Roman Empire

Roman Empire
Pax Romana
27 BC – 180 AD
Reign of Augustus
Heralded the Golden Age of Rome
and the Pax Romana
brought peace to the Empire
economic prosperity returns
Political restructuring
a. Augustus maintains legal appearance of
b. Real power as control of army
Augustan Society
Restructured social classes to reflect wealth
b. Social legislation strengthens religion and
family values
taxes higher for single people of the
upper classes
laws limited expenditures for feasts
and parties
c. Morality laws carried penalties for adultery,
divorce, etc.
Golden Age of Latin Literature
A. received support from Augustus
Latin Poetry begins to focus on more personal
- Horace – wrote about virtues of Pax Romana
- Ovid – was exiled for The Art of Love
Virgil writes epic story of Rome – Aenied
–Aenied is Roman version of Iliad Odyssey
• Also wrote Georgics
Successors to Augustus – the
1. Increased the real power of
the emperor
2. Imperial bureaucracy
established by during reign of
3. Undermined authority of Senate
No constitutional provision for transfer
of power
Adoption is solution picked by Augustus
Ideally based upon competence
Most chose blood relatives
marginal success
Tiberius, and The Five Good emperors +
Caligula, Nero, and Commodus -
The Julio-Claudians
1. Tiberius –14-37- son-in-law of
Augustus – competent administrator2. Caligula – 37-41-relative of
Tiberius – tyrannical and erratic –
3. Claudius –41-54 Claudius good
administrator- had family issues
4. Nero – 54-68 seen as horrible
emperor but was not that bad in reality
Year of 4 Emperors 68AD
Nero commits suicide – “What an artist the
world loses in me.”
3 different people claim the throne
Vespasian wins and founds Flavian dynasty
Flavian Dynasty
Vespasian – 69 - 79
was seasoned commander
Returned stability to Rome
Began Coloseum – Flavian Ampitheater
Titus- 79-81 Domination – 81-96
Seen as Cruel
Stopped using title of Princips- instead
Was assassinated
The Five Good Emperors
Nerva – 96 – 98
Trajan – 98-117
Born in Spain- first provincial
Rome reaches maximum size
Hadrian – 117-138
Built frontier fortifications
Improved civil service
Antoninus Pius – 138-161
Marcus Aurelius-161-180
Seen as Philosopher-King- as per Plato
Rome under the 5
Roman military becomes romanizing
Large numbers of non Romans become
Latin becomes primary language in Western
Rome- Greek in East
Latifundia are worked by coloni
Literature enters Silver age
Tacitus prominent historian
Juvenal- satirical poet
Roman building spread all over empire
Aqueducts all across Europe
Extensive road network – some still in use
Romans first to develop and use concrete in
large quantities
City of Rome reaches 1 million
Large number of urban poor
City seen by some as parasitic
Bread and Circuses reach pinnicle
The Terrible 3rd century
Combination of civil war, barbarian
invasions, and natural disasters contribute to
Germanic barbarians invade frontiers
abandoned by legions fighting civil wars
Epidemics and famine follow invasions
From 180 to 284 a large number of
emperors come and go.
Severus and Aurelian provide brief periods of
Life in the frontiers becomes perilous
Economic activity declines
Local authorities assume mantle of protector
Non Romans begin to fill the ranks of
Regular enlistees are given retirement benefits
Federati are entire barbarian units enlisted for
shorter periods – almost mercenaries
Late Roman Empire
Diocletion 284 – 305
Sets up new adminstration system
Divides empire into four sections
Begins autocratic economic and social policies
Constantine 305 to 337
Took over after brief fight –
Edict of Milan 313 -Recognized legality of
Moved capitol of Empire to Byzantium
renamed it Constantinople
Fall of Western Empire
Roman adminstration limps along for most
of the fourth century under the reforms of
Increasing Barbarian pressure and economic
decline further separate people of the west
from the Empire
Battle of Adrianople 378 is turning point
Roman Emperor Valens defeated and killed by
Gothic Armies
Huns from the east push Germanic tribes
into Rome
After Adrianople barbarians run unrestricted
throughout western Empire
People turn to local commanders and
sometimes Barbarian kings for protection
Last western Emperor is killed in 475 by