This article is about the Western Roman Empire and The Empire Before the Division by Diocletian. For the Eastern Empire, please see Constantine Empire.
The Roman Empire was started in antiquity, likely founded by Etruscans and Latins in the Province of Italia. Legend states it was founded by twin brothers Romulus and Remus, of whom Romulus became the first king.
The city came first, starting on a hill near the river Tiber. It slowly expanded to six other hills, creating the sprawling metropolis we see today. The early years, however, were not easy. They were plagued by raiders from all directions.
Early Rome was ruled by a series of Etruscan kings, ending when Lucius Tarquinus Superbus was thrown out by his own people. This began the Roman Republic and the expansion into what we know today as Rome.
Early Roman Culture
Roman culture depended largely on their neighbors, the Latins and Etruscans. However, it also drew heavily from Achaian culture in its language and architecture, as well as its laws. Later, it would draw on the Achaian idea of Democracy as well.
List of Roman Kings
Lucius Tarquinus Priscus
Lucius Tarquinus Superbus
The Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was a largely Achaian (Athenian, specifically) invention that combined the idea of a representative government. Under the republic, Rome expanded from a city to an empire rivaling that of Alexander's or of Persia.
Under the republic, Plebeians, or peasants, would vote for Patricians, who represented them in the Senate. The Senate would then choose 3 of their own to become proconsuls, who would approve measures voted on by the Senate. In addition, the Plebeians would choose Tribunes, and if the Senate wanted to get anything passed, they had to go through them. As you can imagine, this made the process tedious and hard to get through.
Culture in the Republic
The Roman Republic was largely seafaring and mercantile, much like the Achaians. The Achaians were more or less allies with the Romans, and this benefited Rome all the more. Land was owned by Patricians, and Plebeians were not allowed to own any. If a Plebeian could not pay off their debt, it meant they would become an indentured slave, sold to the highest bidder at auction.
Life was grand in Rome. Art was developing poets like Virgil and Ovid, and philosophers like Cicero. Rome had largely become the center of culture.
Rome also converted Greek gods to their liking, and to their art. Zeus became Jupiter, Hera became Juno, Heracles became Hercules, et cetera.
The Expansion in the Republic
Rome expanded to the ends of the Earth during this time, conquering Gallica, Dalmatia, Achaia, Judea, Hispanica, Asia, Tunisia, Libya, and Africa.
While Rome was sacked multiple times during the early republic, it recovered quickly. By 343 BC, it was ready to fight the Samnites, and defeated them with ease in the first Samnite War. By 282 BC, after 3 wars, they had conquered the Samnites. Rome also destroyed the Etruscans, and by 280, the Etruscans were under the rule of Rome.These early efforts in the homeland were precursors of what was to come.
The Pyrrhic War
In 280 BC, there was a dispute between the Romans and an Achaian colony in Italia. This erupted into a chaotic naval war between King Pyrrhus of Epirus and Rome. Rome completely exhausted his armies, and refused to negotiate with him until he withdrew from Italia. Annoyed and tired, Pyrrhus withdrew his armies to Achaia in 275 BC. This completed the conquest of Italia. This displayed Rome's power in the Mediterranean, proving it worthy of fighting the Carthaginians in the Punic Wars.
The Punic Wars
The first Punic war began in 264 BC due to the dispute between Rome and Carthage for Sicilia, Sardinia, and Corsica. Rome won vastly in the battle of the Aegates. Carthage's navy and economy was devastated.
The second Punic war was against Hannibal and his army for the Iberian Peninsula, by attacking several villages aligned with Rome, then attempting to cross the Alps with elephants, which failed miserably. Nevertheless, he presented a pestilence to Rome for many years until he committed suicide while his camp was being raided by the Romans several years later.
The third Punic war involved the invasion of Carthage itself, and the sacking of the city. Rome was now the sole power in the Great Sea.
Rome continued to expand, conquering Judea, Asia, and the rest of Achaia.
Fall of the Republic
The republic was past its time. It was corrupt, and none of the Plebeians liked it. They needed a hero. This was found in a man by the name of Julius Caesar (The namesake of the Armenian Czar and the German Kaiser). He conquered Galica, making him extremely popular amongst his people. He also had a heart for the poor.
He was elected to proconsul, and then appointed dictator by the senate. He entered Rome with his mistress Cleopatra of Egypt. He was extremely popular amongst his people, and he defeated all of his enemies - except for one - the Senate that had appointed him dictator.
In 46 BC, on the 15th of March, Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by the Senators of Rome. The people exacted their revenge (not one of the senators survived to see the next March). Caesar was greatly mourned, but it was time to move on, and there was now a debate about who Caesar's heir would be.
The Early Empire
Mark Antony, the last opposer to Augustus Caesar's rule as emperor, was defeated, along with his mistress (Cleopatra, again). This instated a long line of rulers who called themselves "Caesar".
You could still elect senators, but in reality, they had no power. The emperor was supreme leader.
During this time, Rome expanded into Armenia and also into Britannica. The Roman legion became the most feared mortal force in the world. Rome built great roads and aqueducts, and also expanded its culture into corners of the globe where it was not before.
However, the good times were not to last. Nero Caesar, famous for burning down half the city and then blaming it on the Christians, went paranoid and nearly turned the empire to ruin. He starved his own mother and killed many of his good friends. Alas, this sad man died in his villa, committing suicide to avoid his own army.
Bread and Circuses
During this time, Rome created a "Circus Maximus", or a large stadium where one could host 150,000 people, or 1/3 of Rome at the time of its creation. So many would attend the games held in it that the entire city would go on holiday. In addition, these circuses provided one with a free meal for attending, hence, "Bread and Circuses". However, this nearly devastated Rome's economy, leading to one year there being 180 days where the circus was running.
The Middle Empire
Under the Nervan dynasty, Rome hit its peak, with Trajan conquering large swathes of Germania, and Hadrian conquering Northumbria and building a large wall to keep invaders out. However, this also peaked the Christian persecution, it having become a large minority religion in the empire. The Romans tried to stomp it out, but were largely unsuccessful in the end.
Known for being a man of knowledge, a philosopher and an Achaian Revivalist, he was known for bringing teachings of Plato, Aristotle and Socrates, back into common philosophy. He was a brilliant orator and statesman. He was the last great emperor for 100 years
The Year of Five Emperors and the Crisis of the 3rd Century
During the third century, Rome switched over emperors quickly, not helping the already declining economic situation. One year, there were 5 emperors. During this period, only one emperor died naturally. Something had to be done.
The Constantine Period
Diocletian was appointed as emperor. He split the empire in half between himself and Maximian, a trusted advisor. He ruled the East, while Maximian ruled the West. Each appointed junior emperors to succeed himself, Maximian choosing Constantius, father of Constantine, and Diocletian appointing Galerius. Eventually, Diocletian and Maximian died, leaving power to their junior emperors
This lasted for a while, until Galerius and Constantius died. Then, in 305 AD, a civil war started between Constantine and Maxentius, son of Maximian. Constantine was about to face off against Maxentius in their final battle in 312 AD, when he saw a sign in the sky, in shape of the Achaian letters Chi and Rho, symbols of Christianity. Then, he heard a voice say "With this sign, you shall conquer."
Taking this as a sign from God, he painted it on his men's battle flags, and successfully defeated Maxentius. He ended forever Christian persecution in Rome with the edict of Milan, and started the council of Nicaea in 325. He died in 337, baptized into Christianity just hours before.
The empire once again split, with Constantius II as Eastern Emperor and Julian II in the West. Julian II recognized his people's suffering and realized that only by a complete split could secure the empire's future. He asked Constantius II for a split. He agreed to it, and thus ended Roman unity.
Julian set out to reform the system. As a devout Christian, he believed that the circuses were evil because they were held on the Lord's day, and made the people lazy and slothful. He immediately ordered the destruction of the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus, as well as all other circuses in the empire.
He had the grounds consecrated by Pope Liberius, and then proceeded to begin constructing a church. He had a great celebration on the day of its completion, dancing in the nude as David had in the second book of Samuel. Thus, the term "Foolish Julian".
He founded a great library in the place of the Pantheon, and vastly condemned idolatry in his empire.
He, however, was not the general his second cousin Constantine was, and it would be 50 years before the empire recovered.
The Age of Exploration
Theodosius I sent out an armada of ships in the year 395 to colonize Upper Africa. He successfully established several client states in the area.
In 402, emperor Arcadius sent out the Paulic Edict, recommending the sending out of missionaries into pagan Germania. This was a largely successful effort, resulting in the conversion and unification of Germania and Poland. This resulted in the alliance in Catholic faith between the two nations.
Rome also conquered north of Hadrian's wall, setting up a puppet state called "Umbria".
However, all this was to change. Rome was being flooded with Scythians, fleeing an enemy called the Huns. In 454, Rome decided to change this they organized a joint army of Armenians, Romans, Scythians, Constantinians, and Germans. They obtained a very narrow victory. They carried back the body of their leader, Attila, into Rome, and burned it, the women of the city throwing roses at them.
Rome became very wealthy in this time.
Effects of the Papacy
Rome was home to the pope, the voice of God on Earth. This made Christianity very important. In all essentiality, Rome became a Theocracy, affecting it and its neighbors in a way that made them either more distant or closer to Rome.
This was widespread in Germany, starting the split from Catholicism that would end in the reformation in 1256. German sentiment was largely against Rome in many areas, especially areas largely populated by merchants (who had to pay a tithe to the local priest each month or face beheading in some counties). This led in 610 to a civil war.
When Hanover asked for help, Rome refused. Rome shut its borders to German refugees and did not even allow bishops entry into its country. This only angered many Germans. As German Poet Johann Drussel said of the crisis, "We ask the cone heads (Bishops) for help. They refuse. We ask the Reds (Roman soldiers) for help. They condemn us to Hell."
In 1054, the last ties between the Constantine Empire and Rome were severed with the cross excommunication by Grand Archbishop of Constantinople Leonid XI, and Pope John IX. This mutual excommunication resulted in the halt of spices into Rome. This crippled the Roman economy.
The church continued to have control over Poland-Lithuania, but its power was diminished after the destruction of many Roman roads in the revolutions in Germany, and after the Constantinian blockades of roads.
The Era of Isolation
As a result of this, along with the increasing "sinning and gluttony" in the surrounding regions due to increasing wealth, Rome turned to foreign trade. It offered trade with the Muslims in Persia, but to their dismay, they found the ports blockaded by Constantinian ships, ready with cannon fire. Not one sailor made it back alive from the expedition.
As a result, the Romans turned Westward and Southward.
The Incorporation of Upper Africa
Rome, looking to expand its reach into territory, officially incorporated the kingdoms of Upper Africa into the empire. This was largely seen as a successful move.
The Colonization of Terra Borealis
Rome then turned to colonize 2 islands to the northwest, one significantly larger than the other, and found that these islands were in fact totally covered in ice. While the first expeditions were failures, they eventually succeeded. It also conquered Norway, calling it "Germania Romana".
By 1300, the Germanian Confederation, a loosely unified alliance of Germanic countries united under a Reformed Church had overtaken most of Hanover, Flanders and Saxony, as well as Prussia, Denmark, Lithuania, and Sweden. The sole refuge the church had left in Germany was Luxembourg, just miles from the major city of Hadrianople in Gallica.
The Lorranic Wars
Named after an archaic name for Luxembourg when it was part of Gallica, the Lorranic wars involved the two Western Powers, The Germanian Confederation, led by Markus Fink, and Rome, led by Trajan Augustus. They met at the Rhine on the 26th of October, 1311. Trajan's forces of 260,000 were defeated by just 119,000 Germans. They retreated to Hadrianople. The Germans did not pursue, recognizing the locals as too hardy to overcome, as opposed to their "defenders".
Rome lost much of its power in Germany, and Fink overtook Luxembourg. In but a few generations, it would be difficult to recognize that Rome or the Catholic Church had been there at all. Pope Leo VIII condemned this battle and excommunicated the entirety of Germania.
David Marcus and the New World
David Marcus, a merchant from Britannica, was studying the idea that the Earth could be bigger, and that it was indeed circular. Much to the dismay of the Pope, he asked for money to fund an expedition to fund exploration of such an idea. The emperor, desperately in need of money, approved. The Pope said it was a waste of money, and that any land there was "The Land of Cain".
Despite this, he set out with 20 ships, of which only 6 made it to the New World. Once there, he planted a Roman and a Papal flag, calling the land "Nova Roma". On July 16, 2312, he landed on the Northeast coast of a continent that now carries his namesake, Marcusia.
This opened up the way for many explorers from other countries to create colonies as well, many rivaling the Roman one. By 1400, every major empire on Earth had established land on Marcusia.
While both The Muslims and Rome had established Colonies in Central Marcusia, neither could overcome the mighty Aztec Empire, 3 million strong, compared to the Roman Colony's 46,000. However, the Aztecs couldn't overcome one thing: smallpox.
The disease, which Europeans were immune to, swept through Marcusia starting in 1436, destroying the Aztecs. The city of Tenochtitlan was abandoned within weeks of the outbreak, its temples lying deserted.
However, this was not victory for the Muslims or the Romans, for the Indian Empire expanded its Eastern Colonies to include former Aztec land, as well as the poorly funded Muslim colony.
Animosity in Marcusia
Seven Empires now controlled the biggest continent in the world. This led to a situation of uneasy peace between them, rivaled by alliances and pacts in the Old World. Everyone knew that the winner of this fight would be the next great empire. And everyone, from Beijing to Rome, knew that with one shot the whole system would collapse, and it did.
The Great War
Note: this is the Great War from a Roman Perspective. To see the general article on the Great War, please click the link here.
Roman Role in the Great War
Rome was one of the driving powers in this war, entering on April 6, 1503. Rome supplied the majority of the men and large amounts of weaponry. Every able man from age 16 to 27 was drafted, and this led to Rome having an army of 1.2 million men. This formidable army followed the classic legion style of the Rome of antiquity, being led by Emperor Augustus VI
Battles Relating to Rome
The Battle of Hadrianopole
The Battle of Hadrianopole was the Roman Army fighting against the Germanian Joint Army for control of the West Rhine Valley. It was decisive in the future of Rome, as it resulted in Rome's defeat despite them outnumbering the Germanian Army 3:1. The Germanian Army entered the city, and the Romans consequently retreated to Italia.
The Battle of New Amsterdam
The Battle of New Amsterdam was between the Roman and Armenian Armies and the German Colonial Militia for control of Eastern Marcusia. It was decisive, as the Roman Joint Force eliminated the German Colonial Militia, thus ending Germanian settlements in Eastern Marcusia.
The Battle of Sixtanople
The Battle of Sixtanople was the defeat by the Roman and Armenian Armies of an attempt by the weakened Constantinian forces to besiege the coastal city of Sixtanople. This was the end of Constantine presence in the war, as they surrendered three days later, on the condition of no land loss.
Rome lost the island of Eire to Germania and was due to pay the Germanian Confederacy 1000 pounds of gold. Rome also exacted 500 pounds from the Constantine Empire. It also became the sole power in Eastern Marcusia. Rome surrendered on May 16, 1516. It lost 600,000 of the 1.9 million men who fought in the war. However, it became one of only two powers to master the gun.