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The Roman Empire was a large autocratic empire (One ruler with supreme power) with large holdings of land in Europe and around the Mediterranean, which succeeded the former Roman Republic with the rise of Augustus in 27 BC. The empire's territorial peak was under the reign of Trajan, but the extent of the land holdings were relatively the same until the end of Constantine the Great's reign, for shortly after conflicts broke out between different populations about religion, and the empire was split into the Western Roman Empire, the Eastern Roman Empire and the Southern Roman Empire. The capital of the Empire was always the founding city of Rome, until Constantine the Great changed the capital to Constantinople, but the change didn't last long, as the Empire split soon after Constantine's death.
As a total autocracy, the Roman Empire was ruled by an emperor that had total power. Rome also had a Roman Senate, but they were just puppets used by the emperor to create the illusion that Rome was still a republic. But in truth, the Emperor had powers such as the right to declare war, to ratify treaties, negotiate with foreign leaders, and even choose Senate offices.
The emperor also had control of religious institutions, and could outlaw religions and enforce new ones. He/she (though rarely it was a she) was also head of the military, and had loyalty of the Praetorian Guard and of the legions. The Praetorian Guard was dissolved by Constantine I, but was later revived byConstantius II when he became emperor in 350.
While in theory that the Senate and the Emperor were the two branches of government in Rome, the Emperor had all power and the Senate was only a disguise from the public that the Empire was no longer a republic. The members still met and had discussions but their descisions were nothing without the Emperor.
The main form of infantry for Rome was known as a Legionary, and came into service around 107 BC. Their gear included lorica segmentata (segmented plate armor made of iron kept together with leather straps), a scutum (large, rectangular shields that curve at the sides to cover more of the body, made of plywood then covered with canvas then leather or hide), a galea (helmet usually with a crest for holding plumes), one pilum (a heavy spear) and one verutum (a lighter spear), a gladius (a short sword), a pugio (dagger), caligae (pair of sandals), food, waterskin, cooking equipment and occasionally wooden stakes for building palisades.
Though an official navy existed, Rome was a land-based people, and the navies never had as much prestige as the legions did. Though the existence of a navy was important for transportation because Rome was centered around the Mediterranean, it was the same reason a naval invasion was never needed.
Augustus (27 BC-14 AD)
The Roman Empire started after the Battle of Actium, in which Octavian, nephew of the famed Julius Caesar, defeated other Roman leaders Mark Antony and Cleopatra, shortly after pressuring them to commit suicide. He now had complete control over Rome.
Octavian eventually gave himself powers over the government at the Senate's expense until his powers were almost identical to his uncle Caesar's, and formed the Praetorian Guard, nine elite soldiers that served as his bodyguards and later acted as the guards of successing Emperors.
In 27 BC, Octavian offered his power back to the Senate, which they refused, and gave him the title of Augustus with the complete control of Rome. Throughout the rest of his reign, Rome experienced what is known as a pax romana, or Peace in Rome, where the constant wars, civil wars, and political struggles came to an end.
His final goal was to make a system to find the next ruler after him, to stop civil wars from happening like the ones after his uncle died. He officially passed on his powers to his stepson Tiberius in AD 13. He died a year later.