Friday, August 22, 2014

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. . .

Take a gander at this GIF that shows the swelling and falling of the Roman Empire...

510 BC to 530 AD

In 500 BC, Rome was a minor city-state on the Italian peninsula. By 200 BC, the Roman Republic had conquered Italy, and over the following two centuries it conquered Greece and Spain, the North African coast, much of the Middle East, modern-day France, and even the remote island of Britain. In 27 BC, the republic became an empire, which endured for another 400 years. Finally, the costs of holding such a vast area together become too great. Rome gradually split into Eastern and Western halves, and by 476 AD the Western half of the empire had been destroyed by invasions from Germanic tribes. The Eastern half of the empire, based in Constantinople, continued for many centuries after that.

Here is the shape of the next empire that followed, the one created by Charlemagne.

 Historians generally refer to the Eastern Roman Empire after 476 as the Byzantine Empire. But this is an arbitrary distinction invented for the convenience of historians; it wouldn't have made sense to people living in Constantinople, the Eastern Capital, at the time. People in the Byzantine Empire continued to think of themselves as Romans, and their empire as the Roman Empire, for centuries after 476. In 527, the Emperor Justinian took power in the Byzantine Empire and began a compaign to reconquer the Western half of the empire. By his death in 565, he had made significant progress, retaking Italy, most of Roman Africa, and even some parts of Spain. While his successors wouldn't be able to hold these new territories, the Byzantine Empire would endure as a Christian empire for another 1000 years until it was finally overrun by the Ottomans in 1453.

Read more here. . . 

2 comments:

John Flanagan said...

The history of the Roman Empire can be discussed dispassionately and we can view its' great achievements, and conquests, as well as the factors which led to its' rise and fall in a Wikipedia search. But my own view is that the Romans brought order along with enslavement and genocide, built roads and canals, but also built the Colliseum, a Madison Square Garden of horror and a killing ground.They introduced laws and rules of order, a caste system, a systematic plundering of weaker cultures, and its' legacy reflects both the best and worst elements of humanity.

Anonymous said...

The Roman empire grew wealthy by conquering and pillaging neighboring lands. They had no other way to sustain the empire.