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Ancient Rome

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Roman Republic (510 - 27 BC)

The Roman Republic (510 - 27 BC) was a phase of the ancient Roman civilization characterized by a republican form of government.

The republican period began with the overthrow of the Monarchy in 510 BC and lasted until its subversion, through a series of civil wars, into the Roman Empire.

The three wars between Rome and Carthage (North Africa), known as the Punic Wars, established the foundation for Roman imperialism.

Rome and Carthage lived in peace with each other until their empires came into contact through mutual expansion and their contact at Sicily ignited into war. The empire based at Carthage (600 - 500 BCE) included the North African coast, Corsice, Sardinia, parts of Spain and much of Sicily. Carthage was the second most populous city of its time after Alexandria. The Carthageans were successful commercial people, and Carthage was the richest in the ancient world. Their industry aimed at mass-production and cheapness rather than beauty. They exploited the caravan routes of Egypt and African and sailed to Britiain and Senepal. Carthage exploited the habitants of its empire. The natives of Sardinia and Spain were exploited commercially and forced to supply mercenary troops.

rhodes roman burial relief

1st cent BC Roman grave relief of a warrior. Shows warrior dressed in curirass and helmet leaning on his spear before a funerary stele. Serpent symbolizes soul of deceased. Relief is "archaising" and imitates Greek 5th cent BC sculpture. British Museum, GR 1905.10-23.1.


First Punic War

264 - 241 BC

In the First Punic War (264 - 241 BC) the Romans scored victory. The city of Carthage remained unconquered and its merchant fleets continued to generate wealth. Hannibal was one of history's great generals. He had great tactics and strategies. However, he based his strategy on incorrect assumptions. Because Carthegian empire was based on the conquest and exploitation of the subject peoples, these oppressed people were waiting for any opportunity to revolt against their masters. Hannibal assumed that the Roman Empire as similar.

Second Punic War

218 - 201 BC

Gracchi Reforms

Following their assassination, the Republic went into a dog-eat-dog era of politics which culminated with the transition into an empire.

Republic → Empire

44 BC - 27 BC

The precise date in which the Roman Republic changed into the Roman Empire is a matter of interpretation, with the dates of Julius Caesar's appointment as perpetual dictator (44 BC), the Battle of Actium (September 2, 31 BC), and the date which the Roman Senate granted Octavian the title "Augustus" (January 16, 27 BC), being some of the common choices.

Second Triumvirate

Roman Empire


Roman Empire

27 BC - AD 476

The Roman Empire was ruled by a monarch bearing the title of emperor. This was established by Julius Caesar's adopted son, Gaius Octavius (Octavian), in 27 BCE when he was renamed Augustus and he was deemed emperor. This monarchy survived until 476 of the Common Era, the fall of the Roman Empire.



AD 283-285


AD 284-305

The 'Tetrarchy' of two emperors, one in the east one in the west, with two heir-apparents.


AD 286-305

Emperor in the west.


AD 286-293

Independent empire based mainly in Britain. Mints at London and Colchester.


AD 293-296

Constantius I

AD 293-306

Defeated Allectus in battle near Silchester in AD 296. Died in York.

Constantine the Great

AD 306-337

Proclaimed emperor in York. Adoption of Christianity as the state religion.

Constantine II

AD 324-361

Controlled the western provinces.


AD 333-350

Controlled the central provinces.


AD 364-375

Dealt with the barbarian menace.


AD 379-395

Last coins to enter in quantity.


AD 395-423

Rome unable to defend Britain.