Three Best Roman Rulers

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Of the many men who led Rome, only a handful can truly be said to have profoundly and fundamentally shaped the empire’s structure and direction. Of that handful, I believe that there were three men who had the most beneficial impact on their society. Those three men are Augustus, Marcus Aurelius, and Constantine. All three of these men reigned Rome at some point in time and had a great impact on the future of Rome. Augustus reigned from 31 BC – 14 AD. In accepting his inheritance from Julius Caesar, Augustus turned the republic into the empire. Civil war followed and by 30 BC he had eliminated his last rivals, Mark Antony and Cleopatra. The most important source of his power was that of the tribunes, which gave him the right of veto over any proposals. Augustus converted the republican citizen levy into a standing army, established regular pay and terms of service for soldiers, and a pension scheme for veterans. Gradually he came to control state finance, foreign policy and religion. In his ultimate control of Rome he implemented legislation that greatly improved the quality of life for Roman citizens and installed faith in the new empire. Marcus Aurelius reigned from 161-180 AD. Marcus increased social mobility by promoting army officers and civil administrators on merit and ability, rather than on birth and class. This had enormous effects on the empire because it placed qualified men to take important jobs, tearing down the previous social order but indefinitely improving Rome. A few years after his accession in 161 AD Marcus was plunged into warfare on the northern frontiers and led the campaigns himself. This courage won great appeal with the people of Rome and led the empire further towards greatness. His bravery and vision for the future makes him one of the best emperors of Rome. Constantine reigned from 306-337 AD. Constantine brought the endemic

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