Although the Romans were very organised and practical, and had their own numerical system as well as a huge empire, they were not notable mathematicians. The Republic of Rome was founded in 509 BC. The republic was ruled by two annually elected magistrates called consuls and their system of government and law inspired our current ones. By the first century BC civil wars lead to the establishment of an empire. The most famous Roman Emperor is Julius Caesar (who was not officially an emperor but was the first to assume dictatorial power). The empire then flourished again under Augustus (27 BC to AD 14). At its height the Roman empire stretched from England (the Romans never got further than Hadrian's wall), to the Rhine and the Danube rivers in northern Europe and to present day Israel, including most of the Mediterranean and some of North Africa. |
The Roman economy was built on slavery and taxes from the places they conquered. As well as being very good at warfare, they were also highly skilled engineers and their roads, baths (like those in the city of Bath), aqueducts, under-floor heating, arches and theatres which have lasted to this day. Their language, Latin, is a root of most modern European languages. They took much of their knowledge and culture from the Greeks, but did not share their interest in mathematics, and in fact killed the last great classical mathematician, Archimedes, in the Siege of Syracuse 213 BC. The Western Roman Empire fell in AD 476 when it was sacked by the Visigoths, and the Eastern part continued as the Byzantine Empire.