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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

World History
Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

Augustus Caesar
Augustus Caesar

Rise of the Roman Empire

Rome was no longer a republic; Augustus was a dictator. (Augustus means honored and majestic.) Augustus restored order to Rome. During the Pax Romana period there were 200 years of peace within Rome - 27 BC to 180 AD. The Empire extended from Britain to Asia Minor. Many aspects of Rome changed and the Romans expanded on Greek Culture. Augustus died in 14 AD. (During his time Jesus was born.)

The Successors of Augustus

Tiberius (14 - 37 AD)
During the time of Tiberius a religious prophet was crucified in the province of Judea. His people assured him it was no big deal - At the time of the crucifixion, the sky darkened. This unexplained phenomenon was reported by contemporary historians to have occurred in all known parts of the world.

Caligula (37 - 41 AD)
Caius Caesar Germaniccus, Caligula (means "little boots") was mean and crazy. Caligula gave his horse a government position, had many killed - even some of his own family members. A year after taking over, Caligula began thinking he was a god and justified his incest with his sisters by citing Jupiter's liaison with his sister Juno. He threw wild banquets.

Caligula also became increasingly obsessed with killing for pleasure. He would feed slaves to his twelve pet lions when lion food was short, and he would have his guards kill people for the smallest reasons - like not smiling at him. Caligula would close down the granaries just for fun so the people would starve, and then would laugh as they rioted. Then he would set the army after them to beat them to death. "Let them hate me, as long as they fear me."

Arch of Caligula
Arch Dedicated to Caligula, in Pompeii

Caligula was killed by his own soldiers when he had stopped to watch a theater group practice. He needed the diversion because of a stomachache he had gotten from a night of banqueting. Caligula was surrounded by a group of assassins. The first one hit him across the jaw with a club. As he fell to the ground, he taunted them by saying he was still alive, Strike again! They did, with an entire group of swordsmen.

Claudius (41 - 54 AD)
Claudius restored order in the Roman Empire.


Nero (54 - 68 AD)
Nero was a mean lunatic. He was second in line to the throne. Nero poisoned the first in line to the throne, murdered his mother (after having an affair with her), and murdered his wife. He would have night chariot races in which he would cover slaves with tar and light them on fire to be torches. Nero did do some nice things such as provide food and shelter after the fire had destroyed Rome.

Nero blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians and started persecuting them. Probably, the persecution started because the Jews and Christians did not get along because the Christians kept trying to get the Jews to convert. The Romans hated "Disturbances of the Peace," and went after those who caused them. Nero killed himself in 68 AD.

Military Leaders (after a year of chaos)

Vespasian (69 - 79 AD)
Vespasian restored order and built the Colosseum. He fought a Jewish uprising. (The Jews wanted to reestablish their ancient kingdom.) In 70 AD the Romans captured Jeruselum and destroyed the temple. The Jews went to Masada (Mt. Fortress - it still stands) and fought for two years. Eventually, most committed suicide rather than give up.

The Good Emperors (after Titus and Domitian)

Nerva (96 AD)
In 96 AD Nerva took over and set up a system of choosing the successor to avoid violence. Trajan (98 - 117 AD) Trajan ruled during the biggest time of the empire. He added Mesopotamia to the Roman Empire. Trajan was a benevolent ruler cutting taxes, and helping the poor.


Hadrian (117 - 138 AD)
Hadrian secured the empire and built a wall in Britain. (They messed up and put a moat on both sides of the wall!) Hadrian put down a Jewish revolt and gave harsh punishments to the rebels. He renamed the area "Syria Palestina" which made the Jews mad. Hadrian only let Jews come to Jeruselum once a year. He wanted to let non-Jews settle there. Most Jews either left or became slaves.

HadrianHadrian's Wall
Roman Emperor Hadrian; Hadrian's Wall

Marcus Aurelius (161 - 180 AD)
Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher. He broke the old system and chose his son, Commodus, a megalomaniac, to rule.

Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius

Back to the Top

I - The Etruscans / Romulus and Remus

II - The Roman Republic

III - Augustus Caesar

IV - Rise of the Roman Empire

V - Roman Life and the Spread of Christianity

VI - The Pax Romana and Roman Culture

VII - Decline of the Roman Empire

Class Activity
Roman Aqueduct Project

Further Topical Reading
Historical Jesus

More Information
The Emperors of Rome

Malaria May Have Hastened the Fall of Rome

Virtual Tour of Ancient Rome - Past & Present

The Ancient City of Pompeii

Historical Periods of
World History Class Study

| Prehistory | Mesopotamia & Phoenicians |
| Ancient Egypt | Greece | Rome |
| Medieval History | Renaissance and Reformation |
| Exploration | National Monarchies |
| The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment |
| Colonial America and American Revolution |
| The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era



Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Advanced Placement Modern European History | Rise of Nation State England | World History |
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