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
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
Velletri is an Italian comune in the Metropolitan City of Rome, on the Alban Hills, in Lazio, central Italy. Neighbouring communes are Rocca di Papa, Cisterna di Latina, Aprilia, Genzano di Roma, Lanuvio, its motto is: imperialis. Velletri was an ancient city of the Volsci tribe, it came into conflict with the Romans during the reign of Ancus Marcius, the fourth king of Rome, in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, during the early Roman Republic. In the Middle Ages it was one of the few "free cities" in central Italy, it was the site of two historic battles in 1744 and 1849. During the Second World War, it was at the centre of fierce fighting between the Germans and the allies in 1944 after the Anglo-American landing at Anzio. Today, Velletri is home to a circuit court and a prison, in addition to several colleges and high schools, it is the terminus of the Rome-Velletri railway, inaugurated by Pius IX in 1863, is one of the centers the Via Appia Nuova passes through. The territory of Velletri stretches between two distinct areas.
The northern part is situated on the southern foothills of the Colli Albani range and was geologically formed about 150,000 years ago, after the collapse of the Volcano Laziale. The southern boundary forms around Pontine Marshes, whose reclamation started at the time of Pope Pius VI and was accomplished during the regime of Benito Mussolini. According to the classification given by the Geological Survey of Italy, much of the territory consists of ground-type LPS, or paleosols, the rest is composed of soils lp, argillificate and leucite analcimizzata; the Seismic classification of Velletri's territory is Zone 2 The territory of Velletri collects water run off from many streams. These streams, most of them torrential in character or small in scale, are known as fossi. Main fossi include: Fosso Minella at the edge of the municipal area to Genzano di Roma, near the Velletri frazione of Sant'Eurosia; this stream originates from Monte Spina, elevation 731 metres above sea level, in the territory of Nemi, with the name of Acqua Lucia.
Its named after the Minella bridge on State Road 7, Via Appia Nuova and originates at 405 metres above sea level, at the foot of Colle degli Olmi. Minella runs parallel to the fosso delle Tre Armi, which connects to it. Fossa Sant'Eurosia, originating from Colle degli Olmi. Fossa Paganica, which originates from springs on Colle Caldaro, on Colle Tondo. Fosso di Ponte Veloce, which arises from Colle Tondo, on Maschio dell'Artemisio and in the Faccialone forest; this watercourse near Villa Borgia, superseded the old town of Velletri, changes name to Fossa Farina near the iron bridge of the Roma-Velletri railway. Fossa Anatolia: originating from Colle Bello, it flows at the foot of old town Velletri, until it joins the Fossa Farina. Other water sources include the Acqua de Ferrari, at 650 metres, underlying Monte de Ferrari at Rocca di Papa, from, part of the municipal water supply; the old town's altitude is uniform from the elevation of Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi at 339 m above sea level, the square of the Trivium at 332 metres above sea level, Napoletana at 329 metres above sea level.
The area west of the walled city is a bit higher at San Lorenzo reaching 372 m above sea level. The remainder of the territory to the south and west is flat except for small hills that do not exceed 300 m above sea level; the climate of Velletri is mild, due to the Tyrrhenian Sea not being far, to the protection offered by the Alban Hills and Mount Artemisio in the north. The climate is rainy, with an annual average of 1,400 to 1,500 mm precipitation, making it the rainiest city of Lazio and one of the most rainy cities in Italy. Humid currents from the southwest facing the Mont Artemisio condense all the rain on Velletri, leaving clouds restricted to the northern side of the Colli Albani, it snows rarely. Climate classification: Zone D, 1544 GR / G Atmospheric Diffusivity: average The Latin term for "swamp" was Velia, corresponding to the Greek "ουελια". From this root came the place name Velestrom, the place next to a swamp or marsh, was used by Volsci to call old Velletri; the Romans named it after the same city Velitrae, hence the Greek Ουελιτραι, Ουελιτρα or Βελιτρα.
In the Middle Ages, at least six naming variants are attested by various official acts until the 11th century. Until the 18th century, Velletri survived as parallel forms of Belitri. During his reign, Ancus Marcius, the fourth king of Rome, came into conflict with the Volsci because the latter plundered Roman territory, he besieged the Velitrae, a Volscian town. The elders of the town surrendered and promised "to make good the damage they had done" and "agreed to deliver up the guilty to be punished". Ancus Marcius "concluded a treaty of peace and friendship". In 494 BC, a war between Rome and the Volsci broke out; the Roman consul Aulus Verginius Tricostus Caeliomontanus was sent to fight the Volsci. He defeated them and " pursued their enemies beyond it to Velitrae, where vanquished and victors burst into the city in one body. More blood was shed there, in the promiscuous slaughter of all sorts of people, than had been in the battle itself. A few were granted quarter, having come wit
The Sibylline Books were a collection of oracular utterances, set out in Greek hexameters, that according to tradition were purchased from a sibyl by the last king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, were consulted at momentous crises through the history of the Republic and the Empire. Only fragments have survived, the rest being deliberately destroyed; the Sibylline Books should not be confused with the so-called Sibylline Oracles, twelve books of prophecies thought to be of Judaeo-Christian origin. According to the Roman tradition, the oldest collection of Sibylline books appears to have been made about the time of Solon and Cyrus at Gergis on Mount Ida in the Troad. From Gergis the collection passed to Erythrae, where it became famous as the oracles of the Erythraean Sibyl, it would appear to have been this collection that found its way to Cumae and from Cumae to Rome. The story of the acquisition of the Sibylline Books by Tarquinius is one of the famous legendary elements of Roman history; the Cumaean Sibyl offered to Tarquinius nine books of these prophecies.
Tarquinius relented and purchased the last three at the full original price and had them preserved in a vault beneath the Capitoline temple of Jupiter. The story is alluded to in Varro's lost books quoted in Lactantius Institutiones Divinae and by Origen, told by Aulus Gellius; the Roman Senate kept tight control over the Sibylline Books. They were ex-consuls or ex-praetors, they held office for life, were exempt from all other public duties. They had the responsibility of keeping the books in secrecy; these officials, at the command of the Senate, consulted the Sibylline Books in order to discover not exact predictions of definite future events in the form of prophecy but the religious observances necessary to avert extraordinary calamities and to expiate ominous prodigies. It was only the rites of expiation prescribed by the Sibylline Books, according to the interpretation of the oracle that were communicated to the public, not the oracles themselves, which left ample opportunity for abuses.
In particular, the keepers of the Sibylline Books had the superintendence of the worship of Apollo, of the "Great Mother" Cybele or Magna Mater, of Ceres, introduced upon recommendations as interpreted from the Sibylline Books. The Sibylline Books motivated the construction of eight temples in ancient Rome, aside from those cults that have been interpreted as mediated by the Sibylline Books by the Greek nature of the deity. Thus, one important effect of the Sibylline Books was their influence on applying Greek cult practice and Greek conceptions of deities to indigenous Roman religion, indirectly influenced through Etruscan religion; as the Sibylline Books had been collected in Anatolia, in the neighborhood of Troy, they recognized the gods and goddesses and the rites observed there and helped introduce them into Roman state worship, a syncretic amalgamation of national deities with the corresponding deities of Greece, a general modification of the Roman religion. Since they were written in hexameter verse and in Greek, the college of curators was always assisted by two Greek interpreters.
The books were kept in the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol, when the temple burned in 83 BC, they were lost. The Roman Senate sent envoys in 76 BC to replace them with a collection of similar oracular sayings, in particular collected from Ilium, Samos and Africa; this new Sibylline collection was deposited in the restored temple, together with similar sayings of native origin, e.g. those of the Sibyl at Tibur of the brothers Marcius, others, circulating in private hands but which were called in, to be delivered to the Urban Praetor, private ownership of such works being declared illicit, to be evaluated by the Quindecimviri, who sorted them, retaining only those that appeared true to them. From the Capitol they were transferred by Augustus as pontifex maximus in 12 BC, to the temple of Apollo Patrous on the Palatine, after they had been examined and copied. According to the poet Rutilius Claudius Namatianus, the general Flavius Stilicho burned them, as they were being used to attack his government.
Some genuine Sibylline verses are preserved in the Book of Marvels or Memorabilia of Phlegon of Tralles. These represent a combination of two oracles, of seventy hexameters in all, they report the birth of an androgyne, prescribe a long list of rituals and offerings to the gods. The Sibylline Oracles were quoted by the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus as well as by numerous Christian writers of the second century, including Athenagoras of Athens who, in a letter addressed to Marcus Aurelius in ca. AD 176, quoted verbatim a section of the extant Oracles, in the midst of a lengthy series of other classical and pagan references such as Homer and Hesiod, stating several times that all these works
The Sibylline Oracles are a collection of oracular utterances written in Greek hexameters ascribed to the Sibyls, prophetesses who uttered divine revelations in a frenzied state. Fourteen books and eight fragments of Sibylline Oracles survive, in an edition of the 6th or 7th century AD, they are not to be confused with the original Sibylline Books of the ancient Etruscans and Romans which were burned by order of Roman general Flavius Stilicho in the 4th century AD. Instead, the text is an "odd pastiche" of Hellenistic and Roman mythology interspersed with Jewish and early Christian legend; the Sibylline Oracles are a valuable source for information about classical mythology and early first millennium Gnostic, Hellenistic Jewish and Christian beliefs. Some apocalyptic passages scattered throughout seem to foreshadow themes of the Book of Revelation and other apocalyptic literature; the oracles have undergone extensive editing, re-writing, redaction as they came to be exploited in wider circles.
One passage has an acrostic, spelling out a Christian code-phrase with the first letters of successive lines. The Sibylline Oracles in their existing form are a chaotic medley, they consist of 12 books of various authorship and religious conception. The final arrangement, thought to be due to an unknown editor of the 6th century AD, does not determine identity of authorship, time, or religious belief; these oracles were anonymous in origin and as such were apt to modification and enlargement at pleasure by Hellenistic Jews and by Christians for missionary purposes. Celsus called Christians Σιβυλλισται because of prophecies preached among them those in the book of Revelation; the preservation of the entire collection is due to Christian writers. The oldest of the surviving Sibylline oracles seem to be books 3-5, which were composed by Jews in Alexandria; the third oracle seems to have been composed in the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor. Books 1-2 may have been written by Christians, though again there may have been a Jewish original, adapted to Christian purposes.
All the oracles seem to have undergone revision and adaptation by editors and authors of different religions, who added similar texts, all in the interests of their respective religions. The Sibylline oracles are therefore a pastiche of Greek and Roman pagan mythology, employing motifs of Homer and Hesiod; some have suggested that the surviving texts may include some fragments or remnants of the Sibylline Books with a legendary provenance from the Cumaean Sibyl, kept in temples in Rome. The original oracular books, kept in Rome, were accidentally destroyed in a fire in 83 BC, which resulted in an attempt in 76 BC to recollect them when the Roman senate sent envoys throughout the world to discover copies; this official copy existed until at least AD 405. That use of the Sibylline Oracles was not always exclusive to Christians is shown by an extract from Book III concerning the Tower of Babel as quoted by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, in the late 1st century AD; the Christian apologist Athenagoras of Athens, writing A Plea for the Christians to Marcus Aurelius in ca.
AD 176, quoted the same section of the extant Oracles verbatim, in the midst of a lengthy series of classical and pagan references including Homer and Hesiod, stated several times that all these works should be familiar to the Roman Emperor. The sibyls themselves, the so-called Sibylline oracles, were referred to by other early Church fathers. Justin Martyr, if he is the author of the Hortatory Address to the Greeks, gives such a circumstantial account of the Cumaean sibyl that the Address is quoted here at the Cumaean sibyl's entry; the Catholic Encyclopedia states, "Through the decline and disappearance of paganism, interest in them diminished and they ceased to be read or circulated, though they were known and used during the Middle Ages in both the East and the West." Thus, a student may find echoes of their style in much early medieval literature. These books, in spite of their pagan content, have sometimes been described as part of the Pseudepigrapha, they do not appear in the canonical lists of any Church.
The text has been transmitted in fourteen "books", preserved in two distinct manuscript traditions, one containing books 1–8, the other 9–14. However, "book 9" consists of material from books 1–8 and "book 10" is identical to "book 4", so that the edition by Collins contains
Constitution of the Roman Republic
The constitution of the Roman Republic was a set of unwritten norms and customs, which together with various written laws, guided the procedural governance of the Roman Republic. The constitution emerged from that of the Roman kingdom, evolved over the five hundred years of the Republic, was transformed into the constitution of the Roman Empire; the Roman republican constitution can be divided into three main branches: the Assemblies, composed of the people, which served as the supreme repository of political power and had the authority to elect magistrates, accept or reject laws, administer justice, declare war or peace. A complex set of checks and balances developed between these three branches. For example, the assemblies theoretically held all power, but were called and governed by the magistrates, controlling discussion, exercised dominating influence over them. To check the power of the magistrates, each magistrate could veto one of their colleagues and the plebeians elected tribunes who could intercede and veto the actions of a magistrate.
The Republic's constitution evolved over time. Starting from a period of patrician domination, the Conflict of the Orders granted plebeian citizens equal political rights, while creating the tribunate to check patrician power and empowering the Plebeian Council, an assembly composed of the plebeians of Rome, with full legislative authority; the late Republic saw an increase in the centralisation of power into the hands of provincial governors, the use of military power to enforce political changes, the use of violence, combined with exploitation of the suitably bribed or intimidated "sovereign" assemblies, to grant supreme authority to victorious commanders. The increasing legitimisation of violence and centralisation of authority into fewer and fewer men would, with the collapse of trust in the Republic's institutions, put it on a path to civil war and its transformation into the autocratic Roman Empire; the early republican constitution was dominated by the patricians, who monopolised all control of the magistracies, the Senate, the voting blocs of the assemblies.
It developed with a tendency towards greater popular representation at the expense of the patrician class. The main historical sources for the origins of the Roman political system and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, relied on the Roman annalists, who supplemented what little written history existed with oral history; this lack of evidence poses problems for the reliability of the traditional account of the republic's origins. According to this traditional account, Rome had been ruled by a succession of kings; the Romans believed that this era, that of the Roman kingdom, began in 753 BC and ended in 510 BC. After the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the Republic, the people of Rome began electing two consuls each year. According to the consular fasti, a list of the consuls going back to the foundation of the Republic, the first consuls were chosen in 509 BC; some scholars doubt this traditional account, arguing instead that the monarchy evolved into a government led by elected magistrates.
Remnants of the monarchy, were reflected in republican institutions, such as the religious office of rex sacrorum and the interregnum. There, is, however evidence that the early Republic was a time of violent change, with the word rex carrying the same connotations as tyrant and laws which declared forfeit the life and property of any man who plotted to install himself as a king or tyrant; the first assemblies of the Republic emerged during the Kingdom, with their use to ratify regal elections and the repurposing of the comitia centuriata to elect the first consuls. This regime was dominated by the patricians, the sources on the early Republic overwhelmingly focus on the conflicts between the patricians and the plebs, in what is known as the Conflict of the Orders; the early years of the Republic were a time of periodic popular unrest. In 494 BC, under harsh measures from patrician creditors, during a military campaign, the plebeians under arms seceded to the Mons Sacer outside the city and refused to fight in the campaign without political concessions.
With the pressure of an external threat, the patricians were forced to create the office of plebeian tribune who were declared sacrosanct, i.e. that they were declared inviolable and that anyone could be summarily executed for violation of the sanctity of his person. This was the basis of the tribune's ability to veto any political act or to protect any individual from an injustice committed by a magistrate, known as intercessio and auxilium, respectively; the people gave two assistants known as plebeian aediles. Again under pressure from the plebs, a political compromise was reached in which the consuls and tribunes would give place to a commission of ten men, the decemviri, who would be empowered to publish a code of laws for all Rome, the Twelve Tables. According to Livy, it codified all public and private law, but its promulgation did not grant further political rights to the plebs, as it enshrined into the tables a law banning intermarriage between plebeians and patricians. With a short attempt to establish
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