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The Roman Empire and its neighbors - Essay Example

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One of the largest and most impressive empires in the annals of history, the Roman Empire remains one of the most studied empires in the history of civilization. Established under the reign of Augustus in 27 BC and lasting until the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks…
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The Roman Empire and its neighbors
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Download file to see previous pages Furthermore, special attention will be paid to an analysis of the Germanic tribes and their impact on the Roman Empire (Heather 2006, 33-44).
What explains the early development of the Roman Empire? The rise of this empire was precluded on the fact that life under Augustus was the ideal form of rule and that rule by one man was actually an ideal form of democracy. According to Chester G. Starr, Jr,
Quite widely the subjects felt that they did not have political liberty, and some drew the conclusion that they lived in slavery. Such persons, however, were hasty to add that the slavery of the Roman Empire was preferable to any democracy or put other qualifications on their general line of thought (Starr 1952, 2).
From this perspective then, the authoritarian nature of rule under Augustus was conceived of at the time as normal and even ideal. The notion of liberty extended beyond the individual and to the state and since everyone was responsible to obey the laws of the land, true democracy in fact existed. By wrestling control of the state from the landed aristocratic elite and attempting to impact a meritocratic form of rule – albeit with Emperor Augustus at the helm – the facade of democracy was employed as a tool and helps account for the rise of the Roman Empire. As Starr persuasively notes, “the Empire began when Augustus took the power in his own hands, and the emperor was an autocrat” (Starr 1952, 9). Despite the fact that Augustus was an autocrat, he was perceived by the peasantry as well as the landed elite as someone who could restore the concept of liberty to Rome. The consolidation of the Roman Empire was thus built upon a belief that liberty was restored and that autocratic rule by Augustus was democracy at its best. Accordingly, the regime still felt it necessary to pay lip service to old shibboleths like libertas and demokratia even ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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