Portal:Ancient Rome

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Ancient Rome was a civilization which began as a small agricultural community on the Italian Peninsula in the 8th century BC. Rome became a large empire which straddled the Mediterranean Sea. In its twelve centuries of existence, Roman civilization was firstly a monarchy, then a republic that combined oligarchy and democracy, and finally became an autocratic empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it came to dominate Western Europe, the entire Mediterranean Basin including the Near East and North Africa, the Balkans, and the Black Sea.

The Roman empire went into decline in the 3rd century AD, and began to collapse in the 5th century AD. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire, including Hispania, Gaul, and Italy, broke into independent kingdoms in the 5th century. The eastern part of the empire, governed from Constantinople, survived this crisis, and remained intact for another millennium, until its last remains were finally annexed by the emerging Ottoman Empire. This eastern, medieval stage of the Empire is usually referred to as the Byzantine Empire by historians.

Roman civilization was part of the period of classical antiquity, alongside ancient Greece—a civilization that inspired much of the culture of ancient Rome. Ancient Rome made significant contributions to the development of law, war, art, literature, architecture, technology, and language in the Western world, and its history continues to have a great influence on the world today.

Bust of Gaius Julius Caesar.
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In the Roman Republic, the dictator was an extraordinary magistrate with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate. The office was the single exception during the Republic to the principle of collegiality (under which every office was composed of more than one citizen). Dictators were appointed in order to wage war on a particular enemy, to settle a constitutional crisis, to conduct special religious functions, or to conduct certain types of election. Dictators were appointed by the consuls, who were authorised to do so by a senatus consultum (dictum) of the Roman Senate. The dictator was superior to all other magistracies in the republic, and had no legal responsibility for his actions. He was attended by 24 lictors, and could over-rule, depose from office, or put to death any other magistrate. Unlike all other magistracies (including the consulship), the dictator was not required to co-operate with the senate, and had the absolute power to put any citizen to death, and to create, change, or amend any law. The dictator was always attended by a Master of the Horse.

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[[Image:|350px|alt=On this Roman coin, the busts of Emperor Gordian III and his wife Furia Sabina Tranquillina. The Roman Republic and Empire's currency was used from the middle of the third century BC until the middle of the third century AD.]]

On this Roman coin, the busts of Emperor Gordian III and his wife Furia Sabina Tranquillina. The Roman Republic and Empire's currency was used from the middle of the third century BC until the middle of the third century AD.

Photo credit: Heinz-Joachim Krenzer

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Faustina Minor Louvre Ma1144.jpg
Annia Galeria Faustina Minor (Minor Latin for the younger), Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger (February 16 between 125 and 130-175) was a daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and Roman Empress Faustina the Elder. She was a Roman Empress and wife to her maternal cousin Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. She was the namesake of her mother. Faustina from her parent’s marriage was the youngest and the fourth child, second daughter and the only one who survived to adulthood from her siblings. She was born and raised in Rome.

Her great uncle Roman Emperor Hadrian had arranged with her father for Faustina to marry Lucius Verus. On February 25 138, she was engaged to Lucius Verus. Verus’ father was Hadrian’s first adopted son and intended successor for the emperor’s throne. However when Verus’ father died, Hadrian adopted Faustina’s father as his second adopted son and eventually, he became Hadrian’s successor.

Did you know?

  • ...That the Pater familias of a family, had the power to sell his children into slavery?
  • ...That Trajan was the last Roman Emperor to harry the coast of Arabia with the Roman Navy?
  • ...That Trajan was born at Italica, in Spain and adopted by the Roman Emperor Nerva and made his heir, which entitled Trajan to call himself the son of Nerva

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