Many do not know that Rome started out as a small village and was taken over. The invaders added a government and so Rome was transformed from a village to a republic. Since Rome had a government, they now needed a military to protect themselves. With this new military come a need for a new kind of government. For years, the government had been a senate of three hundred and two consuls, one for financial and similar stuff, and the other for military. A military consul named Julius Caesar saw this and took action. He knew that the republic didn't want another king so he said that he was better than a king, he was an EMPOEROR. Emperor was just a fancy term for king. To get the support to become an emperor, Caesar gained popularity by providing entertainment.
Rome held many entertaining events that were free to the public. These events were paid and sponsored by the emperors to gain popularity. Some of these were the Coliseum, Circus Maximus, public executions, and the public bathhouses.
The Coliseum was large enough to hold more than 50,000 spectators to watch the bloodshed of the gladiators and slaves who fought to the death. Christians, before Rome adopted Christianity, were forced to fight wild animals that had been starved for weeks with out weapons to defend themselves against the beasts. These were usually held in the morning, Many executions were held at noon. In the afternoons is what made the Coliseum is famous for, Gladiator. Gladiators were trained to fight to the death on gladiatorial schools. The gladiators were usually slaves, condemned criminals, prisoners of war, and even an occasional woman. Before a loosing gladiator was slain, the winning one would look up to the emperor or whoever was holding the match and look for the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down. A thumbs-up would mean that he had fought well and let the looser live; the thumbs-down meant that the looser could kiss his butt good-bye. These bouts were held in the afternoons. If a gladiator has had an appraisable career, the gladiator would be granted freedom. The Coliseum's floor was covered with sand because there was so much bloodshed in one day that the natural soil could not soak all of the blood up. A few extremely wealthy Emperors would even have the Coliseum flooded for naval battles.
The Circus Maximus was a large chariot racetrack that was wide enough for twelve chariots to race at a single time! Many came to the races to make wagers on their favorite teams and drivers. Some Emperors would put a wager limit on the races the gambling was so bad. Scientists believe that the Circus Maximus held up to 250,000 spectators but do not know for certain because the building had not survived.
The Romans constructed public bathhouses to bath themselves since many could not afford private baths. The baths had water delivered to it by aqueducts. They even had sewers to carry away the over flow water and waste from the toilets. The Romans would rub a kind of oil (a soap that lathered was unknown) on themselves and scrape it off with a strigil, a tool used to scrape off the oil and with it came dirt and dead skin cells. After this, a hot bath followed and then directly after the hot bath was a cold one. These bathhouses included a gym, bars, wine shops, cafes, gardens, libraries and theaters.
The most common executions in the Coliseum were usually be-headings. The other most common and probably most famous Roman execution was crucifixion. The Romans would pin you up to a cross through the wrists and your ankles. This would make it hard for you to breath and crush your diaphragm and you would die in a couple hours by suffocation. Some pushed themselves up with their legs and took a breath. If someone was still alive at nightfall, a Roman soldier would break the condemned's legs. These executions were not held for popularity for the Emperors but after a trial.
Trials were very similar to ours; in fact, we based our civil law system on the Roman's. The Roman civil system protected personal property, jobs, you earn your fair wage, protected you from the government itself. The system also provided special rights, the right to go to court, have a judge and a jury, and innocent until proven guilty. If you were considered a Roman citizen, you were blessed. No other civilization had an organized law system like Rome's and this was a huge advance into individuality.
Rome had a HUGE army, one that was so immense and powerful that the world had never seen one to this caliber. The Roman army was so powerful that it had taken over the vast majority of the known world. The army was virtually invincible. In the army's conquest, they built roads.
Roman masons built roads all over the empire. All the roads started in Rome and extended out. This is where we get the term "All roads lead to Rome."� Along the roads were built aqueducts to bring water to the Roman bathhouses. The aqueducts delivered large amounts of water to the bathhouses. You can still find many roads and aqueducts still standing and being used today. The aqueducts were a type of plumbing. Roman plumbers made pipes of plumbum (lead) and routed them to wealthy houses, fountains, and the public baths. The pipes to the bathhouses brought heated water into the pools. This was never seen before and was a luxury.
Rome was so great because it had grown into a republic from only a small village. And transformed from a republic to a vast empire with the help of entertainment and advances in technology. The Roman Empire was such a great empire because of new ideas and concepts that had never been grasped before and brought into existence and tried to keep the interest of the people of Rome. The Roman Empire got too big for it's britches in the end and fell apart at the edges and Germanic invaders slowly took over.