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The Roman Empire

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The Roman Empire (Latin: Imperium Romanum, Greek: ΒασιλείΑ ῬΩμαίΩν) was a 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 that owned the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The chronological framework of the existence of the Roman Empire covers 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, centered in Constantinople, lasted for another 977 years-until 1453.

Possessions 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 structure, there are usually two main stages::

1. Principate — a form of government that combines republican and monarchical features. Under the cover of the republican authorities, there was actually a military monarchy. It existed in the I century BC — III century AD. The period of the principate can be divided into the following stages::

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

The end date of the history of the Roman Empire is a matter of debate. For the West, it is usually called 476-the year of the removal of the emperor Romulus Augustulus, or 480 - the year of the death of Nepos, the last legally legitimate emperor. For the Eastern Empire, whose statehood lasted, changing, for about a thousand years, dates are called: the end of the V century, 610, 1204, 1453, and others.

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

This process of unification, fruitful and progressive, reaches its full development by the end of the second century. But it also has a downside: it is accompanied by a decline in the cultural level and the disappearance of freedom, which is manifested in the third century. Meanwhile, a religious unification of the ancient world is taking place on the basis of Christianity, whose triumph over paganism fills the fourth century.

Throughout the fifth century, Rome was repeatedly attacked by barbarians, who in 476 would permanently destroy classical Roman civilization. In the emerging dualism, a new historical period is emerging on Roman soil. The success of social unification and assimilation of diverse national elements of the provinces is particularly evident in the history of the emperors themselves, whose personal fate and character become the most prominent 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.