Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire.
By 133 B.C. the Roman Republic faced many problems. Although several leaders attempted reforms, their programs angered many senators, and as a result some leaders were violently overthrown. Expansion of the Roman empire brought changes in the army, and eroded the old reliance on citizen- farmers as the backbone of the legions. As the values of the old republic began to break down, many new leaders struggled for power. Emerging from such a power struggle, in 44 B.C. Julius Caesar became dictator for life. He proved to be an able politician. He granted citizenship to many people in the provinces and gave land to veterans and grain to the poor in Rome. His new position angered conservative Roman families and on the Ides of March (March 15), 44 B.C., conspirators stabbed Caesar to death in the Senate Chambers.

Caesar’s death
Caesar’s death soon led to a division of the Roman world between his heir, Octavian, and his friend and ally, Marc Antony. As Octavian built up his power in Rome and the western half of the empire, Marc Antony allied himself with Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and made his base in the eastern part of the empire. Eventually, civil war between the two split the Roman empire. Finally, in 31 B.C., Octavian defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the great naval battle of Actium and became master of the Roman world. In 27 B.C. the Senate proclaimed him Augustus Caesar, or Augustus “the revered one.” Historians agree that Augustus was the first real Roman emperor and they mark his reign as the end of the old republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.

Augustus and his successors established Roman power throughout the Mediterranean world and imposed what became known as the Pax Romana, or Roman Peace. Law, military organization, and widespread trade and transportation held the empire together and brought about peace and economic prosperity for more than 200 years.

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