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The Ancient Rome Portal

Ancient Rome was a civilization which began as a small agricultural community on the Italian Peninsula in the 8th century BC. Rome became a large empire which straddled the Mediterranean Sea. In its twelve centuries of existence, Roman civilization was firstly a monarchy, then a republic that combined oligarchy and democracy, and finally became an autocratic empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it came to dominate Western Europe, the entire Mediterranean Basin including the Near East and North Africa, the Balkans, and the Black Sea.

The Roman empire went into decline in the 3rd century AD, and began to collapse in the 5th century AD. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire, including Hispania, Gaul, and Italy, broke into independent kingdoms in the 5th century. The eastern part of the empire, governed from Constantinople, survived this crisis, and remained intact for another millennium, until its last remains were finally annexed by the emerging Ottoman Empire. This eastern, medieval stage of the Empire is usually referred to as the Byzantine Empire by historians.

Roman civilization was part of the period of classical antiquity, alongside ancient Greece—a civilization that inspired much of the culture of ancient Rome. Ancient Rome made significant contributions to the development of law, war, art, literature, architecture, technology, and language in the Western world, and its history continues to have a great influence on the world today.

Bust of Gaius Julius Caesar.

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The main Roman currency during most of the Roman Republic and the western half of the Roman Empire consisted of coins including the aureus (gold), the denarius (silver), the sestertius (bronze), the dupondius (bronze), and the as (copper). These were used from the middle of the third century BC until the middle of the third century AD, a remarkably long time.

They were still accepted as payment in Greek influenced territories, even though these regions issued their own base coinage and some silver in other denominations, either called Greek Imperial or Roman provincial coins.

During the third century, the denarius was replaced by the double denarius, now usually known as the antoninianus or radiate, which was then itself replaced during the monetary reform of Diocletian which created denominations such as the argenteus (silver) and the follis (silvered bronze).

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Gaius Gracchus (154 BC – 121 BC), a tribune of the people, presiding over the Plebeian Council. When presiding, the tribune could make motions and propose laws to the council.

Gaius Gracchus (154 BC – 121 BC), a tribune of the people, presiding over the Plebeian Council. When presiding, the tribune could make motions and propose laws to the council.

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MarcoAurelio.png
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (April 26, 121, – March 17, 180) was Roman Emperor from 161 to his death in 180. He was the last of the "Five Good Emperors" who governed the Roman Empire from 96 to 180, and is also considered one of the most important stoic philosophers.

His tenure was marked by wars in Asia against a revitalized Parthian Empire, and with Germanic tribes along the limes Germanicus into Gaul and across the Danube. A revolt in the East, led by Avidius Cassius, failed.

Marcus Aurelius' work Meditations, written on campaign between 170–180, is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty and has been praised for its "exquisite accent and its infinite tenderness."

Did you know?

  • ...That When Caesar's troops hesitated to leave their ships for fear of the Britons, the aquilifer of the tenth legion threw himself overboard and, carrying the eagle, advanced alone against the enemy?
  • ...That the most well paid athlete in human history, Gaius Appuleius Diocles, was an illiterate Roman Chariot racer, and earned the equivalent of $15 Billion US Dollars.

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