Did The Roman Empire Reach The Brochs Of Orkney?

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Agricola among Roman generals and emperors in this frieze from the Great Hall of the National Galleries Scotland by William Brassey Hole (1897)

Did The Roman Empire Reach The Brochs Of Orkney?

Greatly simplified, one of the primary reasons for the decline of the Roman empire was its rapid expansion, and ultimately its vast size became too expensive to manage effectively and it fell to external, as well as internal forces. From its origins in a small Italian city the empire would come to control all of what is today Europe, encompassing the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa, until it burst at its seams.

Map showing the Roman Empire (red) and its clients (pink) in 117 AD, during the reign of Emperor Trajan. (Public Domain).

Map showing the Roman Empire (red) and its clients (pink) in 117 AD, during the reign of Emperor Trajan. (Public Domain).

Before the empire inflated, the city of Rome had an estimated population of only a few thousand residences and according to The Ancient Encyclopedia, by the sixth century BC the city had between 20,000 and 30,000 inhabitants. At the beginning of the imperial period the city had close to one million residents and by 14 AD there were 4,937,000 inhabitants.  The empire was to become one of the largest of the ancient world, and it was still ruled from Rome at its peak, with an estimated 50 to 90 million subjects.


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