The Roman Empire

As Roman power grew, great wealth came to Rome. The army generals began to compete for control of the Republic, and civil war began to flare up across the Roman world. Julius Caesar was one of these ambitious leaders. He defeated his rivals and became the sole ruler of Rome in 45 BC. But his rule was short-lived; his enemies in the senate feared he would become a king and murdered him.

Death of Mark Antony Civil war continued until Caesar's nephew, Octavian, won out over the other contenders for power, like Mark Antony.
Octavian, later called Augustus, was the first Roman emperor. Imperial Rome's powerful army continued to conquer more lands expanding around the Mediterranean and reaching as far north as Britain. The army was important first as the Empire expanded and then to maintain the Roman holdings and protect the thousands of miles of frontier. The army was very powerful and usually elected the emperor. Eventually Rome was invaded by peoples from other parts of Europe and was overtaken in 410 AD. However, the Eastern part of the Empire continued - as the Byzantine Empire.

© Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University,
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and Dallas Museum of Art
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