Why was the empire of ancient Rome much more lasting than those of other empires? The genius of Caesar and Rome's military prowess springs to mind. But Rome's greatness stemmed from much more than its battlefield conquests.
Rome's system of roads was magnificent. Although the Romans were not the first ancient people to build roads, their roads were the most durable and the best. Road building went on for eight centuries, and the roads united distant corners of a far-flung empire. The Appian Way, which is still visible, was the earliest and most famous Roman road. Roads were also maintained by competent government officials. The roads were useful for military and economic purposes, and for the use of civilians. The construction of roads provided employment for soldiers between wars. Other empires, such as that of the Incas, had good road systems, but Rome's was nonpareil.
The Romans' penchant for organization and planning was also evident in its engineering and architecture. Sturdy bridges complemented the road system. Few ancient cities were as well-planned as those of the Romans.
Rome was also fortunate at key moments in its history. Rome could have easily lost the Second Punic War. Had Rome lost that key conflict, Carthage might have begun its ascent to world dominance.
Rome had a system of law based on the Twelve Tables (451–449 BC). These laws were later amended, but Rome's respect for its written laws made it a more powerful empire.
Finally, Rome's first emperor, Augustus, was a very capable ruler. He was the heir to the assassinated Caesar. After Caesar's death, years of civil war followed. Augustus led Rome out of that turbulent period and started the Pax Romana.