The Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was the biggest city in the then known world. It is assumed that Rome’s population was over one million people when the city was at the height of its power. From Rome, the heart of central authority beat; army decisions were taken and the gigantic wealth Rome earned was invested in a series of impressive buildings.
To begin with, many buildings in Rome were built around the forum. Traditionally, this had been a market place and an area where folks met. Therefore, it would be a natural place to put government buildings, temples and palaces. As Rome grew, howeve , the forum became more and more crowded. Therefore, a second city centre was planned and built some distance from the forum but still in Rome itself.
Rome itself had some impressive buildings erected in the city. Some exist to this day, all be it in a less amazing state. The most famed is perhaps the Colosseum where thousands of Roman citizens would gather for their entertainment — be it animals fighting or gladiators and so on. Such grand buildings were constructed so that emperors would be recollected by future generations. The Colosseum was built on the orders of the Emperor Vespasian and finished when the Emperor Titus was in power. The building was ultimately completed in AD eighty.
Rome also had many triumphal arches constructed throughout the city to celebrate army victories. These served a dual purpose. First, they were a part of the army victories the Romans had and, second, they were a reminder to the people of Rome of how forceful the regiment was.
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As with any city, Rome had its wealthy and poor areas. The poor could only afford to live in wooden houses which were a heavy fire risk in a hot country like Italy. On a number of occasions, Rome suffered grim damage as a consequence of fires beginning in the city’s slums. The slums were also perilous places to go to if you had any money as crime was very common. The Emperor Augustus made a police force to patrol the city but the poor areas remained all but untamed. However, for the influential people of Rome, this was of little importance as they never visited such areas.
The decline of traditional Rome started from about AD 190. The Roman Empire was attacked by tribes such as the Goths and the Vandals. Civil wars in parts of the empire further weakened the rule of Rome and respect for Roman law decreased as a result.
Why was the empire attacked by cruel clans of people? Tribes such as the Goths wished to move south into parts of Europe that experienced a better climate that would aid their farming. This could only bring them into conflict with the Romans. At roughly AD 190, Rome also experienced a succession of poor emperors who simply were not capable of doing the job.
Diocletian faced more than only administrative problems. More army defences had to be built across the entire empire. This cost money that Rome did not have. To pay for these, taxes were increased and extra coins were minted. This lead to inflation causing prices to rise. Therefore, the people of Rome were less than favourable towards those who led them.
With threats from tribes in northern Europe, fiscal issues in Rome itself and a civilian population becoming more discontented, Rome could ill afford further major issues.
In AD 307, Constantine became emperor. He ruled from AD 307 to AD 337. Constantine was Rome’s first Christian emperor and he is considered to have been a strong ruler.
He thought that Rome as a city was too far away from critical areas of the empire to be of value from a governmental level. Constantine moved the capital of the empire to a new city — Constantinople. This was a new city that was built on the old city of Byzantium. Whatever the motives were, Constantine’s call was a poor one. Constantinople was much further east than Rome and firmly in the eastern empire. This left the western empire really vulnerable — though the eastern empire was barely free from attacks.
However, in AD 398, the leader of the Visigoths, Alaric, realised the Roman army was so thinly spread, that Rome itself was for the taking. Alaric moved carefully south but in AD 410 he captured the city of Rome. The city was sacked. Roman held territory in Spain, France, northern Africa and England all slipped to the assorted clans that attacked them.
In AD 455, Rome was attacked again. This time the damage was done by the Vandals. The city suffered serious damage. In AD 476, the last Roman emperor in the west, Romulus Augustulus, was removed from power by Odovacar, leader of the Goths. This date is generally utilised by historians as the year the Roman Empire ended. However, Roman rule continued in the eastern empire for a number of years after this date — in modern Greece, Turkey, the Middle East and northern Egypt. Even if the ancient Rome fell, today it is a cosmopolitan city. If you like to see the old and modern parts of the city do not hesitate and book your Appartment Rome. All the Appartments Rome are a good starting point to make the most out of the city.
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