Two thousand years ago, on respectable 19, 14 AD, Caesar Augustus died. He to be Rome’s first emperor, having won a polite war much more than 40 years previously that reinvented the dysfunctional roman Republic right into an empire. Under Augustus and his successors, the empire experienced 200 years of family member peace and also prosperity. Below are 40 maps that define the Roman empire — that rise and also fall, its culture and economy, and also how it laid the structures of the contemporary world.
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1) The rise and fall of Rome
In 500 BC, Rome was a young city-state on the Italian peninsula. Through 200 BC, the roman inn Republic had overcame Italy, and also over the adhering to two century it dominated Greece and Spain, the phibìc African coast, much of the center East, modern France, and also even the remote island that Britain. In 27 BC, the republic became an empire, which withstood for one more 400 years. Finally, the expenses of holding together a substantial area together end up being too great. Rome gradually break-up into Eastern and also Western halves, and by 476 ad the Western half of the empire had been destroyed by intrusions from german tribes. The Eastern half of the empire, based in Constantinople, ongoing for countless centuries after that.
2) The Roman empire was vast
At its height roughly 100 AD, the Roman empire stretched native Britain in the Northwest come Egypt in the Southeast. To gain a sense for how large that is, it’s helpful to compare it to the contemporary United States. The Roman districts of Britain and Egypt were about as much apart as the American says of Florida and also Washington. One obvious difference is that the Roman realm had the Mediterranean in the center of it, which assisted move people and supplies over large distances. Still, it’s remarkable that queens operating many centuries prior to the railroad and the telegraph — come say naught of airplanes and also the net — were able to organize together such a huge domain because that so long.
3) Traveling about the empire was excruciatingly slow
This map offers some perspective on just how big Roman region was family member to the transportation technologies of the day. Produced by researchers at Stanford, it approximates how long it took because that someone leave Rome come reach assorted locations approximately the empire. The Mediterranean was a huge help in getting around — most seaside locations in the west Mediterranean might be reached in under a week, and also even far-flung coastal cities favor Alexandria and also Jerusalem could be got to in two weeks. Yet traveling come the interior was an ext difficult. Reaching the most far-off points in the empire, such together Britain, could take close come a month. And of course, going indigenous one end of the empire to the other could take even longer. The researchers calculation that that took seven weeks to travel from Constantinople (at the eastern end of the empire) to London (in the much west).
4) The districts of Rome in 117
The Roman realm reached its best size under the power of Trajan in 117 AD. To aid in administration, it was divided into provinces. The variety of provinces adjusted over time as regions were acquired or lost, and as bigger provinces were separated into smaller sized ones. There were 46 districts under Trajan, a figure that would thrive to 96 by the power of Diocletian (285–305). In Trajan’s time, districts in the internal of the nation were run by governors preferred by the Senate, a legislative body run by leading aristocrats. In contrast, border provinces were operation by governors named straight by the emperor. This to be a defense measure. Border districts needed militaries to defend against invasion, and also emperors worried the if these troops were placed under the regulate of someone no personally faithful to the emperor, that human could shot to seize power and also proclaim himself emperor. This wasn’t an idle issue — coups and also civil battles were a recurrent problem for the empire.
The climb of Rome
5) Italy prior to Roman conquest
In its early years, the Romans shared Italy through several other peoples. The leading power in the neighborhood of Rome was the Etruscans. We don’t know an extremely much about these people, in component because we haven’t established how to read their distinctive language. Yet the evidence says that Rome was ruled by Etruscan majesties until the Romans revolted and established a republic — an occasion that is traditionally dated to 509 BC. East of Rome were other tribes speak languages concerned the Romans’ native Latin. And also by 400 BC, the prosperous and also technologically advanced Greeks had established swarms at Italy’s southerly tip.
6) Rome conquers Italy
Rome go from being one of numerous city-states in 340 BC come being master of the whole peninsula through 264. The conquest arisen in three phases. In 340, Rome come into problem with its previous allies, the neighboring Latins, and also subdued lock by 338. Beginning in 326, Rome fought the Samnites to the East, a conflict that would continue sporadically until Roman victory in 282. Rome likewise fought sparse battles v Etruscans and Gauls come its North during this period. Rome climate turned its fist to the Greeks in the southern of Italy, fighting a war v the Greek king Pyrrhus. Pyrrhus winner two major battles versus the Romans in 280 and also 279, respectively. But he take it such hefty casualties in those battles that he would ultimately lose the battle — giving rise come the hatchet “Pyrrhic victory.”
7) The very first war with Carthage
8) Hannibal attacks Rome through elephants
9) Rome’s powerful maniple formation
In the early on years the the republic, the roman inn infantry used a variation of the Greek phalanx. In this formation, soldiers was standing shoulder come shoulder in a strict packed formation that deserve to be an ext than a dozen soldiers deep. Soldiers in the former were defended by a wall surface of huge shields, and they tried come reach about their shields with lengthy spears come stab the enemy. While this development worked fine on level ground, the Romans discovered it was as well brittle for the hilly terrain whereby they did lot of their fighting. It came to be extremely delicate if a space opened increase in the ranks. To address this weakness, the Romans developed the maniple formation shown here, sometimes described as a “phalanx through joints.” rather of a solitary line that men, the Romans split their infantry into groups of around 120 men, each of which might maneuver independently, and also arranged them in a checkerboard pattern. Maniples behind the prior line have the right to step into any kind of gaps that open up up in the front line. The Romans put their least experienced soldiers in the front heat (the bottom in this picture), in wishes that the opponent would waste power fighting them, making castle too exhausted to put up a fight when they reached more experienced (and better-armed) soldiers additional back.
10) The changing culture of the roman inn army
11) exactly how Augustus trained the roman inn legions
12) A roman inn warship
Rome wasn’t initially a major naval power, however when the Romans came into conflict with the Carthaginians, they establish they required to beat catch-up. They immediately built 20 triremes — therefore named since it had actually 3 financial institutions of oars — and 100 quinqueremes — more heavier ships with five rowers for each financial institution of oars. Start with the triumph over the Carthaginians in 201, Rome began to demand that defeated foes provide up their naval forces, providing Rome undisputed mastery over the Mediterranean. For the very first two centuries of the royal era (beginning in 27 BC), Rome managed the Mediterranean so totally that it wiped the end piracy and didn’t need to fight any significant naval battles.
The republic i do not care an empire
13) Julius Caesar conquers Gaul
In 58 BC, Julius Caesar took command the Rome’s northern frontier and collection out to conquer Gaul, i m sorry corresponds around to modern-day France. He was following in the footsteps of various other ambitious Roman political leaders who had actually led foreign occupations as a means to bolster your reputation at home. This map reflects Caesar’s exploits, i m sorry took nearly a decade and also brought him to nearly every component of contemporary France. Caesar created an account the this project that, remarkably, quiet survives today. While he to be on campaign, Caesar’s enemies gained the upper hand in Rome and also declared martial law. If Caesar had actually returned come Rome together a exclusive citizen — there is no his military for backup — he would certainly have confronted trial because that alleged misdeeds prior to his departure (the charges had some merit, however he was far from the very first Roman politician to bend the rules). However Roman legislation forbade a basic on project to enter Italy at the head of one army. In 49 BC, Caesar took the fateful step of crossing the Rubicon, the flow that significant the northern border of Italy, with his army. That triggered the civil battle that would destroy the roman inn Republic. (Click the photo to view the complete map.)
14) Caesar wins the civil war
15) Julius Caesar is assassinated
16) The battle of Actium provides Augustus Rome’s first emperor
The shed city that Pompeii
17) The eruption of mountain Vesuvius
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18) The excavation that Pompeii