|Motto: Homo sapiens non urinat in ventum.|
|Anthem: "Gaul Along The Watchtower"|
The Roman Empire at the time of its greatest extent. Notice the seven volcanoes just outside of the Neutral Zone.
|Largest city||Rome or Alexandria|
|Government||Republic, Dictator from 46 BC-476 AD|
|Emperor||Imperator Caesar Anyone Pius Felix Augustus|
|National Heroes||Romulus, Remus, Crassus, Crapus, Gaius Julius Caesar, iClaudius, Homo Sexualis, Caligula, Spartacus, Don Corleone, Johnius Stamosius, Liksalotapus, Attila the Hun.|
|Currency||Large blocks of salt and the original Euro™|
|Area||1.5 million square miles (+/- 5 meters3)|
|Population||60 million (Estimated)|
|National Bird||Two-headed mutant eagle|
|National religion||Paganism; later Christianity|
The Roman Empire was the most powerful and technologically advanced empire in the classical ages. After founding the republic in 500 BC and until the fall of the empire in 476 AD, they went on to become masters of nearly all of Europe. "Western" culture claims its roots in the combined "Greco-Roman" culture. Rome was the glory and light of Europe, having built the most magnificent structures, temples and buildings. Romans invented concrete and the government ideology that democratic processes are used to elect the people who control the empire or country at question.
How Rome was built (in a day) by the Romans
- For a totally biased opposing view on how Rome was built by the Romans, see Ancient Rome.
The Roman Empire took its name from the city of Rome. It was said its site was chosen by Romulus, the wolf brought up son of the god Mars and Princess Bar of Alba Longo. Bar's father Confectionarius disowned paternity of Romulus and his jazzier twin brother Remus and sent the boys to a Lupine adoption agency. The boys eventually returned home some years later with their four legged friends and tore Confectionarius apart.
Deciding they needed a new start, Romulus and Remus looked elsewhere to set up shop in Italy. They chose the site of Seven Hills for Seven Valleys and called it Oregon. Remus objected, said he wanted to join Hogwarts and become a wizard or something, and was killed for dissent. Romulus's companions agreed to call the new city Romulusville until it was shortened to Rome. This was supposed to have happened in 753 BC from which the Romans then based their calendar. Rome was then ruled by a series of kings until the last one Tarquin Finbintin-Super-Dufurus was deposed in 509. Those Romans with clean togas declared their city a Republic and rewarded themselves with sinecures, young secretaries and pork barrels.
The Romans without clean togas kept farming.
Expanding (of the Republic)
Roman historians like Livy claimed that Rome and its people were quite happy to stay at home and watch gladiator games, but it was their jealous neighbours that forced them to take action. Growth was slow for the first couple of centuries with Romans more often killing each other over status and toga length than being bothered with other people.
But like a pot of purple red paint, Rome's frontiers moved north, south, earth, wind and fire. Rome's armies saw and conquered. All the time Rome was developing its constitutional set up with a Senate, A House of Plebians and two Consuls who were supposed to represent the Republic at garden parties and forum opening events. If for some reason Rome's enemies were impolite and invaded during the election timetable, a dictator would be appointed.
By about 330 BC, the Romans had successfully destroyed the Cisalpine Gauls (Asterix-Italians in Lombardy) and the Etruscans. They then looked south to where the Greeks had been coming to Italy to set up their own colonies and restaurant chains. Rome also came across another rival, the city of Carthage. This eventually led to wars with the Greeks, Macedonians and Carthaginians - during which by design or accident, Rome successfully crushed them all and placed their Italian feet all around the Mediterranean Sea. Those who weren't initially conquered (like Egypt) were reduced to client kingdom status which meant essentially a long period of self abasement before formal conquest.
One aspect of all this expansion was the growth of the Romano-Army-Slave complex where a successful politician would become a general and take a generous backhanders. Initially the republic took a very dim view of this and extolled traditional Roman values of stoicism and 'taking it on the chin'. But greed got the better of everyone with the power.
Republic to an Empire
By the last century B.C., the Roman Republic had run out of 'civilised' opponents to obliterate so those who ran it started upon each other gold and glory. Rival generals Marius and Sulla took turns to take de facto full control. They were called dictators rather than emperors but amounted to the same thing. In the end a certain Roman with a long nose and bad haircut come out on top. He was called Julius Caesar.
Caesar defeated his last opponent Pompey and then got into literal bed with Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. He liked that power, no more messy compromises with wicked Romans who couldn't keep their oaths or promises. Caesar became a Rome's first Mussolini, a strutting dictator and believed he was impossible until pushed down the Senate's stairs and knifed by his former friend Brutus.
Though Caesar was dead, many others wanted to follow his example. In fact you had to be a 'caesar' to become a 'Caesar' - an opportunity Octavian Caesar chose. He in turn took total power eventually but decided to be called Roman Emperor rather than dictator as he was concerned that everyone would just call him 'Dic' for short. So was born the Roman Empire.
Augustus (as the rebadged Octavian was called) had a contradictory view that he had 'restored' the Roman Republic but that ultimate authority ought to be exercised by him and his family. A bit like North Korea with their Kim Dynasty. Augustus and his second wife Livia were unable to do this as they remained childless. However Augustus had a daughter Julia from her previous marriage and Livia had two sons from her first spouse - Tiberius and Drusus. Add in the family (adopted or otherwise) of Augustus's sister Octavia, there were plenty of Julio-Claudians to invite over for the Saturnalia Orgy at Christmas.
Though Augustus had beaten his rivals, the frontiers of the Roman Empire were not safe. An attempt to bring togas and wine to the German barbarians across the Rhine and Danube frontiers failed when Herman the German wiped out three legions in 9 AD and the Parthians remained a regular enemy ready to 'stir it up' to cause issues.
Then there was Tiberius, a bitter old man who liked to listen to Michaelus Jacksonus, molest little boys, and swim in his private pool with some little boys he liked to call "my little fishies." He went abroad in search of his long lost children, who were stolen in infancy by pirates. However, he got tired of searching, so he retired to Crete and left his number one hired goon Sejanus in charge of Rome. Bad move.
Caligula goes overboard
Caligula became Emperor, and everybody was like "OH SNAP!!!" because Caligula did all kinds of crazy things; like, for example, he declared himself a god; refused to honor his commitment to the Columbia House LP club after he sent in the penny taped to the postcard and got the Allman Brothers' Eat A Peach and Cheap Trick's Live At Buddokan; tried to kill his younger brother and himself; talked to statues; invaded the United Kingdom; butchered his pregnant wife; made his horse Vice Emperor; voted for George W. Bush twice; wrote the unfunny plagiarism article for Uncyclopedia; and other unbelievable stuff. He was later diagnosed with Caligula Syndrome, and thus was forced to ride the handicapped chariot (retard chariot) to the forum.
A return to normality
The next Emperor was some guy named Claudius Furius Horsa, who was born with a limp, hid behind a curtain because he was scared for his life, and had a speech impediment. Anyhow, he turned out to be a fine Emperor, even if he was a tad boring and was infamous for his bestiality and crossdressing, so Rome collectively breathed much easier. Then Claudius' wife suddenly decided to hate him. She fed him a poisoned shroom, so he died.
Then Nero the Antichrist became emperor in a much contested re-count that was finally settled by a notorious game of tic-tac-toe. Nero did all kinds of loony things as well, probably because he was insane and, possibly the Antichrist, though this claim is hotly debated.
Nero was not quite as bad as Caligula, but he still managed make a name for himself in the competitive field of professional eeeeevil. He threw innocent lions to ravenous Christians in Are You Hungry Enough To Eat A Barbary Lion?, the first reality television show; he set fire to his costly fiddle and played a tuba while it burned; he executed every surviving member of his family and every official in his administration because he thought it was funny. It actually was kind of funny, since he'd previously promised them he'd not execute them until the end of his reign.
Then Nero executed himself as a performance art piece.
Year of the Four Emperors and the Flava Flavian Emperors
Having got bored of only having one Emperor, the Romans decided it'd be more fun to have four of them, but unfortunately due to a particularly serious bout of putsch (a disease particularly fatal to Emperors), only one survived to the end of the year: Vespasian. He decided it'd be a good idea to use the huge amounts of Roman cash to start on a massive building spree; so began the construction of the Colosseum, a new forum (created PHP version I.II), and Mount Vesuvius (an early Roman space pad). After ten years without much excessive killing, he died of boredom, and there was much rejoicing amongst the Romans as they hoped his son would be more interesting and bloodthirsty. Titus (hehehe TIT-us) wasn't sufficiently bloodthirsty, but a pyromaniac, causing another fire in Rome, and setting off Mt Vesuvius a few weeks too early; scuppering the Roman plans for space domination. He ruled for only two years and died after setting fire to his toga. Domitian (Latin for Domino), was the evil younger brother of Titus, and managed to finish the Colosseum, destroy the Roman economy, and marry his niece. He was completely paranoid, and decided that it was better to be paranoid with good reason than not, and so set about making enemies. He started killing people suspected of conspiracies; giving his wife, the Senate, and his bodyguards the idea of one. He was correspondingly stabbed to death by Stephanus, who only managed a paltry seven blows. This led to him being booed off the pitch by angry assassination fans, and much groaning about the corrupted institution of assassination to this day.
Nerva takes charge
Domitian was replaced by a doddery old man called Nerva who got his name because he had a nerve! Nerva was too old to do very much but what he did do pissed off the Praetorian Guard who promptly stormed his palace and told the emperor to his face that, by Jupiter, he had a nerve! Nerva didn't care but he did adopt a well-oiled and muscly man called Trajan to be his heir which pleased the Praetorian guard because they were all gay like most soldiers of the period. Thanks to the popularity of Trajan's tight buns Nerva was allowed to finish his reign in peace, eventually dying of being old in 98 AD. After his death Trajan accepted the imperial power from the senate and agreed with them that his predecessor should be declared a god. This lead to the voice of the gods booming into the senate chamber to tell the senators that they had a nerve! This is thought to be the only time the gods make a joke in the senate chamber.
Trajan sorts it out: the adoptive emperors
Not only was Trajan a fine figure of a man, he also broke with recent tradition in the empire by ruling for well over a decade and continuing Nerva's policy of choosing emperors by adoption rather than passing the most powerful office in the known world onto your insane next of kin. He was succeeded by Hadrian, another gay man who distinguished himself by having a beard and therefore being a bear. This bearded fellow is best remembered for building a wall in Britain to keep the haggis-guzzling Caledonians at bay. Hadrian adopted another big bearded man to replace him called Antoninus Pius who foolishly invaded Scotland because of his lust for haggis. Despite some success in procuring haggis, irn bru and Deep-fried Mars Bars for the Roman world the occupation was abandonded by Antoninus's bearded follow-up Marcus Aurelius. Marcus was a scholarly man who divided his time between reading philosophical works such as Reflections on That Joke the Gods Did About Nerva and fighting Germans. He co-ruled with another emperor called Lucius Verus but no one really cares about him (he had a beard which shouldn't surprise anyone). Because Marcus was a wise and learned ruler he decided that he should be succeeded by his vain, stupid and insane son Commodus. Nice one, Marcus.
Commodus: that emperor's a nutter!
Following his father's death and his own accession to the imperial office, Commodus returned to Rome from the German frontier and hid himself away in his palace surrounded by whores and other important officials, drinking wine and engaging in squelchy-sex. The people of Rome became sick of their overly-shy emperor and demanded he come out and play. They asked for it, the stupid cunts, he came out into the sunshine, started naming the days of the week after himself, renamed Rome as "Commodusisfuckingawesomepolis" following a small fire at a pudding shop which he argued had "destroyed the old city" and started dressing-up as Hercules and picking fights with senators in the Colosseum. This was too much for the Roman aristocracy who conspired to have him killed until dead. They crafted a plan to piss off Russell Crowe, and so have him do it. He said he liked eating grass and so licking grass was the last thing he did.
A Transsexual Teenager Becomes Emperor of Rome
One gender-confused individual from Syria called Elagabalus who was in his/her hormone-soaked adolescence wound up, for some reason, becoming Emperor of Rome. (The process of determining the next emperor usually consisted of contacting the last emperor when drunk and bonking him on the head to see what he says next, which is how this happened at all.) Elagabalus then proceeded to throw wild night parties in the Imperial Palace and ignore his/her mom. Meanwhile, he/she had sex with a lot of women and gay men and asked for a vagina. Really. In addition, Elagabalus worshipped a rock, and he decided that it was a good idea to make Romans worship that rock, too. Being polytheistic idolators, Romans normally wouldn't have a problem with this, but the rock thing was a bit on the nutty side even for them. So the Romans got a caveman to bonk him over the head so they could have someone who was less of a party dude as an emperor.
Gibbon writes a bestseller
Then there was a whole bunch of other Emperors after Elgabalus. For Christians the 'stand out' was Constantine the Great who converted to the Jesus Juice and made it legal. His successors eventually resolved to make all other religions illegal including Paganism, the Manic Street Preachers and a belief in Fairies.
Later on the Christians then had an argument what that actually meant. More persecutions, banishments and horrible punishments for those judged by one side to be a wrong type of Christian.
English historian Edward Gibbon wrote a book about all this. He said the Roman Empire started to fall over after 180 AD. All the rest was gravy.
Fall of the Roman Empire
Chapter 1: The End
One day the Roman Empire began to decline. The Emperor Diocletian, divided it up into four pieces which he handed over to four of his best friends called "The Terarchy" and promptly retired to grow cabbages. This weakened the state even further and when the Tetrarchy paid Diocletian a visit to ask how to stop fighting each other he told them to go away because he was minding his cabbages. And then there were a lot more civil wars. And famine. And disease. And Christians. And Attila the Hun who got his ass kicked by Flavius Aetius . And tax lawyers. And general WTH-ness running chaos throughout the empire. And the Romans forgot how to conjugate their Latin verbs properly, which annoyed their seventh-period teachers.
Another scientific theory proclaims that the fall of the Roman Empire was due to the Roman numeral system. Without a zero, ancient Roman programmers had no way of successfully terminating their C programs. This led to massive memory leak, which caused the fall.
Shifty Greek and Filthy German Empires
The Greeks, despite taking credit for everything the Romans did, could not for the life of them make their own empire worth shit. In an effort to take the Roman Empire, the Greeks devised history's largest divorce case and called in the Byzantine Empire. The Greeks collectively married the Romans and convinced them to not get a pre-nup. Tough break for the Romans, because the marriage fell apart, leaving the Greeks with the nice half of it. The Romans had to cut back on a lot of expenses, such as gladiatorial games, arena matches, bloodsport, feeding prisoners to lions, mock naval battles and, worst of all, the glee club founded by Nero. In the face of such horrifying conditions, the Romans didn't even notice or care when the Germans invaded.
Eventually, Voltaire decided to play a practical joke on the Greeks as payback for stealing half of the Empire. Voltaire found a German named King Megachuck and named him the Holy Roman Emperor. The Greeks got all pissy about this, not accepting Voltaire's claim that "it's just a prank, bro," and the rest of Europe didn't get that it was a joke. It survives to this day as the United Nations.
One night, the Romans, Venetians and their new pals, the French, got really drunk and paid a visit to the Greeks, who at the time where living in Constantinople. Their arrival was titled the 4th Crusade. At first the Greeks welcomed them in but when all the promised gold failed to materialise, the crusaders trashed the place and realized that they had accidentally destroyed the Roman Empire. They agreed that the only way to fix this was to pretend like it was their plan from the beginning, and that they were starting up a new empire. Thus began the brief but zany existence of the Latin Empire which was colourful, loud and full of good music and beautiful women but eventually everyone except the Greeks went home. The Turks destroyed what was left again shortly after.
The accomplishments of the Roman empire
The Roman empire was quite famous for its relatively advanced technology, most of which may have originated in Greece, which the Romans conquered. They then promptly started telling everyone "Oh, this here piece of artwork?... oh, um, that's mine. Yep, I made it all myself. Yep, of course, those Greeks will tell you differently, but who are you going to listen to?". The Romans were also attributed with the creation of the legion, which is, entirely by coincidence, very much like the Greek phalanx. Their one achievement not linked with the Greeks was the innovative idea of having blithering maniacs rule the country. This was later expanded upon by the medieval Europeans, who began a program of systematically inbreeding their royalty. This great idea lead to many modern-day benefits, such as hemophilia and frequent insanity.
Fall of the Empire (Rome)
The last Roman to fall over was Emperor Julius Nepos when he was stabbed under his toga. Others say Romulus Augustulus was the Last Roman Emperor and that he moved to Britain to become a living legend. His son was King Arthur as played by Dudley Moore.
Fall of the Empire (Constantinople)
The last Greek to fall over was Emperor Constantine XI in 1453, in front the Turks. A few more Greeks stayed upright for a few more years but they too collapsed in front of the Ottoman Empire. This 'falling over' is considered more exciting than the lousy Roman version.
The sharp end of Roman expansion came via their famous legions. A legion was divided into three lines: Hastatii, or as the legion called them "the new guys". They were generally the first to get stabbed by the hordes of Gauls, Carthaginians and Celtics the standard roman legion came up against. Next in the meat grinder is the Principes. These are the men who the reeking barbarians missed on the first time though and so as a reward get to die slightly later on compered to the other poor bastards. The last line is the Trarii, they consisted of all the cretins, wealthy men who usually let the good soldiers die in their place, this attitude was highly valued and the Trarii could look forward to a large pension and long life, excluding those who traditionally got fed to lions after being made to dig the newest grand roman sewers whist being whipped by an angry mob because of their tyranny.
Roman politicians were adept at career switching between life on wheeler-dealing to leading the armies of the republic against enemies (real ones or imagined). Generals like Pompey and Julius Caesar happily switched between the two. It could make you very wealthy if you were careful not to 'flash the cash' too easily.
This led to the unfortunate downfall of many a would-be general-politician, because of their willingness to 'flash' their very stiff togas at passerby.
Famous Roman Emperors
Famous Roman Generals
Famous Roman Senators
- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
- This event in history also happens to be in video game form
- The Master and Margarita, novel
- see Alan Aldas The Number of the Beast Reconsidered