Two thousand year ago, on august 19, 14 AD, Caesar Augustus died. He to be Rome’s first emperor, having actually won a polite war much more than 40 years previously that reinvented the dysfunctional roman Republic into an empire. Under Augustus and also his successors, the empire experienced 200 years of family member peace and prosperity. Here are 40 maps that explain the Roman empire — that rise and also fall, its culture and economy, and also how that laid the foundations of the modern world.
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1) The rise and fall of Rome
In 500 BC, Rome to be a minor city-state on the Italian peninsula. By 200 BC, the roman inn Republic had conquered Italy, and also over the adhering to two centuries it overcame Greece and Spain, the north African coast, much of the middle East, modern France, and also even the far island the Britain. In 27 BC, the republic became an empire, which sustained for one more 400 years. Finally, the expenses of holding together a huge area together come to be too great. Rome gradually separation into Eastern and Western halves, and by 476 advertisement the Western half of the realm had been destroyed by intrusions from german tribes. The Eastern fifty percent of the empire, based in Constantinople, ongoing for countless centuries after that.
2) The Roman empire was vast
At that is height around 100 AD, the Roman empire stretched native Britain in the Northwest to Egypt in the Southeast. To obtain a sense for how huge that is, it’s beneficial to compare it come the modern United States. The Roman districts of Britain and also Egypt were about as much apart as the American says of Florida and Washington. One obvious difference is that the Roman empire had the Mediterranean in the center of it, which aided move people and supplies over vast distances. Still, it’s exceptional that monarchs operating plenty of centuries before the railroad and the telegraph — to say naught of airplanes and also the web — were able to host together such a substantial domain for so long.
3) Traveling approximately the empire was excruciatingly slow
This map gives some perspective on just how huge Roman territory was relative to the transportation modern technologies of the day. Developed by researcher at Stanford, it approximates how lengthy it took for someone leaving Rome to reach assorted locations approximately the empire. The Mediterranean to be a huge help in getting approximately — most coastal locations in the west Mediterranean can be got to in under a week, and even far-flung seaside cities prefer Alexandria and also Jerusalem can be got to in 2 weeks. But traveling to the internal was an ext difficult. Reaching the most remote points in the empire, such together Britain, can take close to a month. And also of course, going native one finish of the realm to the other might take also longer. The researchers calculation that the took 7 weeks to take trip from Constantinople (at the eastern end of the empire) to London (in the much west).
4) The districts of Rome in 117
The Roman empire reached its greatest size under the power of Trajan in 117 AD. To help in administration, it was split into provinces. The number of provinces changed over time as areas were got or lost, and as bigger provinces were divided into smaller ones. There to be 46 districts under Trajan, a figure that would prosper to 96 through the power of Diocletian (285–305). In Trajan’s time, districts in the interior of the country were run by governors liked by the Senate, a legislative body run by top aristocrats. In contrast, border districts were run by governors named straight by the emperor. This was a defense measure. Border districts needed armies to defend against invasion, and also emperors worried the if this troops were put under the manage of someone no personally faithful to the emperor, that person could shot to grab power and also proclaim self emperor. This wasn’t an idle concern — coups and civil battles were a recurrent problem for the empire.
The climb of Rome
5) Italy before Roman conquest
In its early years, the Romans mutual Italy with several various other peoples. The leading power in the community of Rome was the Etruscans. Us don’t know an extremely much around these people, in part because us haven’t figured out how to check out their distinctive language. However the evidence says that Rome was ruled through Etruscan monarchs until the Romans revolted and established a republic — an event that is traditionally dated to 509 BC. Eastern of Rome were various other tribes speak languages regarded the Romans’ native Latin. And also by 400 BC, the prosperous and also technologically advanced Greeks had established nests at Italy’s southerly tip.
6) Rome conquers Italy
Rome went from being one of many city-states in 340 BC to being master of the entire peninsula through 264. The conquest occurred in three phases. In 340, Rome came into problem with its previous allies, the bordering Latins, and also subdued castle by 338. Beginning in 326, Rome fought the Samnites come the East, a problem that would proceed sporadically until Roman success in 282. Rome likewise fought sporadic battles v Etruscans and Gauls to its North throughout this period. Rome then turned its attention to the Greeks in the south of Italy, fighting a war through the Greek king Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus winner two significant battles against the Romans in 280 and 279, respectively. But he take it such hefty casualties in those battles the he would at some point lose the war — providing rise come the term “Pyrrhic victory.”
7) The very first war v Carthage
8) Hannibal attacks Rome with elephants
9) Rome’s an effective maniple formation
In the early on years that the republic, the roman infantry supplied a version of the Greek phalanx. In this formation, soldiers was standing shoulder come shoulder in a strict packed development that have the right to be an ext than a dozen soldiers deep. Soldiers in the front were protected by a wall surface of large shields, and they tried come reach approximately their shields with lengthy spears to stab the enemy. While this development worked fine on level ground, the Romans discovered it was also brittle because that the hilly terrain where they did lot of their fighting. It ended up being extremely breakable if a space opened up in the ranks. To resolve this weakness, the Romans occurred the maniple formation depicted here, sometimes defined as a “phalanx through joints.” rather of a single line the men, the Romans split their infantry into groups of around 120 men, every of which could maneuver independently, and arranged them in a checkerboard pattern. Maniples behind the prior line deserve to step into any kind of gaps that open up up in the former line. The Romans put their least experienced soldiers in the front line (the bottom in this picture), in wishes that the opponent would waste power fighting them, making them too exhausted to put up a fight when they reached an ext experienced (and better-armed) soldiers more back.
10) The an altering culture of the roman army
11) just how Augustus trained the roman inn legions
12) A roman warship
Rome wasn’t initially a significant naval power, yet when the Romans came into problem with the Carthaginians, they establish they necessary to beat catch-up. They automatically built 20 triremes — therefore named due to the fact that it had 3 financial institutions of oars — and 100 quinqueremes — heavier ships with 5 rowers because that each bank of oars. Beginning with the triumph over the Carthaginians in 201, Rome started to need that beat foes give up their naval forces, offering Rome undisputed mastery over the Mediterranean. Because that the an initial two centuries of the imperial era (beginning in 27 BC), Rome controlled the Mediterranean so totally that that wiped the end piracy and didn’t need to fight any significant naval battles.
The republic becomes an empire
13) Julius Caesar conquers Gaul
In 58 BC, Julius Caesar take it command that Rome’s northern frontier and collection out to overcome Gaul, i beg your pardon corresponds around to modern France. The was complying with in the footsteps of various other ambitious Roman political leaders who had led foreign conquests as a means to bolster your reputation in ~ home. This map reflects Caesar’s exploits, which took almost a decade and also brought that to nearly every part of contemporary France. Caesar wrote an account that this campaign that, remarkably, still survives today. While he to be on campaign, Caesar’s adversaries gained the top hand in Rome and also declared martial law. If Caesar had returned to Rome together a private citizen — without his military for backup — he would certainly have challenged trial because that alleged misdeeds prior to his exit (the charges had some merit, but he was far from the first Roman politician to bending the rules). But Roman law forbade a basic on campaign to get in Italy in ~ the head of an army. In 49 BC, Caesar took the fateful step of crossing the Rubicon, the flow that marked the north border that Italy, with his army. That prompted the civil battle that would destroy the roman Republic. (Click the photo to see the full map.)
14) Caesar wins the polite war
15) Julius Caesar is assassinated
16) The battle of Actium makes Augustus Rome’s very first emperor
The shed city of Pompeii
17) The eruption of mountain Vesuvius
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18) The excavation that Pompeii