Imperial Rome Republican Rome came to an end in 27 bce , and the Roman Empire began. The first emperor was Augustus, who greatly improved the city. He divided it into 14 areas, each one run by officials. He set up a fire brigade and a police force. He constructed many buildings, boasting that he transformed a city made of brick into one made of marble. Later emperors continued to build in These powerful people were called patricians. The ordinary people of Rome were known as plebeians. In 494 bce the plebeians rebelled against patrician rule. The result was the election of two plebeian representatives, called tribunes, and a written code of law called the Twelve Tables, displayed in the Forum. Patricians and Plebeians The elected consuls in the Roman Republic were guided by a council called the Senate. Only the richest people in Rome could vote for the consuls, or be in the Senate.

Julius Caesar was one of Ancient Rome’s greatest leaders. He came to power in 49 bce. Five years later he was murdered on his way to a meeting in the Senate.

Rome and to expand the Empire. During the 1st and early 2nd century ad Rome was a magnificent city, with a population of more than one million.

The fall of the Empire In the 3rd century ad the Romans found it increasingly hard to control their huge empire. Foreign tribes were threatening to invade and there was a risk of civil war . To try to protect the city, Emperor Aurelius built a huge wall, the Aurelian Wall, around Rome. Nevertheless the city was raided and looted in 410 by the Visigoths and in 455 by the Vandals . In 476 the western half of the Roman Empire collapsed, completely overrun by foreign tribes.

A maid brushes her mistress’ hair. This stone sculpture is from Tunisia in North Africa, part of the Roman Empire. ⌂



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