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Roman Empire

The Roman Empire (Latin: Imperium Romanum, Ancient Greek: Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων) is the post-Republican phase in the development of ancient Roman statehood, characterized by an autocratic form of government and large territorial possessions in Europe and the Mediterranean. The only state in history to have owned the entire Mediterranean coast. The chronological boundaries of the existence of the Roman Empire cover the period from the reign of the first Emperor Octavian Augustus to the division of the empire into Western and Eastern and the subsequent fall of the Western Roman Empire, that is, from 27 BC to 476 AD. The Eastern part of the Roman Empire with its center in Constantinople lasted another 977 years - until 1453.

Territories of the Roman Empire during the reign of Trajan

Periodization of the history of the Roman Empire

The periodization of the history of the Roman Empire varies depending on the approach. Thus, when considering the state-legal system, two main stages are usually distinguished:

1. Principate — a form of state structure that combines republican and monarchical features. Under the cover of republican authorities, in fact, there was a military monarchy. It existed in the 1st century BC - the 3rd century AD. The period of the Principate can be divided into the following stages:

2. Dominate (284-476 AD) - a political system closer to monarchy. Within this period, the following stages can be distinguished:

The end date of the history of the Roman Empire is a matter of debate. For the West, 476 AD is usually named - the year of the deposition of Emperor Romulus Augustulus, or 480 AD - the year of the death of Nepos, the last legally legitimate emperor. For the Eastern Empire, which statehood lasted for about another thousand years, changing, the dates are named: the end of the 5th century, 610, 1204, 1453, and others.

The main content of the Dominate period is the process of comprehensive unification of the ancient world. It was already carried out by the Roman Republic, but then it was material, it consisted in the fact of conquest and subjugation; now this process is becoming more complex (differentiated). It is manifested:

This process of unification, fruitful and progressive, reaches its full development by the end of the 2nd century. But it has a flip side: it is accompanied by a lowering of the cultural level and the disappearance of freedom, which is manifested in the 3rd century. Meanwhile, the religious unification of the ancient world is taking place on the basis of Christianity, the triumph of which over paganism fills the 4th century.

Throughout the 5th century, Rome is repeatedly attacked by barbarians, who in 476 AD will forever destroy the classic Roman civilization. In the emerging dualism, a new historical period is born on Roman soil. The success of social unification and assimilation of heterogeneous national elements of the provinces is especially vividly manifested in the history of the emperors themselves, whose personal fate and character become the most visible factor in the history of the empire.

Related topics

Rome, Roman Republic, Royal Rome, Principate, Dominant


Works of ancient historians:

Cocceianus, L. C. C. D. Historia romana / Lucius Claudius Cassius Dio Cocceianus.

Herodianus. Historia de imperio Post Marcum [Aurelium] libri VIII / Herodianus.

Historia Augusta / Scriptores Historiae Augustae.

Marcellinus, A. Res Gestae Libri XXXI / Ammianus Marcellinus.

Tacitus, P. C. Ab excessu divi Augusti / Publius Cornelius Tacitus.

Tacitus, P. C. De vita et moribus Iulii Agricolae / Publius Cornelius Tacitus.

Tacitus, P. C. Historiae / Publius Cornelius Tacitus.

Tranquillus, G. S. De vita Caesarum libri VIII / Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus.

Victor, S. A. Liber de Caesaribus / Sextus Aurelius Victor.

Zosimus. Historia Nova / Zosimus.

Works of modern historians:

Alfionov Ya. I. The Emperor Julian and his attitude to Christianity. - Moscow, 2012. - 432 p. - ISBN 978-5-397-02379-5.

Archangelsky S. Diocletian's decree on dachshunds. - Nizhny Novgorod, 1928.

Baker D. Tiberius: The Successor of Augustus / Translated from English-Moscow, 2004. - 304 p — - ISBN 5-9524-0765-X.

Bokshchanin A. G. Social crisis of the Roman Empire in the 1st century-Moscow, 1954. - 240 p.

Burckhardt Ya. The Age of Constantine the Great / Translated from German-Moscow, 2003. - 368 p. - ISBN 5-9524-0395-6.

Ocherki po istorii Rimskoi imperii [Essays on the History of the Roman Empire]. - Rostov-on-Don, 1995. - 484 p. - ISBN 5-87688-031-0.

Guerrier V. I. Rome, city/Roman history before the fall of the Western Roman Empire // Encyclopedia of Brockhaus and Efron : in 86 volumes (82 volumes and 4 additions). - St. Petersburg, 1890-1907.

Gibbon A. Istoriya upadka i krusheniya Rimskoy imperii [History of the Decline and Collapse of the Roman Empire].

Grant M. The Twelve Caesars / Translated from English-Moscow, 1998. - 272 p. - ISBN 5-300-01850-3.

Grant M. The Collapse of the Roman Empire / Translated from English-Moscow, 1998. - 224 p. - ISBN 5-300-01955-0.

Grant M. Roman Emperors: A Biographical guide to the rulers of the Roman Empire: 31 BC-476 AD / Translated from English-Moscow, 1998. - 400 p. - ISBN 5-300-02314-0.

Grimm Yu. Studies on the history of Roman Imperial Power, Vol. 1, 2 [: From Augustus to Marcus Aurelius]. - St. Petersburg, 1900-1901. - 528+480 p.