Roman Empire – 27 BCE-395 CE
The history of Rome and its empire can be divided into four periods, the formative reign of seven kings (753-509 BCE) followed by two periods marking the height of Roman civilization, the Roman Republic (509-27 BCE) and the Roman Empire (27 BCE-395 CE) followed by a phase of decline in Late Antiquity when the legacy of Rome persisted in the Western Empire until 480 and in the Eastern Byzantine Empire until 1453 (the sack of Constantinople by the Turks). Around the year 500 the population of the empire totalled 50-90 million about 20% of the world’s population at the time Rome was at its height in the Augustan Age when Rome was the largest city in the world with a population of about 1 million.
Romans respected the Greek intellect, readily absorbing Greek mythology, philosophy, and arts into the Rorman way of life. Roman leaders were frequently tutored by Greek mentors (often slaves). Physical remains of Roman architecture are scattered across Europe as castles, villas, city walls and walls like Hadrian’s Wall. The Latin language that was passed on through the Rome-endorsed Christianity of the Catholic Church developed into the Romance lenguages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian). Roman numerals facilitated dealing in large numbers. English today is a fusion of Anglo-Saxon (a West Germanic language) and Latin, about 60% of the English vocabulary is derived from Latin (see writing) e.g. words with ‘chester’ caster’ or cester’ derive from the Latin word ‘castra meaning a camp. The Gregorian calendar was a modification of the Roman Julian calendar. There was a legacy of literature from Cato, Cicero, Citrullus, Juvenal, Livy, Lucretius, Ovid, Propertius, Seneca, Tacitus, and Virgil. The Codex as a bound book was compiled well before the invention of printing along with a daily news report or ‘newspaper, the Acta Diurna made available in Rome’s Forum during the years 59 BCE-220 CE.
There were some contributionswere made to the intellectual foundation left by the Greeks: though uninterested in botany, modern agriculture learned much from Columella, Palladius, and Varro. Astronomy and geography of Ptolemy. However it was in engineering that Romans really left their mark: roads (paved and signposted) networking across Europe and Britain, sewers and sanitation, baths, aqueducts that carried weter from more than 60 miles, central heating as a hypocaust, concrete (which incorporated larve tuff that resisted decay and would set underwater) was of a quality unsurpassed today, concrete domes, monumental architecture. Technologies: armour, siege machines, medical instruments. Law and Republican politics. Romans extended Greek sculpture. Though capable of ruthless cruelty, Rome provided stability for its imperial colonies (Pax Romana), allowed former slaves to rise to the highest offices, and for many years demonstrated concern for the welfare of Roman citizens by providing a free or subsidized bread ration (lex frumentaria), education, together with care for orphans and the unfortunate.