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At its height under Trajan, it covered 5 million square kilometres.It held sway over an estimated 70 million people, at that time 21% of the world's entire population.

Following Octavian's victory, the size of the empire was dramatically increased.

After the assassination of Caligula in AD 41, the Senate briefly considered restoring the republic, but the Praetorian Guard proclaimed Claudius emperor instead.

This arrangement was ultimately unsuccessful, leading to a civil war that was finally ended by Constantine the Great, who defeated his rivals and became the sole ruler of the empire in 324.

Constantine subsequently established a second capital city in Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople.

The assassination of Alexander Severus in 235 led to the Crisis of the Third Century in which 26 men were declared emperor by the Roman Senate over a fifty-year time span.

It was not until the reign of Diocletian that the empire was fully stabilized with the introduction of the Tetrarchy, which saw four emperors rule the empire at once.

Civil wars and executions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the annexation of Egypt.

Octavian's power was then unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus, effectively marking the end of the Roman Republic.

The Senate then appointed the first of the Five Good Emperors.

The empire reached its greatest extent under Trajan, the second in this line.

Then, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor.

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