The Romans took over countries that are now England, Wales, Spain, Italy and Belgium. They also ruled over what are now Portugal, Switzerland, Austria and France. They ruled the countries that made up the former Yugoslavia as well.
The Romans also ruled what are now Bulgaria, Albania and Greece. They took over present-day Turkey, or Asia Minor, and countries that make up the Middle East. These countries include Syria, Israel, Jordan and Lebanon. In the south, the Roman Empire controlled much of Egypt, as far south as the first cataract of the Nile River. They also controlled parts of what are now the countries of Libya, Algeria and Morocco. The islands in the Mediterranean Sea were also under Roman rule.
The Roman Empire was at its height during the rule of the Emperor Trajan. By the time of his death, the empire was nearly as large as the contiguous United States.
The size and diversity of the Roman Empire made it rich. The soil along the Nile in Egypt was fertile enough to produce grain for the entire Empire. Even the poor soils along the coasts of Spain and France yielded olives and grapes, and the plains of France and southeastern Europe made excellent farmland.