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The Roman Empire started as a community of farmers on the shores of River Tiber in central Italy. Notably, the empire was tipped to rule over entire Europe, the Middle East, and the Northern parts of Africa. The Latins occupied villages that formed part of and surrounded the community. The Latins excelled in convincing the neighboring tribes to join their movement in resisting the Etruscans. By the beginning of the 300 BC, they emerged as the rulers of the central and southern parts of Italy. The essay will explore in detail how the Roman Empire rose, became so powerful, and declined.
The Latins who were referred to as Romans started to oppose the boundary expansion ambitions of the Carthaginians and engaged in encounters called the Punic Wars. Rome conquered Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey and later invaded Britain under the leadership of Julius Caesar and continued to grab more land with the passing years. Rome was declared a republic in 509 BC after emerging victorious over the Punic Wars. What followed was a turning point in the history of Rome, its campaign in Spain during the second Punic Wars that made it rule supreme throughout all the known world in the Mediterranean. As the empire expanded its sphere of influence, it changed its governing system, abandoning the Republic form and embracing an autocracy. The new government structure contributed to the creation of the Principe, with Augustus Caesar as the first emperor. Caesar’s reign initiated the two Pax Ramana centuries that made the Roman Empire a shared wealth of nations as opposed to a combination of seized provinces. The approach created harmony between Rome and her neighbors, and it never had any organized rebellion except the Persians.
The history of Rome is predominated by the lives of its powerful emperors and generals. Initially, the Roman Empire had a Republic system of governance that was headed by a Senate of 300 permanent officials. The Senate democratically appointed two consuls who were typical military leaders annually to perform as chief executives. Cases of internal wars between the officials to earn favor was a common occurrence; however, no general was to match their soldiers towards Rome as a rule, with river Rubicon as the sacred border. It did not take long before Julius Caesar broke the law by crossing the sacred border and launching an attack on the Roman Senate. He won the battle by defeating the other consul, and he earned his crown as the sole ruler. Nonetheless, the general did not claim the empire title, but instead, he traveled to Egypt to hook up with Cleopatra.
Generals Brutus, Cassius, and others feared the Caesar would declare himself emperor and begun to assist him and established a power vacuum that contributed to defeating the two generals. The power void prompted Julius Caesar to rule by three consuls as a Triumvirate that consisted of Octavius, the inheritor of Julius throne, and also his nephew, Mark, and Lepidus. Octavius claimed the crown and affirmed himself as Caesar Augustus in 27BC since he had no opposition following the demise of Mark Antony. Augustus became the first empire of Rome, instigating the great peace that prevailed through 180 AD. Caesar Augustus rein was followed with eleven other realms who completed the 200 years of peace and coexistence.
Rome dominated power in the Mediterranean basin and most parts of Europe. The Romans specialized in applied arts of law, administration, and planning for their cities. Most importantly, the Latins preserved their cultures. The empire was distinguished not only from the military strength that supported it but also from its progression in knowledgeable endeavors. For example, the law of the Romans entailed comments and precedents, which were later defined in the 6th century. Their roads were designed to adapt to a broad spectrum of uses from commercial purposes to military functions. Besides, their urban planners maintained unprecedented hygiene standards with sewage systems and aqueducts. Interestingly was that the architecture of the Latins was planned boldly and lavishly implemented, though there was a close resemblance to that of the Greek styles. The legacy of Rome also includes Cicero’s speeches; Virgil’s poetry and the Latin language became the channel for original western civilization works.
Many factors point out to the rise of the Latin Empire. Some of the factors include military strength, religious beliefs, architecture, and leadership qualities. The major contributor to the empire’s rise was its vast army that primarily was to defend Rome but later proceeded to attack and conquer the vast territory. The initial army of the Romans consisted of volunteers with war victims from the conquered states also recruited into the military ranks. The military fostered a secure environment and was also an affirmation that the new generations of the Latins would grow up in a safe environment. Secondly, the society of Rome was highly organized and comprised of differentiating people as citizens or slaves. The citizens were further divided into ranks and enjoyed rights over the slaves, like voting and serving in the army. The exclusive rights accorded to citizens gave them a sense of belonging and increased their loyalty to the country ten-fold. The third factor for the prosperity of Rome was that they had dynamic and able leaders. Besides, the most successful leaders were empire Julius Caesar and Trajan. The former championed in creating the period of the great Roman peace during which trade and Christianity spread peacefully. Engineering and architectural arts was the fourth influence for the growth of the empire. The two worked in unison to build great features that unified the citizens.
Why the fall of the Roman Empire? As the Roman army spread to the outskirts of the city, they left their towns unprotected, and it was then that the Visigoths sacked the capital for the very first time in almost a millennium. The empire fell slowly because of internal and external challenges to its system. The main factor pointing to the decline of the Roman Empire was widespread in the Christian religion. Constantine developed a tolerance for the faith and took the title of the Pontiff. The understanding made the church leaders gain much influence over time, and this eroded the powers of the empire.
Consequently, the empire was adversely affected by lead poisoning from water pipes. The lead was widely used by the Romans for contraceptives and cosmetics, leading to metal poisoning. Economic reasons were also a factor for the empire’s decline. Inflation in the Latin’s economy, coupled with over-taxation and feudalism, caused Rome to struggle in administration. The issues contributed to heightening financial stress during the last days of the empire.