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[Portal] Ancient Rome

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In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom (753 BC–509 BC), Roman Republic (509 BC–27 BC) and Roman Empire (27 BC–476 AD) until the fall of the western empire. The civilisation began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, traditionally dated to 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants (roughly 20% of the world's population at the time) covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a elective monarchy to a democratic classical republic and then to an increasingly autocratic semi-elective military dictatorship during the Empire. Through conquest, cultural, and linguistic assimilation, at its height it controlled the North African coast, Egypt, Southern Europe, and most of Western Europe, the Balkans, Crimea and much of the Middle East, including Anatolia, Levant and parts of Mesopotamia and Arabia. It is often grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, and their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world.

Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, religion, society, technology, law, politics, government, warfare, art, literature, architecture and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France. It achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments, palaces, and public facilities.

The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars, Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily; took Hispania (modern Spain and Portugal); and destroyed the city of Carthage in 146 BC, giving Rome supremacy in the Mediterranean. By the end of the Republic (27 BC), Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa. The Roman Empire emerged with the end of the Republic and the dictatorship of Augustus. Seven-hundred and twenty-one years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with the first struggle against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, and have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires.

Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak. It stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century before some stability was restored in the Dominate phase of imperial rule.

Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century. This splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe. The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power through the middle ages until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most commonly referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians to differentiate between the state in antiquity and the state during the Middle Ages.

Bust of Gaius Julius Caesar.
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The toga, a distinctive garment of Ancient Rome, was a sash of perhaps twenty feet (6 meters) in length which was wrapped around the body and was generally worn over a tunic. The toga was invariably made of wool, and the tunic underneath was often made of linen. For most of Rome's history, the toga was a garment worn exclusively by men, but in and after the 1st century BC, women were expected to wear the stola. Non-citizens were forbidden to wear a toga.

The toga was the earliest dress clothing of the Romans, a thick woollen cloak worn over a loincloth or apron. It was taken off indoors, or when hard at work in the fields, but it was the only decent attire out-of-doors. (We learn this from the story of Cincinnatus: he was ploughing in his field when the messengers of the Senate came to tell him that he had been made dictator, and on seeing them coming he sent his wife to fetch his toga from the house so that they could be received appropriately.

So important was the toga to Roman life that Augustus, upon seeing a meeting of citizens without the toga, quoting Virgil's lines, "Romanos, rerum dominos, gentemque togatam" ("Romans, lords of the world, the toga-wearing race") and ordered the aediles to deny entry to the Forum or Circus to any citizen without his toga.

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The Roman Forum (Latin: Forum Romanum) was a rectangular forum at the heart of the city of Ancient Rome. The Forum was used for military triumphs, elections, criminal trials, gladiatorial matches, and as a meeting- and business-place. The Forum survives today in ruins, and is the oldest structure in the modern city of Rome.

The Roman Forum (Latin: Forum Romanum) was a rectangular forum at the heart of the city of Ancient Rome. The Forum was used for military triumphs, elections, criminal trials, gladiatorial matches, and as a meeting- and business-place. The Forum survives today in ruins, and is the oldest structure in the modern city of Rome.

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Faustina Minor Louvre Ma1144.jpg
Annia Galeria Faustina Minor (Minor Latin for the younger), Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger (February 16 between 125 and 130-175) was a daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and Roman Empress Faustina the Elder. She was a Roman Empress and wife to her maternal cousin Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. She was the namesake of her mother. Faustina from her parent’s marriage was the youngest and the fourth child, second daughter and the only one who survived to adulthood from her siblings. She was born and raised in Rome.

Her great uncle Roman Emperor Hadrian had arranged with her father for Faustina to marry Lucius Verus. On February 25 138, she was engaged to Lucius Verus. Verus’ father was Hadrian’s first adopted son and intended successor for the emperor’s throne. However when Verus’ father died, Hadrian adopted Faustina’s father as his second adopted son and eventually, he became Hadrian’s successor.

Did you know?

  • ...That When Caesar's troops hesitated to leave their ships for fear of the Britons, the aquilifer of the tenth legion threw himself overboard and, carrying the eagle, advanced alone against the enemy?
  • ...That the most well paid athlete in human history, Gaius Appuleius Diocles, was an illiterate Roman Chariot racer, and earned the equivalent of $15 Billion US Dollars.

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