The British Empire vs The Roman Empire – Historical Comparison

The British Empire vs The Roman Empire – Historical Comparison


As the series Game of Thrones starts a new
season, depicting a bloody scenario of Kings and Queens vying for control of lands and
all-out supremacy, we might be reminded that such a fiction was a reality in the past – minus
the dragons and the walking dead of course. Empires have risen, and they have fallen. Declinism, the state of irreversible decline
of an empire, country, or society, seems to be the natural order of things. However great and powerful, empires always
seem to crumble. Historians look back on once powerful empires
and are divided, concerning if the damage they caused and carnage they wrought was worth
the advances they gave to the world. Today we’ll look at two such mighty empires,
in this episode of the Infographics show, The British Empire vs. The Roman Empire. Don’t forget to subscribe and click the
bell button so that you can be part of our Notification Squad. We’ll start with the elder empire, that
of the Romans. The city of Rome dates back to the 9th century
when it was ruled over by kings. In 509 BC it became a Republic, and its biggest
foe was the dominant power of Carthage. The Roman Republic gave way to the Roman Empire
after countless civil wars and political strife, and it was formally recognized as an empire
after the adopted son of Julius Caesar, Gaius Octavius, took power over the free Roman Republic. He became known as Augustus, and is considered
the first Roman Emperor. After hundreds of years of war and competing
factions plotting to murder each other, under Augustus, Rome saw relative peace and did
so for a number of years after him. Peace inside Rome, however, did not mean Rome
wasn’t busy spilling blood and expanding its empire. We shall soon see how that developed. In his seminal book Empire, historian Niall
Ferguson puts much of the very early British monetary gains down to good ships and marauding
pirates as exemplary thugs of the high seas. Prior to that, parts of what is known as Great
Britain now were ruled over by the Roman Empire after the first Roman invasion of ‘the Britains’
by Julius Caesar in 55 and 54 BC. It took a while for Britain to become the
superpower it did, with England at the helm and building slowly after the Norman invasions. Along with other European nations such as
Spain, The Netherlands, Portugal and France, Britain steadfastly began exploring and exploiting
the world starting in the 16th century. When Britain was finished exploring and warring,
it was the largest empire that has ever existed, eliciting the epithet: “The empire on which
the sun never sets”. Back to ancient history and the Romans. As we know, the Romans invaded Britain, which
was no easy feat considering the distance and the sea crossing. The entirety of the Roman invasions are too
vast to recount, but the expansion of the empire as we know it started with the invasions
of the Roman Republic across parts of Italy and the western Mediterranean. Prior to being an empire, the Romans had heretofore
fought with tribes from all over Europe, including Celts and Germanic tribes. Julius Caesar led conquests into the Iberian
Peninsula, what we now think of as parts of Andorra, Portugal and Spain, and also against
the Gauls spread across present day France, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Switzerland
and Germany. Caesar didn’t stop there, launching assaults
against the Parthian Empire of now Iran and Iraq, the Helvetii tribe located in modern
day Switzerland, as well as moving into much of North Africa. When Augustus took power as the first emperor,
Roman feet had already trampled on much of Europe and its outlying regions. During its height, the Roman Empire defeated
most of Europe, North Africa, including much of present Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Morocco,
Algeria, as well as parts of countries in the present day Balkans and the Middle East. In all, the empire comprised of about 12 percent
of the world’s population, compared to about 23 percent the British Empire consisted of
at its zenith. The British Empire went a step further and
pushed into regions of the world that had been more or less uncharted territory. Much of Europe was attempting to the do the
same, including Britain’s main rivals, the French, the Spanish and the Dutch. Britain became the colonial power in North
America, only to lose some of it to what would become the United States of America. Part of the reason for this loss is Britain
was just fighting on too many fronts, and it didn’t want to lose its strength in other
areas of the globe when perhaps a friendly outcome could be produced with its lost colony. Britain’s main threat was from Napoleon,
but when he and his army was defeated, Britain became the dominant power in Europe. “Britannia rules the waves” was a slogan
of the British, and for good reason, as its ships sailed into India, South America, Australasia,
other parts of Asia, as well as Africa, expanding its empire and becoming extremely rich through
trade – much of which it did with its former colony, America. The Brits, stuck on a small island with perennially
inclement weather, were an industrious lot. They created machines that led to what is
called the industrial revolution. The machine of empire was unstoppable, and
historians now agree that Britain in all invaded 90% of the world’s countries at some point
in time. This leaves only 22 countries, including the
likes of Sweden and Vatican City. Britain exerted political and economic control
over much of the world, and even where it wasn’t holding power, it was passively subjugating
countries to play into its hands. Britain made lucrative economic deals with
countries such as Thailand, and as payment Thailand was never invaded. There was a dark side to making all that money. British imperialists took part in the slave
trade – although later asked for it to be abolished. Imperialists murdered and imprisoned wholesale
indigenous people, committed terrible crimes from Africa to Ireland regarding military
actions, was to blame for mass starvation and death in India, but it also gave countries
infrastructure, systems of justice and formal education, plumbing, at least a semblance
of human rights, transportation systems, medicine and healthcare, science, industrial practices
and literature. This is why the British Empire is a very divisive
issue today. Looking at other more cultural aspects of
Rome, we know that during the good ole days life expectancy was about 20-30, but those
that made it through battle or childbirth could expect to live to a ripe old age as
people do now. If you were unlucky enough to be put into
the Colosseum’s gladiatorial ring you might die even quicker, but there would be around
50,000 people at times cheering on your demise. Brutality was not uncommon in ancient Rome,
with vestal virgins sometimes being buried alive if they broke their vow and their hymens. Many Roman bigwigs were unapologetic sadists,
but perhaps the Romans could be seen in a better light when we understand they had a
holiday in which masters switched places with their slaves, or at least allowed slaves to
criticize them. Hmm, good luck with that. This was part of the Saturnalia festival. Slaves did much of the grunt work, and didn’t
get paid in currency but in kind. As for those hardworking soldiers, they were
given a ‘stipendium’ paid in denarius, a Roman silver coin. Under Augustus, a soldier is said to have
gotten a pay raise in denarius equal to about 10 asses a day. In 1686 it’s said that the British empire
shipped in today’s money about 230 billion US dollars of goods to London, that included
tea, tobacco, rice, sugar…and slaves. One of the surprising things is that Britain
achieved domination with relatively few soldiers when we think about armies today. In the time of the Napoleonic War, there were
less than 100,000 British soldiers, with each private making one shilling, or 12 pence a
day. That’s less than 20 cents. Their daily ration of food was a bit of bread,
as well as some biscuit and beef. There was a lot of money coming from the empire,
but were the British at home living the high-life? For royalty, the bigger merchants, the lords
and the dukes, certainly, but if you’ve ever reads Charles Dickens you’ll know that
life was grim for many of the tinkers, tailors and British working classes. Both empires declined, with Rome succumbing
to barbarian invasions, financial crisis due to overspending, political corruption, societal
decadence, as well as the weakening of its military. The British Empire was perhaps too big for
its own good, and when Britain had to pool its resources for two great wars the decline
started, and ended with Hong Kong’s independence in 1997. From 57 colonies and 25 percent of the world’s
land mass, Great Britain was left with the Falkland islands but still a relatively stable
economy. Winston Churchill once famously said, “I
have not become the king’s first minister in order to preside over the liquidation of
the British Empire”, but he must have seen it coming. The Roman Empire lasted longer, with a duration
of 1,500 years in total, albeit not always as an imperious invader throughout that time. “I found Rome a city of bricks and left
it a city of marble,” said Augustus, which could be said not only of Rome but of the
places it invaded. In Britain for instance, the Romans landed
in a fairly outback country and gave it sewage systems, roads, more modern architecture,
advanced agricultural practices, trading posts, mining, even fire-fighting skills, only for
later less progressive invaders to destroy much of that and lead Britain into what was
called The Dark Ages. As we’ve seen, the British and Roman Empires
were at times brilliant monstrosities. The question is, was all the heartache and
bloodshed worth it? Did it have to be that way? That’s a question for you to answer, so
please let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called Russia vs the United States! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t
forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

100 Replies to “The British Empire vs The Roman Empire – Historical Comparison

  1. The British Empire did not invade 90% of all countries. The book that claimed that also claims that it's an invasion of we land on our allies land to assist them. I wouldn't count a war we were not leading

  2. proud to have ancestors that slaughtered natives by the millions for their own gain against the british Kings

  3. The British have a bigger advantage because unlike the romans the British attacked 90% of world don’t forget they conquered most of Africa, defeated the USA and survived two Russian winters during the Crimean war and they had the third biggest army in 1790. They also conquered Italy,Germany and France which were military power houses for their time.

  4. What if the infografic show did a modern USA vs the British commonwealth re-United. Who would win. Or in light of Brixit maybe a reunited British commonwealth vs the EU. Just a thought. I'd watch and like for sure. Thanks

  5. britain became rich from trading with india and not america and train sustem was built by indian workers and were paid by indian people tf. we would still have railroads at some point or possibly earlier even if brits didnt invae us

  6. The difference lies in the fact that the Roman Empire has subdued powerful armies in East Africa and Europe, whereas the Bretons have fought with unwary armies

  7. The Africans freely engaged in selling vanquished enemies (other Africans) to the Arabs and the British. To say slavery, and by a further degree racism is a white concept is frankly, beyond the pale. Read your history books.
    Oh, one other thing, it's pronounced Kel-ts not sell-ts

  8. The Spanish empire was the first where the sun was never set, sorry brits, and that was around 200 years before, so you did nothing new :). Infografics Show, why don't you just compare the Spanish empire whilst the Iberian union versus the British Empire? That'd be quite similar, the difference is that Spanish conquered everything fighting fiercely while Britain divided Africa with France without actually colonising anything from scratch.

    The black legend strikes back,…

  9. Technological differences etc aside, the roman empire shitstomps the brits every time. Brits like to think they are descended from romans, but have nothing on them

  10. Support the British empire as it was the closest to make the whole world a country all united no wars and everyone would be equal and Britain would stop the slave trade as they did even in uk Gandhi lived there as a student as an equal as he only hated the uk when a general when the and killed people without order in India the British empire would be the world and there would be no Britain but rather England,Scotland extra.

  11. But the thing is that without the Roman empire, the British empire wouldn't even have existed, it probably would not have even been Britain or even England,

  12. How can un compare brit Vs The greatest and most powerfull empire ever and ever ?? May be brit is behind ottoman persian mongol and others. In My opinion The list is:1. Rome (est/West )
    2. Ottoman
    3. Persian.
    4. Macedonia / mongol (lived only for their generals
    5. Colonial like French britain Spain.
    Regards and u compare brit Vs Spain or france not Vs rome. Com n

  13. Its a shame compare british COLONIAL (weak and empty countries) empire to ROME GREATEST and most POWERFULL empire and civilization of ALL TIME😨😨

  14. Rome > britain Very Easy. Rome give cibmvilization to The World, still today based on Roman culture / law/ engineering.

  15. the romans had to deal with the germanic tribes alone, the brits never where able to deal with them, always needed help, and now with the EU its finished

  16. The British would destroy them but the battle would kinda not make sense since the British Empire had England but the Romans also had England.

  17. Real Power empires
    1. Rome
    2. Persia
    3. Germany
    4. Chinese
    5. Macedonian
    6. Holy Roman empire
    7. British colonies
    8. French colonials
    9 . Spanish colonial

  18. By The Way list in My opinion :
    1. Rome
    2. Persia
    3. Ottoman
    4. Mongol
    5. Macedonian
    Then colonial empire:
    6. British colonial empire
    7. Spanish colonial empire
    8. French colonials empires

  19. I mean aren't they one in the same? The Romans were white right? And So are the British right? We can look at the Architecture in Britain and the US and see the similarities between Rome and both countries.

  20. The British empire couldn’t fight the British empire Because England war a part of the the Roman empire

  21. I am Not British but
    British empire > Roman Empire
    In the 1800s there were no match for the British empire the invaded 90% of the world
    Most influential scientists and philosophers like Newton, Faraday, Darwin, Locke and more are from Britain
    English is the Universal language of the world
    They founded my country USA which is one of the most powerful countries in the world right now

  22. Rome Had The greatest empire. Brit a colonial empire in the poorest countries for material business stop. U cant compare.

  23. Romans – The Most Powerful Dudes at their peak with the best weapons and has a son called Britain

    British – The most powerful Dudes at their peak with the best weapons and had a son called USA

    USA – I’m going to take this theory up a notch..

  24. The British was the Roman Empire in terms of image – It modeled its self from Rome and attempted to do what Rome did, the builders of civilization as well as the conquer.

  25. Who were the "less progressive invaders" who led Britain into the Dark Ages? Do you mean the Black Plague rats?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *