The Roman Empire began in 27 BC, when Octavian said, “I know what let’s do–let’s have an empire!” At its peak, the Roman Empire spread west to France, north to England, east to Mesopotamia, south to the Sahara, down to the Earth’s mantle, and straight up to Alpha Centauri.
Rome had a militaristic culture. Romans were kept entertained by chariot races in the Colosseum, gladiators fighting lions in the baths, and the never-ending crucifying of people claiming to be Spartacus. Historians now suspect that very few of these people were actually named Spartacus, but at the time, it was very easy to get a fake ID so you could buy booze, go to the vomitorium, and get crucified. That was a typical 3-day weekend in ancient Rome.
A peace-loving young man named Jesus arrived in the Roman Empire in the early first century; things didn’t go so well for him.
The Roman Empire had many powerful, charismatic leaders. When the great Julius Caesar was assassinated by his own men, he famously said, “Et tu, Brute” (or, “You stabbed me, you fucking bastards! What the fuck?”). According to legend, Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned; you don’t want to know what Caligula did while Rome burned (hint: it involved a male horse and a metric ton of Vaseline).
Eventually, the Roman Empire fractured apart due to civil wars, high taxes, and the arrival of the extremely upsetting mini-skirt toga.