From the assassination of Julius Caesar to the Empire's apogee under Trajan, we're putting Roman history on the map.
The Grandeur that was Rome
The Map Archive has a substantial collection of maps illustrating the history of Ancient Rome, from its Republican roots, through its struggles with Carthage and civil wars to its imperial apogee and ultimate decline. Our most recent uploads include a magnificent map of the Empire under Trajan, as well as a series of three maps telling the story of Caesar's rise and fall, the last years of the Republic, the defeat of Mark Antony and the rise of Augustus.
We have recently launched a series of complex maps, with a very high level of detail, which can be reproduced as wall charts or studied in depth. The price of £9.99 reflects the enhanced complexity of these maps, which are included in all subscription packages. Our map of the Roman Empire in 117 BCE is a testament to the territorial reach and administrative complexity of the Empire at its zenith under Trajan. It also clearly demonstrates the complex and sophisticated fortifications and frontiers that were constructed to maintain imperial control.
From Civil War to Pax Romana
Julius Caesar had initiated a civil war against his old rival Pompey when he crossed the Rubicon, a small river between Italy and Gaul, on 10 January 49 BCE. He eventually won a decisive victory in 48 BCE at Pharsalus. When Caesar accepted the title of dictator for life in February 44 BCE, he was in effect becoming an emperor. On the Ides of March (15th), members of the Senate finally took decisive action and stabbed Caesar 23 times, proclaiming that ‘liberty’ had been restored.
The young Gaius Octavius (Octavian) was Caesar’s adopted son. Claiming that it was his duty to avenge his father’s assassination, he now made a bold bid for power. On 2 September 31 BCE at Actium in north-western Greece a momentous battle took place between the forces of Octavian and his old comrade Mark Antony, who was joined by his romantic and political ally, Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. The political tide was turning and Octavian, now a skilled military tactician, was in the ascendancy. In 27 BCE he adopted the name Augustus, meaning ‘sacred’ or ‘revered’, and was given extraordinary powers by the Roman Senate.
The events of the civil war had proved that true power in Rome lay in an individual’s right to command territories and armies. When the grateful Senate granted Augustus a province that embraced Gaul, Syria, Egypt and Cyprus, they effectively empowered him. Augustus now nationalized the army: citizens were offered a professional career; wages were paid; promotions were regularized. The new professional Roman army maintained peace within the empire and, increasingly, Augustus was revered for the ‘Pax Romana’.