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    Roman Expansion

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    My study group needs help with the following question: :

    1. What factors explain why the Roman Empire expanded at times and then failed to expand at other times? Can you help us with the factors?

    Thanks a whole lot!

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    1. My study group is trying to come up with factors that explain why the Roman Empire expanded at times and then failed to expand at other times. Can you help us with the factors?

    Factors that impact expansion are social, political and economical factors, but most of all it the emperors leadership ability that impact expansion. It has to do with the emperor's military power as well. Does he know what he is doing? Does he have vision, strategy and employ strategic tactics. Does he have a winning plan? Does he have the backing of Senate and other military generals who can win the war? Is he a strategist? And so on.

    For example, two thousand years ago, the world was ruled by Rome. From England to Africa and from Syria to Spain, one in every four people on earth lived and died under Roman law. The Roman Empire in the first century AD mixed sophistication with brutality and could suddenly lurch from civilization, strength and power to terror, tyranny and greed. http://www.pbs.org/empires/romans/empire/index.html . It is in times of good governance that expansion occurred (Augustus and Trajan), and in times of tyranny and murder (Nero), there was no expansion and instead, civil war in the Roman Empire.

    Let's look at three examples, two periods of expansion (Augustus and Trajan) and one where there was little expansion and civil war was the end result in the Roman Empire (Nero):

    Emperors Personality Factors interplay with Political Factors and Social Factors:

    At the head of the pack were the emperors, a strange bunch of men (always men). Few were just OK: some were good - some even were great - but far too many abused their position and power. They had a job for life, but that life could always be shortened. Assassination was an occupational hazard. The emperors sat at the top of Rome's social order. This was as finely graded as flour. Specific qualifications were needed for Romans to be admitted as equestrians or senators. Even freed slaves had different rights from citizens. Successful expansion has a lot to do with the leader's ability e.g., military smarts, etc.

    Example: Augustus (28 BC - 14 AD)

    • Divine revelation as a factor

    For example, Augustus (28 BC - 14 AD) exploited his position but yet expanded the Roman Empire. He had to fight for his throne. His long rule saw a huge expansion in the Roman Empire and the beginnings of a dynasty that, over the next century, would transform Rome, for better and worse. The man who would become one of Rome's greatest leaders had an unpromising start in life. Despite prophesies of future greatness, Augustus was a sickly child in a family with few connections. His father died when Augustus was four. His prospects were bleak: Rome was dangerous, engulfed by civil war between power-hungry factions. One of these was led by his great-uncle, Julius Caesar.

    • Luck as a factor:

    Then Augustus got a lucky break. In 46 BC, Caesar won the civil war and was named dictator of Rome. To secure his position, he needed an heir. With no son of his own, he adopted Augustus. This was a fantastic opportunity for a young man from nowhere. Almost at once, however, Caesar was dead - murdered by his own advisors. Augustus was just 19, but immediately threw himself into the backstabbing world of Roman politics.

    • Strategy and strategic Alliance with Marc Antony (successful and ambitious general) as a factor:

    He formed a strategic alliance with Marc Anthony, a successful and ambitious general. Over the next few years, they defeated their enemies in Rome and chased the survivors to Greece, where they finished them off in two of the bloodiest battles in Roman history. The ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution discusses the factors that explain why the Roman Empire expanded at times and then failed to expand at other times. References are provided.