The History of Ancient Rome Under the Reign of Augustus

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Throughout history the world has seen many a great empire rise and fall. Empires that have spanned the globe and dominated vast tracts of land as well the age in history from which they spawned. Many of these empires were famous for their capitols, crown jewels of the empires where the main power was centered and where the government was housed.

Rome in the ancient Roman Empire was perhaps the greatest city of this kind. Perhaps reaching its full bloom under the reign of Octavian better known as Augustus.

Under Augustus Rome underwent many changes. Rome was as much a bustling center of commerce and activities as any modern city of today. It was a place of great populous and architecture and commerce. It was a city of power and grandeur led by a man to match its strength. Augustus Rome was a city like no other. It held innumerable people in buildings the likes of which could not be dreamed.

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It was a city that ran efficiently with modern flair that seemed ahead of its time.

Based upon what written records tell us and what we know through archeological study, Rome was a large city. How large is however difficult to say. Simply put most of what was once ancient Rome is buried beneath what is today modern Rome. Therefore, it is difficult to know where the boundaries were. Any attempts to estimate the size in square meters of Rome is speculative at best when one considers the two most accurate estimates differ about 2 million square meters.

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We do however know that there were at least 46, 602 apartment houses and easily 1760 private ones. We do also know that while walls at it had once fortified Rome boundaries the wall became virtually unnecessary when Rome had reached its present size under Augustus it was simply to immense to fear invasion, Hannibal having been the last invader in 211 BC Also within the city existed the Praetorians, an elite group of the finest soldiers hand-picked by Augustus who existed to serve as a sort of police force. As well as establish and represent Augustus presence.

Another feature of ancient Rome, which is difficult to gauge, is the population. No accurate census has survived or yet been uncovered to give us even a rough estimate. We do know 320,000 urban plebes received monetary gifts from Augustus and 500 men were on the equestrian role. And that there were perhaps 380,500 slaves. At the very roughest estimate it can be guessed that one million people lived in Rome at that time of Augustus. But this is the roughest possible guess. But to say that it was inhabited by one million people means no more than that one million seems a comfortable round figure, big enough to be properly imperial and small enough not to be outrageous. If it is right, it is no more than a lucky guess. Smaller or larger numbers may be nearer the truth. (The City H.T. Howell)

Rome was city known for its incredible architecture. The Romans themselves were great architects and their capitol was no exception. It was a city of incredible structures, The Coliseum, The Theater of Pompey, The Pantheon, The Baths and the stadium of Domitian. The Romans built a city at which could be marveled. In addition to the grander structures the Romans had developed a very intricate city system, as complex as maze, full of houses and apartments. The layout of Rome was actually quite labyrinthine.

Rome, like ancient Athens, grew up in a haphazard fashion this gave way to a very un-uniform style of interconnection between buildings, and roads and the terrain, man’s convenience, and subsequent habit established the footpaths and trails which later became streets. This lack of pattern was too firmly fixed to be changed when the Romans became acquainted with the city planning developed by the Greeks. Even after the building program of Augustus, the residential parts of Rome were very little changed (The City H.T Howell). Houses for those wealthy enough to afford them were complex in and of themselves. Houses were built centered on an atrium, which opened up allowing fresh air and ventilation to enter the house. Most houses had a vestibule leading out onto the street as well as a garden that was usually at the back of the house. In addition to the garden the Romans capitalized on their love of the outdoors by adding Frescas as well as having an outdoor dining areas with which they used to dine when the weather permitted, and a winter dining room for when the weather did not.

Smaller rooms were located along the long side of the house numbering in accordance to the wealth of the owner. Bedrooms despite the lavishness of the home were usually fairly small and plain, meant solely for sleeping. For those not wealthy enough to afford houses they could seek residence in tenements and the apartments therein. Some could be quite plain and squalor while others could be quite lavish, sometimes occupying entire floors. The city was also equipped with a sewer system. As well as a running water system designed to supply the city with unlimited fresh water. All though the city was a bustling mix of people and vendors, with garbage cluttering the streets it still ran rather efficiently.

Augustus Rome was a powerful city. A marvel of the ancient world. Truly the epicenter of the world in its day. It sprawled with incredible architecture and vast sewer ways as well as intricate waterways. Its lifeblood was the labor of innumerable citizens headed by the vision of one man. This was Rome a city beyond compare this was Augustus.

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The History of Ancient Rome Under the Reign of Augustus. (2023, Feb 23). Retrieved from

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