In the second century of the Christian era, the Empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilised portion of mankind. The frontiers of that extensive monarchy were guarded by ancient renown and disciplined valour. The gentle but powerful influence of laws and manners had gradually cemented the union of the provinces. Their peaceful inhabitants enjoyed and abused the advantages of wealth and luxury. The image of a free constitution was preserved with decent reverence: the Roman senate appeared to possess the sovereign authority, and devolved on the emperors all the executive powers of government. During a happy period (A.D. 98-180) of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this...to describe the prosperous condition of their empire; and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall; a revolution which will ever be remembered, and is still felt by the nations of the earth.
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon, 1776
Empire of Rome is a game depicting the internal politics and wars of Imperial Rome from 27 BC to 284 AD. Players control factions, each one controlling senators, consuls, proconsuls, provinces, legions, fleets, courtiers and trade concessions. One faction controls the Caesar, who can reward and punish, wage war and make peace and takes the cream of Rome’s wealth. Every hand is raised against him and to claim victory he must survive assassinations, rebellions and the attentions of the Praetorian Guard. Foreign wars interfere with internal politics, the expansion of the empire leads to great glory and renown, but Germanic tribes and Parthian kings may invade at any time and the generals sent to repel them may march on Rome to claim the imperial purple. If the players place the good of the Rome before their own ambitions it may expand beyond its historical limits, if not they could precipitate its premature decline and fall.