The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity it included large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Northern Africa, and Western Asia ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus to the military anarchy of the 3rd century, it was a principate with Italy as metropole of the provinces and the city of Rome as sole capital (27 BC – 286 AD). After the military crisis, the empire was ruled by multiple emperors who shared rule over the Western Roman Empire and over the Eastern Roman Empire (also known as the Byzantine Empire).
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