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5 Important Cities of the Roman Empire

The following cities were important population centres during the time of the Roman Empire.

5. Rome

Ruins of the Colosseum in Rome.

Rome was the capital city of the Roman Empire. It was founded in 753 BC by King Romulus and Remus, who were twins. In the following years, it steadily grew into a rich and powerful city, becoming an empire after 450 years of its foundation. This was at the time when Julius Ceaser was emperor. Rome had a very strong army which helped in conquering many lands unto the reign of the Roman Empire. The Colosseum, a huge amphitheater at the center of Rome, was built during the rule of the ancient Roman Empire.

4. Alexandria

The White Amphitheatre ruins in Alexandria, Egypt.

The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great, alongside Dinocrates, in 33 BC. The city grew so fast that it became more powerful than cities such as Carthage. A hundred years after its formation, it became one of the world’s largest cities in terms of influence and population. Alexandria became home to very large Greek and Jewish populations. It was also an intellectual center and the Greek translation of the Bible, Septuagint, was done in Alexandria. The city fell to Roman rule in 30 BC. It became the hub of civilization in the ancient world attracting many scholars, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians.

3. Antioch

The colonnaded of Ancient Antioch.

Antioch was founded by Seleucos I Nikator between 301 BC and 299 BC. Following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC, the city became subject to Wars of Successors for about three decades. The Roman Empire came into the scene when Seleucus II was Antioch’s emperor. It had become a major trade route, especially for the spice trade. It was also an economic, intellectual and strategic center for both the Roman and Seleucid empires. In 64 BC Antioch came under full Roman rule and was subsequently romanized. It contained an amphitheater, aqueducts, and public baths. Antioch was also a leading city in the rise of Christianity.

2. Carthage

Carthage roman ruins.

Carthage was founded by the Phoenician Queen Elissa in the year 814 BC. It gained its independence in 650 BC. The city served as a major trade center in the ancient western Mediterranean. In spite of Carthage being a prosperous city, it had to deal with various threats to its independence. She was on hostile terms with the Berbers, Greeks in Sicily, and the Roman Republic. The hostility led to Greek-Punic Wars (600 BC-265 BC) and the Punic Wars (264 BC-146 BC). Towards the end of the Punic War, the Roman soldiers destroyed and occupied Carthage. Henceforth they were ruled by the Roman Empire. It became an important Roman colony until the fall of the empire. Today, Carthage lies in ruins after it was destroyed by Byzantine Forces in 698 AC.

1. Ephesus

Roman ruins of Ephesus.

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city which was built in the 10th Century by Greek colonialists. It was located 3 km southwest of present-day Selçuk which is in Izmir, Turkey. During the reign of the Roman Empire, Ephesus existed as a center of commerce and transport. It also had a seaport joining the East and the West for many centuries. The famous Temple of Artemis was built in Ephesus. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World that exists today. Furthermore, Paul who is a Christian Bible character, ministered to the Ephesians in this city (Acts 19:23-41). He was accused of having insulted the famous Artemis and her temple.

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