9. The Roman Empire impacted successors through law, architecture, and science
Much of the Napoleonic Code was based on elements of codified law from the Roman Empire. Napoleon adopted many other aspects of the Ancient Romans during his reign. His troops marched beneath standards bearing eagles, as had the Roman Legions. During his Italian campaigns, his armies often traveled on roads built 1,800 years earlier by Roman engineers. In many places across Europe, Roman aqueducts still carried water, baths still offered refreshment, numerous fortifications and guard towers still stood. After unifying Italy under French hegemony, Napoleon named Rome as its capital.
Rome continued to dominate much of Europe despite its fading from the scene over a millennium before the French Empire. Due to Rome’s adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Empire, church hierarchy held considerable power in France, Spain, and the Italian States. The very language of the French, Italians, and Spanish had evolved from the Latin spoken by the Romans over the centuries of their empirical rule. The Roman Empire reached its peak in approximately 117 CE (in terms of land area). Yet its influence on the rest of Europe continued throughout the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Age of Reason.
Across the Atlantic, it influenced the new United States of America. Its Founding Fathers studied much of Roman democracy and republicanism while debating the documents establishing their republic. They also studied the architecture, adopting many Roman forms and designs for their new capital city. The dome of the Capitol, pillars and columns, window adornment, colonnades and porticos, and other Roman features appeared in the government and educational buildings in the United States. Thomas Jefferson, who designed the State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, modeled it on a Roman temple built during the reign of Augustus, the first of the Roman Emperors.