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The name 'Roman' comes from the city which controls a large Empire in three continents. The city of Rome, 'Roma' in the native language of Latin, was the origin of the Empire and was its largest city throughout its history. The Germanic people of the north of Europe call themselves 'Romisch' as translated to their vernacular. In the Balkan Peninsula the Greek language refers to the citizens of this Empire as 'Romanoi' a term which includes themselves, despite their national pride and history. In the Parthian provinces the people of the Empire are 'Romali' and that is the same term in North Africa, Arabia, and Ethiopia. In the porvinces of the far edge of the Mare Suebicum (Baltic Sea), the Roman people fall under the term of 'Romer' or 'Romski'. All of these languages are heavily influenced by the native Latin of the Empire but over time the languages have blended.
Geography, Climate, and Environment
Being so large, the climate and environment of the Roman Empire are different from province to province. The Center of the Empire is the Mare Mediterrani (Mediterranean Sea) which functioned as the original domain of the early Empire and the Republic prior. In only the European provinces can be found several rivers, mountain chains, vast coast, diverse resources, plains, tundra, and an almost tropical climate in places.
In the Italian Peninsula, the origin of the Roman Empire, lies the Appenine Mountains which used to be a barrier to interaction from the Mare Adriaticus to Tyrhennius. Above Italia sits the great defensive chain of mountains known as the Alpes. From the Mountains come the major Rivers of Europe, most notably the Ister (Danube) and the Rhinus (Rhine). In the large region of western Europe called Gallia (Gaul) is mostly Plains and Pasture. On the Iberian Peninsula in the north is the Pyrenees Mountains and west of them is the Cantabri on the shores of the peninsula. Despite these large chains and some smaller ones throughout the rest of the land, much of the land of Hispania, Lusitania, and Baetica was arable and became a source of food and wealth for the Western European Provinces and those of Northern Europe. In Britannia and Caledonia there are a great number of rivers, lochs, cliffs, and mountains, especially in Caledonia. Similar features can be found in Scandinavia, Suebia, Islia and the Campus Asius, however all of these have glaciers. The Carpathian Mountains are found in the eastern European province and play a large role in the economy of that region as well as providing rivers for the surrounding area. Overall, Europe is the most fertile of the areas under Roman control, Rome itself lies there. However the other regions provide many other resources and information that would not otherwise be available if Rome were only a European Empire.
North Africa is rich with grain in the Northern Shore and along rivers like the Nilus (Nile) and Nigerus (Niger). Despite these, the Desertum Africanum (Sahara) is a large obstacle to the development of Africa. The cities of African provinces are in a way trapped along rivers, shores, or lakes in order to fight the desert which could consume their city at any time. Mauretania is the best example of how people can fight their predicament and improve upon it. The great canal system that leads from the Mediterranean into the Sahara brings in not only water and fertilizers so that things can grow around the canal but also trade and acess to the resources underneath the desert. This canal system and several others have fought the largest and most persistent problem for the African Romans, the great desert on the continent. Without the money from the tremendous trade and development of the Roman Empire these would not be possible and the cities of the Romans might be reclaimed by the sands and the desolation of the Desertum Africanum.
Asian and Arabian Rome
The provinces of what were the Persian and then Parthian Empires were incorporated into Roman hegemony after the conquest of their central city in Ctesiphon. The Arabian Peninsula was taken first with claims to the open desert of the area and later bribing what civilizations did exist to move north into the more developed areas of the empire. From the Tigris and Euphrates rivers came most of the fertile land of these provinces. Many other parts were filled with further desert lands. The ancient knowledge of these civilizations, which developed much earlier than Rome, became a great resource for the scholars, astrologists and other scientists. The biggest change between Asia and Africa was the closeness to a foreign country. India and, not so far off, Sinica effected the Asian Provinces first and then spread to the other parts of the empire. This bridge effect made the culture of this area not simply from Parthia, or Rome, or India, or Sinica but a mixing pot. The prerogatives and attitudes of their leaders was an even further unique quality for the Provinces farthest from Rome.
Rome was established, or was first recorded, in the year 1 (753 BC) in the AUC calendar. AUC meaning "ab urbe condita" or "from the founding of the city [of Rome]". According to the traditional Roman Mythology, twins named Romulus and Remus, descendents of the Trojan prince Aeneas, were abandoned as children and were raised by a she-wolf. Romulus killed his brother and named his new city after himself, the city of Roma. The city lay on a border between the Etruscan people and the Latins. They adopted the Latin language but also many Etruscan myths and practices of governing. Romulus ruled as the first King of Rome and invited many different people of different cultures into his city. Among these were not only other cultures but also refugees, escaped prisoners, fugitives, and people who have for some other reason abandoned their own homeland. From 1-36 (753-717 BC) Romulus built his city and the other kings would not extend it much past the original seven hills.
The last king would be expelled from the city, along with all of his family, in the year 244 (509 BC). This rather peaceful coup by four men, led by Lucius Junius Brutus and including Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Publis Valerius Poplicola, and Spurius Lucretius Tricipitinus, would found the Roman Republic with Brutus and Collatinus as the first consuls of Rome.
SPQR was the motto of the Roman Republic and could be found on standards and flags across the Empire during the Republican Era. This was found on shields and on buildings to represent the Senate's supremacy in the Republic, but what made it so. In 259 (494 BC) after a series of internal struggle the plebians, lower class, were given the ability to elect a Plebian Tribune. Other offices were made to assist these Tribunes, these were called Plebian Aediles. These worked within the Curia Centuriata, the principle legislative assembly in the republic during the early years. The Tribunes and Aediles were created in each tribe of the Plebians, all of these together became the Pleabian Council which was for many years only able to act negatively and veto laws of the Curian Centuriata. In the Fourth Century BC the Plebian Council was for the first time able to make laws. The Patricians were by no means satisfied with this development and from the year 386-466 (367-287 BC) in what was called the Conflict of the Orders, the order of the patrician and plebian classes, class struggle dominated the political developments of Rome.
As the Tribunes and the Senate became closer, the Tribunes began to depend on the Senate and the Tribunate became little more than a stepping stone to other offices. The closeness resulted in the growth of families of the Plebians which became the main actors in Plebian Politics and became very patrician-like in all but name. The average Plebians were in poor conditions and the only way out for them, as they saw it, was to take some power from the Senate. The Plebian Council had been able to pass laws without the consent of the Senate according to earlier acts, but these were not recognized or followed. At the end of the Conflict of the Orders in 466 (287 BC) the Plebians were effectively free of the patrician class but the standard of living or the average plebian did not rise. The new nobility and the old nobility found it more convenient to cooperate with each other. This made the Plebians, with their new power, unwilling to use any of it. The Senate was left with the real power of law and the Plebians were little more than an associate. No major political changes occurred after 466.The view of Senate became one of detached aristocracy in the face of a poor people. There grew two new political camps which worked against each other. One for the improvement of the everyday people and another for the continuity of the current regime. These were called populares, those for the people, and the optimates, the aristocratic and powerful. A major shift which made brought the optimates back into power was a series of events called collectively the Catallinarian Conspiracy. Catallina, an aristocratic member of the populares, wanted to assassinate the current consul and many Senators, enough so that he could enact the reforms that he saw necessary to assist the other classes. The Consul for the year 690 (63 BC), Marcus Tullius Cicero, intercepted messages that came into Rome and followed them to the place of the highest conspirators and Cicero followed by taking an army to Catallina and destroying him and his army. This move by the optimates secured their hold on power by destroying the reputation of the populares in Rome. The reign of Julius Caesar as a dictator and the civil war which followed would lay the ground for the next period in Roman History. When Gaius Octavius, the nephew of Julius Caesar, brought peace again to the Roman Empire, he was declared Augustus, meaning god-like, and rules as the first Emperor of Rome. Efforts to re-establish the Republic after Augustus would fail.
The Roman Empire began with Emperor Augustus, nephew of Julius Caesar who had ruled as a dictator. The Senate gave so much power and authority to Augustus that he could rule in any manner he found fit.
The Principate was so named because, though the powers of the Emperor had scarce limitations, the appearance of the Seante's control and the Emperors lead still existed. The title of "princep", from which comes the title of prince, means "first" or "chief" in Latin. The other titles held by Augustus included 'first among Senators' and 'first among citizens'. The word "Imperator", from which comes Emperor, was a military title held by Augustus. This title would be what came to define Augustus and the new pinnacle of power which he embodied. When the sons of Augustus died before he did, the General Tiberius was left as his only possible successor to maintain this title which was too late to remove. Tiberius became the second Emperor and he would die without much fanfare or grief among the people. His ashes were placed in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside his predecessor, this was done quietly and without ceremony. The most popular General in Rome was a man by the name of Germanicus, so named for his victories over the Germanic peoples. His son was given the nickname Caligula, meaning 'little boots' because of his interest in the military even as a child, and his accession was a time of happiness in Rome. Caligula in the early days of his reign was loved by most of the People of Rome, primarily for not being Tiberius.
Caligula would spoil his own good fortune. His early reign was marked by reforms and extravagances such as allowing democratic elections to return, allowing new members to the Senate and the Equestrian Order, as well as giving out gifts during public games in Roman Stadiums and providing relief aide to people whose homes had been damaged by fire. This would prove Caligula's downfall when the financial crisis of 792 (39 AD) caused him to make many disastrous decisions. Some of these included fining and killing wealthy people to seize their estates and use them for his own purposes. Caligula raised taxes from things like marriages as well as spending a fortune of sesterces amassed by Tiberius in years prior, an amount which approximated 2.7 billion. The popularity of Caligula would be least among the aristocrats in the Equestrian Order, the Senate, and among the generally wealthy. After the death of Caligula by assassination, the Senate began to try to take back control of the country. During the time when Tiberius essentially gave up on leadership and before the ascension of Caligula, the Senate had tried similar measures to reconcile their power. Later historians would compare the assassinations of Julius Caesar (full name Gaius Julius Caesar) to the assassination of Caligula (full name also Gaius Julius Caesar); because both men were stabbed by aristocrats, led by a man named Cassius, whether Cassius Longinus in Caesar's case or Cassius Chaerea in Caligula's, and they were stabbed a total of thirty times.
Support among the people of Rome still remained for the dead emperor and the conspirators began immediately killing family members of the deceased Emperor. One of Caligula's uncles, named Claudius, was taken to a Praetorian Camp outside of the city. He gained support from this group of guards of the Emperor and then began ot march back into the city and bring justice to Chaerea and any of the other conspirators. The Senate would not take back power but they would also not forget this, the second, thwarting of their attempts to restore the republic; third if one counts the Assassination of Julius Caesar.
ClaudiusClaudius's early reign was marked by conquest of the Mauretania, in what is now Morocco, and the most famous would be the victory in Britannia, an action not done by any prior Emperor. This surprised many as Claudius was known to have a speech impediment and many health problems, another reason perhaps why the conspirators who killed Caligula did not target Claudius. Claudius also completed the construction of the Aqua Claudia, a continuation of a work by Caligula, as well as restore the Aqua Virgo and build the Anio Novus. Thie massively increased the population which Rome could support and made it an even greater center of civilization. Claudius also took many methods to prove his worthiness of the titles of his nephew and his predecessors. Claudius did not even take the title of Imperator at first. Claudius returned many provinces to the control of the Senate as well as allowing them to mint their own coinage rather than taking such a duty.
Claudius introduced the political organization of the Secretariat, though it was a veil in many cases for him to make decisions himself. Another change made by Claudius was the refusal to divinate himself and the return of certain days to older celebrations and the removal of new and extraneous celebrations made by Caligula. Claudius was the only Emperor who was recorded to be exclusively heterosexual. He had many wives but his last was Agrippina, a woman who came from powerful men and would seek it for herself. Claudius's only natural son Britannicus, named after his father's conquest, was the intended successor. Agrippina's son from a prior marriage was he favored choice but not that of Claudius. This cause many quarrels between the two, a situation about which Claudius was known to Lament. Britannicus was not old enough to succeed his father when he died on the Thirteenth of October in the year 807 (54 AD).
Britannicus lasted after the ascension of Agrippina's son, Nero. As described above Claudius had secretaries during his rule, but these were thrown out by Nero. Pallas, former Secretary of the Treasury, was a favorite of Agrippina and this led to her rejecting her won son and supporting Britannicus, who was but 13 years old and days from becoming a man in Roman tradition. Agrippina would be killed by her son and so would Britannicus, though it is also possible that Britannicus had epilepsy. These would not be the only of Nero's victims.
NeroNero was criticized as being obsessed with popularity, but many of his actions do not reflect a care of such a quality. One of these was the murder of Britannicus and his own mother, but many would follow. One of these was the devaluing of the Roman currency. H reduced the purity of silver in the denarii from 99.5% to 93.5% which led to him being able to produce up to 25% more denarii for his ambitions. One of these would be a Canal through the isthmus of Corinth, a plan which would be abandoned, but whose idea would remain a goal of engineers in the future. On the night of the 18th of July, 817 (64 AD) the great fire of Rome took much of the city, a disaster which was, in retrospect, blamed on Nero. Nero would place the responsibility on the cult of people from Judea known as Christians, a long persecuted group in the empire. The driving out of Christianity from Rome would lead them to Greece where they would take control of the coal mines there in order to retard the growth of Rome. Before this however, Nero rebuilt the burned portion of Rome into a palace to himself, the Domus Aurea, which he would pursue while arranging homeless people to take shelter in the former palace. The Domus Aurea would eventually be torn down as a symbolic gesture after Nero's death but for the time being it was his and only his.
In Foreign Affairs, Nero was a bit more successful. In a rebellion in Britannia, led by a woman named Boudica, the governor was not able to quell the rebellion until after they had destroyed three cities. The Iceni, which Boudica was Queen of, were driven into Caledonia by the forces of Governor Paullinus. Paullinus was replaced by Nero with the more passive leader Turpilianus. Secondly in Parthia, another Empire on the Eastern edge of Rome, there were attacks made by Romans on the city of Tigranes. Though he was asked to continue the war with Parthia, he chose peace among the deficit worries and grain shortages back in the capital city. Just as the Republic was a desire of the Senate during all the previous Emperors after Augustus, it remained so. Gaius Calpurnius Piso, a statesman, as well as members of the Praetorian Guard, Subrius Flavus and Sulpicius Asper. The plot was foiled and Nero lived but this was not the last turbulence in his reign. During the First Jewish War, in which Rome breached the walls of the city of Hierosolimitanum (Jerusalem) and destroyed their second temple, the revolt of the Jews led to them being dispersed throughout North Africa and even into Parthia. The revolt was quelled in the year 823 (70 AD) two years after nero's death, but much more important events were taking place in the Empire.
Year of the Four Emperors
With the failure of the Pisonian Conspiracy Nero had so many of his enemies executed that he was left with very few political allies in the Senate. In late 820 or 821 (67 or 68 AD) Gaius Julius Vindex, governor of Lugdunensis, rebelled against Nero's tax policy and attempted to substitute the Governor of Tarraconensis (Hispania), named Servius Sulpicius Galba, for Nero. Vindex's revolt was unsuccessful and he ended up committing suicide after being declared a public enemy and having the Rhine armies come in to kill him. The Senate, at the same time, declared Nero a public enemy and the Prefect of the Praetorian Guard Nymphidius Sabinus bribed his guards to abandon Nero. When Sabinus tried to have himself declared Emperor he was killed by his own men. After Nero had killed himself Galba was recognized as Emperor and welcomed into the city with his legions.
Galba, however, created unpopularity with the whole of Rome very quickly. When he arrived in rome he destroyed the buildings of many people who did not immediately accept him. When the generals of the army which supported him were refused their payment and the nobility had many of its perks stopped and many of Nero's reforms stopped, it was clear that Galba was not right for Rome. While this was happening the legions on the Rhine declared Vitellius to be their Emperor. This made Galba panic. The controversial adoption of the young Senator, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Licinianus, which offended many Romans especially when he declared him his successor, would prove too much. The Praetorian Guard, which was already subject to bribery to raise Galba to the throne of Rome, was bribed by a nobleman to turn on Galba.
This nobleman, Marcus Salvius Otho, was declared Emperor the same day that Galba was killed in the Forum. Otho's greed and ambition was not the same as Galba's tyranny or Nero's cruelty and he was welcome. Vitellius, however, was marching down to Italy to take the title for himself. Otho proposed a peace with Vitellius, which would make Vitellius the son-in-law of Otho. Vitellius had gone to far to turn back. The largest victory for Vitellius was in Bedriacum (OTL Calvatone). Afterwards, Otho, who had only been Emperor for around three months, killed himself for the sake of stopping anarchy.
Vitellius was recognized as Emperor after the news of the Otho's suicide reached the Senate. The Senate however would become skeptical of Vitellius after he made himself Pontifex Maximus. Further, Vitellius ran the Imperial Treasury into near bankruptcy with his feasts and parades and other displays of magnanimity. Vitellius became violent after his debts began to be called in, he would invite many of his debtors to the palace only to have them killed. This was the same which happened with anyone who claimed to be an heir of any of the previous Emperors.
Vespasian, who was appointed by Nero to lead armies against the Jewish revolt in Judea, The forces of Gaius Licinius Mucianus, Governor of Syria and supporter of Vespasian, prepared to move into Italy while Vespasian was gaining footholds in the critical grain supplier of Aegyptus. However, before these men could reach Rome another group of legions from Raetia and Moesia under the command of Marcus Antonius Primus was arriving. At the Second Battle of Bedriacum Vitellius suffered a crushing loss. When he returned to Rome he had no allies left and his attempts to gain support through force or bribes were refused. Vespasian was declared Emperor after he was killed in his palace. On the Twenty-first of December, 822 (69 AD) Vespasian was declared Emperor. tha year had started with Galba.
The Flavian DynastyThe Flavian Dynasty began with the rise of Emperor Vespasian. Because the Roman Empire had recently emerged from a tumultuous time of civil war where rival Emperors fought for dominance in the region, Vespasian was not expected to lead for very long. However he managed to hold power until his death a decade later. Vespasian was famous for economic reforms and a series of wars such as the First Roman-Jewish War, ending in the destruction of Hierosolymitanum (Jerusalem) by Titus. After the Civil War which preceded the rise of the Flavians, much of Rome was is shambles and discouraged. Vespasian became very well known for the construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, also known as the Colosseum. Many historians that lived during Vespasian's reign, such as Pliny the Elder, Suetonius, Josephus and Tacitus, spoke well of Vespasian. After his natural death, Vespasian was succeeded by his son Titus.
Titus was famous for his generosity and completion of his father's Colosseum. Titus assisted after the disasters from Mt. Vesuvius in 832 (79 AD) and the Fire of Rome in the next year. Titus died soon and suddenly after in the year 834 (81 AD) whereupon the Praetorian Guard declared Domitian the new Emperor. Titus is also known for reviving the Imperial Cult and deifying his father. The Roman religion would continue to be prominent in the Flavian's reputation.
Domitian was the last of the Flavians and died after being assassinated by a court official in a war with the Dacians. Domitian was known for many achievements such as a great building program in Roma following the disastrous Fire in the year 833 (80 AD). Domitian had a tense relationship with the Senate and many historians, who were often close with the Senate, condemned Domitian as a tyrant. Many of his successors would build off of his policies however. These included stimulating the Roman economy by revaluing the Currency of Rome and expanding border defenses. Britannian Governor Gnaeus Julius Agricola expanded that provinces border all the way to the border it would have after the conquest of that whole island, seen here. Domitian was succeeded by his friend and advisor Nerva who would establish the Nervan-Antonine Dynasty.
The Nerva-Antonine DynastyEmperor Nerva had been a dedicated Imperial worker since the time of Nero. He became Emperor at the age of 65. Under Nero, he was a member of the imperial entourage and played a vital part in exposing the Pisonian Conspiracy. He became consul of the Senate in 824 (71 AD) under Vespasian and again in 843 (90 AD) under Domitian. Nerva, in response to the tyranny of Emperor Domitian, decalred that no Senator would be put on trial during his reign. He also granted amnesty to many exiled Senators. He lowered taxes on the poor as well as coming in and demanding that Italian land owners pay a 5% interest rate on their lands to their municipality to support poor children. He gave gifts to the citizens of Rome and even larger ones to the military as well as granting land to the poorest Romans. These expenses strained the nation though. Many practices were elimininated including extravagent religious practices, horse races, and games. The auctioning of Nerva's ships, property, and even furniture were also used ot over come the expenditures he made. Nerva died in less than one year so many of his public works were actually completions of Flavian works form earlier.
Following his accession, Nerva began lookig for a successor as he was old and in ill health and without close relatives ot be his heir. He was believed to have selected the powerful Governor of Syria, Publius Cornelius Nigrinus, as his successor but this was opposed by the military, the people and the Senate. After realizing that he needed and heir that would have the support of the military and the people especially, following a rebellion in which the Praetorian Guard forced Nerva to find and execute the assassins of Domitian, he nominated a famous general on the German front named Marcus Ulpius Traianus, Trajan.Emperor Trajan rose to power following Nerva's death as was planned. Trajan was known for his expansions and his buildings. He built a tremendous bridge across the Danube rive as well as conquered the Dacian territories. He also annexed the Nabatean Kingdom in the year 859 (106 AD). The Parthians chose to put in place a King in Armenia that could not be accepted by the Emperor. Emperor Trajan took Armenia entirely as well as moved into the cities of Northern Mesopotamia. Near the end of his life the Mesopotamians and the people of Judea rose in rebellion and Trajan drew back his troops. He believed that this was only temporary but died before he could take these areas back again. Especially after the Parthians took them following Trajan's death. Hadrian was similarly known for his many construction projects. Hadrian's Wall at the border of Britannia was just one of these. He re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. He spent most of his time among soldiers and dressed in military clothes. He withdrew from Mesopotamia and from Armenia but put down the late rebellions of Trajan's reign. He renamed Judea Syria Palestina as an insult to the rebellious Jews in the region. Their name would later be restored. Hadrian greatly admired Hellenic culture. He spoke highly of Greek culture and greatly incorporated the Roman religion and the Greek polytheism into the later Roman Religion that would grow to dominate Europe. Antoninus was adopted by Hadrian as his successor in exchange for Antonius adopting Marcus Aurelius. Antoninus was given the sobriquet name 'Pius' after he persuaded the Senate to deify his predecessor Emperor Hadrian. Antoninus Pius is believed to be the only Emperor who never in his lifetime saw a Roman Legion. He never made any miiltary conquest or involved himself in war. There were no major disturbances in his reign and he was remarkably popular for the peace and tranquility of his reign. Antoninus introduced a number of practices into law. He initiated a series of laws to enfranchise slaves as well as set the precedent of "innocent until proven guilty." Antoninus was the longest reigning Emperor up to his time.
The Marcus Aurelius
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