10 Facts About the ‘Glory of Rome’

Colin Ricketts

Ancient and Classical Ancient Rome
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The Eternal City; the Roman Republic; the Roman Empire – a civilisation that conquered and transformed much of the known world at the time. The ‘Glory of Rome’ refers to the epic achievements of Ancient Rome, whether military, architectural or institutional – from the Colosseum to the spread of Roman Law.

Here are ten facts and examples of what was the Glory of Rome.

1. In the 2nd century AD, the Roman Empire had an estimated population of around 65 million people

Ancient Roman citizens

Probably around a quarter of the world’s population at the time.

2. The period from 96 AD to 180 AD has been labelled the time of the ‘Five Good Emperors’

Bust of the Ancient Roman Emperor Nerva
Emperor Nerva.

Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius each chose his successor while in office. There was stability of succession but no hereditary dynasties were established.

3. During Trajan’s reign (98 – 117 AD) the Empire reached its greatest geographical extent

Extent of the Roman Empire in 117AD
Map by Tataryn77 via Wikimedia Commons.

It was possible to travel from Britain to the Persian Gulf without leaving Roman territory.

4. Trajan’s Column was built to celebrate final victory in the Dacian Wars of 101 AD to 106 AD

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It is one of the most important visual sources on Roman military life. About 2,500 individual figures are shown on its 20 round stone blocks, each of which weighs 32 tons.

5. In 122 AD Hadrian was able to order the building of a wall in Britain ‘to separate Romans from barbarians’

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The wall was about 73 miles long and up to 10 feet high. Built of stone with regular forts and customs posts, it is an extraordinary achievement and parts of it still survive.

6. At its height the Roman Empire covered 40 modern nations and 5 million square km

Roman Empire over modern boundaries

7. The Empire built great cities

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The three largest, Rome, Alexandria (in Egypt) and Antioch (in modern Syria), were each twice as large as the largest European cities at the start of the 17th century.

8. Under Hadrian the Roman army has been estimated to have been 375,000 men in strength

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9. In order to fight the Dacians, Trajan built what was for 1,000 years the longest arched bridge in the world

A 20th century reconstruction of Trajan’s Bridge across the Danube.

The bridge across the Danube was 1,135m long and 15m wide.

10. The Pax Romana (Roman Peace) dates from 27 BC to 180 AD

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There was almost total peace within the Empire, law and order was maintained and the Roman economy boomed.

Colin Ricketts