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Why Rome Became the Most Powerful City in the Ancient World Synopsis

WhyRome Became the Most Powerful City in the Ancient World


Romewas the most powerful city in the ancient world no ancient empirehad an efficient controlled territory, administration, strong anddisciplined army and excellent communication system than RomanEmpire. The Roman Empire was built through annexation and conquest onthe 3rdcentury AD, stretching from north Western Europe to Near East and alllands in the Mediterranean Sea. Administratively the Roman Empire hadestablished provinces controlled by governors under authority ofemperors. The empire army was strategically positioned in ports whichensured that the army was well stationed to defend the empire fromhostile people.

Inaddition there was an elaborate network of roads built to facilitatetrade and allow troops move swiftly within the empire. Revenue wascollected through taxes from valuable commodities such as grains,slave and minerals this helped to finance the military. The Romanpopulation was made of people with varying cultures which enhanced aunited Roman Culture, ideal government and citizenship. In the firstcentury AD, Roman Empire was the greatest in the ancient world buttoward the end of 5the Century AD, due to various economic aspectsand unending pressure from uncivilized hostile people in the WesternEurope the Western Roman Empire collapsed but Eastern Empirecontinued (McCartypg 135).

Reasonswhy Rome became powerful city in the ancient World

ThroughConquest and Annexations consolidation and expansion

Romewas first dominated by Kings of Rome during the Roman Republic in theItalian Peninsula which made Rome a powerful city and this inevitablyled to conflicts from other Mediterranean state powers Greece andCarthage. Series of protracted wars were fought by Rome to establishitself in the Mediterranean area. This led to conquest and annexationof rival states territories. States like, Sardina and Corsica wereacquired in 238BC, Sicily in 241BC, Spain in 197BC, Northern Africaand Macedonia in 146 BC, and Pergamum in Asia Minor on 133BC. In thereign of Emperor Julius Ceaser, further territories fell under RomanEgypt, Spain and Northern Gaul. By 27 BC, Rome was unrivaled power inthe ancient western world under Emperor ‘Augustus’ (Freeman264).


Inthe foundation of the Roman Empire each province was given its ownconstitution which loosely supervised by Senate in Rome. Governorswere appointed yearly for each province. This changed slightly afterascension to power by Emperor Augustus who established hierarchy ofprovinces. Public provinces were under authority of proconsulgovernors appointed by Rome Senate but no responsibility to commandtroops. The more stable and peaceful imperial provinces had governorswith less legion of troops and these governors were appointed fromformer magistrates (praetor). Powerful and heavily garrisonedprovinces were ruled by governors drawn from the ranks of formerchief magistrates (consuls) while some provinces were ruled bygovernors drawn from the equestrian rank of Roman nobles (McCarty pg 331).

Duringcritical times like the slave revolt in Sicily province in 134 BC, aserving consul was sent in assistance of a procurator who oversawfinancial matters. Administratively governors were responsible forrunning provinces with daily matters been settled by local towncouncils. The province constitution dealt with matters of free towns,ports, rights of the inhabitants, types and levels of taxation paidby provinces. Local communities in the provinces were to some extentself administering (civitates) as they had done in tribal groupingsbefore annexation of their territory. However, there were exceptionsin some settlements like ‘coloniae’ (legal Rome itself) and inthe ‘municipia’ areas where citizenship status had been granted.Most provinces (conquered and annexed) remained subordinate to RomeEmpire(Freeman pg 154).

Economicand military capacity

Thecreation of provinces and cities enhanced economic growth in theRoman Empire. The cities and provinces were essential part incivilization, majority of upper class people councilors,magistrates, artisans and craftsmen into the towns who rapidlyadopted new technologies and styles. The provinces were source ofmaterial goods and their economic benefits were felt in Rome. Therewas influx of wealth from annexed provinces taxes, agriculturalproducts-grains, minerals, exotic goods, slaves and customs leviedfrom caravan routes. All these source of wealth propelled Roman powerto great heights. Major public works in Rome took place as a resultof this wealth. Furthermore, proceeds of this wealth helped tosustain the large Roman army in the much needed garrisons and Empirestability.

RomanCulture and Customs

Romanculture was remarkably adopted fast in the annexed provinces andbeyond the empire. The Britons for instance, copied the Roman Empirecosmopolitan provincial culture the wealthy Britons and Celticpeople measured their social success by importing wine from the RomanEmpire, some were even buried with jars of imported wine. Inaddition, Roman architecture, armory and weaponry significantlyinfluenced house constructions and technological development in othercountries. The Roman Empire was considered the most powerful andsuccessful society which probably caused social competition amonglocal natives and foreigners. Desire to associate with Roman cultureexplains why conquered provinces quickly adopted customs and stylesof Romans and as such the Roman empire became the melting pot ofcultural influences (McCarty, pg 234).


Undoubtedlythe Roman City was the most powerful in the ancient world. The Romanshad perfected their civilization tactics by consolidating andexpanding their empire in the early centuries AD. They successfullyconquered people and allowed them to keep their own cultures andbeliefs but remain administratively under the Roman Empire. Thissuccessfully prevented rebellion from the conquered people. TheRomans had rich culture and customs in their architectural, armoryand weaponry technologies, all which were felt and copied by majorindustrializations. In addition, the Rome Empire had an effectivegoverning administration, strong large army and a thriving economywhich provided continuous wealth to sustain administrative functions(Freeman pg 374).


Freeman,Charles. ‘Egypt,Greece and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean.London: Oxford University Press, UK. 2004. Print

McCarty,Nick. ‘Rome:The Greatest Empire of the Ancient World’,The Rosen Publishing Group, NY: United States. 2008. Print.