Constitution of the Roman Kingdom
The Constitution of the Roman Kingdom was an unwritten set of guidelines and principles originating through precedent. During the years of the Roman Kingdom, the constitutional arrangement was centered on the king, who had the power to appoint assistants, delegate to them their specific powers; the Roman Senate, dominated by the aristocracy, served as the advisory council to the king. The king asked the Senate to vote on various matters, but he was free to ignore any advice they gave him; the king could request a vote on various matters by the popular assembly, which he was free to ignore. The popular assembly functioned as a vehicle through which the People of Rome could express their opinions. In it, the people were organized according to their respective curiae. However, the popular assembly did have other functions. For example, it was a forum used by citizens to hear announcements, it could serve as a trial court for both civil and criminal matters. The period of the kingdom can be divided into two epochs based on the legends.
While the specific legends were not true, they were based on historical fact. It is that, before the founding of the republic, Rome had been ruled by a succession of kings; the first legendary epoch spans the reigns of the first four legendary kings. During this time, the political foundations of the city were laid, the city was organized into "curiae", the religious institutions were established, the Senate and the assemblies evolved into formal institutions; the city fought several wars of conquest, the port of Ostia was founded, the Tiber River was bridged. The early Romans were divided into three ethnic groups: the Ramnes and Luceres; the original "patrician" families belonged to these ethnic groups. In an attempt to add a level of organization to the city, these patrician families were divided into units called "curiae"; the vehicle through which the early Romans expressed their democratic impulses was known as a "committee". The two principal assemblies that formed were known as the "Curiate Assembly" and the "Calate Assembly".
The two assemblies were designed to mirror the ethnic divisions of the city and, as such, the assemblies were organized according to curia. The vehicle through which the early Romans expressed their aristocratic impulses was a council of town elders, which became the Roman Senate; the elders of this council were known as patres, thus are known to history as the first Roman senators. The populus and the elders recognized the need for a single political leader, thus elected the rex; the populus elected the rex, the elders advised the rex. The second epoch spans the reigns of the last three legendary kings; this epoch was more consequential than the first, due to the significant degree of territorial expansion that occurred. Regardless of whether these legends are true, it is that, as the legends claim, a series of conquests did occur during the late monarchy; as a result of these conquests, it became necessary to determine what was to be done with the conquered people. Some of the individuals whose towns had been conquered remained in those towns, while some others came to Rome.
To acquire legal and economic standing, these newcomers adopted a condition of dependency toward either a patrician family, or toward the king. The individuals who were dependents of the king were released from their state of dependency, became the first "plebeians"; as Rome grew, it needed more soldiers to continue its conquests. When the plebeians were released from their dependency, they were released from their curiae; when this occurred, they were freed from the requirement to serve in the army, but they lost their political and economic standing. To bring these new plebeians back into the army, the patricians were forced to make concessions. While it is not known what concessions were made, the fact that they were not granted any political power set the stage for what history knows as the Conflict of the Orders. To bring the plebeians back into the army, the army was reorganized; the legends give credit for this reorganization to King Servius Tullius. Per the legends, Tullius abolished the old system whereby the army was organized on the basis of the hereditary curiae, replaced it with one based on land ownership.
As part of his reorganization, two new types of unit were created. The centuries were organized on the basis of property ownership, any individual, patrician or plebeian, could become a member of a century; these centuries formed the basis of a new assembly called the "Centuriate Assembly", though this assembly was not granted any political powers. In contrast, four tribes were created that encompassed the entire city of Rome, while new tribes were to be created those tribes would encompass territory outside of the city of Rome. Membership in a tribe, unlike that in a curia, was open to both patricians and plebeians without regard to property qualification; the Roman Senate was a political institution starting in the ancient Roman Kingdom. The Latin term, "senātus," is derived from senex, which means "old man". Therefore, senate means "board of old men." The prehistoric Indo-Europeans that settled Italy in the centuries before the legendary founding of Rome in 753 BC were structured into tribal communities.
These communities would include an aristocratic board of tribal elders. The early Roman family was called a gens, or "clan"; each clan was an aggregation of famil
A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic, ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the cursus honorum. Each year, the citizens of Rome elected two consuls to serve jointly for a one-year term; the consuls alternated in holding imperium each month, a consul's imperium extended over Rome and the provinces. However, after the establishment of the Empire, the consuls became mere symbolic representatives of Rome's republican heritage and held little power and authority, with the Emperor acting as the supreme authority. After the legendary expulsion of the last Etruscan King, Tarquin the Proud, a harsh ruler at the end of the Roman Kingdom, most of the powers and authority of the king were ostensibly given to the newly instituted consulship; this change in leadership came about when the king's son, Sextus Tarquinius, raped the wife and daughter of powerful Roman nobles. A group of nobles led by Lucius Junius Brutus, with the support of the Roman Army, expelled Tarquinius and his family from Rome in 509 BC.
Consuls were called praetors, referring to their duties as the chief military commanders. By at least 300 BC the title of Consul became used. Ancient writers derive the title consul from the Latin verb consulere, "to take counsel", but this is most a gloss of the term, which derives—in view of the joint nature of the office—from con- and sal-, "get together" or from con- and sell-/sedl-, "sit down together with" or "next to". In Greek, the title was rendered as στρατηγὸς ὕπατος, strategos hypatos, simply as ὕπατος; the consul was believed by the Romans to date back to the traditional establishment of the Republic in 509 BC, but the succession of consuls was not continuous in the 5th century BC. During the 440s, the office was quite replaced with the establishment of the Consular Tribunes, who were elected whenever the military needs of the state were significant enough to warrant the election of more than the two usual consuls; these remained in place until the office was abolished in 367/366 BC and the consulship was reintroduced.
Consuls had extensive powers in peacetime, in wartime held the highest military command. Additional religious duties included certain rites which, as a sign of their formal importance, could only be carried out by the highest state officials. Consuls read auguries, an essential step before leading armies into the field. Two consuls were elected each year, serving together, each with veto power over the other's actions, a normal principle for magistracies, it is thought that only patricians were eligible for the consulship. Consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, which had an aristocratic bias in its voting structure which only increased over the years from its foundation. However, they formally assumed powers only after the ratification of their election in the older Comitia Curiata, which granted the consuls their imperium by enacting a law, the "lex curiata de imperio". If a consul died during his term or was removed from office, another would be elected by the Comitia Centuriata to serve the remainder of the term as consul suffectus.
A consul elected to start the year - called a consul ordinarius - held more prestige than a suffect consul because the year would be named for ordinary consuls. According to tradition, the consulship was reserved for patricians and only in 367 BC did plebeians win the right to stand for this supreme office, when the Lex Licinia Sextia provided that at least one consul each year should be plebeian; the first plebeian consul, Lucius Sextius, was elected the following year. The office remained in the hands of a few families as, according to Gelzer, only fifteen novi homines - "new men" with no consular background - were elected to the consulship until the election of Cicero in 63 BC. Modern historians have questioned the traditional account of plebeian emancipation during the early Republic, noting for instance that about thirty percent of the consuls prior to Sextius had plebeian, not patrician, names, it is possible that only the chronology has been distorted, but it seems that one of the first consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus, came from a plebeian family.
Another possible explanation is that during the 5th century social struggles, the office of consul was monopolized by a patrician elite. During times of war, the primary qualification for consul was military skill and reputation, but at all times the selection was politically charged. With the passage of time, the consulship became the normal endpoint of the cursus honorum, the sequence of offices pursued by the ambitious Roman who chose to pursue political power and influence; when Lucius Cornelius Sulla regulated the cursus by law, the minimum age of election to consul became, in effect, 41 years of age. Beginning in the late Republic, after finishing a consular year, a former consul would serve a lucrative term as a proconsul, the Roman Governor of one of the provinces; the most chosen province for the proconsulship was Cisalpine Gaul. Although throughout the early years of the Principate, the consuls were still formally elected by the Comitia Centuriata, they were in fact nominated by the princeps.
As the years progressed, the distinction between the Comitia Centuriata and the Comitia Tributa appears to have disappeared, so for the purposes of the consular
The Pax Romana was a long period of relative peace and stability experienced by the early Roman Empire. It is traditionally dated as commencing from the accession of Caesar Augustus, founder of the Roman principate, in 27 BC and concluding in 180 AD with the death of Marcus Aurelius, the last of the "good emperors". Since it was inaugurated by Augustus with the end of the Final War of the Roman Republic, it is sometimes called the Pax Augusta. During this period of 207 years, the Roman empire achieved its greatest territorial extent and its population reached a maximum of up to 70 million people – a third of the world’s population. According to Cassius Dio, the dictatorial reign of Commodus followed by the Year of the Five Emperors and the crisis of the third century, marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust"; the Pax Romana is said to have been a "miracle" because prior to it there had never been peace for so many centuries in a given period of history. However, Walter Goffart wrote: "The volume of the Cambridge Ancient History for the years A.
D. 70–192 is called'The Imperial Peace', but peace is not what one finds in its pages". Arthur M. Eckstein writes that the period must be seen in contrast to the much more frequent warfare in the Roman Republic in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC. Eckstein notes that the incipient Pax Romana appeared during the Republic, that its temporal span varied with geographical region as well: "Although the standard textbook dates for the Pax Romana, the famous “Roman Peace” in the Mediterranean, are 31 BC to AD 250, the fact is that the Roman Peace was emerging in large regions of the Mediterranean at a much earlier date: Sicily after 210, the Italian Peninsula after 200; the concept was influential, the subject of theories and attempts to copy it in subsequent ages. Arnaldo Momigliano noted that "Pax Romana is a simple formula for propaganda, but a difficult subject for research." In fact, the "Pax Romana" was broken by the First Jewish–Roman War, the Kitos War, the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the Roman–Parthian War of 58–63, Trajan's Roman–Parthian War of 113, the Dacian Wars, various battles with Germanic tribes, including the Teutoburg Forest, Boudica's war in Britain in AD 60 or 61.
The Pax Romana began when Octavian defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra in the Battle of Actium on 2 September 31 BC and became Roman emperor. He became first citizen. Lacking a good precedent of successful one-man rule, Augustus created a junta of the greatest military magnates and stood as the front man. By binding together these leading magnates in a coalition, he eliminated the prospect of civil war; the Pax Romana was not immediate, despite the end of the civil wars, because fighting continued in Hispania and in the Alps. Augustus closed the Gates of Janus three times, first in 29 BC and again in 25 BC; the third closure is undocumented, but Inez Scott Ryberg and Gaius Stern have persuasively dated the third closure to 13 BC with the commissioning of the Ara Pacis. At the time of the Ludi Saeculares in 17 BC the Concept of Peace was publicized, in 13 BC was proclaimed when Augustus and Agrippa jointly returned from pacifying the provinces; the order to construct the Ara Pacis was no doubt part of this announcement.
Augustus faced a problem making peace an acceptable mode of life for the Romans, at war with one power or another continuously for 200 years. Romans regarded peace, not as an absence of war, but the rare situation which existed when all opponents had been beaten down and lost the ability to resist. Augustus' challenge was to persuade Romans that the prosperity they could achieve in the absence of warfare was better for the Empire than the potential wealth and honor acquired when fighting a risky war. Augustus succeeded by means of skillful propaganda. Subsequent emperors followed his lead, sometimes producing lavish ceremonies to close the Gates of Janus, issuing coins with Pax on the reverse, patronizing literature extolling the benefits of the Pax Romana. After Augustus' death in 14 AD, most of his successors as Roman emperors continued his politics; the last five emperors of the Pax Romana were considered the "Five Good Emperors". Roman trade in the Mediterranean increased during the Pax Romana.
Romans sailed East to acquire silks, gems and spices. Romans benefited from large profits and incomes in the Roman empire were raised due to trade in the Mediterranean; as the Pax Romana of the western world by Rome was contemporaneous to the Pax Sinica of the eastern world by Han China, long-distance travel and trade in Eurasian history was stimulated during these eras. The prominence of the concept of the Pax Romana led to historians coining variants of the term to describe other systems of relative peace that have been established, attempted, or argued to have existed; some variants include: More generically, the concept has been referred to as pax imperia, meaning imperial peace, or—less literally—hegemonic peace. Raymond Aron notes that imperial peace—peace achieved through hegemony—sometimes, but not always—can become civil peace; as an example, the German Empire's imperial peace of 1871 evolved into the German state. As a counter-example, the imperial peace of Alexander the Great's empire dissolved becau
The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BC, ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the Roman Empire. It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world. Roman society under the Republic was a cultural mix of Latin and Greek elements, visible in the Roman Pantheon, its political organisation was influenced by the Greek city states of Magna Graecia, with collective and annual magistracies, overseen by a senate. The top magistrates were the two consuls, who had an extensive range of executive, judicial and religious powers. Whilst there were elections each year, the Republic was not a democracy, but an oligarchy, as a small number of large families monopolised the main magistracies. Roman institutions underwent considerable changes throughout the Republic to adapt to the difficulties it faced, such as the creation of promagistracies to rule its conquered provinces, or the composition of the senate.
Unlike the Pax Romana of the Roman Empire, the Republic was in a state of quasi-perpetual war throughout its existence. Its first enemies were its Latin and Etruscan neighbours as well as the Gauls, who sacked the city in 387 BC; the Republic nonetheless demonstrated extreme resilience and always managed to overcome its losses, however catastrophic. After the Gallic Sack, Rome indeed conquered the whole Italian peninsula in a century, which turned the Republic into a major power in the Mediterranean; the Republic's greatest enemy was doubtless Carthage, against. The Punic general Hannibal famously invaded Italy by crossing the Alps and inflicted on Rome two devastating defeats at the Lake Trasimene and Cannae, but the Republic once again recovered and won the war thanks to Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Zama in 202 BC. With Carthage defeated, Rome became the dominant power of the ancient Mediterranean world, it embarked in a long series of difficult conquests, after having notably defeated Philip V and Perseus of Macedon, Antiochus III of the Seleucid Empire, the Lusitanian Viriathis, the Numidian Jugurtha, the great Pontic king Mithridates VI, the Gaul Vercingetorix, the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
At home, the Republic experienced a long streak of social and political crises, which ended in several violent civil wars. At first, the Conflict of the Orders opposed the patricians, the closed oligarchic elite, to the far more numerous plebs, who achieved political equality in several steps during the 4th century BC; the vast conquests of the Republic disrupted its society, as the immense influx of slaves they brought enriched the aristocracy, but ruined the peasantry and urban workers. In order to solve this issue, several social reformers, known as the Populares, tried to pass agrarian laws, but the Gracchi brothers, Saturninus, or Clodius Pulcher were all murdered by their opponents, the Optimates, keepers of the traditional aristocratic order. Mass slavery caused three Servile Wars. In this context, the last decades of the Republic were marked by the rise of great generals, who exploited their military conquests and the factional situation in Rome to gain control of the political system.
Marius Sulla dominated in turn the Republic. These multiple tensions lead to a series of civil wars. Despite his victory and appointment as dictator for life, Caesar was murdered in 44 BC. Caesar's heir Octavian and lieutenant Mark Antony defeated Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC, but turned against each other; the final defeat of Mark Antony and his ally Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, the Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian as Augustus in 27 BC – which made him the first Roman emperor – thus ended the Republic. Since the foundation of Rome, its rulers had been monarchs, elected for life by the patrician noblemen who made up the Roman Senate; the last Roman king was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus. In the traditional histories, Tarquin was expelled in 509 because his son Sextus Tarquinius had raped the noblewoman Lucretia, who afterwards took her own life. Lucretia's father, her husband Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus, Tarquin's nephew Lucius Junius Brutus mustered support from the Senate and army, forced Tarquin into exile in Etruria.
The Senate agreed to abolish kingship. Most of the king's former functions were transferred to two consuls, who were elected to office for a term of one year; each consul had the capacity to act as a check on his colleague, if necessary through the same power of veto that the kings had held. If a consul abused his powers in office, he could be prosecuted. Brutus and Collatinus became Republican Rome's first consuls. Despite Collatinus' role in the creation of the Republic, he belonged to the same family as the former king, was forced to abdicate his office and leave Rome, he was replaced as co-consul by Publius Valerius Publicola. Most modern scholarship describes these events as the quasi-mythological detailing of an aristocratic coup within Tarquin's own family, not a popular revolution, they fit a narrative of a personal vengeance against a tyrant leading to his overthrow, common among Greek cities and theorised by Aristotle
Sociology is the scientific study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, culture of everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order and change or social evolution. While some sociologists conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, others focus on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure; the different traditional focuses of sociology include social stratification, social class, social mobility, secularization, sexuality and deviance. As all spheres of human activity are affected by the interplay between social structure and individual agency, sociology has expanded its focus to other subjects, such as health, economy and penal institutions, the Internet, social capital, the role of social activity in the development of scientific knowledge.
The range of social scientific methods has expanded. Social researchers draw upon a variety of quantitative techniques; the linguistic and cultural turns of the mid-20th century led to interpretative and philosophic approaches towards the analysis of society. Conversely, the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s have seen the rise of new analytically and computationally rigorous techniques, such as agent-based modelling and social network analysis. Social research informs politicians and policy makers, planners, administrators, business magnates, social workers, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, people interested in resolving social issues in general. There is a great deal of crossover between social research, market research, other statistical fields. Sociological reasoning predates the foundation of the discipline. Social analysis has origins in the common stock of Western knowledge and philosophy, has been carried out from as far back as the time of ancient Greek philosopher Plato, if not before.
The origin of the survey, i.e. the collection of information from a sample of individuals, can be traced back to at least the Domesday Book in 1086, while ancient philosophers such as Confucius wrote about the importance of social roles. There is evidence of early sociology in medieval Arab writings; some sources consider Ibn Khaldun, a 14th-century Arab Islamic scholar from North Africa, to have been the first sociologist and father of sociology. The word sociology is derived from both Greek origins; the Latin word: socius, "companion". It was first coined in 1780 by the French essayist Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès in an unpublished manuscript. Sociology was defined independently by the French philosopher of science, Auguste Comte in 1838 as a new way of looking at society. Comte had earlier used the term social physics, but that had subsequently been appropriated by others, most notably the Belgian statistician Adolphe Quetelet. Comte endeavoured to unify history and economics through the scientific understanding of the social realm.
Writing shortly after the malaise of the French Revolution, he proposed that social ills could be remedied through sociological positivism, an epistemological approach outlined in The Course in Positive Philosophy and A General View of Positivism. Comte believed a positivist stage would mark the final era, after conjectural theological and metaphysical phases, in the progression of human understanding. In observing the circular dependence of theory and observation in science, having classified the sciences, Comte may be regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term. Comte gave a powerful impetus to the development of sociology, an impetus which bore fruit in the decades of the nineteenth century. To say this is not to claim that French sociologists such as Durkheim were devoted disciples of the high priest of positivism, but by insisting on the irreducibility of each of his basic sciences to the particular science of sciences which it presupposed in the hierarchy and by emphasizing the nature of sociology as the scientific study of social phenomena Comte put sociology on the map.
To be sure, beginnings can be traced back well beyond Montesquieu, for example, to Condorcet, not to speak of Saint-Simon, Comte's immediate predecessor. But Comte's clear recognition of sociology as a particular science, with a character of its own, justified Durkheim in regarding him as the father or founder of this science, in spite of the fact that Durkheim did not accept the idea of the three states and criticized Comte's approach to sociology. Both Auguste Comte and Karl Marx set out to develop scientifically justified systems in the wake of European industrialization and secularization, informed by various key movements in the philosophies of history and science. Marx rejected Comtean positivism but in attempting to develop a science of society came to be recognized as a founder of sociology as the word gained wider meaning. For Isaiah Berlin, Marx may be regarded as the "true father" of modern sociology, "in so far as anyone can claim the title."To have given clear and unified answers in familiar empirical terms to those theor
The Roman Kingdom referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history, when the city and its territory were ruled by kings. Little is certain about the kingdom's history, as no records and few inscriptions from the time of the kings survive, the accounts of this period written during the Republic and Empire are thought to be based on oral tradition. According to these legends, the Roman Kingdom began with the city's founding circa 753 BC, with settlements around the Palatine Hill along the river Tiber in central Italy, ended with the overthrow of the kings and the establishment of the Republic circa 509 BC; the site of the founding of the Roman Kingdom had a ford where one could cross the river Tiber in central Italy. The Palatine Hill and hills surrounding it provided defensible positions in the wide fertile plain surrounding them; each of these features contributed to the success of the city. The traditional version of Roman history, which has come down to us principally through Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, recounts that a series of seven kings ruled the settlement in Rome's first centuries.
The traditional chronology, as codified by Varro, allows 243 years for their combined reigns, an average of 35 years. Since the work of Barthold Georg Niebuhr, modern scholarship has discounted this schema; the Gauls destroyed many of Rome's historical records when they sacked the city after the Battle of the Allia in 390 BC, what remained fell prey to time or to theft. With no contemporary records of the kingdom surviving, all accounts of the Roman kings must be questioned; the kings, excluding Romulus, who according to legend held office by virtue of being the city's founder, were all elected by the people of Rome to serve for life, with none of the kings relying on military force to gain or keep the throne. The insignia of the kings of Rome were twelve lictors wielding the fasces bearing axes, the right to sit upon a Curule chair, the purple Toga Picta, red shoes, a white diadem around the head. Of all these insignia, the most important was the purple toga; the king was invested with supreme military and judicial authority through the use of imperium, formally granted to the king by the Comitia Curiata with the passing of the Lex curiata de imperio at the beginning of each king's reign.
The imperium of the king was held for life and protected him from being brought to trial for his actions. As being the sole owner of imperium in Rome at the time, the king possessed ultimate executive power and unchecked military authority as the commander-in-chief of all Rome's legions; the laws that kept citizens safe from magistrates' misuse of imperium did not exist during the monarchical period. Another power of the king was the power to either nominate all officials to offices; the king would appoint a tribunus celerum to serve as both the tribune of Ramnes tribe in Rome and as the commander of the king's personal bodyguard, the Celeres. The king was required to appoint the tribune upon entering office and the tribune left office upon the king's death; the tribune was second in rank to the king and possessed the power to convene the Curiate Assembly and lay legislation before it. Another officer appointed by the king was the praefectus urbi; when the king was absent from the city, the prefect held all of the king's powers and abilities to the point of being bestowed with imperium while inside the city.
The king received the right to be the only person to appoint patricians to the Senate. What is known for certain is that the king alone possessed the right to the auspice on behalf of Rome as its chief augur, no public business could be performed without the will of the gods made known through auspices; the people knew the king as a mediator between them and the gods and thus viewed the king with religious awe. This made the king the head of its chief executive. Having the power to control the Roman calendar, he conducted all religious ceremonies and appointed lower religious offices and officers, it is said that Romulus himself instituted the augurs and was believed to have been the best augur of all. King Numa Pompilius instituted the pontiffs and through them developed the foundations of the religious dogma of Rome. Under the kings, the Senate and Curiate Assembly had little power and authority, they could only be called together by the king and could only discuss the matters the king laid before them.
While the Curiate Assembly did have the power to pass laws, submitted by the king, the Senate was an honorary council. It by no means could prevent him from acting; the only thing that the king could not do without the approval of the Senate and Curiate Assembly was to declare war against a foreign nation. The king's imperium both granted him military powers and qualified him to pronounce legal judgment in all cases as the chief justice of Rome. Though he could assign pontiffs to act as minor judges in some cases, he had supreme authority in all cases brought before him, both civil and criminal; this made the king supreme in times of both peace. While some writers believed there was no appeal from the king's decisions, others believed that a proposal for appeal could
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi