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

Andrei Nacu
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

Megistias Firm control over Italy made Rome among the Mediterranean’s significant powers. The Romans began to come into problem with one more rising power located just across the water: Carthage. Situated in north Africa near modern-day Tunis, Carthage to be the funding of a seafaring empire, shown here in red, that dominated commerce in the western Mediterranean. Rome battled three conflicts with Carthage, known as the Punic Wars, between 264 and 146 BC. The an initial conflict emerged after Carthage intervened in a conflict on the island that Sicily, simply off the southern reminder of Italy. While Sicily wasn’t Roman territory at the time, the Romans feel this was a small too close come home. They sent out an army to expel the Carthaginian troops. The result was the an initial Punic War, i m sorry lasted for much more than 20 years. This map reflects the instance after the war: Rome gained regulate of the islands of Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia, making that a far-reaching naval strength for the first time. (Click the photo to watch the full map.)

8) Hannibal attacks Rome with elephants

Pinpin and also Abalg one of the biggest military mental of the old world to be Hannibal. A Carthaginian born throughout the an initial Punic War, he boring a lifelong grudge against Rome. In 218 BC, he led an army — including, famously, a couple of dozen elephants — indigenous Carthaginian-controlled Spain across the Alps to north Italy, starting the 2nd war in between Rome and also Carthage. Hannibal believed Italians to be chafing under the roman inn yoke; he hoped his arrival would create a large rebellion that would break Rome’s control of Italy. Hannibal delighted in an unbroken string of win on the battlefield, consisting of the complete destruction that a Roman army at Cannae in 216. And after Cannae, a few Italian urban did revolt. Yet Hannibal no attract sufficient Italian allies to bring about Rome’s defeat. The Romans were able to raise a new army to replace the one Hannibal had actually destroyed, and Hannibal’s military wasn’t an effective enough to record Rome. Therefore Hannibal invested 15 year skirmishing inconclusively v the Romans. Finally, Hannibal was dubbed home to address a roman inn counterattack on Carthage. He shed at the fight of Zama in 202. Rome applied harsh terms, seizing Carthage’s overseas possessions and also dismantling Carthage’s navy. Climate in 149 the paranoid Romans furious a 3rd Punic War against the helpless Carthaginians that resulted in the full destruction of your civilization.

Rome’s military

9) Rome’s an effective maniple formation

Mike Anderson
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

The road Chimp between 200 BC and also 14 AD, Rome dominated most of western Europe, Greece and the Balkans, the center East, and North Africa. One result was profound changes to Rome’s military. Previously, military service had been restricted to Romans with residential or commercial property holdings, who would offer for a few seasons and also then return to their farms. However in 107 BC, to deal with with growing demands for military manpower, the roman commander Marius opened the military to landless peasants and extended the length of military service. End the following century, the Roman military was transformed into a full-time, experienced fighting force. Marius also reorganized the Romans’ fighting formations, moving away native staggered maniples in donate of 10 larger formations called cohorts. Fighting properly in this formation compelled greater skill, but the professionalized roman inn legions had actually time to discover the crucial maneuvers.

11) just how Augustus trained the roman inn legions

Jack Keilo ~ the Marian reforms, roman generals had actually to promise rewards — one of two people booty captured abroad or floor awarded to them on their return — to lure soldiers to your banners. Because commanders to be responsible because that making sure these assures were kept, the troops progressively felt personal loyalty to this generals quite than abstract commitment to the roman inn state. Together a result, in the so late Republican period (107 BC to 27 BC), it became increasingly usual for victorious commanders to march their armies earlier into Rome and seize strength to ensure your troops obtained the floor they had been promised. This resulted in recurrent civil wars, ultimately transforming Rome from a moderately autonomous republic right into an autocratic empire. This map depicts the deployment that Rome’s legions when Rome’s very first emperor, Augustus, died in 14 AD. Augustus and his successors spread the Roman army along the frontier, ensuring that no single general had actually command of an ext than a small portion of Rome’s troops at any type of one time. And emperors reduced the soldiers’ dependence on their leaders by payment them earnings from the royal treasury. (Click the picture to view the complete map.)

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

unified States military Academy department of history The forces opposing Caesar in the civil war were led by Pompey, a former political allied of Caesar who had actually once took pleasure in a wire of military victories in the East. This map reflects Caesar’s motions as he beat Pompey and also then encountered Pompey’s allies. Pompey initially fled to the east; Caesar consolidated regulate of Spain and also Italy before following him. The decisive fight came on august 10, 48 BC, once Caesar beat Pompey in ~ the fight of Parsalus, in the phibìc of modern-day Greece. Pompey fled to Egypt, but officials over there betrayed him and sent Caesar his head. At this point, Caesar’s dominion over Rome to be a foregone conclusion, but it take it him one more three year to mop up resistance indigenous Pompeian forces. He went back to Rome for the last time in 45 BC. (Click the photo to check out the full map.)

15) Julius Caesar is assassinated

Jean-Léon Gérôme Julius Caesar no the an initial Roman army commander come march ~ above the capital and also take that by force, yet he was the an initial one who didn’t also pretend the he was maintaining the constitutional structure of the old republic. He had himself asserted dictator for life and also flirted with kingship. This ran afoul the a deep taboo in roman culture. After ~ all, Rome’s establishing legend was around the citizens of Rome increasing up come depose a despotic king. For this reason on march 15, 44 BC, in possibly the most renowned murder in human being history, a team of disgruntled senators surrounded Caesar and stabbed him to death. Brutus, among the assassins, supposedly shouted “sic semper tyrannis” — “thus constantly to tyrants” — as he yielded the deadly blow, though this is probably apocryphal. Unfortunately, if the conspirators witnessed themselves together defenders of Rome’s republican mechanism of government, they no actually have actually a arrangement for bringing ago the republic. Instead, Caesar’s fatality plunged the Roman human being into yet one more civil war.

16) The battle of Actium makes Augustus Rome’s very first emperor

Future Perfect in ~ Sunrise Julius Caesar’s fatality would lead to a war in between the two men who had actually the strongest cases to it is in Caesar’s heir. One was Caesar’s longtime deputy, Marc Antony. The other was Caesar’s teenage grand-nephew, Octavian, whom Caesar embraced posthumously in his will. Antony and Octavian initially battled side by side to avenge the fatality of Julius Caesar. Yet after Antony go east and also became romantically involved with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, he and also Octavian had actually a falling-out, causing war. This map mirrors the war’s decisive battle, the fight of Actium, in 31 BC. Antony and Cleopatra tried to flee native Octavian’s advancing military by sea, yet he to be intercepted by a marine commanded through Octavian’s deputy, Agrippa. Octavian’s ships winner the battle, and although Antony and Cleopatra escaped, they no longer had sufficient forces to pose a major threat come Octavian. Antony and Cleopatra passed away a year later, leaving Octavian the sole ruler of the roman inn world. Octavian readjusted his name to Augustus in 27; chroniclers treat this as the year once the roman Republic became the roman inn Empire.

The shed city of Pompeii

17) The eruption of mountain Vesuvius

MapMaster one of our richest sources of information about ancient Rome originates from the eruption of mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. It damaged several roman towns, many notably Pompeii and also Herculaneum. The existence of these communities was forget for many centuries, however the special layer of ash deposit by the eruption kept them for modern archeologists. This has provided us information about daily life in a Roman town that would have been challenging to achieve from various other sources. Inscriptions, graffiti, and frescoes provide insight into exactly how various structures were used and also what human being did in the town. Interestingly, we have a contemporaneous account of Vesuvius’s eruption from the Roman author Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the eruption firsthand, and also whose uncle perished trying come rescue victims.

See more: Tratamiento Y Cuidado Despues De Un Aborto Espontaneo, Cuidados Después De Un Aborto Quirúrgico

18) The excavation that Pompeii

Wikimedia Commons The website of Pompeii was first rediscovered in 1599, but only a few artifacts to be uncovered prior to interest in the website waned. Excavation began in earnest after the website was found a second time in 1748, and has ongoing to the existing day. This map shows archaeologists’ progress. Some areas of the town have yet to be explored because of restrictions implemented by the authorities. In enhancement to historical teams, the website is saw by numerous tourists each year.