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Exam 3 Essay Question
December 15th, 2016
History of Ancient Rome
1. In your opinion, who were the best emperors to ever rule Rome? Please choose at least three emperors and discuss why you made this decision.
Throughout Roman history there have been great emperors, corrupt emperors, violent emperors, diplomatic emperors, and oppressive emperors that have brought both peace and corruption to the Roman Empire. The task of being the Roman emperor is not an easy feat as you must be intelligent, tactical, compassionate to your subjects and merciless to your enemies. There have been emperors that have brought prestige and prosperity to the Roman Empire. However, there were also the oppressive and malicious emperors that brought a totalitarian rule to the Roman Empire. The most pivotal emperors to ever rule the Roman Empire were Augustus Caesar, Trajan, and Hadrian.
Augustus Caesar was the most momentous emperor in Roman history and is accredited for being the first Roman emperor. Augustus ruled the empire from 27 BC to 14 AD. He completely disregarded the laws of the Republic in order to become the sole ruler of Rome. Augustus helped the Roman Empire politically, economically, and militarily. He wanted a return to the rule of law and sought a legitimate, regular position within such a framework. Unlike his predecessor, Augustus understood how vital the senate's support was to his control of the Roman world. At the beginning of Augustus's reign he began to improve the city's amenities and services, as well as to restore its dozens of temples and public buildings and to construct an exquisite array of new ones. One benefit of this construction work was that it provided employment for a vast amount of poor Roman citizens. Augustus is most notably credited with creating the Pax Romana, an extended period of peace throughout the Roman Empire that would last for over 200 years. He was able to transform a corrupt Roman republic into a respected empire, all while being humble and respectable. One of his greatest accomplishments was ending the civil wars throughout the Roman Empire. During his reign he nearly doubled the size of the empire and created alliances that gave him efficient rule from Britain to India. He expanded Rome's network of roads, founded the Praetorian Guard, and developed both police and fire departments. He was also respected for his concern of everyone's welfare, his basic respect for the rule of law, and his reluctance to dictatorship. Augustus stated himself that "he found Rome a city of brick, and left it one of marble." Overall, Augustus Caesar was responsible for reshaping and saving the Roman Empire.
Trajan was also one of the greatest emperors of the Roman Empire. He's given the title Optimus Princeps, which means "the best ruler." He's also known as one of the "Five Good Emperors." His reign lasted from 98-117 AD. He is accredited as one of the few Roman emperors who successfully combined the goodwill of the army and harmony with the senate. He is remembered as a successful soldier and emperor who was responsible for one of the greatest military expansions in Roman history. By his death, he had achieved Rome's maximum territorial extent. Trajan was responsible for numerous public works that featured prosperous buildings of all types in Rome, as well as roads in Italy and the provinces. One of his most notable, if not greatest achievements was his conquest of Dacia. These victories are responsible for contributing about 225 tons of gold, double the amount of silver, and 50,000 slaves. This allowed for the creation of the great Forum of Trajan in the heart of Rome and many other pristine monuments throughout Rome. Also, Dacia's mineral wealth contributed to the increased amount of immigrants. Besides being a great military leader, he also accomplished a great deal for the Roman citizens. Trajan was responsible for creating a program that provided financial aid for parents who couldn't financially support their children. Trajan's conquest of Dacia was extremely beneficial to Rome. The huge amount of wealth that fell into Roman control led to the army performing amazing feats, such as bridging the Danube below the "Iron Gates" falls. Trajan's reputation would be recalled for generations,
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