Sunday, September 22, 2019

Imperial Rome Essay Example for Free

Imperial Rome Essay More than a thousand years ago, most of the civilized world was ruled by Rome, and the Roman Empires reach extended over hundreds of countries and cultures. It was one of the greatest empires that ever existed in the world. Its influence reached as far as Britain, Persia, and even Africa. During the life of the Empire, great achievements were conjured and its mark was immortalized in the annals of history. The Roman Empire built the foundation by which western civilization (as we know it today) was created. It produced many great and influential people, and as a super power, it was the keeper of order and stability in the tumultuous, early days of Rome. Laws and government systems that were conceptualized and enacted during this time stands as the basis for modern forms of governance, particularly that of democracy. Numerous modern languages can trace their roots from its lingua franca. While now a dead and dormant language, Latin is the language on which many etymologies are based. The empire has also given us Christianity, a religion that has significantly shaped world history and interconnected a myriad of cultures. This paper delves into the historical pieces, people, and events that make up Rome as a great empire, their influence, and how they affected the fate of the Empire and its people. The Twelve Tables as the basis for Roman Law The Twelve Tables, also known as Lex Duodecim Tabularum, were drafted in the mid-fifth century BC as the set of governing laws for the Roman Republic in its early days. Those times where ridden with great political and social struggles, so the drafting of laws that addressed their issues was a necessity. The legislation stood as the very foundation of Roman law. The Romans legal attitude and the mos maiorum, which are unwritten societal norms, conduct, or cultural tradition, are based on this system. By modern standards, some of its provisions can be considered barbaric, but it was by its principles that all Western legislation was later founded on. Though Romans realized that philosophy was not one of their strongest attributes, they took pride in their system of governance and legislation. The Tables established the basic principle of the legal code. This law, then, was solely based on interpretation, and the Tables, providing a concise resolution, transformed the legal system. A complete account of the Tables did not survive to modern times. What we have now are quotations and excepts from the original. Many were culled from the works of writers such as Cicero and Aulus Gellius. The Roman Conquest in the Punic Wars The Carthaginians, hailing from Phoenicia, were called â€Å"Poeni†, thus the term â€Å"Punic. † The Punic Wars were a series of wars fought between Rome and Carthage during the second and third century BC. There were three wars, the first one starting out because of a disintegration of the parties formerly good alliance. Before any rift could form, Rome and Carthage originally signed a treaty against a common enemy, Epirus. Territorial tensions and broken agreements eventually led to the first Punic War. Even though both sides did not originally have conflicting interests, the war lasted more than 20 years. In their final battle, the Romans scored a decisive victory. This set the direction of conquest that the Roman Empire took over the course of its history. Republic vs. Empire At first, a republic system suited Rome as a small city; the constitution and government was suited for its values and social structure. This Republic shaped the laws and systems by which Rome emerged as the worlds capital. However, as their might and influence began to grow, the people preferred the rule of an Emperor instead to that of the Republic, and one of the main conflicts in the Republic was brought about by class differences. Wealth was not equally distributed, and this caused a great social unrest to the lower classes. Cicero: One of Romes Most Influential Figures Cicero, also known as Marcus Tullius Cicero, is considered as the greatest Latin orator. His prose is considered prolific and is widely read, most of which deal with politics. In the ancient world, he is considered an influential philosopher. He lived in the time when the Roman Empire was starting to crumble, and being an actor, he took part in many performances depicting the political events of that period. Constantine and the Rise of Christianity in the Byzantine Era Constantine, also known as Constantine I, Constantine the Great, or Augustus (to his troops), is one of the greatest rulers of the increasingly growing Roman Empire. He is famous for founding Constantinople (also Byzantium) as Romes new capital. One of his most influential acts is the Edict of Milan, a decree that legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire. This earned him the title as the â€Å"First Christian Emperor,† and is considered as one of the most significant factors that facilitated the spread of Christianity in the whole world. The the Greek-speaking, Constantinople-based Roman Empire is commonly referred to as the Byzantine Empire (also the Eastern Roman Empire). The Byzantine Era was characterized by the rise of Christianity as the common faith (as opposed to paganism). Aside from the growing religious transformation, the direction towards Hellenization, or a transformation towards a culturally and philosophically Greek-oriented society, was also underway. Spartacus and Slave Revolt There were several major slave revolts during the Roman times, the most notable of which was that of Spartacus in 73-71 BC. This was considered as the greatest of all slave revolts in the Empires history, but modern historians have not reached a consensus as to Spartacus reasons for leading it. Spartacus was trained as a gladiator, and some theorize that he despised battling in an arena for Roman entertainment, thus his rebellion. He led revolts all over Italy, the center of the uprising being in Campania, in southern Italy . Thousands of slaves escaped from their masters to join him in his plight, and it took a kings army to put a stop to this. The Barbarians and the Fall of the Empire Historians have attributed the fall of the Roman Empire to the Barbarians, which were either of Germanic or British origins. During the third century, the empire experienced a great economic and political crises. Germanic tribes sacked the Western Empire, which they were not prepared to withstand. The constant barbarian assaults, civil unrest, and rising costs of living contributed to the Empires inevitable demise. Bibliography Baker, G. P. (1930). Constantine the Great and the Christian Revolution 1930. Whitefish: Kessinger Publishing. Cornell, T. (1995). The Beginnings of Rome: Italy from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars (Circa 1,000 to 264 B. C. ). London: Routledge.

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