The Roman Empire may have been one of the most dominant governments to ever rule the world. It encompassed almost all of Europe and stretched into Africa and Asia at its very height. Over the centuries, many famous Romans had their influence on history. Sometimes it was because of their heroic deeds and at other times it was because of just one decision. Either way, we are still talking about these famous Roman leaders.
No Roman leader may be more famous than Pontius Pilate. Although he was the prefect of Judea, a rather small area in terms of how great Roman Empire had become, he is actually mentioned in the Bible. That’s because Pilate served over the trial of Jesus. He even offered to free Jesus because he could find no fault in the man. The Jewish leaders disagreed, requested that a murderer be freed instead, and so Pilate ordered the crucifixion of the man many believe to be the Son of God.
Augustus is widely recognized as the first Emperor of Rome. His name is actually Octavian and “Augustus” was a title that was given to him because of his many achievements. He worked with the rest of the Roman government to create a Constitution that would benefit the Empire and use the funds that were generated through taxation to build aqueducts and roads to make travel throughout the Empire an easier proposition. He’s often regarded as one of the best Emperors that the nation ever had.
As famous as Augustus was for the good that he brought to his nation, Nero is as famous for the destruction that his reign caused. Much of Rome burnt down while under his guidance and it is said that he sang songs as he watched the destruction occurring around him. After the fire cleared the land, he built himself a massive palace, blamed the Christians in the area for the problems, and then had them fed to the lions in the circus. Pretty fitting for a man who came to power because his mother murdered his stepfather.
Under the rule of Trajan, Rome became the largest nation that it would become. He was often thought of as a warrior who was kind and would show mercy. He often showed this humble nature while negotiating with the senate and he spent much of the nation’s resources on internal improvements, much like Augustus did. The most notable accomplishment of Trajan, however, might be the establishment of the Imperial Fund. This Fund had one purpose: to help the poor of the Empire, and especially the children.
Rome suffered from numerous Civil Wars over its lifetime. It was divided about as long as it was unified. Constantine came along and not only defeated the other Emperors, but did so to unit the nation. His influence is felt beyond just the unification of the nation. Constantine also worked to create unity within the religion he loved so much and sought to bring people together to find the common ground that they could help bring everyone to greatness.