How Long Did the Roman Empire Last? (Explained)

You may have wondered, how long did the Roman Empire last? We give you a full breakdown and everything to know.

how long did the roman empire last

The Roman Empire was one of history’s most powerful civilizations.

During the reign of the Roman Empire, humanity advanced toward new ideas, which people continue to study and master to this day.

We might not be as interested in subjects like math, science, sports, politics, military tactics, and even creative and performing arts if the Roman Empire did not exist.

This long-reigning empire made the most of its time on the throne and evolved into a more civilized society.

How Long Did the Roman Empire Last?

How Long Did the Roman Empire Last?

Beginning in the eighth century BC, the Roman Empire lasted over 1,000 years.

The western part of the Empire fell in the fifth century AD, while the eastern part remained as the Byzantine Empire for the next 1,000 years, encircling the city of Constantinople, now known as Istanbul in modern-day Turkey.

When the city of Rome was founded during the time of Ancient Rome, the Roman Empire began.

Historians frequently divide the Roman Empire’s development into three stages: the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire.

Julius Caesar took control of the crumbling Roman Republic, which marked the beginning of the Roman Empire.

The Roman Republic had developed a taste for both land and power, but its leaders had no idea how to balance the two.

The Roman Republic eventually conquered Italy, North Africa, and the Mediterranean.

With more people relying on the Roman Republic than ever before, Rome’s resources were becoming scarce, and the gap between rich and poor grew wider by the day.

The Roman Republic thought that paying their soldiers in gold, it could solve the wealth problem, but all it did was make the soldiers more loyal to their generals rather than the Roman Republic.

Julius Caesar was one of these generals, and he believed that if he could run a successful army, he could run a successful country.

Julius Caesar’s reign ended when he asked the Senate to make him dictator for life. Instead of a lifetime guarantee on his republic, he was stabbed multiple times in the back and died in 44 BC.

Octavian, Julius’ adopted son, quickly took over and became the first Emperor of Rome.

By this time, Rome ruled over Egypt, Southern Europe, Western Europe, Crimea, the Balkans, and a large portion of the Middle East.

This period is regarded as the Roman Empire’s pinnacle of power.

The Fall of the Roman Empire

The Fall Of The Roman Empire

What made the Roman Empire so powerful was also what did it. At the height of its power, the empire had gained so much land thanks to its military.

While paying the military had been dubious at first, their army had grown too large for their pockets.

The Roman Empire barely had enough money to pay its soldiers, so money couldn’t be spent on the many other important aspects of running an empire.

Wealth disparities were resurfacing as a problem.

While new laws made slavery less legal, the government had no way of compensating the numerous other types of workers who served them.

Despite the Roman Empire’s best efforts to fund the military, its expensive army continued to lose battle after battle.

The Roman Empire was losing control, and no one was sure what to do. Over-expansion landed the Romans in hot water once more.

Another battle was raging within the empire, and it was a battle of faith.

The Romans had their own religion for centuries, and many of them saw their governing bodies as deities as well.

Christianity spread quickly throughout the Empire, beginning in the Middle East.

With each passing day, more Romans were turning to the Christian faith and their god rather than the many gods they had previously worshiped.

The Western Roman Empire fell first, followed by the Eastern Roman Empire about 800 years later.

The Council of 12

The Council of 12

The Romans worshiped twelve major gods and goddesses.

Jupiter, Juno, Neptune, Minerva, Mars, Venus, Apollo, Diana, Vulcan, Mercury, Ceres, and Vesta comprised the Di Consentes, or Council of 12.

Each of these gods and goddesses had its own role in daily Roman life. Jupiter is the Di Consentes’ leader and the king of all gods.

He was considered the god of the sky, thunder, and lightning.

When Saturn died, he and his two brothers divided their authority over the heavens, the underworld, and the sea.

Jupiter was married to Juno, his sister. She was the proctor of Rome and married women, as well as the goddess of marriage.

Neptune is the sea god and the god of horses and horse racing. His rage would cause massive storms and rough seas.

Minerva was Neptune’s niece and Jupiter’s daughter.

Minerva was known as the goddess of a thousand works because she oversaw the arts, poetry, and wisdom.

Mars was the son of Jupiter and Juno and the god of war.

Like Neptune, he was known for being an attractive god, but he was also known for being mean, cocky, and bloodthirsty.

He was married to Venus, the goddess of beauty, love, sex, desire, victory, and fertility, and they had four children.

Venus was the wife of Vulcan, the god of fire, the forge, and blacksmithing. Apollo was the sun, music, and prophecy god.

He was a gentle and complex god with his own cult, the Delphic Cult. Diana was Apollo’s twin and the hunt and moon goddess.

Mercury was the god of travel, communication, trickery, and profit who wore winged sandals. Ceres was the goddess of agriculture, harvest, and fertility.

Vesta was the goddess of home and hearth.

Caesar and Cleopatra

Caesar and Cleopatra

While many people are aware that Cleopatra was a beloved Egyptian ruler, you may not be aware that Julius Caesar assisted her in her ascension to the throne.

Cleopatra was forced to marry her 10-year-old brother when she was 18 in order to keep the throne after her father died.

Cleopatra, on the other hand, had no intention of sharing her throne.

She was known for being as intelligent as she was beautiful, and when she was forced out, she fled to Syria, leaving her younger brother in charge.

Cleopatra begged Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire to help her reclaim the kingdom that was rightfully hers.

Fortunately, the Roman Empire was already irritated with the Egyptians for failing to repay the money owed to the Romans at the start of the financial crisis.

Cleopatra’s younger son and his forces were driven out of Egypt by the Roman Empire. He was thought to have drowned in the Nile River.

Cleopatra and Julius Caesar spent a lot of time together during this time and eventually had a child named Caesarion, which meant Little Caesar.

Cleopatra and Caesarion returned to Egypt after Julius Caesar was assassinated. Cleopatra became Egypt’s ruler alongside her son after finally having a male counterpart to rule with.

Innovations that Helped Build the Roman Empire

Innovations that Helped Build the Roman Empire

Many things in our daily lives can be attributed to innovations created by the Roman Empire.

While there was a strong emphasis on the military and fighting, knowledge and wisdom were highly valued and regarded as the Council of 12 blessings.

Concrete and cement were two of the innovations that literally built the Roman Empire.

Many of the ancient structures that modern-day tourists flock to in Rome are still standing thanks to the Roman Empire’s concrete.

Everything from holy temples to aqueducts and even bridges was built with concrete. They made their cement from slaked lime and volcanic ash, also known as pozzolana.

The Romans respected their bathroom time, whether it was in a public toilet or a public bathhouse.

There was also underground sewage. All of this was made possible by their invention of the aqueduct.

They were first used in 312 BC to transport water throughout the city. Roman aqueducts could be up to 60 miles long!

As the Roman Empire expanded, its citizens and military required more convenient modes of transportation.

They began constructing roads out of dirt, gravel, and granite or hardened volcanic lava bricks. By the year 200 AD, more than 50,000 miles of road had been constructed.

The newly constructed roads made it less likely for travelers to become lost and made it easier for the military to disseminate information following battles.

After mastering the art of making concrete, the Roman Empire used it to create beautiful arches that contribute to the architecture’s distinct appearance.

The iconic Roman column, as well as vaulted and domed ceilings, were created while working on the arches.

The Romans made certain that every structure was both beautiful and functional.

The Roman Empire’s Education

The Roman Empire's Education

Many of the Roman Empire’s great thinkers found inspiration for their lives in Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.

Although philosophers and scientists were not paid as well as soldiers, this did not deter their inventive drive to improve their standard of living.

The Roman Empire desired well-rounded citizens.

Julius Caesar’s first requirement of the Senate was the release of written statements about what they were discussing and deciding on for the day.

This resulted in the Acta Diurna, or “daily acts.” These stone or metal tablets were placed in high-traffic areas of the city.

Not only could you read about the Senate, but also about war efforts, a list of games being held, gladiatorial battles, and citizen births and deaths.

Despite the fact that the Acta Diurna was written on metal and stone tablets, the Roman Empire did produce bound books.

Tablets were too large to store a large number of them and were a pain to transport. The Romans created the codex to facilitate the spread and preservation of knowledge.

The first codices were made of wax tablets, but they were later replaced with parchment made of animal skin.

The Julian calendar was created and used for many years, though it is no longer in use.

This near-perfect calendar had a few flaws that the Gregorian calendar later corrected.

Julius Caesar was about 11 minutes off from the actual solar year when he worked alongside the astronomer Sosigenes.

This threw off his entire schedule by a few days. The Romans also refused to have a month end on an even number because they considered it unlucky.

There would be no Gregorian calendar if the Julian calendar did not exist.

Julius Caesar’s Assassination

The Assassination Of Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar, though beloved by his people, was not a favorite of any Senate members. Julius had grown quite conceited during his reign.

Purple was a color reserved for the gods during the Roman Empire, but Julius had a purple robe made for himself.

Julius was not only admired for saving Rome after the Roman Republic fell, but he was also a well-known journey, scientific, and political author.

His writings were popular throughout the empire and even outside of it. However, 60 senators plotted to assassinate him because of his arrogance.

The Senate held a crowning ceremony for Caesar to be crowned king in February, but Caesar refused to participate.

Instead, Caesar requested that the Senate appoint him dictator for life, but power was making Caesar uncontrollable.

Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times by a group of people on March 15, 44 BC.

Among those who assassinated Caesar was Marcius Junius Brutus, whom Julius recognized and treated as his own son.

When Julius realized that Marcius was one of the men sent to kill him, he stopped defending himself and surrendered, knowing that something terrible had happened and that the only way to fix it was for him to die.

Everyone knew the Senate had staged the assassination in the hopes of gaining public favor, but the exact opposite occurred.

The public despised the Senate for what they had done, and civil wars erupted across the Roman Empire.

Augustus and Antony formed the Second Triumvirate with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, another Roman general.

This agreement gave Marc Antony control of the eastern side of the empire and Augustus control of the western side.

This worked out especially well for Marc Antony, who was having an affair with Cleopatra despite being married to Augustus’s younger sister.

The Fall of Augustus

The Fall of Augustus

Octavian, Julius Caesar’s adopted son, and grandnephew took his place as soon as he died. When he came to power, he changed his name to Augustus Caesar.

Augustus lived a 75-year life, spending every minute of it after the age of 17 cleaning up the mess he had inherited.

Augustus came to power during civil wars and times of intense public unrest. He was, however, able to do a lot of damage control and bring the Roman Empire back to life.

Augustus was mostly raised by his grandmother, Julius Caesar’s sister. He fought alongside Caesar and was a formidable soldier as well as a political leader.

Augustus was shipwrecked while fighting, cutting him off from the rest of the Roman military. Augustus swam to shore before beginning the long journey back to Rome.

Julius was so impressed with the young man’s survival skills and determination that he bestowed upon him the title of Emperor of the Roman Empire.

The Senate and Julius Caesar’s old allies preferred Augustus, but his rival, Marc Antony, was still determined to take the throne.

After Augustus’ army was defeated by Marc Antony’s army, they agreed to work together to rid the Roman Empire of any traitors who had killed Julius Caesar.

Augustus and Antony formed the Second Triumvirate with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, another Roman general.

This agreement gave Marc Antony control of the eastern side of the empire and Augustus control of the western side.

This worked out especially well for Marc Antony, who was having an affair with Cleopatra despite being married to Augustus’s younger sister.

What Destroyed the Roman Empire?

Finally, in 476, the Germanic leader Odoacer led a revolt that resulted in the deposition of Emperor Romulus Augustulus.

No Roman emperor would ever again rule from a post in Italy, prompting many to identify 476 as the year the Western Empire died.

How Did Roman Empire End?

Emperor Romulus Augustulus was deposed by the Germanic King Odoacer on September 4, 476 CE, officially ending the Western Roman Empire (though some historians date the end as 480 CE with the death of Julius Nepos).

What was the Roman Downfall?

The fall of the Western Roman Empire (also known as the fall of the Roman Empire or the fall of Rome) was the loss of central political control in the Western Roman Empire, a process in which the Empire’s vast territory was divided into several successor polities as a result of the Empire’s failure to enforce its rule.

How Many Years Did Roman Empire Last?

The Roman Empire was one of the world’s greatest and most influential civilizations, lasting over 1000 years.

Because of the scope and length of their reign, it has been difficult to trace their rise to power and fall.

When Did the Roman Empire Begin and End?

The Roman Empire conquered and assimilated dozens of cultures between its founding in 625 BC and its fall in AD 476.

The influence of these cultures can be seen in objects made and used throughout the Empire, such as oil lamps.

The Influence of the Roman Empire

The Fall of Augustus

Many historical figures, including Napoleon, coveted this once-royal kingdom turned global empire.

This empire’s numerous advancements gave us our modern calendar, indoor plumbing, waste management, newspapers, concrete, roads, and countless other innovations.

Their rich history teaches many lessons, such as not taking on more than you can handle and how pride can be your downfall.

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CSN Team.

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