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The Colosseum
A bust of Gaius Julius Caesar

In modern historiography, ancient Rome encompasses the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC, the Roman Kingdom (753–509 BC), Roman Republic (509–27 BC), Roman Empire (27 BC– 395 AD), and the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD.

Ancient Rome began as an Italic settlement, traditionally dated to 753 BC, beside the River Tiber in the Italian Peninsula. The settlement grew into the city and polity of Rome, and came to control its neighbours through a combination of treaties and military strength. It eventually controlled the Italian Peninsula, assimilating the Greek culture of southern Italy (Magna Grecia) and the Etruscan culture, and then became the dominant power in the Mediterranean region and parts of Europe. At its height it controlled the North African coast, Egypt, Southern Europe, and most of Western Europe, the Balkans, Crimea, and much of the Middle East, including Anatolia, Levant, and parts of Mesopotamia and Arabia. That empire was among the largest empires in the ancient world, covering around 5 million square kilometres (1.9 million square miles) in AD 117, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants, roughly 20% of the world's population at the time. The Roman state evolved from an elective monarchy to a classical republic and then to an increasingly autocratic military dictatorship during the Empire.

Ancient Rome is often grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, and their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, religion, society, technology, law, politics, government, warfare, art, literature, architecture, and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France. It achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the empire-wide construction of aqueducts and roads, as well as more grandiose monuments and facilities. (Full article...)

The history of the Roman Empire covers the history of ancient Rome from the fall of the Roman Republic in 27 BC until the abdication of Romulus Augustulus in AD 476 in the West, and the Fall of Constantinople in the East in AD 1453. Ancient Rome became a territorial empire while still a republic, but was then ruled by Roman emperors beginning with Augustus (r. 27 BC – AD 14), becoming the Roman Empire following the death of the last republican dictator, the first emperor's adoptive father Julius Caesar.

Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian Peninsula until the 3rd century BC. Civil war engulfed the Roman state in the mid-1st century BC, first between Julius Caesar and Pompey, and finally between Octavian and Mark Antony. Antony was defeated at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. In 27 BC, the Senate made Octavian imperator ("commander") thus beginning the Principate, the first epoch of Roman imperial history usually dated from 27 BC to AD 284; later that year they awarded him the name Augustus, "the venerated". Subsequent emperors all took this name as the imperial title Augustus. (Full article...)
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Gaius Avidius Cassius (c. 130 – July 175 AD) was a Syrian Roman general and usurper. He was born in Cyrrhus, and was the son of Gaius Avidius Heliodorus, who served as praefectus or governor of Roman Egypt, and Julia Cassia Alexandra, who was related to a number of royal figures, including her descent from both Augustus and Herod the Great. He began his military career under Antoninus Pius, rising to the status of legatus legionis. He served during the Parthian war of Lucius Verus, in which he distinguished himself, for which he was elevated to the Senate, and later made Imperial legate. During the Bucolic War, he was given the extraordinary title of Rector Orientis, giving him Imperium over all of the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire.

In 175, Cassius declared himself emperor, because he had received news, from Marcus Aurelius' wife Faustina the Younger, that the Emperor Marcus Aurelius was about to die. He received broad support in the eastern provinces of Egypt, Syria, Syria Palaestina and Arabia Petraea, especially Syria, which was his homeland. Despite his control of the vital grain production of Egypt, and his command of seven legions, he was heavily outmatched by Aurelius. While Aurelius was amassing a force to defeat Cassius, a centurion of one of Cassius' legions murdered Cassius, sending his head to Aurelius as proof. (Full article...)

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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Trajan's Column (Italian: Colonna Traiana) is a monument in Rome which commemorates the Roman emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars in 101-106 AD.

Trajan's Column (Italian: Colonna Traiana) is a monument in Rome which commemorates the Roman emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars in 101-106 AD.

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