Rome in the 3rd Century AD

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Rome in the 3rd century AD was a “nation” in crisis. During this period we see a shift from the old, Italian dominated, ancient ways of antiquity into a new, more modern commonwealth where a vast number of its peoples were considered citizens, and could even aspire into prominent positions that were once reserved to leading Roman families. Initially, some of the changes that came to the Roman Empire sound good; indeed, I’m sure many Romans sometimes felt that way. However, when looking at the overall changes and the hardships that in brought on some of its people, one begins to see a very different picture develop. In order to better understand how the 3rd century contrasts from others one needs to take a small look at what life in the Roman Empire was like for people in early and late antiquity, under the republic and early empire and especially in the 2nd century. Without going into too much detail, the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire were dominated by Senators and Emperors that only came from dominating Roman/Italian families. Roman citizenship was a privilege that not everyone was able to enjoy. Rome was expanding its territorial power and beginning to define itself as the central power of the Mediterranean region. The 2nd Century AD was a golden age for the Roman Empire. In fact, this is the time period that is referred to as the happiest age known to man in Edward Gibbon’s book The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Rome was in the middle of what is
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