Virgil was the writer of The Aeneid, an epic poem that was designed to rival the work of the greek poet Homer. Virgil wrote in The Aeneid that the founders of Rome were the survivors of the destruction of Troy.
Augustus Caesar, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, came to power in 27 B.C. He gradually assumed full power of the government, making the senate obsolete. Augustus also widened Rome's borders on all sides as well as adding Egypt to the empire. Augustus felt that morals were declining in Rome, so he issued new laws to combat this such as making adultery a criminal offense. Overall, Augustus did good things for Rome's foreign and domestic policy, and set up the imperial cult and the status of the Roman Emperor.
The Pax Romana, or the Roman peace, was the "Golden Age" of the Roman empire . Rome's rule brought peace and prosperity to all the surrounding areas during this time. Rome was the largest it had ever been or would be, there was very little conflict, and the economy was at a peak.
The Apostle Paul, one of the most influential Christians of all time, converted to Christianity on the side of a road on the way to Damascus, where he was traveling to persecute Christians. Jesus came to him and blinded him, asking "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"-Acts 9:4. He then was blinded for the next few days until the blindness was cured by a Christian in Damascus and Saul's name was changed to Paul. Paul proceeded to spread the message of Jesus all over the empire, even taking it to Rome itself. Paul was arrested and jailed numerous times, but when he was jailed he proceeded to write letters to churches that now make up the bulk of the new testament. Paul was eventually executed by emperor Nero in 67 A.D.
Tacticus was a Roman historian who lived from 56 AD to 120 AD. He is widely considered to be the greatest historian of the Roman empire, but he wrote with some bias, as he believed that history had a moral purpose, and was disgusted with the upper-class Romans of his day. His main works covered the events between the reign of Tiberius and the assassination of Domitian. He also provides information about the early Germans, but those writings show bias, since Tacticus wanted to portray the Germans as noble savages, so as to compare them to the upper-class Romans.
In 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted in southern Italy, completely destroying the wealthy Roman town of Pompeii. The entire town was buried in ashes, almost perfectly preserving the entire city. This was an amazing archaeological find that gave a great look into daily Roman life.
Marcus Aurelius was the last of the five good emperors, and the final emperor in the Pax Romana period. He was a philosopher king, being heavily influenced by Stoicism and saw Stoic duty as a religious duty as well. Like the other four good emperors, he was loved by his citizens and governed well, keeping Rome peaceful and prosperous.
The plague ravaged Rome from 165 to 180 A.D., dealing huge blows to the Roman economy and military, and cutting the population by as much as one third. Food production went down, due to the plague killing farmers, barbarians raiding their fields, and the Roman armies defending against the barbarians also raiding the same fields. Roman soldiers and commanders would confiscate farmer's food and livestock for themselves and their men, leaving the farmers with nothing. The Antione plague was the first step in the long, slow, implosion of Rome.
Emperor Constantine came to power in western Rome in 312 A.D., but did not control the eastern half until 324. He completed the slow process of the emperors gaining power that Augustus began, and had absolute power to the point of his word being law. The three things Constantine is famous for are converting to Christianity, which he did before a battle in 312. The second thing he is most famous for is issuing the Edict of Milan, which ended the persecution of Christians across the empire. The final action that completes Emperor Constantine's legacy is the building of Constantinople, which would eventually become the capital of Rome and be rich and powerful for a thousand years afterward.
The Edict of Milan was an edict issued by emperor Constantine in 313 A.D. that officially permitted Christianity in the Roman Empire. This stopped all persecution and allowed Christians to teach and preach openly without fear of death. Christianity began to spread even faster after the edict was issued, and the Roman emperors, Constantine included, began to participate in church issues such as Arianism.