|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.
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The censor was a magistracy in Rome, held by two citizens at once, and which maintained the census, regulated some aspects of the government's finances, and supervised public morality. The censors' regulation of public morality is the origin of the modern meaning of "censorship" and "to censor". The office of censor was created by the sixth king of Rome, but it fell into disuse (with the consuls taking up the duties of censor) between the abolition of the Roman Kingdom and 442 BC. Two censors were elected every five years, to hold office for eighteen months, by the Centuriate Assembly. The censors had no imperium, and accordingly no lictors, but was nonetheless regarded as the highest dignity in the state. Their duties were regarded as so important that the death of one censor necessitated the resignation of his colleague and the election of two new censors; and the funeral of a censor was conducted with the same pomp and revere as the funerals of the later Roman Emperors would be. Their duty to supervise public morality was what caused their office to be one of the most revered and the most dreaded in the Roman state, and they were colloquially known as Castigatores ("chastisers").
Photo credit: Heinz-Joachim Krenzer
On this Roman coin, the busts of Emperor Gordian III and his wife Furia Sabina Tranquillina. The Roman Republic and Empire's currency was used from the middle of the third century BC until the middle of the third century AD.
||[...] Caesar is a god in his own city. Outstanding in war or peace, it was not so much his wars that ended in great victories, or his actions at home, or his swiftly won fame, that set him among the stars, a fiery comet, as his descendant. There is no greater achievement among Caesar’s actions than that he stood father to our emperor. Is it a greater thing to have conquered the sea-going Britons; to have lead his victorious ships up the seven-mouthed flood of the papyrus-bearing Nile; to have brought the rebellious Numidians, under Juba of Cinyps, and Pontus, swollen with the name of Mithridates, under the people of Quirinus; to have earned many triumphs and celebrated few; than to have sponsored such a man, with whom, as ruler of all, you gods have richly favoured the human race? Therefore, in order for the emperor not to have been born of mortal seed, Caesar needed to be made a god. [...]
Augustus, his ‘son’, will ensure that he ascends to heaven as a god, and is worshipped in the temples. Augustus, as heir to his name, will carry the burden placed upon him alone, and will have us with him, in battle, as the most courageous avenger of his father’s murder. Under his command, the conquered walls of besieged Mutina will sue for peace; Pharsalia will know him; Macedonian Philippi twice flow with blood; and the one who holds Pompey’s great name, will be defeated in Sicilian waters; and a Roman general’s Egyptian consort, trusting, to her cost, in their marriage, will fall, her threat that our Capitol would bow to her city of Canopus, proved vain.
Why enumerate foreign countries or the nations living on either ocean shore? Wherever earth contains habitable land, it will be his: and even the sea will serve him!
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Sun, 29 Nov 2015 20:41:15 -0800
We dispel some old myths about ancient Rome with Mary Beard, classics professor at Cambridge University in England, who writes a well-read blog and is author of a new book, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome. What's SPQR stand for? According to ...
Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 05:52:30 -0800
I've watched – from the distance of the written page, though it felt more immediate – as she engaged with pagan priests, classical art, the Parthenon and the Coliseum, the classics again and again, and the jokers of ancient Rome. She hasn't known it ...
Sat, 21 Nov 2015 17:57:37 -0800
Jests and wit, especially the irreverent kind, fascinate Beard; her last book before SPQR was Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling, and Cracking Up. That 2014 study opened with a characteristically Beardian anecdote, recorded by Cassius Dio ...
New York Times
New York Times
Tue, 17 Nov 2015 13:45:00 -0800
The publication of her new book, “SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome,” feels like a potential crossover moment. Ms. Beard was profiled in The New Yorker last year (expertly, by Rebecca Mead), yet her renown has not fully made the leap over the Atlantic ...
Tue, 10 Nov 2015 10:00:00 -0800
The classicist Mary Beard may be the only writer who could get away with the pithy first line of her new book: “Ancient Rome is important.” Coming from a less preeminent figure, it might seem utterly, boringly obvious. But coming from her, it serves as ...
Mon, 09 Nov 2015 10:52:51 -0800
More than a dozen books and frequent newspaper articles, book reviews, TV documentaries and a prolific Twitter account have made her one of England's best-known public intellectuals. She has a new book, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, out this month.
BBC History Magazine (blog)
BBC History Magazine (blog)
Wed, 11 Nov 2015 05:16:38 -0800
As part of our 'History Extra explains' series, leading historians answer the burning questions you were too afraid to ask... Wednesday 11th November 2015. Submitted by: Jessica Hope. Share. Share · Tweet · Plus · BBC History Magazine - 5 issues for £5.
EurekAlert (press release)
Fri, 13 Nov 2015 12:37:30 -0800
Find out just how much water flowed into ancient Rome in EARTH Magazine: http://bit.ly/1lm7YT8. EARTH Magazine continues to bring readers the science behind the headlines. This month's features cover how conflict minerals are traced through the ...
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