Dawn To Demise of Roman Empire: 3. The Birth of Imperial Rome
This is the third article in the series of Dawn To Demise of The Roman Empire. I recommend you to read all the article one by one. I will set up the links once I publish all the article. (Second article: Dawn To Demise of The Roman Empire: 2. Rome Rise as a Superpower)
After winning wars Rome overcome as a superpower in the whole world. Before Julius Caesar (July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) assassinated in 44 BC, he had enlarged the boundaries of the Roman Empire. And he became a first absolute ruler of the Roman Empire. Yet the Roman Empire was not officially declared until Caesar’s nephew Octavian (63 BC-14 AD) took power in 27 BC.
Although Caesar had named Octavian as his successor, he faced opposition, from both his uncle’s supporters and rivals. Octavian agreed to rule as part of a triumvirate (a three-man ruling council) with Marcus Lepidus (89 or 88 BC -13 BC) and Mark Antony (83-30 BC), one of Caesar’s trusted lieutenants. This triumvirate in turn faced a civil was brought about by Gaius Cassius (?-42 BC) and Marcus Junius Brutus (85-42 BC), two of the conspirators in Caesar’s assassination who wanted to re-establish the republic. After that defeat, the triumvirate divided their rule geographically, with Octavian in Europe, Lepidus in Africa and Antony in Egypt.
In Egypt, where the local monarchy was subjected to Roman rule, Mark Antony setup the seat of power in the cosmopolitan city of Alexandra where he fell in love with and married the Egyptian queen Cleopatra (69-30 BC). He named their three children as his successors and frequently gave his wife lavish presents, which spawned a rumor that he planned to give her Rome itself as a gift. When word of this rumor reached Octavian became infuriated and declared war. The two sides met in the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, where the armies of Antony and Cleopatra were defeated. They escaped to Egypt with the remnants of their forces, but Octavian was in close pursuit. This war is also known as the Final War of the Roman Republic. Sensing that their cause was hopeless, both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30 BC. Octavian declared himself to be the Roman emperor, taking the name Caesar Augustus.
Actium was turning point for Rome and for world history. If Octavian had lost, the center45 of world power would have shifted from Rome to Alexandria, and the character of the empire would have changed dramatically. It would have become the cosmopolitan tapestry that Alexander the Great had envisioned for his empire rather than the tightly disciplined, centrally controlled kingdom that it become under Octavian. The Latin language and the Roman alphabet would not have become the standard for all the Europe and Christianity probably would not have spread as widely and successfully as it subsequently did.
Rome had been an Empire before Octavian became Caesar Augustus. But it was he who proclaimed it to be the Roman Empire, and it was he who presided over a period when Pax Roman (the peace of Rome) reigned throughout the “known world”. This Pax Roman span for approximately 206 years. Thus began Rome’s golden age. United under a single powerful leader, the Empire began to flourish culturally and commercially. Art and literature began to become an important part of life in Roman cities, and massive construction projects were undertaken to build roads, bridges, aqueducts, coliseums, apartment house and public building in the city of Rome and throughout the Empire. So Caesar Augustus was the real inventor of the Roman Empire.
Nearly 500 years run as the world’s super power, The Western Roman Empire crumbled in late fourth century. But in by fourth century Romans began to experience great difficulties to manage their far-flung empire. And The demise of Roman Empire started.