- 1. the lands and peoples subject to the authority of ancient Rome.2. the form of government established in ancient Rome in 27 B.C., comprising the Principate or Early Empire (27 B.C.-A.D. 284) and the Autocracy or Later Empire (A.D. 284-476).3. a later empire, as that of Charlemagne or the Byzantine Empire, regarded as a restoration or continuation of the ancient Roman Empire or one of its branches. Cf. Holy Roman Empire.
* * *▪ ancient state [27 BC-476 AD]Introductionthe ancient empire, centred on the city of Rome, that was established in 27 BC following the demise of the Roman Republic and continuing to the final eclipse of the Empire of the West in the 5th century AD. A brief treatment of the Roman Empire follows. For full treatment, see ancient Rome.Imperial RomeA period of unrest and civil wars in the 1st century BC marked the transition of Rome from a republic to an empire. This period encompassed the career of Julius Caesar, who eventually took full power over Rome as its dictator. After his assassination in 44 BC, the triumvirate of Mark Antony (Antony, Mark), Lepidus (Lepidus, Marcus Aemilius), and Octavian, Caesar's nephew, ruled. It was not long before Octavian went to war against Antony in northern Africa, and after his victory at Actium (Actium, Battle of) (31 BC) he was crowned Rome's first emperor, Augustus. His reign, from 27 BC to AD 14, was distinguished by stability and peace.Augustus established a form of government known as a principate, which combined some elements from the republic with the traditional powers of a monarchy. The Senate still functioned, though Augustus, as princeps, or first citizen, remained in control of the government. Under Augustus, Rome began to prosper once again, and the emperor came to be looked upon as a god. Thereafter, all good emperors were worshiped as gods after death. Among the beloved rulers of Rome were Trajan (reigned 98–117), Hadrian (117–138), Antoninus Pius (138–161), and Marcus Aurelius (161–180). Decadent, cruel men also rose to power: Caligula (37–41) and Nero (54–68) were so loathed that their reigns were struck from the official Roman records.It was during the rule of Tiberius (14–37) that Jesus Christ was crucified. Thereafter, Christians were tolerated at best—but often tortured or killed—until the reign of Constantine I (312–337). In 313 an edict of toleration for all religions was issued, and from about 320 Christianity was favoured by the Roman state rather than persecuted by it. But the empire was dying. The last of Constantine's line, Theodosius I (379–395), was the last emperor to rule over a unified Roman Empire. The Western Empire, suffering from repeated invasions and the flight of the peasants into the cities, had grown weak compared with the East, where spices and other exports virtually guaranteed wealth and stability. When Theodosius died, in 395, Rome split into Eastern and Western empires.The West was severely shaken in 410, when the city of Rome was sacked by the Visigoths (Visigoth), a wandering nation of Germanic peoples from the northeast. The fall of Rome was completed in 476, when the German chieftain Odoacer deposed the last Roman emperor of the West, Romulus Augustulus. The East, always richer and stronger, continued as the Byzantine Empire through the European Middle Ages.The legacy of RomeDuring the later republic and most of the empire, Rome was the dominant power in the entire Mediterranean basin, most of western Europe, and large areas of northern Africa. The Romans possessed a powerful army and were gifted in the applied arts of law, government, city planning, and statecraft, but they also acknowledged and adopted contributions of other ancient peoples—most notably, those of the Greeks (ancient Greek civilization), much of whose culture was thereby preserved.The Roman Empire was distinguished not only for its outstanding army—the foundation upon which the whole empire rested—but also for its accomplishments in intellectual endeavours. Roman law, for example, was a considered and complex body of precedents and comments, which were all finally codified in the 6th century (see Justinian, Code of). Rome's roads (Roman road system) were without match in the ancient world, designed for comparatively fast transportation and adapted to a wide variety of functions: commerce, agriculture, mail delivery, pedestrian traffic, and military movements. Roman city planners achieved unprecedented standards of hygiene with their plumbing, sewage disposal, dams, and aqueducts. Roman architecture, though often imitative of Greek styles, was boldly planned and lavishly executed. Triumphal arches commemorated important state occasions, and the famous Roman baths were built to stir the senses as well as to cleanse the body.Finally, Latin (Latin language), the language of the Romans, became the medium for a significant body of original works in Western civilization. Cicero (Cicero, Marcus Tullius)'s speeches, the histories of Livy and Tacitus, Terence's drama, and above all the poetry of Virgil are all part of the legacy of Rome.
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Roman Empire — Roman Em|pire the Roman Empire the countries of Europe, north Africa, and western Asia that were ruled by the ancient Romans from around 44 ↑BC until ↑AD 395, when the ↑empire was divided into two parts. The Western Roman Empire continued until… … Dictionary of contemporary English
Roman Empire — empire established (27 B.C. ) by Augustus, succeeding the Roman Republic: at its peak it included W & S Europe, Britain, Asia Minor, N Africa, & the lands of the E Mediterranean: divided (A.D. 395) into the EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE and the WESTERN… … English World dictionary
Roman Empire — For other senses of the term, see Roman Empire (disambiguation). Imperium Romanum redirects here. For the video game, see Imperium Romanum (video game). Roman Empire Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR) The Senate and … Wikipedia
Roman Empire — noun an empire established by Augustus in 27 BC and divided in AD 395 into the Western Roman Empire and the eastern or Byzantine Empire; at its peak lands in Europe and Africa and Asia were ruled by ancient Rome • Members of this Region:… … Useful english dictionary
Roman Empire — /roʊmən ˈɛmpaɪə/ (say rohmuhn empuyuh) noun 1. the lands and peoples subject to the authority of ancient Rome. 2. the form of government established in ancient Rome in 27 BC, comprising the Principate or Early Empire (27 BC to AD 284) and the… … Australian English dictionary
Roman Empire — noun the empire under Roman rule established in 27 BC and divided in AD 395 into the Western or Latin and Eastern or Greek Empire … English new terms dictionary
Roman Empire — Ro′man Em′pire n. 1) anh geg the lands and peoples subject to the authority of ancient Rome 2) anh the imperial form of government established in Rome in 27 b.c., comprising the Principate or Early Empire (27 b.c. – a.d. 284) and the Autocracy or … From formal English to slang
Roman Empire — noun /ˈɹəʊmən ˈɛmpaɪə,ˈɹoʊmən ˈɛmpaɪɚ/ An empire that used to exist between 85 and 476 ; it encompassed territories stretching from Britain and Germany to North Africa and the Persian Gulf. Syn: Rome … Wiktionary
Roman Empire — early empire which ruled over countries around the Mediterranean Sea … English contemporary dictionary
Roman Empire (disambiguation) — Roman Empire usually refers to the government centered in Rome and in its successor capitals on the Italian peninsula from 27 BC to 395 AD.Roman Empire may also refer to:*Roman Republic (6th century 1st century BC) *Eastern Roman Empire (330… … Wikipedia