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The Structure Of The Roman Empire

1719 words - 7 pages

The Roman Empire, was the largest known civilization. The Roman Empire began when Augustus won the second great civil war and ended, when the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was overthrown by the Germanic King Odoacer. The empire continued in the East as the Byzantine Empire (Mark). The structure of the Empire was such that one individual had complete control over all matters of the state, The Emperor, of course there were various branches of the government that still served under the emperor and functioned on their own, dealing with the integral economic and social aspects of the Roman state.

The concept of consul’s remained, yet their power was diminished and they could only serve as advisors to the Emperor and acted as a bridge between him and the Senate. The senate functioned in a similar manner as they did during the time of the public. The only difference being that it was now far more open. It expected people of all nationalities and classes. In fact by the end of the first century even the Roman Emperor, need not have been of roman blood. One aspect that greatly differed in terms of the empire and republic was the Empire’s ability to promote the class of an individual. Anyone could gain move up in the class system. This greatly aided society as it made revolts less common and all people under the empire’s rule were appeased, at least to a certain extent (“The Roman Empire”). This was perhaps their greatest improvement and one of the Empire’s strongest points.

The beginnings of the Roman Empire was known as Pax Romana, also known as the Pax Augusta, which was initiated by the first Emperor, Augustus, it was possible the largest time period during which Rome was not at war or in conflict, this could be considered the peak of the Roman Empire. The people were appeased, the economy was benefiting from the break from war and Rome was able to organize its internal affairs.

The Roman Empire’s primary weakness lay in who was in power. Since all Emperors had unrivalled rule throughout the Empire, many began to abuse the title. Many Emperor’s such Vitellius, Nero and Caligula often ignored their duties as Emperor and used their title for self-gain. They would use their newfound wealth, gained from the title, to pamper themselves, enjoying the luxuries that Rome offered. The Emperor’s lost their dictum and prestige.

The wealth of the Roman nation greatly increased during the Empire’s reign. This was due to the fact that they were no longer at war. Yet, since Emperor’s and other officials began to spend it on luxuries this went to waste. Rome eventually also switched to the barter system, gold coins became less prominent. This meant salaries were paid with food and other household items. Tax was also paid in the same manner.

When the transition from Republic to Empire came about many of the Republic’s traits remained, the only difference being the addition of an Emperor, the flexibility of the class system and the...

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