The Roman Empire Many of Europe's languages and institutions date back more or less linearally to the Roman Empire. This map (see 39 more Rome maps here) shows the empire at its greatest extent under Trajan in 117 A.D. Rome ruled substantial portions of North Africa and the Levant that today would be considered non-European, while excluding most of Germany, the Nordic countries, and most of central and eastern Europe
Roman roads, together with Roman aqueducts and the vast standing Roman army, constituted the three most impressive features of the Roman Empire. In Britain, as in their other provinces, the Romans constructed a comprehensive network of paved trunk roads (i.e. surfaced highways) during their nearly four centuries of occupation (43 - 410 AD).
The barbarian tribes who carved up the old empire — the Franks, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, the Vandals, and so forth — were much more Romanized than the tribes that had menaced Rome centuries earlier. The rulers of these new kingdoms generally sought to co-opt Roman elites that still held significant wealth and power across the former Western Empire.