Learn how Julius Caesar and the Roman army created an empire. A total of 22 emperors took the throne, many of them meeting violent ends at the hands of the same soldiers who had propelled them to power. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. After Constantine, few emperors ruled the entire Roman Empire. Constantinople became the largest city in the empire and a major commercial center. During the later republic and most of the empire, Rome was the dominant power in the entire Mediterranean basin, most of western Europe, and large areas of northern Africa. Learn more about the Roman Empire in this article. Both “Byzantine Empire” and “Eastern Roman Empire” are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire, and thought of themselves as Romans. Roman aqueducts, first developed in 312 B.C., enabled the rise of cities by transporting water to urban areas, improving public health and sanitation. Prior to his reign, Roman laws had differed from region to region, and many contradicted one another. This not only served as the basis for law in the Byzantine Empire, but it was the main influence on the Catholic Church’s development of canon law, and went on to become the basis of law in many European countries. Explore the possible origins of the fall of the Roman Empire in this video. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). In 391 and 392, he issued a series of edicts essentially banning pagan religion. With Justinian’s army bogged down fighting in Italy, the empire’s defenses against the Persians on its eastern frontiers were weakened. As the first Roman emperor to claim conversion to Christianity, Constantine played an influential role in the development of Christianity as the religion of the empire. Omissions? Leo I succeeded Marcian as emperor, and after the fall of Attila, the true chief in Constantinople was the Alan general, Aspar. In 325, he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council. She created a convent on the Asian side of the Dardanelles called the Metanoia (Repentance), where the ex-prostitutes could support themselves. This period encompassed the career of Julius Caesar, who eventually took full power over Rome as its dictator. Rome developed where a salt trade route crossed the river Tiber en route to the coast, near the seven hills the city is said to be built on. The text was composed and distributed almost entirely in Latin, which was still the official language of the government of the Byzantine Empire in 529-534, whereas the prevalent language of merchants, farmers, seamen, and other citizens was Greek. The city of Rome changed hands multiple times, and most of the cities of Italy were abandoned or fell into a long period of decline. Most scholars accept that it did not happen at one time, but that it was a slow process; thus, late Roman history overlaps with early Byzantine history. Byzantine Empire under the Justinian dynasty. Byzantine merchants traded not only all over the Mediterranean region, but also throughout regions to the east. He stabilized the coinage (the gold solidus that he introduced became a highly prized and stable currency), and made changes to the structure of the army. When Leo II died later that year, Zeno became emperor. Justinian was responsible for the construction of the Hagia Sophia, the center of Christianity in Constantinople. Roman arches, or segmented arches, improved upon earlier arches to build strong bridges and buildings, evenly distributing weight throughout the structure. Christianity would become a major element of Byzantine culture. Rome was built on seven hills, known as “the seven hills of Rome”—Esquiline Hill, Palatine Hill, Aventine Hill, Capitoline Hill, Quirinal Hill, Viminal Hill and Caelian Hill. He sent a new general, Narses, to Italy with a small force. Much of Constantinople was burned down early in Justinian’s reign after a series of riots called the Nika riots, in 532 CE, when angry racing fans became enraged at Justinian for arresting two popular charioteers (though this was really just the last straw for a populace increasingly angry over rising taxes) and tried to depose him. The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having great influence and ultimate regulatory authority within the religious discussions involving the early Christian councils of that time (most notably, the dispute over Arianism, and the nature of God). Along with her husband, she is a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, commemorated on November 14. Emperor Justinian was responsible for substantial expansion, a legal code, and the Hagia Sophia, but suffered defeats against the Persians. The government was restructured and civil and military authority separated. The fall of Rome was completed in 476, when the German chieftain Odoacer deposed the last Roman emperor of the West, Romulus Augustulus. Trajan (98-117) expanded Rome’s borders to the greatest extent in history with victories over the kingdoms of Dacia (now northwestern Romania) and Parthia. The Theodosian Walls consisted of a double wall lying about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. The dynastic principle was established so firmly that the emperor who died in that year, Theodosius I, could bequeath the imperial office jointly to his sons, Arcadius in the East and Honorius in the West. Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. The revived Roman law, in turn, became the foundation of law in all civil law jurisdictions. B. A brief treatment of the Roman Empire follows. All three parts, even the textbook, were given force of law. Among the beloved rulers of Rome were Trajan (reigned 98–117), Hadrian (117–138), Antoninus Pius (138–161), and Marcus Aurelius (161–180). He moved the Roman capital to the Greek city of Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople. The fall of the Roman Empire was complete. From the great pyramids of the Old Kingdom through the military conquests of the New ...read more, 1. The end of the Western Empire is sometimes dated to 476, early in Zeno’s reign, when the Germanic Roman general, Odoacer, deposed the titular Western Emperor Romulus Augustulus, but declined to replace him with another puppet. Rome was the founding city and government hub of Ancient Rome and was located in what is now known as central Italy. To divide administrative responsibilities, Constantine replaced the single praetorian prefect, who had traditionally exercised both military and civil functions, with regional prefects enjoying civil authority alone. Roman architecture, though often imitative of Greek styles, was boldly planned and lavishly executed. Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct in Nîmes, France. The power of the monarch passed to two annually elected magistrates called consuls. Byzantine Emperor Justinian I achieved lasting fame through his judicial reforms, particularly through the complete revision of all Roman law, something that had not previously been attempted.