Most of modern day Western Europe makes up the Roman Empire. The countries were each conquered by the Roman Army and made to embrace a Roman lifestyle. The empire brings together England and Wales, Spain, France, Greece, the Middle East and North African coastal region.
During the early years of Rome, the people lived in fear of their powerful neighbours from Carthage. Carthage were known as great traders in the Mediterranean and the Romans saw them as rivals for their expansion into trading. So it happened that in 264 BC they had their first war. After a period of three wars (known as the Punic Wars) the Romans finally defeated the Carthaginians. Though not many in total, all of the wars actually lasted over 100 years. The Romans did lose several battles but by the end they became strong enough to capture Carthage. The city and all its signs were burned and destroyed as a sign to the Romans that the power of Carthage was gone forever.
After the defeat of Carthage, the Romans became the most powerful state in the Mediterranean - the victory gave them a huge opportunity to expand their power.
However the Romans also wanted to focus on the conquering of lands further away that may contain even more wealth. This led to their desire to conquer western Europe, and at the highest level of power during AD 150, Rome had control over the greatest empire ever seen in Europe. The countries under Rome’s power actually benefited from the conquest as the Roman way of life was established. This included the provision of public baths, roads, water supplies, housing and more, though they were no longer used once the Romans headed back to Rome.
Though the large size of the empire was impressive, it also became a considerable reason for the Romans’ power collapse. They found maintaining power throughout the whole empire difficult and their army supply was hard to keep as the communication lines were stretched.
The Roman army were responsible for both the success and eventually the downfall of Rome’s empire.
See also: The Fall of The Roman Empire
"The Roman Empire". HistoryLearning.com. 2015. Web.