Take a gander at this GIF that shows the swelling and falling of the Roman Empire...
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.
overrun by the Ottomans in 1453.
Read more here. . .