The Roman Empire was a vast and powerful civilization that existed from 27 BCE to 476 CE. It emerged from the Roman Republic and grew to become one of the most influential empires in history. At its peak, the Roman Empire spanned three continents, including Europe, Africa, and Asia. The Romans made significant contributions to architecture, engineering, law, governance, literature, and the spread of Christianity. The empire eventually faced various challenges, leading to its decline and eventual fall in the West, while the Byzantine Empire continued in the East for nearly another thousand years.