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Keaton Leveridge

November 2, 2015
World Civilization

The Roman Empire is one of the most known empires in the world. The Roman people
were well known to be very sophisticated in architecture, inventions, agriculture, and also
weapons and warfare. The Roman Empire had a common problem throughout the two thousand
years of existence. This common problem was known to be a struggle of powers in the Roman
Empire. Many of the rulers of the Roman Empire were over ruled by their own senators or
government. Although there were several rulers of the Roman Empire, there were few who ruled
the empire for very long. Assassinations were common; as well as the rulers own people taking
control of the leadership of the nation. The Roman Empire had several rulers in its existence and
most of them will be explained throughout. The very first ruler of the Roman Empire was Caesar.
The basic foundation of the Roman Empire came to be through violence and was dependent on
force. Caesar ruled from 46-44 BC and was involved in politics long before he became ruler of
the Roman Empire.
Caesar started out as governor of Farther Spain. Once Caesar returned to Rome he was
elected consul, which is the highest office in Romes Republic. Now that Caesar had more power
he chose to make a connection with two other power houses in Romes Republic. These two
people were Pompey and Crassus. Pompey was a veteran who was considered a war hero and
Crassus was a very wealthy political head. With all three of these men combined they created the

first triumvirate. This triumvirate was just a tri-force of power in the Roman Republic political
office. As stated previously, many rulers of Rome were corrupt with their power. As a way to
gain control over his people, Caesar wanted to give public land to Pompeys soldiers. The
citizens of Rome did not agree with this plan and Caesar started a riot and used the violence as a
method to get his plan across. Shortly after, Caesar took control of Gaul. In modern times, Gaul
is France and Belgium. The control over Gaul gave Caesar control over recruiting soldiers and
follow through with military campaigns and give him the title he is popular for. In other words,
controlling quite a bit of land and expanding the Roman Empire. Caesar did not rule long, and
was assassinated during his reign as ruler of Rome.
The next ruler of Rome was named Augustus. Augustus was adopted by Caesar to take
over the role as leader of Rome when Caesar dies. Augustus ruled from 31 BC-14 AD. He was
one of the few rulers of Rome who ruled for a decent amount of time. Augustus had to fight for
his control over Rome. Caesar adopted Augustus in good faith that he would rule Rome later on
in his life. Augustus grew up in a family that had poor political connections and his father died
when he was very young. If Caesar would not have adopted him, he probably would not have
been known in history. Caesar was Augustus great uncle and he needed a heir because he had no
son of his own. Shortly after he was adopted, Caesar was assassinated by his own senators.
Augustus was just nineteen years of age when he was thrown into the corrupt government of the
Roman Empire. To take control of the power hungry nations that neighbored Rome, Augustus
allied with famous general Marc Antony. Throughout the years of war, the two men eventually
divided their hard earned land. Augustus kept reign of Rome while Marc Antony took Egypt as
his own. Marc Antony, now controlling Egypt, was now under control of the beauty of Cleopatra.
The people of Rome feared Cleopatra wanted the throne for herself and they now disliked Marc

Antony. Augustus was a smart young man and decided to attack Antony and Cleopatra first
before they attacked Rome. The war was known as The Battle of Actium. This battle took place
in 31 BC and nearly destroyed three quarters of the Egyptian army. Marc Antony and Cleopatra
realized they were defeated and decided to end their own lives. Rome now had control of Egypt
and had expanded their rule even more. Augustus became Romes first Emperor at the age of
thirty-two. He promised to restore peace and security to the Roman Empire. Throughout his rule
he greatly expanded Rome from Egypt to Spain and central Europe. After his death in 14 AD, his
kids had already died and rule passed on to his stepson, Tiberius. Augustus had ended over 100
years of civil wars and also created over forty years of peace and prosperity to the Roman
people.
Tiberius was not someone Augustus wanted as a future ruler of the Roman Empire.
Tiberius ruled from 14 AD-37 AD. He knew Augustus had not wanted him to rule but since the
wife of Augustus kids had already died he was the only heir to the throne. Senators in the
Roman society did not trust Tiberius at all. Tiberius attempted to copy the ways of Augustus and
this just ended in failure. He was a very weak ruler and had trouble ruling as the emperor of
Rome. He was quoted saying that controlling Rome was like, holding a wolf by the ears. He
was soon tested as emperor of Rome. Two armies in northern Europe were about to march on
Rome and Tiberius plan was to send his nephew Germanicus to solve the situation. Germanicus
happened to sort the situation out and defeat the Germanic army in northern Europe. The huge
success of Germanicus was annoying to Tiberius because this gave him the title of a war hero
and more and more Romans started to favor him as a ruler of the Roman Empire. Tiberius
avoided this problem by appointing Germanicus governor of the eastern provinces. Germanicus
was very successful with this job as well and his demise came to the people as a mystery in 19

AD. Not many people know how he died and it was thought that he was poisoned by Tiberius to
prevent a change of rule. Although Tiberius denies killing Germanicus, the accusation never
went away for good. Tiberius change in ideas and very strange mood swings, his own Senate
went against him. Tiberius realized he needed a heir to the throne and he chose a cavalry officer
known as Sejanus. Sejanus was known as a small town cheat and Tiberius did not know this at
the time. Sejanus was appointed as commander of the Praetorian Guard, which was the main
protection of Tiberius. Abusing the power given to him, Sejanus began to execute rivals and tried
many for treason. Sejanus thought that Germanicus remaining family were trying to overthrow
Tiberius so he exiled the dead heros widow and killed her two sons. This was all going on when
Tiberius had retreated to Capri where only Sejanus could reach him. Sejanus was secretly
planning to overthrow Tiberius and his plan went horribly wrong. In 31 AD Tiberius betrayed
him and turned to Caligula, the only remaining son of Germanicus that Sejanus did not kill.
Caligula sent a message to the Senate and they strangled Sejanus and dumped his body in the
Tiber River. Tiberius later died in 37 AD. This came as good news to the Roman people and
made Caligula the new emperor of Rome.
Caligula was thought to be a new revival in power to Rome and was also thought to bring
prosperity to Rome. Caligula only ruled for four years from 37 AD-41 AD. At the beginning of
his rule he actually lived up to what the Roman people thought he would. He brought back
people Tiberius had exiled during his rule and he had also destroyed the false treason accusations
by Sejanus. Seven months after taking power of Rome Caligula fell ill. After he recovered from
his illness he began to act strange. He began to dress in just silk robes and was covered in jewels.
He made his senators think he was a god and had them kiss his feet and worship him. Caligula
then restored the treason trials that he once destroyed and began to execute rivals and even close

allies. He even killed his personal protection of the Praetorian Guard. Sometimes his cruelty was
very random as well. At one point in time he was about to sacrifice an animal with a hammer and
when he was swinging it down on the animal he turned and struck a priest killing him instantly.
Caligula was also spending very large amounts of money that Tiberius had worked hard
to get. Soon after, Rome was close to being out of money and Caligula began to order raids in
Gaul and confiscating land of his own people. All of this very strange and dangerous behavior
began to make his persona very unpopular among the Roman people. In 41 AD Caligula was
murdered by a group including his own senators and members of the Praetorian Guard. To
prevent any more grief from Caligula they also killed his wife and daughter. Caligula was soon
succeeded by his uncle Claudius.
Claudius was a ruler of the Roman Empire for a fairly long time. He ruled from 41 AD54 AD. Claudius was definitely the black sheep of his family. He had an illness when he was
young and this disfigured his face and it was known that his own family would make jokes about
him and throw food at him when he slept. The joke of the family did turn out to be emperor of
Rome and he was actually pretty popular with the people of Rome. Claudius had strong ties with
his soldiers and courtiers and a mistrust with his Senate. This mistrust with his Senate is similar
to most of the past rulers relationships with their own Senate.
Claudius was very popular with his Roman people for many reasons. These reasons are
improving Romes judicial system, gave women more rights, and also passed laws protecting
sick slaves. Claudius also had much respect for his people. Not only did he have success with his
people favoring his rule, but he also had success with conquering Britain. Britain had been
resisting Roman rule for over a century and now are finally under Roman rule. Claudius did was

Caesar failed to accomplish. This was one of the most important things that has happened to the
Roman Empire since the rule of Augustus.
Claudius did not have many enemies and his closest enemies turn out to be his wives. His
taste in women was one that was very poor. His wife, Messalina, was very promiscuous and
cheated on him often. She had an affair with a nobleman named Gaius Silius. Claudius thought
of this as a plan to over-throw him and he soon killed Gaius Silius and his wife Messalina
escaped to a friends villa where she later died. Later on Claudius decided to marry again and
chose to marry his own niece named Agrippina. Agrippina was very convincing to Claudius and
he was convinced to disinherit his own son Britannicus. Agrippina had her own son named Nero
and this plan was to make him the heir of Rome. Now that Nero was heir to the throne the only
thing stopping him from being the next emperor to Rome was Claudius. Agrippina decided to
poison Claudius with mushrooms. This turned out to be a failure and he began to recover from it.
Agrippina decided to recruit Claudius own doctor to her forces and she had him kill Claudius.
This began the reign of Nero.
Nero was the new emperor of Rome. He reigned from 54 AD-68 AD. His mother
Agrippina basically made all of his decisions for him and what would be done for Rome. By 54
AD Nero decided to force his mother into retirement so he could begin making his own
decisions. His beginning as an emperor was very helpful towards the citizens of Rome. He gave
the senate more independence, banned capital punishment, and reduced taxes. He also gave help
to cities and countries that had suffered a disaster and also helped the Jews and started
competitions through athletics, poetry and theater. Although he was known as being a great ruler
of Rome, Nero also had a dark side. He was also known to seduce married women and young
boys. He would also walk the streets of Rome, randomly murdering innocent people.

Even after Nero forced his mother to retire so he could control the empire himself, his
mother still attempted to control him and he was forced to attempt a murder that failed in the
end. Since he failed at the murder of his own mother, he sent soldiers to kill her. This crime was
one of the worst crimes ever, or Matricide. Shortly after this, Rome was under bad omens. This
was the beginning of The Great Fire of Rome. It lasted for six days and seven nights. It affected
ten of the fourteen districts within the Roman Empire. After the death of his mother and tutor,
Nero was under control of no one. Rome was ruled by yet another insane ruler. There was only
one solution to stopping Nero and that solution was an assassination. In 65 AD a free slave
named Epicharis secretly told an officer to kill Nero. The officer turned on her and brought her to
Nero and before they could kill her she killed herself and Nero then ordered the deaths of
multiple people in Rome hoping this would cause an end to murder plots. Rome had enough of
his rule and northern territories began to spread and the Senate declared Nero a public enemy.
This meant that anyone could kill Nero and have no punishments. Nero fled to the country with
his remaining slaves where he then killed himself and left Rome without a leader. This caused
many generals to fight for the spot of emperor of Rome and lead to a civil war.
After the death of Nero, there was a period of warring where several generals fought for
the leadership of Rome and all within a year, there were three men who ruled Rome and were all
murdered shortly after taking the throne. Galba was the new emperor of Rome. He was also
quick to make enemies. Galba alienated the Lower Rhine Army and this made Aulus Vitellius as
Emperor. The Praetorian Guard wanted the money that was promised to them for leaving Nero,
but Galba would not pay them. Galba then made another mistake after this one by ignoring his
faithful supporter Marcus Otho, and making Lucius Piso as his successor. Marcus Otho took this
to heart and he had the Praetorian Army kill both Galba and Piso. This happened seven months

after Galba had become ruler of Rome. Later that year Marcus Otho began his reign by fighting
the German forces to the southern parts of Gaul. The Roman army was defeated and Marcus
Otho killed himself before he was captured by the Germans. In 48 AD, Aulus Vitellius was
elected consul of Rome. Vitellius was the commander of the Lower German Army in 68 AD and
the following year he marched his army into Rome. Aulus Vitellius considered resigning his title
as emperor and his soldiers would not let him. Instead they decided to kill him and this left Rome
without a ruler yet again. i

PBS. Emperors. PBS. http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/galba.html.


Basically the entire history of the Roman Empire was under control of corrupt emperors and rulers. No
i

matter how well the Romans were doing as a society and all of the innovations made, the control of
power was always a huge problem. There were only a few rulers who lived longer than ten years to
control Rome and if they did they still met an unfortunate fate. Whether it is murder, death by poison,
or being exiled, there was always a problem with the power struggles in the Roman Empire.
Although the rulers of Rome never had a happy ending, there were multiple innovations the
Romans made to make their society one of the most modern societies during their time. Most of the
innovations of the Romans were just enhanced versions of old inventions made in the past. A few of the
inventions of the Romans were advanced architecture, medical instruments, irrigation systems, armor
and high tech weaponry. Some of the inventions made by the Roman people that are most commonly
known today are the invention of the aqueduct systems, roads, and systems of pipes and sewage.
Romans were known to all have a giant bath tub or sorts in a common area where all people in the city
could bathe in the water. The Romans also invented the dome, building bridges, glass windows, multistoried buildings, and also concrete. Romans definitely affected other societys innovations. Without
the innovative people of the Roman Empire, much of the technology, architecture, and use of concrete
and glass would not be the same. The Roman Empire was one of the most powerful societies during its
reign. The advanced army they had was trained in medicine, discipline, weaponry, and missile
technology. A combination of technical innovation, ingenious inventions, and advanced armor and
equipment gave them the advantage over most enemies for more than five hundred years. They were a
power that no society has ever encountered.
History Rocket. Inventions Of The Roman Empire. HistoryRocket.com
http://www.historyrocket.com/roman-history/roman-empire/Inventions-Of-The-Roman-Empire.html.

Bibliography
PBS. Emperors. http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/galba.html
History Rocket. Inventions Of The Roman Empire. http://www.historyrocket.com/romanhistory/roman-empire/Inventions-Of-The-Roman-Empire.html