The Roman empire was one of the largest, most powerful, longest lasting and influential powers in world history. Its rule reached its peak of power under Emperor Trajan in 117 A.D. In this year, it controls 2.5 million square miles (6.5 million square kilometers) of land with a total population of about 60 million. This made Rome one of the most powerful in the ancient world, exceeded in land controlled only by the empire of Persia (under Darius the Great) and China (Han). The capital city of Rome (known as the city of seven hills and the eternal city,) began around 753 B.C. Long before it became a world power a series of Roman kings ruled the city. It changed to a republic form of government in 509 B.C.
Elected consuls advised by the Roman Senate governed the Republic. Public offices during the Republic period were generally limited to one year. The first sole ruler of the Empire was Augustus Caesar, who reigned as Emperor from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D.
Rome had a tremendous impact on Christianity and its beliefs. It carried out no less than ten waves of persecution against Christians. The first of these began under Roman Emperor Nero, who instigated the torture and death of believers, many times as sport in the Circus Maximus, in order to deflect criticism of his own behavior. Emperor Diocletian (ruled 284 to 305 A.D.) carried out the last of these persecutions.
The last ruler of a united kingdom, emperor Theodosius I, died in 395 A.D. After his death, the kingdom split permanently into two parts: the Eastern Empire (also known as the Byzantine) and the Western. While the Western lasted less than 100 years, the Eastern (Byzantine) continued until 1453 A.D. Rome as a power, in one form or another, lasted for more than 2,200 years and left an indelible mark on history. For example, the Forum (a plaza in the heart of the city) is the MOST FAMOUS meeting place in the world throughout all human history! Rome's influence still exists in areas such as language, law, government, architecture, medicine, sports, the arts and many more.
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Rome in Pictures
|The Roman Coliseum |
The largest stadium built by the empire, it seated more than 50,000 spectators. It hosted gladiator games and even held naval battles within its walls.
|The Appian Way |
The Way was the Republic's first and most important road, especially for the military. Countless troops used the Appian Way. The crucifixion of the defeated slave army of Spartacus occurred on the road. The apostle Paul used the Way to go to prison in Rome.
| Circus Maximus |
The first and largest circus the empire built, it could hold up to 150,000 seated visitors. It hosted games, festivals, chariot races and the martyrdom of countless Christians.
| The Forum |
The Forum was the center of public life. It held elections, trials, speeches, and business deals. It is the most FAMOUS meeting place in all of human history.
|The Nazareth Inscription Stone |
A marble tablet, dated shortly after the death of Jesus in 41 A.D., contains edict from Caesar showing the early preaching of the gospel.
| Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel |
The Last Judgment fresco, on the altar wall of the Sistine chapel, is considered Michelangelo's crowning work. It is the largest fresco painted in the 16th century. It depicts several beliefs including an eternal hell. It also displays a humorous caricature of one of his harshest critics.
|St. Peter's Square |
The square is the centerpiece of Vatican City. The Catholic church rules it. It is within an area that is the world's smallest state.
Prophecies related to Roman Empire
|How did Rome fulfill prophecies about Jesus? Article|