empire established (27 ) by Augustus, succeeding the Roman Republic: at its peak it included W & S Europe, Britain, Asia Minor, N Africa, & the lands of the E Mediterranean: divided ( 395) into the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman Empire
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An empire that succeeded the Roman Republic during the time of Augustus, who ruled from 27 BC to AD 14. At its greatest extent it encompassed territories stretching from Britain and Germany to North Africa and the Persian Gulf. After 395 it was split into the Byzantine Empire and the Western Roman Empire, which rapidly sank into anarchy under the onslaught of Germanic invaders from the north and east. The last emperor of the West, Romulus Augustulus (born c. 461), was deposed by Goths in 476, the traditional date for the end of the empire.