In this context, we shall look into the Roman Empire with primary source analysis book, ‘As the Roman did’, which is a great source book in Roman history. Other secondary sources are included in the bibliographies. Using these sources we shall mainly explore the origin of the Roman Empire, its territories and government, the lifestyle of its people, their skills and their trade investments.
Roman Empire was an ancient civilization of post-republican period, which was founded in 753 BC. It had an autocratic government that covered large territories around Northern Africa, the Mediterranean sea Islands, large areas of Western Asia and Britain1. This ancient Roman Empire developed from a very small town that was along Tiber River in Central Italy. Around seven kings ruled it before the Romans took control of their cities. They then formed senate that ruled them and appointed a Consul who ruled and acted like a King.
In Rome, people were classified in four classes. The highest class was of the nobles who had real powers; the second one was for the rich who could be given a horse in case of war to fight for the Roman Empire. The third class was of people who were free but had little to contribute and the lowest class comprised of slaves who were owned by the nobles2. Romans were known for their engineering skills. They used these skills to deliver a competent public service system and add on quality of life of people living there. They even had built system of aqueduct that carried water from many miles away to the cities.
House rents in Rome were higher than in its small towns. However, many people preferred living in Rome as it was a big city and one could enjoy life. The people who lived in the city had an advantage over those who lived in the rural areas. This is because they could enjoy conveniences and the public services. On the other hand, they had to persevere congestion and noise in the city. The senators who enjoyed great income from them owned most houses. Mostly, rental houses were advertised on the outside wall of the building. In A.D 64, almost a third of houses in central Rome were damage by fires. This was because most buildings were made of wood, and people used oil lamps and open fires for lighting. However, it was suspected that some people would have intentionally set their house on fire in order for them to benefit from insurance money.
The business people were the few who had a little capital that could be invested and produce a little more capital over those who earned from wages. By owning a small business, one would belong in a separate class that is the lower class and he would be above in property value than the man with no investments. The most common investments were real estates and the senatorial families who as well invested in agricultural lands mainly achieved this. In ancient Rome, those who loaned money were individuals with enough money to make capitals. These people made great fortunes and mainly used agents to conceal their identities.
Rome was known as the world trade center3. Many opportunities for trade grew as Rome dominance increased from Italy to Europe and to the Mediterranean world. Wealthy men used the sea to ship cargo, and travelled to almost all provinces with goods and some traders went even further from the boundaries of Roman Empire. The Romans also traded with China and India. The good Roman roads contributed to quick and easier business as transportation of goods, business records, military supplies and movement of troops was simplified. This was also beneficial to those who travelled for leisure on both land and sea. Their purpose would be to visit friends, to vacation villas and see sights.
Most holidays in Rome were religious festivals. They were specifically held to appease the spirits and gods who were believed to control the weather, crops growth and animal breeding. The festive days were kept for sacrifice and rituals. Other festivals were made to honor and thank the gods for military victories or before a battle. The Romans also had various entertainments that used the public funds.
In conclusion, Roman Empire is marked as an empire that was largest in the world history4. It was the mother of literature, technology, architecture and culture in the prehistoric. The ancient Roman engineers constructed unparalleled road network hence the saying, “All roads lead to Rome.”
Potter, David. A companion to the Roman Empire. United Kingdom: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.
Steele, Philip. The Roman Empire. New York: The Rosen Group, 2009.
Temin, Peter. “The Economy of the Early Roman Empire.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 1, no. 20 (2006): 133-151.