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The Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire History Essay

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The city-state of Rome became a Republic in 509 BC. The Republic won an overseas empire beginning with the Punic Wars. The Second Punic War was both a defining moment and a turning point in Roman history much like the Second World War was for the United States. The Roman campaign in Spain was as significant for Rome as the American campaign in Europe in 1944-45. After the Second Punic War, the Roman republic was supreme throughout the Mediterranean. By the end of the first century BC Rome controlled almost all of the known world (the Mediterranean

Basin). And its system of government changed from that of a Republic to an autocracy with the creation of the Principite, under the first emperor, Augustus Caesar. With Caesar began the two centuries of the Pax Romana. During this time, the Roman Empire became a commonwealth of states and not a collection of conquered provinces. Rome, except for Parthia/Persia, no longer had any organized threats on its frontiers. The real threat came from the unorganized Barbarian tribes whose conquest added nothing to the Empire. The Empire was strategically defensive rather than offensive. The decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth.

The Rise of the Roman Empire can be contributed to many factors. Those factors would include strength in the military, society, leadership, religious, and architectural aspects of the Roman Empire. To start with, the rapid expansion and the incredible success of the Roman Empire was largely due to the Roman army. It was first formed to defend the city of Rome, but it went on to conquer a vast empire. The early Roman army was made up of volunteers, but soldiers that joined up for 20-25 years became paid professionals. People from lands conquered by Romans were also recruited into the army ranks. The army made the people feel secure and reassured them that their children would grow up in a safe environment. The army helped to defend the land that it already had, and also to protect the newly conquered territory from invasion or revolt form those conquered. Secondly, Roman society was highly organized. People were divided into citizens and slaves. Citizens themselves were divided into different ranks, and had special rights and duties that were denied to non-citizens. They could vote in elections and serve in the army. But they were also expected to pay taxes. By AD 212, all free members of the empire were allowed to become Roman citizens. Slaves had no such privileges. Many of them were prisoners of war. They were bought and sold by wealthy Romans who put them to work in their homes and estates. By allowing the citizens special rights and privileges, it gave them a sense of belonging, and in turn, the people stood behind their country. Without the support of its citizens, the empire would never have grown to be so successful. Thirdly, we have the dynamic leaders that showed their greatness through their reign over the Roman people. One of the most successful leaders in the Roman Empire, besides Julius Caesar, was Emperor Trajan. He ruled from AD 98-117. The reason that he is known as so successful is because during his reign, the empire reached its greatest size with the conquest of large areas of land in the east. His successor, Hadrian, halted the spread and concentrated on improving the way the empire was run. This was the time of the Pax Romana (the Roman Peace), which was maintained by the army. People could travel and trade in safety, and new ideas, like Christianity, began to spread from the east. The leaders helped to keep the peace among the citizens of Rome, and they also helped to further the empire by leading the troops into battle and extending the boundaries of Rome's territory. The fourth factor that contributed to the rise the Roman Empire is that of the engineers and architects within the empire itself. The Romans were superb engineers and architects and many of their buildings survive today. They include bridges, aqueducts, public baths, and roads. By AD 200, the Roman army had built 53,000 miles of roads. Roads were essential for moving the army quickly around the Empire. They were also important for trade routes. The first main road, the Via Appia, was built in 312 BC, and stretched from Rome to Capua. The Romans also built sewers and central heating systems, and invented the first type of concrete. The concrete was made from volcanic rock and rubble. Working together to create these magnificent structures gave the people a sense of unity.


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