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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 Roman Emperors were monarchial rulers of the Roman State during the imperial period (from about 27 BC onward). The Romans had no single term for the office: Latin titles such as imperator (from which English Emperor derives), augustus, caesar and princeps were all associated with it. In practice, the Emperor was supreme ruler of Rome and supreme commander of the Roman legions. In theory, however, Rome remained a republic, the res publica, and the Emperor's status was merely that of primus inter pares - first among equals. This legal fiction became increasingly meaningless as the Emperors consolidated their power. However, it was maintained at least to a ceremonial degree until the very end of the Roman Empire - 476 in the Western Roman Empire and 1453 in the East.

There was no constitutional office of "Roman Emperor", nor any title or rank directly analogous to the title of "Emperor"; all the titles traditionally associated with the Emperor had pre-existing, Republican meanings.

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The Villa of the Mysteries (Italian: Villa dei Misteri) is a well preserved ruin of a Roman Villa which lies some 400 metres northwest of Pompeii, southern Italy. In this fresco from the villa, a Bacchian rite is depicted.

The Villa of the Mysteries (Italian: Villa dei Misteri) is a well preserved ruin of a Roman Villa which lies some 400 metres northwest of Pompeii, southern Italy. In this fresco from the villa, a Bacchian rite is depicted.

Photo credit: The Yorck Project


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Tiberius palermo.jpg
Tiberius Caesar Augustus, born Tiberius Claudius Nero (November 16, 42 BC – March 16 AD 37), was the second Roman Emperor, from the death of Augustus in AD 14 until his own death in 37. Tiberius was by birth a Claudian, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. His mother divorced his father and was remarried to Octavian Augustus in 39 BC. Tiberius would later marry Augustus' daughter Julia the Elder (from an earlier marriage) and even later be adopted by Augustus and by this act he became a Julian. The subsequent emperors after Tiberius would continue this blended dynasty of both families for the next forty years; historians have named it the Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Tiberius Claudius Nero is recognized as one of Rome's greatest generals, whose campaigns in Pannonia, Illyricum, Rhaetia and Germania laid the foundations for the northern frontier.

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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The broader history of the Roman Empire is the period after the Roman Republic. It extends through 16 centuries and includes several stages in the evolution of the Roman state. It encompasses...

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Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome


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A Tour through Ancient Rome in 320 C.E.

A project between Khan Academy and Rome Reborn - with Dr. Bernard Frischer More free lessons at: http://www.khanacademy.org/video?v=VAgA6G75XsI.

A glimpse of teenage life in ancient Rome - Ray Laurence

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/a-glimpse-of-teenage-life-in-ancient-rome-ray-laurence Welcome to the world of Lucius Popidius Secundus, a 17-year old living in Rome in 73 AD....

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27255 news items

Business Standard
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:07:30 -0700

Soon after killing Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare's eponymous tragedy, Cassius, one of the conspirators, declares: “How many ages hence / Shall this our lofty scene be acted over / In states unborn and accents yet unknown!” In this meta ...
Financial Times
Sun, 29 Mar 2015 16:26:15 -0700

Sir, Mr Joseph Nye in his opinion piece (“The American century will survive the rise of China,” March 26) asserts that “unlike ancient Rome” the US is not in absolute decline. Considering the date of the founding of Rome in 753 BCE and its fall with ...
News Sentinel
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:56:15 -0700

Editor's note: This week's Page Turner reader interview is with Sarah Beutel, a teacher at Memorial Park Middle School. "Right now I'm reading nonfiction — a lot about ancient Rome because that's the subject for the Academic Super Bowl competition ...

Columbia Daily Tribune

Columbia Daily Tribune
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:05:17 -0700

Columbia Independent School students celebrate ancient Rome in togas. 041515 007a Toga Day ns.jpg. Nick Schnelle/Tribune Buy this photo. Jan Louis Jaramillo, 11, pokes Dominik Goyette, 12, with a play sword Wednesday as Columbia Independent ...
The Daily News Online (blog)
Wed, 22 Apr 2015 08:11:15 -0700

After many years of serving the Roman Empire, Pliny the Younger was appointed imperial governor of the merged kingdoms of Bithynia and Pontus situated in Anatolia on the southern shores of the Black Sea. Being a hands-on kind of guy, he was ...

College of the Holy Cross (blog)

College of the Holy Cross (blog)
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 08:09:35 -0700

The Roman Triumph in its Urban Context: Building Memories and Identities in Republican Rome — The triumph, an elaborate procession celebrating Rome's military victories, was one of ancient Rome's most important institutions, a ritual at once religious ...

ABC Local

ABC Local
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 21:44:04 -0700

A taste of Ancient Rome: heritage apples in the Great Southern. By Karla Arnall. A festival celebrating apple varieties thought to date back to Roman times will be held in Albany this weekend. Print page; Email this · Permalink. Share ? Share. Court ...

International Business Times UK

International Business Times UK
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 09:30:00 -0700

Julius Caesar's well documented health problems may have been the result of a series of mini-strokes, according to new research. The Roman general, who died in 44BC, was plagued by health issues throughout his later life, with historians diagnosing him ...

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