How did the Roman Empire begin

Late antiquity

The Roman Empire lasted for many centuries. First Rome was ruled by kings, then it became a republic, then an empire in 27 BC. The imperial period can be divided into the early, high and late imperial periods. The late imperial era began in 284 with Emperor Diocletian. This time is also called late antiquity. Antiquity - antiquity - ends in this time and is replaced by the Middle Ages.

The great Roman Empire began to crumble. First, however, the imperial crisis was overcome with Emperor Diocletian. He rearranged the empire by introducing the tetrarchy in 293. The great Roman Empire was thus divided into four spheres of power, which were now ruled by emperors. The tetrarchy is therefore also called the four-emperor system.

The borders could now be better secured. It was now much more difficult for others to take power. The later division of the huge empire is already hinted at here. Diocletian also introduced many changes. These reforms included, for example, a new division of the provinces and a new tax system. After his abdication, the rule of the four men did not last long.

In 306 Constantine first became emperor in the western part of the empire. Finally, he enforced sole rule again. However, until well into the 5th century there were almost always several emperors in the Roman Empire. But Constantine first founded a new ruling family, a dynasty. And he moved the seat of government from Rome to the east, to Constantinople. The name means: City of Constantine. The city was previously called Byzantium, today it is Istanbul. The city of Rome thus lost its importance.

Under Constantine, Christianity was initially tolerated. Christians were assured of the free exercise of their religion in 313 AD. This is also called the Constantinian Turn. Shortly before his death, Constantine was baptized himself and converted to Christianity.

The Sassanid Neo-Persian Empire became a threat to the east of the Roman Empire. It was where Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan are today. There were numerous wars between Rome and Persia between the 3rd and 7th centuries.

After Constantine, Valentinian also founded a new dynasty. In 379 Theodosius became emperor in the east. In 394 he also took over the imperial title in the west. For the first time in a long time there was a single Roman emperor over the entire empire. However, that shouldn't last long. As early as 395, Theodosius divided up the empire and gave it to his sons Arkadius in the east and Honorius in the west, who took it over after his death in the same year. Outwardly there was still an empire. Nevertheless, from 395 onwards, from today's perspective, one speaks of Westrom and Eastrom.

Both parts of the empire drifted further and further apart. Westrom would eventually go under, while the Byzantine Empire developed out of Eastrom.

In the 4th century, the Huns invaded Central Europe from the east. Because this triggered a flight of the Germanic peoples, who in turn came into conflict with the Romans. This time is also called the Great Migration. It forms a bridge between late antiquity and the Middle Ages.