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Interesting Facts about the Roman Empire IV
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  9/4/12
By: Yona Williams

Some ancient Roman emperors are known for reforming the Empire, while others go down in history as being ruthless. Then, there were others responsible for construction great buildings, such as Theodosius II. In this article, you will learn about the ruler's contribution to history, as well as encounter details on a contributing factor to the fall of Rome.

Heliogabulus

It was not uncommon for Roman emperors to assume power at a young age. In the case of Heliogabulus, he was only 14 years old when he proclaimed a god, as well as the high priest at the pantheon of Baal (the sun god of Syria). His mother played an important role in making sure that he was the emperor of Rome – she used schemes and deception to her advantage and it led to him taking the title in 219.

Heliogabulus had a reputation for being a practical joker and was known for wasting money. He did not hesitate to indulge in the excesses that came with being a leader of the Roman Empire. For example, his banquets were known for being some of the most costly. The people of Rome were not pleased with their leader. He favored Syrian customs and actually replaced the ancient gods of Rome for more eastern traditions. Because of these acts, Heliogabulus was assassinated in 222.

The Impact of Slaves on the Roman Empire

Slave labor is believed to have heavily affected the decline of the Roman Empire. Since having slaves was inexpensive and easy to implement, many of their scientific and mathematical accomplishments went untapped because they lacked advancements in technology or machines that could save time and money on labor. By the end of the 2nd century AD, the Roman Empire was hit with the reality that their military civilian population suffered as a result.

The Misconception of the Collapsed Roman Empire

When the Roman Empire 'fell' in the 5th century, it wasn’t the entire civilization that collapsed. It was only the Western half of the Empire that suffered. However, the Eastern half would later evolve into the Byzantine Empire, which survived the 5th century without any downfalls. This part of the empire would thrive for nearly another millennium until the Turks captured Constantinople.

The Triple Wall of Theodosius II

When Theodosius II was the emperor of Rome, he constructed a triple wall that stretched from the Golden Horn to the Sea of Marmara. The structure was a rather strong obstacle for opponents, as it blocked the landward side of Constantinople. Over the course of 30 years, the walls were constructed from 413 to 447 AD. A moat measuring 60 feet wide and 22 feet deep was located on the far side of the wall. Enemies needed to cross this in order to reach the first wall.

Behind the lower first wall, archers would crouch where they could attack opponents. If an enemy passed the moat and the first wall was breached, there were still two extra walls to climb. The middle wall measured 27 feet tall, while the third wall was 70 feet wall. Defenders were positioned at the third wall – ready to shoot arrow and catapult stones. To this day, tourists come to see the ruins of the wall – more than 1,500 years after they were constructed.


 

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