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What Were the Chief Characteristics of the Roman World in the Per...

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What Were the Chief Characteristics of the Roman World in the Period C. Ad 100 to C. 450?

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  • May 12, 2011
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The world of classical Rome is a complex yet interesting area of study. It can teach us a lot about the Roman and wider European past and the society we are today. Therefore study of the later Roman Empire is essential when dissecting the inner workings and fall of this powerful empire. To learn fully about this time looking at the characteristics which made up this world is essential. The following essay will discuss in detail many of the characteristics of the Roman Empire in the time period 100 AD to 450 AD including the centrality of the emperor in Roman life, the Christian church and Rome, the rise of the East Empire, the fear of the northern Barbarians and Pax Romana

One of the main characteristics of the world of Late Antiquity is the centrality of the emperor in life. The Roman populace included their emperors in everything and it was hugely important that emperors were found favourable by the general public. “Pliny pays further tribute to Trajan’s popularity in stating how frequently, but without compulsion, Trajan is named in his subject’s wills”[1]. This shows, emperors were so important to their people to the extreme they would even aim to pay tribute to them after their death. They found popularity amongst all levels of their people from the common people to their soldiers for example Constantine who “enjoyed great popularity with the soldiers”[2]. Emperors were revered, feared and honoured leaders; they were involved in almost all aspects of being even religion. “Romans were a most religious people”[3] and the majority of emperors were treated as deities even in pre-Christian Rome “You do homage with a greater dread and intenser reverence to Caesar than to the Olympian Jove himself”[4]. Therefore it can be said that the importance of emperors to the people of Rome was a key characteristic of this time period considering religion was of great importance to these people and they were willing to include many emperors after Caesar as their Gods also....