditionally dated to 753 BC, beside the River Tiber in the Italian Peninsula. The settlement grew into the city and polity of Rome, and came to control its neighbours through a combination of treaties and military strength. It eventually dominated the Italian peninsula, and acquired an Empire that took in much of Europe and the lands and peoples surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It was among the largest empires in the ancient world, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants, roughly 20% of the world's population at the time. It covered around 5 million square kilometres (1.9 million square miles) at its height in AD 117.

The Roman state evolved from an elective monarchy to a democratic classical republic and then to an increasingly autocratic semi-elective military dictatorship during the Empire. Through conquest, cultural, and linguistic assimilation, at its height it controlled the North African coast, Egypt, Southern Europe, and most of Western Europe, the Balkans, Crimea and much of the Middle East, including Anatolia, Levant and parts of Mesopotamia and Arabia. It is often grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, and their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world.

Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, religion, society, technology, law, politics, government, warfare, art, literature, architecture and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France. It achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the empire-wide construction of aqueducts and roads, as well as more grandiose monuments and facilities.

The Punic Wars with Carthage gave Rome supremacy in the Mediterranean. The Roman Empire emerged with the principate of Augustus (from 27 BC); Rome's imperial domain now extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa. In 92 AD, Rome came up against the resurgent Persian Empire and became involved in history's longest-running conflict, the Roman–Persian Wars, which would have lasting effects on both empires. Under Trajan, Rome's empire reached its territorial peak, encompassing the entire Mediterranean Basin, the southern margins of the North Sea, and the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a common prelude to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century before some stability was restored in the Tetrarchy phase of imperial rule.

Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent barbarian kingdoms in the 5th century. The eastern part of the empire remained a power through the Middle Ages until its fall in 1453 AD. (Full article...)

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statue of Augustus
A famous statue of Augustus (r. 27 BC – AD 14), the first Roman emperor

The Roman emperors were the rulers of the Roman Empire from the granting of the name and title Augustus to Octavian by the Roman Senate in 27 BC onward. Augustus maintained a facade of Republican rule, rejecting monarchical titles but calling himself princeps senatus (first man of the Senate) and princeps civitatis (first citizen of the state). The title of Augustus was conferred on his successors to the imperial position, and emperors gradually grew more monarchical and authoritarian.

The style of government instituted by Augustus is called the Principate and continued until the late third or early fourth century. The modern word "emperor" derives from the title imperator, that was granted by an army to a successful general; during the initial phase of the empire, the title was generally used only by the princeps. For example, Augustus's official name was Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus. The territory under command of the emperor had developed under the period of the Roman Republic as it invaded and occupied much of Europe and portions of North Africa and the Middle East. Under the republic, the Senate and People of Rome authorized provincial governors, who answered only to them, to rule regions of the empire. The chief magistrates of the republic were two consuls elected each year; consuls continued to be elected in the imperial period, but their authority was subservient to that of the emperor, who also controlled and determined their election. Often, the emperors themselves, or close family, were selected as consul. (Full article...)
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A coin bearing the image of Basiliscus on the obverse, and Basiliscus (left) with Marcus (right) on the reverse
A gold solidus bearing the image of Basiliscus and Marcus

Basiliscus (Greek: Βασιλίσκος, Basilískos; died 476/477) was Eastern Roman emperor from 9 January 475 to August 476. He became magister militum per Thracias in 464, under his brother-in-law, Emperor Leo (r. 457–474). Basiliscus commanded the army for an invasion of the Vandal Kingdom in 468, which was defeated at the Battle of Cape Bon. There were accusations at the time that Basiliscus was bribed by Aspar, the magister militum; many historians dismiss this, instead concluding that Basiliscus was either incompetent or foolish for accepting Vandal King Gaiseric's offer of a truce, which the latter used to construct fireships. Basiliscus's defeat cost the Eastern Empire 130,000 pounds (59,000 kg) of gold, causing the empire to hover above bankruptcy for 30 years. When Basiliscus returned to Constantinople, he sought refuge in the Church of St. Sophia. His sister, Empress Verina, secured him a pardon and he left the church to retire in Neapolis.

When Emperor Leo died in 474, his grandson Emperor Leo II (r. 474) took power, but soon died; his father, Zeno (r. 474–475, 476–491) ascended the throne in the same year, in a politically precarious position. Verina conspired to install the magister officiorum Patricius, her lover, as emperor. This plot was supported by Basiliscus, who succeeded in recruiting Isaurian brothers Illus and Trocundes, as well as Verina's nephew Armatus. Zeno fled on 9 January 475, either after learning of the plot or after Verina warned him that his life was in danger. Although Patricius was Verina's intended successor, Basiliscus convinced the Eastern Roman Senate to acclaim him instead. (Full article...)

Did you know?

  • ...That the Pater familias of a family, had the power to sell his children into slavery?
  • ...That Trajan was the last Roman Emperor to harry the coast of Arabia with the Roman Navy?
  • ...That Trajan was born at Italica, in Spain and adopted by the Roman Emperor Nerva and made his heir, which entitled Trajan to call himself the son of Nerva

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The Villa of the Mysteries (Italian: Villa dei Misteri) is a well preserved ruin of a Roman Villa which lies some 400 metres northwest of Pompeii, southern Italy. In this fresco from the villa, a Bacchian rite is depicted.

The Villa of the Mysteries (Italian: Villa dei Misteri) is a well preserved ruin of a Roman Villa which lies some 400 metres northwest of Pompeii, southern Italy. In this fresco from the villa, a Bacchian rite is depicted.

Photo credit: The Yorck Project


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