Wednesday, July 4, 2012

History of Rome

The Founding of Rome and the Kingdom of Rome

Rome's history starts with a legend. Rome is said to have been founded by the twin brothers Romulus and Ramus on the 21st of April, 753. The city of Rome was named after the brother who became the fist king of Rome, Romulus. Romulus's 37 year reign was followed by six other Etruscan Kings - this period of history is referred to as the Rule of the Seven Kings of Rome. The Roman Senate was established as an advisory body to the Etruscan kings. The Kings were eventually replaced with a republic (a Republic is a country without a king or emperor - the people who rule a republic are elected). 

The Roman Republic

The Roman Republic was the ancient Roman state which started in 509 BC and lasted until the Emperor Augustus assumed power in 27 BC.
  • The Roman Republic was governed by 300 Senators, all from aristocratic families who were appointed for life
  • When a Senator died, the Senators selected new Senators
  • The Senate also appointed two senators to become joint heads of state for a year. These heads of state were first known as praetors and later as consuls
  • Each consul had the power of veto to forbid any action of the other
  • To avoid serious stalemates in a crisis, the constitution of the republic provided for another more powerful office with the title of Dictator
  • A Dictator could only hold office for a period not exceeding six months
  • In the Roman Republic the wealthy, aristocratic Patricians ruled Rome
  • The poor Romans, the Plebeians (Plebs), protested at their total lack of power and exclusion from any benefits of the Republic
  • The protests of the Plebs led to the creation of two powerful new officials called the tribunes of the people whose role was to safeguard plebeian rights
  • The 500-year-old Roman Republic became weakened by bloody civil wars and political in-fighting and dissatisfaction with the Senate
  • Julius Caesar seized power and became Dictator, ending the Civil Wars, but signalling the end of the Roman Republic
  • The adoptive son of Julius Caesar, Octavian, became the first Emperor of Rome as Caesar Augustus

The Roman Empire

During this period Rome was ruled by Emperors and conquered most of the known Western World.
  • There were various dynasties of emperors who at first inherited the title through the family such as Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero
  • Other emperors obtained the position by virtue of their abilities
  • Other men just seized power
  • The Roman Empire saw wars, murder, revolts, civil wars, street fights, plagues, famines, fire and earthquakes which led to its weakening and ultimate decline
  • Famous historical events during the period of the Roman Empire included the lost legions of Varus, the reign of terror by Sejanus, the invasion of Britain and the great fire of Rome, Destruction of Jerusalem, the Eruption of Vesuvius and the Building of the Colosseum, Hadrian's Wall and the Pantheon, persecutions of the Christians,  and invasion by the Visigoths and the Vandals
  • The split of the Roman Empire was initiated by Diocletian into the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire aka the Byzantine Empire
  • Theodosius I was the last emperor of both the Eastern and Western Roman Empire. After his death in 395 AD the two parts of the Roman Empire were split permanently
  • The city of Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410 and by the Vandals in 455 signalling the disintegration of Roman authority and the final Fall of the Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire officially ends with the abdication of the last Emperor, Romulus Augusts, on 4 September 476. The Eastern (Byzantium Empire) continued for nearly 1000 more years.

This is a brief History of Rome.

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