Marcus Aurelius, called the Philosopher, was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled the Roman Empire with his adoptive brother Lucius Verus until Lucius' death in 169, he was the last of the rulers traditionally known as the Five Good Emperors. He is seen as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Empire, his personal philosophical writings, now known as Meditations, are a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy. They have been praised by fellow writers and monarchs – as well as by poets and politicians – centuries after his death. Marcus was born into a Roman patrician family, his father was a praetor, after whose death in 124 Marcus was raised by his paternal grandfather, his mother was a wealthy heiress. He was educated at home, as children from Roman aristocratic families were, credited his maternal grandmother's step-father Lucius Catilius Severus – who helped Marcus' grandfather to raise him – for his education.
His tutors included the artist Diognetus, who may have sparked his interest in philosophy, Tuticius Proclus. Marcus was betrothed to the daughter of Lucius Aelius, his relative Emperor Hadrian's first adopted son and heir. Aelius died in 138 and Hadrian chose as his new heir Antoninus Pius, the husband of Marcus' aunt, on the condition that Antoninus adopt Marcus and the son of Aelius, Lucius Commodus. Antoninus became emperor that year upon Hadrian's death, Marcus and Lucius became joint heirs to the throne. While imperial heir, Marcus studied Latin, his tutors included Herodes Atticus and Marcus Cornelius Fronto. He kept in close correspondence with Fronto for many years afterwards. Marcus was introduced to Stoicism by Quintus Junius Rusticus and by other philosophers such as Apollonius of Chalcedon, he was made the symbolic head of the Roman equites. He was appointed consul with Antoninus in 140 and 145, with his adoptive brother Lucius in 161. On 7 March 161, Antoninus died and the two succeeded to the imperial throne.
Marcus' reign was marked by military conflict. In the East, the Roman Empire fought with a revitalized Parthian Empire and the rebel Kingdom of Armenia. Marcus defeated the Marcomanni and Sarmatians in the Marcomannic Wars; however and other Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. Marcus modified the silver purity of the denarius. Persecution of Christians is believed to have increased during his reign; the Antonine Plague that broke out in 165 or 166 devastated the population of the Roman Empire. It caused the deaths of a quarter of those it affected. Marcus never adopted an heir unlike some of his predecessors. Marcus became the first emperor to die with a living, adult son since Titus succeeded his father Vespasian a century earlier, but Commodus is considered a disappointment as emperor and his succession has long been the subject of debate among both contemporary and modern historians; the Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected in celebration of Marcus' military victories.
The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus are patchy and unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta, claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but were in fact written by a single author from about 395 AD; the biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are unreliable, but the earlier biographies, derived from now-lost earlier sources, are much more accurate. For Marcus' life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus and Lucius are reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are not. A body of correspondence between Marcus' tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. 138 to 166. Marcus' own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are undateable and make few specific references to worldly affairs; the main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books.
Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific details: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus' legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Marcus was born in Rome on 26 April 121, his name at birth was Marcus Annius Verus, but some sources assign this name to him upon his father's death and unofficial adoption by his grandfather, upon his coming of age, or at the time of his marriage. He may have been known as Marcus Annius Catilius Severus, at birth or at some point in his youth, or Marcus Catilius Severus Annius Verus. Upon his adoption by Antoninus as heir to the throne, he was known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar and, upon his ascension, he was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus until his death.
Gallienus known as Gallien, was Roman Emperor with his father Valerian from 22 October 253 to spring 260 and alone from spring 260 to September 268. He ruled during the Crisis of the Third Century. While he won a number of military victories, he was unable to prevent the secession of important provinces, his 15-year reign was the longest since the 19-year rule of Caracalla. Born into a wealthy and traditional senatorial family, Gallienus was the son of Valerian and Mariniana. Valerian became Emperor on 22 October 253 and had the Roman senate elevate Gallienus to the ranks of Caesar and Augustus. Valerian divided the empire between him and his son, with Valerian ruling the east and his son the west. Gallienus defeated the usurper Ingenuus in 258 and destroyed an Alemanni army at Mediolanum in 259; the defeat and capture of Valerian at Edessa in 260 by the Sasanian Empire threw the Roman Empire into the chaos of civil war. Control of the whole empire passed to Gallienus, he defeated the eastern usurpers Macrianus Major Mussius Aemilianus in 261–262 but failed to stop the formation of the breakaway Gallic Empire under general Postumus.
Aureolus, another usurper, proclaimed himself emperor in Mediolanum in 268 but was defeated outside the city by Gallienus and besieged inside. While the siege was ongoing, Gallienus was stabbed to death by the officer Cecropius as part of a conspiracy; the exact birth date of Gallienus is unknown. The 6th-century Greek chronicler John Malalas and the Epitome de Caesaribus report that he was about 50 years old at the time of his death, meaning he was born around 218, he was the son of emperor Valerian and Mariniana, who may have been of senatorial rank the daughter of Egnatius Victor Marinianus, his brother was Valerianus Minor. Inscriptions on coins connect him with Falerii in Etruria. Gallienus married Cornelia Salonina about ten years before his accession to the throne, she was the mother of three princes: Valerian II, who died in 258. When Valerian was proclaimed Emperor on 22 October 253, he asked the Senate to ratify the elevation of Gallienus to Caesar and Augustus, he was designated Consul Ordinarius for 254.
As Marcus Aurelius and his adopted brother Lucius Verus had done a century earlier and his father divided the Empire. Valerian left for the East to stem the Persian threat, Gallienus remained in Italy to repel the Germanic tribes on the Rhine and Danube. Division of the empire had become necessary due to its sheer size and the numerous threats it faced, it facilitated negotiations with enemies who demanded to communicate directly with the emperor. Gallienus spent most of his time in the provinces of the Rhine area, though he certainly visited the Danube area and Illyricum in the years from 253 to 258. According to Eutropius and Aurelius Victor, he was energetic and successful in preventing invaders from attacking the German provinces and Gaul, despite the weakness caused by Valerian's march on Italy against Aemilianus in 253. According to numismatic evidence, he seems to have won many victories there, a victory in Roman Dacia might be dated to that period; the hostile Latin tradition attributes success to him at this time.
In 255 or 257, Gallienus was made Consul again, suggesting that he visited Rome on those occasions, although no record survives. During his Danube sojourn, he proclaimed his elder son Valerian II Caesar and thus official heir to himself and Valerian I. Sometime between 258 and 260, while Valerian was distracted with the ongoing invasion of Shapur I in the East, Gallienus was preoccupied with his problems in the West, governor of at least one of the Pannonian provinces, took advantage and declared himself emperor. Valerian II had died on the Danube, most in 258. Ingenuus may have been responsible for that calamity. Alternatively, the defeat and capture of Valerian at the battle of Edessa may have been the trigger for the subsequent revolts of Ingenuus and Postumus. In any case, Gallienus reacted with great speed, he left his son Saloninus as Caesar at Cologne, under the supervision of Albanus and the military leadership of Postumus. He hastily crossed the Balkans, taking with him the new cavalry corps under the command of Aureolus and defeated Ingenuus at Mursa or Sirmium.
The victory must be attributed to the cavalry and its brilliant commander. Ingenuus was killed by his own guards or committed suicide by drowning himself after the fall of his capital, Sirmium. A major invasion by the Alemanni and other Germanic tribes occurred between 258 and 260 due to the vacuum left by the withdrawal of troops supporting Gallienus in the campaign against Ingenuus. Franks broke through the lower Rhine, invading Gaul, some reaching as far as southern Spain, sacking Tarraco; the Alemanni invaded through Agri Decumates followed by the Juthungi. After devastating Germania Superior and Raetia (parts
Noricum is the Latin name for the Celtic kingdom or federation of tribes that included most of modern Austria and part of Slovenia. In the first century AD, it became a province of the Roman Empire, its borders were the Danube to the north and Vindelicia to the west, Pannonia to the east and southeast, Italia to the south. The kingdom was founded around 400 BC, had its capital at the royal residence at Virunum on the Magdalensberg. Around 800 BC, the region was inhabited by the people of the local Celtic Hallstatt culture. Around 450 BC, they merged with the people of the other core Celtic areas in the south-western regions of Germany and eastern France; the country is rich in iron and salt. It supplied material for the manufacturing of arms in Pannonia and northern Italy; the famous Noric steel was used in the making of Roman weapons. Gold and salt were found in considerable quantities; the plant called saliunca was used as a perfume according to Pliny the Elder. The Celtic inhabitants developed a culture rich in art, cattle breeding, salt mining and agriculture.
When part of the area became a Roman province, the Romans introduced water management and the vivid trade relations between the people north and south of the alps boosted - Noric steel was famous for its quality and hardness. Archaeological research in the cemeteries of Hallstatt, has shown that a vigorous Celtic civilization was in the area centuries before recorded history, but the Celtic Hallstatt civilization was a cultural manifestation prior to the other Celtic invasions, The Hallstatt graves contained weapons and ornaments from the Bronze Age, through the period of transition, up to the "Hallstatt culture", i.e. the developed older period of the Iron Age. The Noric language, a continental Celtic language, is attested in only fragmentary inscriptions, one from Ptuj and two from Grafenstein, neither of which provide enough information for any conclusions about the nature of the language; the kingdom of Noricum was a major provider of weaponry for the Roman armies from the mid-Republic onwards.
Roman swords were made of the best-quality steel available from this region, the chalybs Noricus. The strength of iron is determined by its carbon content; the wrought iron produced in the Greco-Roman world contained traces of carbon and was too soft for tools and weapons. It needed at least 1.5% carbon content. The Roman method of achieving this was to heat the wrought iron to a temperature of over 800 C and hammer it in a charcoal fire, causing the iron to absorb carbon from the charcoal; this technique developed empirically: there is no evidence ancient iron producers understood the chemistry. This rudimentary methods of carburisation made the quality of iron ore critical to the production of good steel; the ore needed to be rich in manganese, contain little or no phosphorus, which weakens steel. The ore mined in Carinthia fulfilled both criteria well; the Celts of Noricum discovered their ore made superior steel around 500 BC and built a major steel industry. At Magdalensberg, a major production and trading centre, specialised blacksmiths crafted metal products and weapons.
The finished arms were exported to Aquileia, a Roman colony founded in 180 BC. From 200 BC the Noricum tribes united into Celtic kingdom, known as the regnum Noricum, with its capital at a place called Noreia. Noricum became a key ally of the Roman Republic, providing high-quality weapons and tools in exchange for military protection; this was demonstrated in 113 BC. In response, the Roman consul Gnaeus Papirius Carbo led an army over the Alps to attack the Germanic tribes at the Noreia. Noricum was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 16 BC. For a long time the Noricans had enjoyed independence under princes of their own and carried on commerce with the Romans. In 48 BC they took the side of Julius Caesar in the civil war against Pompey. In 16 BC, having joined with the Pannonians in invading Histria, they were defeated by Publius Silius, proconsul of Illyricum. Thereafter, Noricum was called a province, although it was not organized as such and remained a kingdom with the title of regnum Noricum, yet under the control of an imperial procurator.
Under the reign of Emperor Claudius the Noricum Kingdom was incorporated into the Roman Empire without offering resistance. It was not until the reign of Antoninus Pius that the Second Legion, Pia was stationed in Noricum, the commander of the legion became the governor of the province. Under Diocletian, Noricum was divided into Noricum ripense, Noricum mediterraneum; the dividing line ran along the central part of the eastern Alps. Each division was under a praeses, both belonged to the diocese of Illyricum in the Praetorian prefecture of Italy, it was in this time that a Christian serving as a military officer in the province suffered martyrdom for the sake of his faith canonised as Saint Florian. The Roman colonies and chief towns were Virunum, Flavia Solva, Celeia in today's Slovenia, Ovilava, Lauriacum. Knowledge of Roman Noricum has been decisively expanded by the
Legio IV Macedonica
Legio quarta Macedonica, was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded in 48 BC by Gaius Julius Caesar with Italian legionaries. The legion was disbanded in AD 70 by Emperor Vespasian; the legion symbols were a capricorn. In 48 BC, the Roman Republic was decaying rapidly. Caesar had crossed the Rubicon River in the year before. Pompey, Cato the younger and the rest of the conservative faction of the senate had fled to Greece. Caesar was preparing to follow in pursuit and, among other preparations, levied Legio IV; the first battles of the legion were Pharsalus, where Caesar defeated Pompey. After this, the legion was stationed in the province of Macedonia. IV Macedonica sided always with Julius Caesar's adopted son, first against Caesar's murderers in the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC against Mark Antony in the naval Battle of Actium in 31 BC. Octavian, now Augustus, sent the legion to Hispania Tarraconensis in 30 BC, to take part in the Cantabrian Wars. In 25 BC, they served as the decisive force in the Battle of Vellica under the personal command of Augustus.
After Augustus' victory in 13 BC, the legion remained in the province, but its effectives were spread through the Iberian Peninsula. In 43, the legion was transferred to Germania Superior, to replace XIV Gemina as the garrison of Moguntiacum. Along with XXII Primigenia, the legion supported Vitellius, governor of Germania Superior, in the Year of the Four Emperors, first against Otho Vespasian, who would become emperor in the end. During the Batavian rebellion, IV Macedonica secured Moguntiacum and fought under Petillius Cerialis against the rebels, their actions deserved no reproach but Vespasian did not trust its men due to their support for Vitellius. The legion was disbanded in 70, but reconstituted shortly afterwards under the name of Legio IV Flavia Felix, but we have older references about Legio IV. Cicero, in Somnium Scipionis, refers Scipio Aemilianus as a tribune of the Fourth Legion. "1 Cum in Africam venissem M'. Manilio consuli ad quartam legionem tribunus...". - Caius Valerius Cai filius.
Logrono, Spain. Hisp. Epi. 14626. Livius.org account of Legio IV Macedonica Legio IV MACEDONICA - reenactment site
Legio III Cyrenaica
Legio tertia Cyrenaica was a legion of the Imperial Roman army. The origins of the legion remain unknown. One source believes the legion was founded by Mark Antony around 36 BC, when he was governor of Cyrenaica; the legion's origins may come from the fact it was commanded by Lucius Pinaris Scarpus, an ally of Mark Antony whom Antony appointed to be governor of Cyrenaica in eastern Libya. There are still records of the legion in Syria in the beginning of the 5th century; the legion symbol is unknown. Legion III Cyrenaica was one of the longest-living Roman legions; the origin of the title/name Cyrenaica is not known - it may have been given to the Legion to signify its origin in Cyrene, or to signify a major victory or for notable action in that province. Difficulties tracing the history of any Roman legion, including III Cyrenaica, are multiple. Firstly, contemporary historians agree. Secondly, when discussing Roman legions, there is confusion—especially after Augustus became Caesar until the end of the empire some 500 years later—caused by the Roman habit of numbering several legions over successive centuries as "III Legion".
Distinguishing between the legions is only done via regional title such as III Cyrenaica etc. To illustrate the confusion this causes, authoritative sources list that in AD 20, just in the southern and eastern Mediterranean, there is a Legio III Augusta stationed in Africa, a Legio III Cyrenaica in Egypt and a Legio III Gallica in Syria. Legio III Cyrenaica may have been stationed in Alexandria, sharing a'double-fortress' with Legio XXII Deiotariana, where it may have stayed for about one hundred years before re-locating to Bostra, Syria. However, the Roman habit of sending vexillations from parent legions to be assigned to campaigns, these assignments lasting several years complicates making absolute statements regarding which legions fought in any specific location. Furthermore, in the case of the list below, just how long III Cyrenaica may have served with XXII Deiotariana as the garrison of Egypt is unclear. In the Parthian campaigns, which of those legions bearing the designation III served in Parthia is difficult to ascertain (sources credit at least three.
Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo, is known to have received vexillations from the Egypt garrison, but the identity of the legions supplying the vexillations is unclear. In AD 215, during the reign of the emperor Caracalla, Legio III Parthica is listed as assigned to Mesopotamia, Legio III Gallica as garrisoning Syria, Legio III Augusta as assigned to North Africa, whilst Legio III Cyrenaica is listed as assigned to Arabia Petraea. Emperor Septimius Severus in AD 197 is known to have raised three legions–I, II and III Parthica—for service in the east, leaving Legio II Parthica in Rome, but taking the other two legions with him on his Parthian campaign. From c. AD 140 to AD 395, Legio III Cyrenaica is known to have been garrisoned at Bosra in southern modern-day Syria, east of the Sea of Galilee; the following is a list of campaigns and actions thought to have been seen by Legion III Cyrenaica during much of its existence: 35 BC - Leg. III is formed by Mark Antony or Lepidus in Cyrene. At this time, Legions still hold to the Republic tradition of being numbered in order of their creation, so this may have been the third Legion that had established and had under his direct command and loyalty.
31 BC - - Either before or after Anthony and Cleopatra are defeated by Octavian, it is thought soldiers of Leg. III Cyrenaica defect from Anthony and claim allegiance to Octavian - who spares the Legion from being disbanded. 26 - 25 BC - Action in Arabia Felix, commanded by Aelius Gallus, Prefect of Egypt. 23 BC - Action against Nubian invaders, Elements of III stationed in Thebes, Egypt. 23 BC - Roman military presence in Egypt is reduced to 2 Legions: III Cyrenaica and XXII Deiotariana. Which other Legions, or how many there were, is not known. AD 7 - 11 - Suggested time period that the double-fortress at Nikopolis is established. AD 11 - Elements of Leg III under command of Publius Juventius Rufus, stationed in Berenike. AD 39 / 40 - A detachment of Leg III was sent up to the northern coast of Gaul to assist Emperor Caligula's legions with his rather unimpressive invasion of Britain. III was used as a logistics and supplies organizer for the invasion / landing force. AD 58 - 63 - Under the command of Gn.
Domitius Corbulo, elements of III saw action in the Parthian frontier. AD 66 - 70 - The First Jewish–Roman War. An uprising of Jews starts in Alexandria, spreads to Judea. Elements of III and XXII fought their way to Jerusalem, with the assistance of several other legion and allied forces surrounded and besieged the city, led by Vespasian, Proconsul of Africa. AD 69 - "Year of the Four Emperors". Factions led by Galba and Vitellius all tried to seize control of Rome after the death of Nero; these factions, who had no aristocratic claim to the throne, all tried to take control one after
Legio II Adiutrix
Legio secunda adiutrix, was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded in AD 70 by the emperor Vespasian composed of Roman navy marines of the classis Ravennatis. There are still records of II Adiutrix in the Rhine border in the beginning of the 4th century; the legion's symbols were a Pegasus. The first assignment of II Adiutrix was in Germania Inferior, where the Batavian rebellion was at its peak. After the defeat of the rebels, II Adiutrix followed general Quintus Petillius Cerialis to Britain to deal with another rebellion led by Venutius. During the next years, the legion was to stay in the British Islands to subdue the rebel tribes of Scotland and Wales, with base camp at Chester. In 87, the legion was recalled to the continent to participate in the Dacian wars of emperor Domitian. Between 94 and 95, still in Dacia emperor Hadrian served as military tribune in the II Adiutrix. In the summer of 106 the legion took part to the siege of the Dacian Capital Sarmisegetusa. After Trajan's Dacian Wars of 101-106, the legion was located in Aquincum, which would be its base camp for the years to come.
Despite this, the legion or subunits of it took part in: Lucius Verus's campaign against the Parthian Empire Marcus Aurelius' campaign against the Marcomanni and the Quadi Marcus Aurelius' campaign against the Quadi. The Legion was commanded by Marcus Valerius Maximianus in Laugaricio. Caracalla's campaign against the Alemanni Gordian's campaign against the Sassanid Empire In 193, II Adiutrix supported emperor Septimius Severus during his struggle for the purple. - Gaio Valerio Crispo veterano ex legione II Adiutrice Pia Fideli. Chester, U. K. RIB 478. - Lucius Terentius Claudia tribu Fuscus Apro miles legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis. Chester, U. K. RIB 477. - Lucius Valerius Luci filius Claudia tribu Seneca Savaria / miles legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis. Chester, U. K. RIB 480. - Gaius Calventius Gai filius Claudia tribu Celer Apro miles legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis / Vibi Clementis. Chester, U. K. RIB 475. - Gaius Iuventius Gai filius Claudia tribu Capito Apro / miles legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis / Iuli Clementis annorum XL stipendiorum XVII.
Chester, U. K. RIB 476. - Quintus Valerius Quinti filius Claudia tribu Fronto Celea / miles legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis annorum L stipendiorum XXṾ. Chester, U. K. RIB 479. - Voltimesis P̣udens Gai filius Sergia tribu Augusta eques legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis annorum XXXII stipendiorum XIII hic situs est. Chester, U. K. RIB 482. - Gaius Murrius Gai filius Arniensis Foro Iuli Modestus miles legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis / Iuli Secundi annorum) XXV stipendiorum / hic situs est. Bath, U. K.. RIB 157 = CIL VII 48. - Titus Valerius Titi filius Claudia tribu Pudens Savaria miles legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis / Dossenni Proculi annorum XXX aera VI heres de suo posuit hic situs est. Lincoln, U. K. RIB 258 = CIL VII 185. - legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis / Ponti Proculi Lucius Licinius Luci filius Galeria tribu Saliga Lugdunonnorum XX stipendiorum II. Lincoln, U. K. RIB 253 = CIL VII 186. - Quintus Cumelius / Quinti filius / Fabia Celer Bracarensis / veteranus legionis II Adiutricis hic situs annorum LXXV.
Astorga, Spain. CIL II 2639. - Fortunae Balneari sacrum / Valerius Bucco miles legionis II Adiutricis Piae Fidelis / decuria Aemili. Segovia, Spain. CIL II 2763. - VICTORIAE AVGVSTORV EXERCITUS QVI LAV GARICIONE SEDIT MIL L II DCCCLV MAXIMIANUS LEG LEG II AD CVR F. Laugaricio, Slovakia. List of Roman legions Roman legion --> livius.org account of Legio II Adiutrix Familia Gladiatoria - Hungary, Hungarian reenactment group
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