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Roman Empire. Mr. Stikes. End of the Republic. Remember, Julius Caesar enacted a series of reforms that increased the power of the lower classes In response, he was killed by a group of Senators on the Ides (15 th ) of March, 44 B.C. “Death of Caesar” by Vincenzo Camuccini.

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roman empire

Roman Empire

Mr. Stikes

end of the republic
End of the Republic
  • Remember, Julius Caesar enacted a series of reforms that increased the power of the lower classes
  • In response, he was killed by a group of Senators on the Ides (15th) of March, 44 B.C.
civil war
Civil War
  • After Julius Caesar’s death, a Second Triumvirate was formed to punish the assassins
  • Members:
    • Octavian (Julius Caesar’s nephew)
    • Marc Antony
    • Marcus Lepidus
second triumvirate
Second Triumvirate
  • Defeats those who killed Caesar in 42 B.C.
  • Divided land amongst themselves – each ruled a portion as a dictator
    • Octavian – From Italy westward
    • Marc Antony – From Greece eastward
    • Marcus Lepidus – North Africa
second triumvirate1
Second Triumvirate

Nominally independent, under control of Cleopatra (Cleopatra VII)

consolidation of power
Consolidation of Power
  • Octavian forced Lepidus to retire
  • Marc Antony marries Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt
    • Octavian convinces the Romans that Antony wants to rule Rome as king
    • 31 B.C. – naval battle at Actium – Octavian defeats Antony & Cleopatra
      • Cleopatra and Antony commit suicide 1 year later

DID YOU KNOW: Antony was married to Octavian’s sister Octavia before he married Cleopatra


Octavian is sole ruler of Rome

augustus caesar
Augustus Caesar
  • Octavian is appointed as consul, tribune and commander in chief for life in 27 B.C.
  • He gives himself the title Augustus, meaning “the majestic one”
    • From now on, he is known as Augustus Caesar
augustus caesar1
Augustus Caesar
  • Ruled 40 years
  • Accomplishments:
    • “found Rome a city of brick and left it a city of marble”
      • Great builder
    • Reduced corruption
    • Conducted a census to determine taxes
    • Began Pax Romana (“Roman Peace”)
      • 200 year period
      • Began in 31 B.C.
      • Relatively peaceful time
julio claudian emperors
Julio-Claudian Emperors
  • Augustus dies in A.D. 14
  • Successors:
    • Tiberius (A.D. 14-37)
      • Accused many of treason
    • Caligula (A.D. 37-41)
      • Mentally ill, killed by palace guard
    • Claudius (A.D. 41-54)
      • Great scholar, invaded England
    • Nero (A.D. 54-68)
      • Cruel, perhaps insane, sentenced to death by Senate
roman emperors after nero
Roman Emperors after Nero
  • For 28 years after Nero’s death, Rome was governed by emperors placed on the throne by the army.
  • They were:
  • Galba (A.D. 68)
  • Otho (A.D. 69)
  • Vitellius (A.D. 69)
  • Vespasian (A.D. 69-79)
  • Titus (A.D. 79-81)
  • Domitian (A.D. 81-96)


the good emperors
The Good Emperors
  • After the assassination of Domitian, the Senate elected Nerva as emperor
  • The next five emperors are known as the “Good Emperors” because of their administrative effectiveness and large building projects

DID YOU KNOW: The term “Five Good Emperors” is taken from Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

the good emperors1
The Good Emperors
  • Nerva (A.D. 96-98)
    • Provided stability after rule of Domitian
  • Trajan (A.D. 98-117)
    • Increased Empire to greatest size
  • Hadrian (A.D. 117-138)
    • Strengthened frontiers, built Hadrian’s Wall, traveled extensively
  • Antoninius Pius (A.D. 138-161)
    • Stable ruler, restored position of Rome
  • Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180)
    • Philosopher-king, Stoic, writer of “Meditations”

Trajan’s Column in Rome

the five good emperors
The Five Good Emperors
  • Some scholars claim that the major strength of the Five Good Emperors was that they adopted their successors, instead of relying on blood relatives.


  • Why would this be an advantage?
  • How is this similar or different to the way in which we choose our rulers in the United States?
imperial rome
Imperial Rome
  • Roman citizenship was gradually extended throughout the provinces
  • Roman law stressed the authority of the state over the individual
  • Army: professional, supplemented by provincial auxiliaries
imperial rome1
Imperial Rome
  • Economy:
    • Mainly agrarian, with some trade (land & sea)
    • Major crops:
      • Grain
      • Olives
      • Grapes
    • Major products:
      • Olive oil
      • Wine
  • Major imports:
    • Silk from China
    • Cotton & spices from India
    • Ivory and wild animals from Africa
    • Metals from Spain and Britain
    • Fossilized amber gems from Germany
    • Slaves from throughout the world
imperial rome2
Imperial Rome
  • Farmers often paid taxes in grain
    • This allowed the government to distribute free grain to the populace
    • This discouraged farmers from increasing output
imperial rome road system
Imperial Rome – Road System
  • Perhaps Rome’s greatest legacy was her road system, which linked various parts of the empire to Rome
imperial rome road system1
Imperial Rome – Road System
  • 250,000 miles long, including 50,000 paved miles
  • Called “via”
  • Most famous: Via Appia, or Appian Way
roman roads
Roman Roads

Top: Flat rocks at least 6 in. deep, placed into moist concrete

Concrete with gravel or sand and lime, poured in layers, curved to allow for draining

Concrete with pottery pieces

Stones (4-5 in. in dia.) cemented together with mortar or clay

Sand or lime mortar

Bottom: packed earth

Depth: 6-9 feet

Width: 9-12 feet

imperial rome aqueducts
Imperial Rome - Aqueducts
  • Purpose: carry fresh water from its source into cities

DID YOU KNOW: The city of Rome was served by around 300 miles of aqueducts, of which only around 10% were above ground.

important roman advancements in the imperial age
Important Roman Advancements in the Imperial Age
  • Galen – discoveries in medicine
  • Ptolemy – astronomy
  • Ovid – poet,
    • Metamorphoses
  • Horace – poet,
    • Odes
  • Virgil – epic poet,
    • Aeneid
  • Livy – Historian
    • Ab Urbe Condita (From the Founding of the City)
  • Tacitus – Historian
    • Historiae, Annales (Histories, Annals)
rome after the good emperors
Rome after the Good Emperors
  • From A.D. 192 – 284, there were 28 emperors, most of whom met a violent death
    • This period begins after the death of Commodus in 192
    • Many of these were declared emperor by the army
    • This period is marked by invasion from outside of the empire and civil war within the empire
rome after the good emperors1
Rome after the Good Emperors
  • Economic Decline:
    • Political instability led to economic decline
    • War:
      • Disrupted trade, reducing profits and increasing prices
      • Destroyed farmland, causing food shortages and raising prices
rome after the good emperors2
Rome after the Good Emperors
  • To combat this, the Imperial government minted more coins, causing inflation
    • Inflation: continual rising level of prices
  • Taxes increased, due to increased costs of legions
    • This made farming less profitable
attempts at reform
Attempts at Reform
  • Diocletian: (r. 284-305)
    • General, came to power by killing previous emperor
    • Divided empire into two parts, each ruled by a coemperor (“Augustus”) and an assistant coemperor (“Caesar”)
      • Note: There was a senior Augustus who was ultimately in charge of the Empire
    • Issued Edict of Prices – froze wages, set maximum prices for goods
      • Penalty for breaking price rules = death
        • Effect: Emergence of black market, workers tied to jobs by law
diocletian s division
Diocletian’s Division
  • This division was meant to provide stability to the empire
  • The empire was still whole, but ruled by 4 people

DID YOU KNOW: Each Augustus and Caesar had his own capital and territory.

attempts at reform1
Attempts at Reform
  • Constantine (r. 306-337)
    • Supporter of Christianity
      • A.D. 312 – Battle of the Milvian Bridge
    • Made jobs hereditary
    • A.D. 330 – moved capital of empire to Byzantium, renaming it Constantinople (today we call it Istanbul)



attempts at reform2
Attempts at Reform
  • Theodosius I (r. 379-395)
    • Completely separates Western Roman Empire from Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) at his death
  • Began in late 300’s
    • Mainly Germanic peoples
    • Reasons:
      • Searching for better grazing land
      • Share of Roman wealth
      • Nomadic
  • Ostrogoths
  • Visigoths
  • Vandals
  • Franks
  • Angles
  • Saxons
  • Huns
  • Avars
results fall of western roman empire
Results & Fall of Western Roman Empire
  • Vandals raid and sack Rome in A.D. 455
  • Odoacer leads troops that sack Rome in A.D. 476
    • Removes last Western Roman Emperor, Romulus Augustulus