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Roman Empire: Rise & Fall Of One Of The Strongest And Largest Empire (Essay Sample)


The rise and fall of the roman empire

Name: Course: Name: Date: The Roman Empire The idea of imperialism dominated the historical Age of Exploration as major powers sought to conquer and control other parts of the world. The Roman empire is one of the strongest and largest empire that lasted for over a thousand years since 700 BC to 476 AD. (Scullard, 2012). The Roman Empire was the longest lasting empire with a period of over 1500 years. During its reign, the empire stretched for more than 2 million square miles extending from Asia Minor to Britain and from Egypt to the Rhine River. The Rome became a republic in 509 BC and expanded immensely as a result of the Punic wars which took place between 264 BC and 146 BC (Mark, 2018). The Second Punic War was a significant turning point for the Roman republic as it gained control over the Mediterranean region (Idzikowski, 2016). The system of governance changed from republic to autocratic under Augustus Caesar, who became the first emperor. Emperor Caesar initiated a period of great peace also known as Pax Ramana that lasted for two centuries (Idzikowski, 2016). During this period, the Roman Empire existed as a commonwealth states which were under the rule of the Emperor. The Roman Empire was the most successful civilization in the history of man due the advances in military strength, engineering, and strong governance system, however, the political decay, religious fanatism and poor economic policies led to its fall. The advancement of the Roman army was one of the major factor that contributed to the incredible success and expansion of the roman empire. The army was first from to defend the empire from external threats but after the Punic Wars, the army went on to conquer lands. After defeating the Carthaginians in 146 BC, Rome gained control over the Mediterranean region and later spread east taking Greece (Ferrill, 1986). The Mediterranean had a significant influence on the development of western civilization. The Mediterranean Sea was a reliable link between Europe, Asia, and Europe. The ancient people used the shipping route to trade raw materials, agricultural products as well as religious and political ideas. By controlling the Mediterranean Sea, the Roman Empire was able to navigate and manage vast areas (Mark, Joshua, 2018). This allowed them to conquer more land and recruit people from the conquered lands in the army. The military was strong and well organized and defended the newly conquered territory from barbarian invasion and internal revolts (Ferrill, 1986). Advancement in engineering and architecture hastened the rise of the Roman empire. The mighty distinguished army was considered the foundation of the whole empire, in which roman`s talents of the organization were obvious. They were also skilled in many other sectors like law, city planning, statecraft, and art. The Roman Army built more than 53000 miles of roads by 200 AD., to facilitate quick transportation within the Empire (Ferrill, 1986). In addition to the great Roman city planners who were able to achieve extraordinary standards of hygiene in designing and implementing their dams, sewage and disposal systems. Moreover, Roman architecture is based or inspired by Greek styles, characterized by their audacious plan and luxurious implementation. The Romans were the first to invent concrete which enabled them to build structures such as bridges, sewers, public baths, aqueducts and central heating systems (Garnsey & Richard, 2014). The success of the Roman Empire is also attributed to the strong system of governance and dynamic leaders. When Augustus Caesar became emperor, founded a type of government leadership referred to as a principate which incorporated the components of monarchy and republic governance (Mark, 2018). Many other emperors followed some who were industrious and dynamic and others were corrupt and hostile. The period between 96-180 CE was dedicated as the era when “Five Good Emperors" reigned in the Roman Empire (Mark, 2018). During this period, the empire expanded to its greatest size and conquered large territories towards the East. Trade spread from the east and encouraged innovation and the spread of Christianity (Garnsey & Richard, 2014). The empire was successful in the transferring of powers from emperors to kings and the Republicans. Thus, the sophistication of the political apparatus in Roman Empire was high, even during wars, the empire maintained reasonable functionality in all sectors of governance (Garnsey & Richard, 2014). Given this remarkable governance, it’s quite disappointing that the Roman Empire fell. The political decay created a weakness in the system of governance, wars, divisions and the eventual fall of the empire. The overexpansion made it difficult for Rome to be controlled or governed. It was difficult to keep an eye on all the administrative staff who are spread in different regions all over the empire (Idzikowski, 2016). However, the corrupted and ineffective leaders had a significant influence too. In second and third centuries, the empire was in chaos due to the civil war, in which more than 20 emperors ruled in 75 years. The civil war sparked and between 211- 285 CE and many emperors were killed by assassinations and revolts (Mark, 2018). As a result, the imperial power started to decline, and due to the vast size of the empire, it was not easy to be governed. Being an emperor was not ever comfortable and safe job, but during that period it nearly became a death sentence. Sometimes emperors were killed by their personal bodyguards, so-called "Praetorian Guard," who after assassination them, they install new rulers. At the meantime, corruption and incompetence were spread among Roman senate, which failed to control the situation. In order to make the empire more governable, Emperor Diocletian decided to split the empire into two. The western empire had its capital in Milan under Emperor Diocletian and the Eastern empire had its capital in Byzantium and governed by Emperor Maximia (Mark, 2018). This separation of the two empires made it more efficient and easy to be governed. However, in the long run, the two empires broke apart. The two halves didn't succeed in cooperating to face outside threats, and often argued and disagreed over resources distribution and military aid (Garnsey & Richard, 2014). Eastern Empire which was majority Greek-speaking managed to develop and raised up over its Latin-speaking western empire that was tangling with an economic crisis. The Eastern Empire always sidetracked the invasion of the barbarian to the western part. Constantinople which later became the capital of the eastern empire was well protected but Rome was left almost defenseless (Ferrill, 1986). The empire of the west completely disintegrated in the late 5th century. However, the eastern empire lasted for a thousand more year and fell later in the 1400s after an invasion by the Ottoman Empire (Mark, 2018). The rise of Christianity coincided with the disintegration of the great Roman Empire. Some Scholars contended that the rise of Christianity as new religion contributed to declining the empire. In 313AD, Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan which legalized Christianity and in 330 AD, Christianity was recognized as the state religion (, 2018). Christianity is also considered as the main cause of the erosion of traditional value system of the Romans. Roman religion was originally polytheistic, in which emperor was viewed as God, who has the ultimate power. Christianity displaced this belief, and with the new focus on one God, the state lost its glory. The new religion aimed in ending centuries of persecution, however, many people began to die due to different clashes over the interpretation of the new religion (Gibbon, 1846). Furthermore, with the spreading of the new religion, new religious men like popes and church leaders started to have increased political power and control over political affairs thereby further complicating governance. This theory was proposed in the 18th century by Edward Gibeon but has been criticized by other historians (Gibbon, 1846). Most historians argue that Christianity played a paled role in the collapse of the Roman Empire while compared to other factors such as military, administrative and economic factors (, 2018). The different internal financial crisis had a noticeable influence in disintegrating of Roman Empire. The imperial resources had been lightened due to the unstoppable wars and overspending on the military (Garnsey & Richard, 2014). In addition to that, the social structure started to change, as the gap between rich and poor kept increasing because or oppressive taxation and inflation. Even many affluent men were always trying to find some ways to escape to the countryside...
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