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
The Parthian Empire known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. Its latter name comes from Arsaces I of Parthia who, as leader of the Parni tribe, founded it in the mid-3rd century BC when he conquered the region of Parthia in Iran's northeast a satrapy under Andragoras, in rebellion against the Seleucid Empire. Mithridates I of Parthia expanded the empire by seizing Media and Mesopotamia from the Seleucids. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran; the empire, located on the Silk Road trade route between the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean Basin and the Han dynasty of China, became a center of trade and commerce. The Parthians adopted the art, religious beliefs, royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian and regional cultures. For about the first half of its existence, the Arsacid court adopted elements of Greek culture, though it saw a gradual revival of Iranian traditions.
The Arsacid rulers were titled the "King of Kings", as a claim to be the heirs to the Achaemenid Empire. The court did appoint a small number of satraps outside Iran, but these satrapies were smaller and less powerful than the Achaemenid potentates. With the expansion of Arsacid power, the seat of central government shifted from Nisa to Ctesiphon along the Tigris, although several other sites served as capitals; the earliest enemies of the Parthians were the Scythians in the east. However, as Parthia expanded westward, they came into conflict with the Kingdom of Armenia, the late Roman Republic. Rome and Parthia competed with each other to establish the kings of Armenia as their subordinate clients; the Parthians soundly defeated Marcus Licinius Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae in 53 BC, in 40–39 BC, Parthian forces captured the whole of the Levant except Tyre from the Romans. However, Mark Antony led a counterattack against Parthia, although his successes were achieved in his absence, under the leadership of his lieutenant Ventidius.
Various Roman emperors or their appointed generals invaded Mesopotamia in the course of the ensuing Roman–Parthian Wars of the next few centuries. The Romans captured the cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon on multiple occasions during these conflicts, but were never able to hold on to them. Frequent civil wars between Parthian contenders to the throne proved more dangerous to the Empire's stability than foreign invasion, Parthian power evaporated when Ardashir I, ruler of Istakhr in Persis, revolted against the Arsacids and killed their last ruler, Artabanus V, in 224 AD. Ardashir established the Sassanid Empire, which ruled Iran and much of the Near East until the Muslim conquests of the 7th century AD, although the Arsacid dynasty lived on through the Arsacid Dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania. Native Parthian sources, written in Parthian and other languages, are scarce when compared to Sassanid and earlier Achaemenid sources. Aside from scattered cuneiform tablets, fragmentary ostraca, rock inscriptions, drachma coins, the chance survival of some parchment documents, much of Parthian history is only known through external sources.
These include Greek and Roman histories, but Chinese histories, prompted by the Han Chinese desire to form alliances against the Xiongnu. Parthian artwork is viewed by historians as a valid source for understanding aspects of society and culture that are otherwise absent in textual sources. Before Arsaces I of Parthia founded the Arsacid Dynasty, he was chieftain of the Parni, an ancient Central-Asian tribe of Iranian peoples and one of several nomadic tribes within the confederation of the Dahae; the Parni most spoke an eastern Iranian language, in contrast to the northwestern Iranian language spoken at the time in Parthia. The latter was a northeastern province, first under the Achaemenid, the Seleucid empires. After conquering the region, the Parni adopted Parthian as the official court language, speaking it alongside Middle Persian, Greek, Babylonian and other languages in the multilingual territories they would conquer. Why the Arsacid court retroactively chose 247 BC as the first year of the Arsacid era is uncertain.
A. D. H. Bivar concludes that this was the year the Seleucids lost control of Parthia to Andragoras, the appointed satrap who rebelled against them. Hence, Arsaces I "backdated his regnal years" to the moment when Seleucid control over Parthia ceased. However, Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis asserts that this was the year Arsaces was made chief of the Parni tribe. Homa Katouzian and Gene Ralph Garthwaite claim it was the year Arsaces conquered Parthia and expelled the Seleucid authorities, yet Curtis and Maria Brosius state that Andragoras was not overthrown by the Arsacids until 238 BC, it is unclear who succeeded Arsaces I. Bivar and Katouzian affirm that it was his brother Tiridates I of Parthia, who in turn was succeeded by his son Arsaces II of Parthia in 211 BC, yet Curtis and Brosius state that Arsaces II was the immediate successor of Arsaces I, with Curtis claiming the succession took place in 211 BC, Brosius in 217 BC. Bivar insists that 138 BC, the last regnal year of Mithridates I, is "the first established regnal date of Parthian history."
Due to these and other discrepancies
Founding of Rome
The tale of the Founding of Rome is recounted in traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves as the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth. The most familiar of these myths, the most famous of all Roman myths, is the story of Romulus and Remus, twins who were suckled by a she-wolf as infants in the 8th century BC. Another account, set earlier in time, claims that the Roman people are descended from Trojan War hero Aeneas, who escaped to Italy after the war, whose son, was the ancestor of the family of Julius Caesar; the archaeological evidence of human occupation of the area of modern-day Rome, Italy dates from about 14,000 years ago. The national epic of mythical Rome, the Aeneid of Virgil, tells the story of how Trojan prince Aeneas came to Italy; the Aeneid was written under Augustus, who claimed ancestry through Julius Caesar and his mother Venus. According to the Aeneid, the survivors from the fallen city of Troy banded together under Aeneas and underwent a series of adventures around the Mediterranean Sea, including a stop at newly founded Carthage under the rule of Queen Dido reaching the Italian coast.
The Trojans were thought to have landed in an area between modern Anzio and Fiumicino, southwest of Rome at Laurentum or, in other versions, at Lavinium, a place named for Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus whom Aeneas married. This started a series of armed conflicts with Turnus over the marriage of Lavinia. Before the arrival of Aeneas, Turnus was betrothed to Lavinia, who married Aeneas, starting the war. Aeneas killed Turnus; the Trojans won the right to assimilate with the local peoples. The young son of Aeneas, Ascanius known as Iulus, went on to found Alba Longa and the line of Alban kings who filled the chronological gap between the Trojan saga and the traditional founding of Rome in the 8th century BC. Toward the end of this line, King Procas was the father of Amulius. At Procas' death, Numitor became king of Alba Longa, but Amulius captured him and sent him to prison. Forests have a prominent role in the founding myth-when Aeneas arrives at the site that would become Rome it is still forest: Evander goes on to explain that from that "first time" the god Saturn brings these scattered people laws and bestows upon them the name Latium.
The myth of Aeneas was of Greek origin and had to be reconciled with the Italian myth of Romulus and Remus, who would have been born around 771 BC if taken as historical figures. They were purported to be sons of Rhea Silvia and either Mars, the god of war, or the demi-god hero Hercules, they were abandoned at birth, in the manner of many mythological heroes, because of a prophecy that they would overthrow their great-uncle Amulius, who had overthrown Silvia's father Numitor. The twins were abandoned on the river Tiber by servants who took pity on the infants, despite their orders; the twins were nurtured by a she-wolf until a shepherd named Faustulus found the boys and took them as his sons. Faustulus and his wife Acca Larentia raised the children; when Remus and Romulus became adults, they killed restored Numitor. They decided to establish a city. Thus, Rome began with a fratricide, a story, taken to represent the city's history of internecine political strife and bloodshed. Strabo writes that there is an older story, about the founding of Rome, than the previous legends that he had mentioned.
The city was founded by Evander. Strabo writes that Lucius Coelius Antipater believed that Rome was founded by Greeks. Dionysius of Halicarnassus writes that the people who came to the lands that became the city of Rome were first, the Aborigines, who drove the Sicels out of these lands, were from the Arcadia the Pelasgians, who came from Thessaly, third those who came into Italy with Evander from the city of Pallantium in Arcadia, after them the Epeans from Elis and Pheneats from Pheneus, who were part of the army commanded by Heracles who decided to stay there while they were returning from the expedition at the Erytheia, with whom a Trojan element was commingled and last of all, the Trojans who had escaped with Aeneas from Ilium and the other Trojan cities. Dionysius mentions that the Trojans, were Greek people who were from the Peloponnesus, he adds that Romans say that the Pallantium was founded by Greeks from Pallantium of Arcadia, about sixty years before the Trojan war and the leader was Evander.
At the sixteenth generation after the Trojan war the Albans united these places into one settlement, surrounding them with a wall and a ditch. The Albans were a mixed nation composed of all the above people. Dionysius adds that it is that a barbarian element from among the neighboring people or a remnant of the ancient inhabitants of the place were mixed with the Greek, but all these people, having lost their national identity came to be called by one common name, after Latinus, the king of the country. The leaders of the colony were the twin brothers Remus. Another story told how a son of Odysseus and Circe, was the one who founded Rome. Martin P. Nilsson speculates that this older story was becoming a bit embarrassing as Rome became more powerful and tensions with the Greeks grew. Being descendants of the Greeks was no longer preferable, so the Romans settled on the Trojan foundation myth instead. Nilsson further speculates that the name of Romos was changed by the Romans to the native name Romulus, but the name Romos was never forgotten by the people
Gallia Aquitania known as Aquitaine or Aquitaine Gaul, was a province of the Roman Empire. It lies in present-day southwest France, it was bordered by the provinces of Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Narbonensis, Hispania Tarraconensis. Fourteen Celtic tribes and twenty Aquitanian tribes occupied the northern parts of the Pyrenees and, from the country of the Cemmenus to the ocean, bounded by two rivers: the Garumna and the Liger; the major tribes are listed at the end of this section. There were more than twenty tribes of Aquitani; the name Gallia Comata was used to designate the three provinces of Farther Gaul, viz. Gallia Lugdunensis, Gallia Belgica, Aquitania meaning ‘long-haired Gaul’, as opposed to Gallia Bracata ‘trousered Gaul’, a term derived from bracae for Gallia Narbonensis. Most of the Atlantic coast of the Aquitani was thin-soiled. Along this coast was the gulf held by the Tarbelli. Large quantities of gold could be mined with a minimum of refinement; the interior and mountainous country in this region had better soil.
The Petrocorii and the Bituriges Cubi had fine ironworks. According to Strabo, the Aquitani were a wealthy people. Luerius, the King of the Arverni and the father of Bituitus who warred against Maximus Aemilianus and Dometius, is said to have been so exceptionally rich and extravagant that he once rode on a carriage through a plain, scattering gold and silver coins here and there; the Romans called the tribal groups pagi. These were organized into larger super-tribal groups; these administrative groupings were taken over by the Romans in their system of local control. Aquitania was inhabited by the following tribes: Agesinales, Anagnutes, Ausci, Basabocates, Bercorates, Bipedimui, Cambolectri, Cocossati, Cubi, Elui|, Gabales, Lemovices, Monesi, Onobrisates, Osquidiales, Petrogoti, Ruteni, Santoni, Sediboniates, Sibyllates, Succasses, Tolosanes, Vassei, Vellavii, Veneti, Vornates. Gaul as a nation was not a natural unit. In order to protect the route to Spain, Rome helped Massalia against bordering tribes.
Following this intervention, the Romans conquered what they called Provincia, or the ‘Province’ in 121 BC. Provincia extended from the Mediterranean to Lake Geneva, was known as Narbonensis with its capital at Narbo; some of the region falls into modern Provence, still recalling the Roman name. The main struggle against the Romans came against Julius Caesar under Vercingetorix at Battle of Gergovia and at the Battle of Alesia; the Gaulish commander was captured at the siege of Alesia and the war ended. Caesar seized the remainder of Gaul, justifying his conquest by playing on Roman memories of savage attacks over the Alps by Celts and Germans. Italy was now to be defended from the Rhine. Caesar named Aquitania the triangle shaped territory between the Ocean, the Pyrenees and the Garonne river, he fought and completely subdued them in 56 BC after Publius Crassus's military exploits assisted by Celtic allies. New rebellions ensued anyway up to 28-27 BC, with Agrippa gaining a great victory over the Gauls of Aquitania in 38 BC.
It was the smallest region of all three mentioned above, following that a land extension stretching to the Loire River was added by Augustus, with the council of the gaulish aristocracy. This reorganization took place after the census conducted in 27 BC, based on Agrippa's observations of language and community according to some sources. At this point, Aquitania along with Narbonensis and Belgica now made up Gallia and became an imperial province. Aquitania lay under the command of a former Praetor, hosted no legions. More so than Caesar, Strabo insists that the primeval Aquitani differ from the other Gauls not just in language and laws but in body make-up too, deeming them more close to the Iberians; the administrative boundaries set up by Augustus comprising both proper Celtic tribes and primeval Aquitani remained unaltered until Diocletian's new administrative reorganization. The Arverni warred against the Romans with as many as two to four hundred thousand men. Two hundred thousand fought against Quintus Fabius Maximus Aemilianus and against Domitius Ahenobarbus.
The Arverni not only had extended their empire as far as Narbo and the boundaries of Massiliotis, but they were masters of the tribes as far as the Pyrenees, as far as the ocean and the Rhenus. Early Roman Gaul came to an end late in the 3rd century. External pressures exacerbated internal weaknesses, neglect of the Rhine frontier resulted in barbarian invasions and civil war. For a while Gaul, including Spain and Britain, was governed by a separate line of emperors. However, there had still been no move to gain independence. In an attempt to save the Emp
Magnus Maximus was Roman Emperor in the western portion of the Empire from 383 to 388. In 383, as commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against emperor Gratian, by negotiation with emperor Theodosius I, he was made emperor in Britannia and Gaul the next year while Gratian's brother Valentinian II retained Italy, Pannonia and Africa. In 387, Maximus's ambitions led him to invade Italy, resulting in his defeat by Theodosius I at the Battle of the Save in 388. In the view of some historians, his death marked the end of direct imperial presence in Northern Gaul and Britain. Maximus was born c. 335 on the estates of Count Theodosius, to whom he was a nephew. Maximus was the brother of Marcellinus. Near contemporaries described his dignity as offended when lesser men were promoted to high positions. Maximus was a distinguished general, it is he may have been a junior officer in Britain in 368, during the quelling of the Great Conspiracy. Assigned to Britain in 380, he defeated an incursion of the Picts and Scots in 381.
The Western emperor Gratian had become unpopular because of perceived favouritism toward Alans--an Iranian speaking people who were early adopters of Christianity and migrated both east and west from their homeland--over Roman citizens. In 383 Maximus was proclaimed emperor by his troops, he went to Gaul to pursue his imperial ambitions, taking a large portion of the British garrison with him. Following his landing in Gaul, Maximus went out to meet his main opponent, emperor Gratian, whom he defeated near Paris. Gratian, after fleeing, was killed at Lyon on August 25, 383. Continuing his campaign into Italy, Maximus was stopped from overthrowing Valentinian II, only twelve, when Theodosius I, the Emperor in the East, sent Flavius Bauto with a powerful force to stop him. Negotiations followed in 384 including the intervention of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, leading to an accord with Valentinian II and Theodosius I in which Maximus was recognized as Augustus in the West. Maximus made his capital at Augusta Treverorum in Gaul, ruled Britain, Gaul and Africa.
He issued a number of edicts reorganizing Gaul's system of provinces. Some scholars believe, he became a popular emperor. He used foederati forces such as the Alamanni to great effect, he was a stern persecutor of heretics. It was on his orders that Priscillian and six companions were executed for heresy, in this case of Priscillianism, although the actual civil charges laid by Maximus himself were for the practice of magic; these executions went ahead despite the wishes of prominent men such as St. Martin of Tours. Maximus's edict of 387 or 388, which censured Christians at Rome for burning down a Jewish synagogue, was condemned by bishop Ambrose, who said people exclaimed, ‘the emperor has become a Jew’. In 387 Maximus managed to force emperor Valentinian II out of Milan, after which he fled to Theodosius I. Theodosius and Valentinian invaded from the east, campaigned against Maximus in July–August 388, their troops being led by Richomeres and other generals. Maximus was defeated in the Battle of the Save, retreated to Aquileia.
Meanwhile, the Franks under Marcomer had taken the opportunity to invade northern Gaul, at the same time further weakening Maximus's position. Andragathius, magister equitum of Maximus and the killer of Emperor Gratian, was defeated near Siscia, while Maximus's brother, fell in battle at Poetovio. Maximus surrendered in Aquileia, although he pleaded for mercy was executed; the Senate passed a decree of Damnatio memoriae against him. However, his mother and at least two daughters were spared. Theodosius's trusted general Arbogast strangled Maximus's son, Flavius Victor, at Trier in the fall of the same year. What happened to Maximus's family after his downfall is not recorded, he is known to have had a wife, recorded as having sought spiritual counsel from St. Martin of Tours during his time at Trier, her ultimate fate, her name, have not been preserved in definitive historic records. The same is true of Maximus's mother and daughters, other than that they were spared by Theodosius I. One of Maximus's daughters may have been married to Ennodius, proconsul Africae.
Ennodius's grandson was Petronius Maximus, another ill-fated emperor, who ruled in Rome for only 77 days before he was stoned to death while fleeing from the Vandals on May 24, 455. Other descendants of Ennodius, thus of Maximus, included Anicius Olybrius, emperor in 472, but several consuls and bishops such as St. Magnus Felix Ennodius. We encounter an otherwise unrecorded daughter of Magnus Maximus, Sevira, on the Pillar of Eliseg, an early medieval inscribed stone in Wales which claims her marriage to Vortigern, king of the Britons. Maximus's bid for imperial power in 383 coincides with the last date for any evidence of a Roman military presence in Wales, the western Pennines, the fortress of Deva. Coins dated than 383 have been found in excavations along Hadrian's Wall, suggesting that troops were not stripped from it, as was once thought. In the De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae written c. 540, Gildas says that Maximus "deprived" Britain not only of its Roman troops, but of its "armed bands...governors and of the flower of her youth", never to return.
Having left with the tro
Justinian I, traditionally known as Justinian the Great and Saint Justinian the Great in the Eastern Orthodox Church, was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the historical Roman Empire. Justinian's rule constitutes a distinct epoch in the history of the Later Roman empire, his reign is marked by the ambitious but only realized renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire"; because of his restoration activities, Justinian has sometimes been known as the "last Roman" in mid 20th century historiography. This ambition was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the defunct Western Roman Empire, his general, swiftly conquered the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa. Subsequently, Belisarius and other generals conquered the Ostrogothic kingdom, restoring Dalmatia, Sicily and Rome to the empire after more than half a century of rule by the Ostrogoths; the prefect Liberius reclaimed the south of the Iberian peninsula, establishing the province of Spania.
These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire's annual revenue by over a million solidi. During his reign, Justinian subdued the Tzani, a people on the east coast of the Black Sea that had never been under Roman rule before, he engaged the Sasanian Empire in the east during Kavad I's reign, again during Khosrow I's. A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, still the basis of civil law in many modern states, his reign marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, his building program yielded such masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia. Justinian was born in Tauresium, around 482. A native speaker of Latin, he came from a peasant family believed to have been of Illyro-Roman or Thraco-Roman origins; the cognomen Iustinianus, which he took is indicative of adoption by his uncle Justin. During his reign, he founded Justiniana Prima not far from his birthplace, which today is in South East Serbia.
His mother was the sister of Justin. Justin, in the imperial guard before he became emperor, adopted Justinian, brought him to Constantinople, ensured the boy's education; as a result, Justinian was well educated in jurisprudence and Roman history. Justinian served for some time with the Excubitors but the details of his early career are unknown. Chronicler John Malalas, who lived during the reign of Justinian, tells of his appearance that he was short, fair skinned, curly haired, round faced and handsome. Another contemporary chronicler, compares Justinian's appearance to that of tyrannical Emperor Domitian, although this is slander; when Emperor Anastasius died in 518, Justin was proclaimed the new emperor, with significant help from Justinian. During Justin's reign, Justinian was the emperor's close confidant. Justinian showed much ambition, it has been thought that he was functioning as virtual regent long before Justin made him associate emperor on 1 April 527, although there is no conclusive evidence of this.
As Justin became senile near the end of his reign, Justinian became the de facto ruler. Justinian was appointed consul in 521 and commander of the army of the east. Upon Justin's death on 1 August 527, Justinian became the sole sovereign; as a ruler, Justinian showed great energy. He was known as "the emperor" on account of his work habits, he seems to have been amiable and easy to approach. Around 525, he married Theodora, in Constantinople, she was by some twenty years his junior. In earlier times, Justinian could not have married her owing to her class, but his uncle, Emperor Justin I, had passed a law allowing intermarriage between social classes. Theodora would become influential in the politics of the Empire, emperors would follow Justinian's precedent in marrying outside the aristocratic class; the marriage caused a scandal, but Theodora would prove to be a shrewd judge of character and Justinian's greatest supporter. Other talented individuals included his legal adviser. Justinian's rule was not universally popular.
Justinian recovered. Theodora died in 548 at a young age of cancer. Justinian, who had always had a keen interest in theological matters and participated in debates on Christian doctrine, became more devoted to religion during the years of his life; when he died on 14 November 565, he left no children, though his wife Theodora had given birth to a stillborn son several years into his reign. He was succeeded by Justin II, the son of his sister Vigilantia and married to Sophia, the niece of Empress Theodora. Justinian's body was entombed in a specially built mausoleum in the Church of the
First Punic War
The First Punic War was the first of three wars fought between Ancient Carthage and the Roman Republic, the two great powers of the Western Mediterranean. For 23 years, in the longest continuous conflict and greatest naval war of antiquity, the two powers struggled for supremacy on the Mediterranean island of Sicily and its surrounding waters, in North Africa; the war began in 264 BC with the Roman conquest of the Carthaginian-controlled city of Messina in Sicily, granting Rome a military foothold on the island. The Romans built up a navy to challenge Carthage, the greatest naval power in the Mediterranean, for control over the waters around Sicily. In naval battles and storms, 700 Roman and 500 Carthaginian quinqueremes were lost, along with hundreds of thousands of lives. Command of the sea was lost by both sides repeatedly. A Roman invasion of Carthaginian Africa was destroyed in battle at the Bagradas and the Roman consul Marcus Atilius Regulus was captured by the Carthaginians in 255. In 23 years, the Romans conquered Sicily and drove the Carthaginians to the west end of the island.
After both sides had been brought to a state of near exhaustion, the Romans mobilized their citizenry's private wealth and created a new fleet under consul Gaius Lutatius Catulus. The Carthaginian fleet was destroyed at the Aegates Islands in 241, forcing the cut-off Carthaginian troops on Sicily to give up. A peace treaty was signed in which Carthage was made to pay a heavy indemnity and Rome ejected Carthage from Sicily, annexing the island as a Roman province; the war was followed by a failed revolt against the Carthaginian Empire. The Romans exploited Carthage's weakness to seize the Carthaginian possessions of Sardinia and Corsica in violation of the peace treaty; the unresolved strategic competition between Rome and Carthage would lead to the eruption of the Second Punic War in 218 BC. The series of wars between Rome and Carthage took the name "Punic" from the Latin adjective for Carthaginian, Punicus; this refers to the Carthaginian heritage as Phoenician colonists. A Carthaginian name for the conflicts does not survive in any records.
Rome had emerged as the leading city-state in the Italian Peninsula, a wealthy, expansionist republic with a successful citizen army. Over the past one hundred years, Rome had come into conflict, defeated rivals on the Italian peninsula incorporated them into the Roman political world. First, the Latin League was forcibly dissolved during the Latin War the power of the Samnites was broken during the three prolonged Samnite wars, the Greek cities of Magna Graecia submitted to Roman power at the conclusion of the Pyrrhic War. By the beginning of the First Punic War, the Romans had secured the whole of the Italian peninsula, except Gallia Cisalpina in the Po Valley. Carthage was a republic that dominated the political and economic affairs of the western Mediterranean Sea on the North African coasts and islands, above all, due to its navy, it originated as a Phoenician colony near modern Tunis. Carthage had become a wealthy centre for trade networks extending from Gadir along the coasts of southern Iberia and North Africa, across the Balearic Islands, Corsica and the western half of Sicily, to the ports of the eastern Mediterranean, including Tyre, its mother city, on the shores of the Levant.
At the height of power, just before the First Punic War, Carthage was hostile to foreign ships in the western Mediterranean. North African peoples, such as the Berbers, in the area around Carthage were loosely associated with Carthage. In the midst of the First Punic War, some tribes rebelled against Carthage, opening a second front while the Carthaginians battled the Romans in Sicily. Greek colonists were a major presence in the western Mediterranean, following centuries of colonial settlement and conflicts with Rome over Magna Graecia and with Carthage over places such as Sicily; the rich, strategically influential, well-fortified Greek colony of Syracuse was politically independent of Rome and Carthage. Hostilities of the First Punic War began with developments involving the Romans and Greek colonists in Sicily and southern Italy. In 288 BC, the Mamertines, a group of Italian mercenaries hired by Agathocles of Syracuse, occupied the city of Messana in the north-eastern tip of Sicily, killing all the men and taking the women as their wives.
At the same time, a group of Roman troops made up of Campanian "citizens without the vote" revolted and seized control of Rhegium, lying across the Straits of Messina on the mainland of Italy. In 270 BC, the Romans regained control of Rhegium and punished the survivors of the revolt. In Sicily, the Mamertines ravaged the countryside and collided with the expanding regional empire of the independent city of Syracuse. Hiero II, tyrant of Syracuse, defeated the Mamertines near Mylae on the Longanus River. Following their defeat, the Mamertines appealed to both Carthage for assistance; the Carthaginians acted first, approached Hiero to take no further action and convinced the Mamertines to accept a Carthaginian garrison in Messana. Either unhappy with the prospect of a Carthaginian garrison or convinced that the recent alliance between Rome and Carthage against Pyrrhus reflected cordial relations between the two, the Mamertines, hoping for more reliable protection, petitioned Rome for an alliance.
However, the rivalry between Rome and Carthage had grown since the war with Pyrrhus and that alliance was no longer feasible. According to the historian Polybius, considerable debate took place in Rome on the questio