|Roman Empire at Time of Julian the Apostate (thanks to Wikipedia)|
Rome grew to dominate the world under the republic. After the republic fell, the emperors for the most part were content to simply defend what they had. But the tradition of conquest continued. Claudius added Britain and Dacia and Mesopotamia were conquered by Trajan. Several smaller scale campaigns outside the empire were undertaken too. So in 363 when Julian, the last pagan emperor led a Roman army drawn from all parts of the empire out across the border to conquer a foreign enemy he was doing something that was rare but which was not unprecedented. It would have broken his young and idealistic heart to know that this would be the last time the empire as he knew it would mount such an attack.
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Labels: Gibbon, Julian the Apostate