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Take your family back to the Roman Empire

Places to visit to learn about the Roman Empire

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Facinating for all ages.

Together, as a family, we've explored Roman history across Europe. From Segoivia, Barcelona, and Bath, to Rome and Ercolano, the kids have enjoyed learning about the dramatic events that took place during these ancient times.

 

What I think makes the topic so interesting for everyone are the stories of the emperors, gladiators, architects, and everyday people that lived through these events. The Roman's seemed to be so far ahead of their time with their roads and aqueducts, legal system, and military advancements. It feels like a society that we can still relate to today.

The Roman Empire

27 BC to AD 476

The Roman Empire was one of the largest and most powerful civilizations in history, lasting from 27 BC to AD 476 in the West and until AD 1453 in the East. It began when Augustus became the first emperor, transforming Rome from a republic into an empire. The Romans are known for their impressive achievements in engineering, law, and government. They built extensive roads, aqueducts, and monumental structures like the Colosseum. The empire spanned three continents, including Europe, Asia, and Africa, and influenced many aspects of Western culture and society that continue to this day..

Rome

"The Eternal City"

Rome, during the height of the Roman Empire, was the epicenter of a vast and powerful civilization that spanned much of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Founded in 753 BCE, Rome transformed from a small city-state into a dominant empire through a combination of military conquests, strategic alliances, and advanced engineering.

 

The Pax Romana, a period of relative peace and stability from 27 BCE to 180 CE, allowed for unprecedented economic growth, cultural exchange, and architectural innovation. Landmark structures such as the Colosseum, the Forum, and the aqueducts exemplify the architectural prowess and the cultural richness of this era. The Roman Empire's legal and political systems, along with its cultural and technological advancements, have left a lasting legacy on Western civilization.

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Fun family stops in Rome

The rise of the Roman Empire

In 27 BCE, Octavian (later Augustus) managed to consolidate power after defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra. He was granted the title Augustus by the Senate, marking the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire. Augustus cleverly maintained the facade of Republican institutions while holding ultimate control, establishing a system that would last for centuries.

Octavian Augustus

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Octavian Augustus, born Gaius Octavius Thurinus on September 23, 63 BCE, was the founder and first emperor of the Roman Empire, ruling from 27 BCE until his death in 14 CE. He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar and rose to power following Caesar's assassination in 44 BCE.

 

After defeating his rivals in a series of civil wars, Octavian was granted the title "Augustus" by the Roman Senate, marking the beginning of the Roman Empire.

 

His reign initiated the Pax Romana, a long period of relative peace and stability. Augustus implemented significant reforms in governance, finance, and infrastructure, consolidating his power and establishing a lasting legacy as one of Rome's greatest leaders.

The Pax Romana

The Pax Romana, which means “Roman Peace,” was a period of relative peace and stability across the Roman Empire that lasted approximately 207 years, from 27 BCE to 180 CE. This era began with the reign of Emperor Augustus and ended with the death of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

 

During the Pax Romana, the empire experienced significant economic prosperity, cultural flourishing, and territorial expansion. The absence of large-scale conflict allowed for advancements in infrastructure, such as the construction of roads, aqueducts, and cities, as well as improvements in administration and governance. This period also saw the spread of Roman law and culture throughout the empire, contributing to the unification and integration of its diverse peoples.

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Hadrian

Emperor Hadrian, who ruled from 117 to 138 CE, is best known for consolidating and fortifying the Roman Empire's boundaries, most notably through the construction of Hadrian's Wall in Britain.

 

He also significantly influenced Roman architecture and culture by commissioning numerous building projects, including the Pantheon in Rome and the extensive Villa Adriana (Hadrian's Villa) in Tivoli.

Learn more about Emperor Hadrian...

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Marcus Aurelius

Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who ruled from 161 to 180 CE, is renowned for his philosophical work "Meditations," which has profoundly influenced Western thought and Stoicism.

 

His reign marked the last period of the Pax Romana, during which he focused on legal reforms, military defense, and the welfare of the empire amidst ongoing conflicts and challenges.

Experiencing the Roman Empire outside of Italy

Rome, at it's peak, expanded into modern day England, France, Spain, Greece, Germany, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, and many more countries. It's influence can still be found in many of these countries today.

The fall of the Western Roman Empire

The fall of the Roman Empire was caused be many different factors coming together at the same time. Historians typically divide the fall into two main periods: the decline of the Western Roman Empire, which ended in 476 CE, and the transformation of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire), which continued until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 CE.

A perfect storm of political, military, economic, social, administrative, and cultural factors brought the once mighty Roman Empire to its end.
  • Political instability and corruption weakened the Roman government. Frequent changes in leadership, with emperors often assassinated or overthrown, led to a lack of consistent and effective governance.

  • Invasions by barbarian tribes such as the Visigoths, Vandals, Huns, and Ostrogoths significantly weakened the Western Empire. The sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 CE and by the Vandals in 455 CE were particularly impactful.

  • The division of the Roman Empire into the Western and Eastern Roman Empires in 285 CE under Emperor Diocletian made the Western Empire more vulnerable to attacks and internal strife.

  • The Roman military became less effective due to a decline in discipline, training, and loyalty. Reliance on mercenary forces who were not always loyal to the Empire the problem worse.

  • The Roman economy suffered from severe inflation, heavy taxation, and reliance on slave labor. These issues weakened the economic foundation of the Empire.

  • The vast size of the Roman Empire made it difficult to govern effectively. Communication and administration across the extensive territories were challenging.

  • There was a decline in the traditional Roman civic virtues and patriotism. This led to a decrease in public morale and loyalty to the state.

  • The movement of the Huns into Europe displaced other barbarian tribes, pushing them into Roman territories and leading to increased conflict.

Get to Know Us

Our kids were 8 and 10 when we first visited Rome. It's one of our most memorable trips. So much so, we returned a few years later to continue our adventures.

 

We loved exploring Rome, learning about ancient Roman history and how this advanced civilization, founded over 2,000 years ago, still influences our daily lives.

The Romans still capture our imaginations after all these years. It doesn't seem to matter how old we are. The architecture, their way of life, and their nation's rise and fall, engage us and make us wonder what it would have been like to live during these ancient times.

If you like exploring the world as much as our family does, check out the app we built in and use to keep track of our journey.

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