“Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns. As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.” Daniel 7:7-8
The fourth beast was the terrifying, dreadful and very strong Roman Empire. The dominion of Rome, beginning with the occupation of Sicily in 241 B.C. as a result of victory in the first Punic conflict, rapidly made the Mediterranean Sea a Roman lake by the beginning of the second century B.C. Spain was conquered first, and then Carthage at the battle of Zama in North Africa in 202 B.C. After subjugating the area north of Italy, Rome then moved east, conquering Macedonia, Greece, and Asia Minor. The Roman general Pompey swept into Jerusalem in 63 B.C. after destroying remnants of the Seleucid Empire (Syria). During following decades, Rome extended control to southern Britain, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Germany west of the Rhine River. The Roman Empire continued to gradually grow for more than four centuries (reaching its height in A.D. 117), in contrast to the sudden rise of the preceding empires. It likewise declined slowly, beginning in the third century. The decline became obvious in the fifth century A.D., with the Romans leaving Britain in A.D. 407 and suffering a sack of Rome in 410 by the Visigoths. It was not until A.D. 1453 that the last Roman or Byzantine ruler was killed in battle and Mehmed II conquered Constantinople. The Roman Empire never completely disappeared, as did other ancient kingdoms. Rome fell apart because of internal corruption, but the nations of Western Europe and the adjacent to the Mediterranean are still part of the Romans Empire. When the Germans and the Slavs advanced into Roman territory, their princes intermarried with Roman families. Charlemagne was descended from the Roman house, almost at the same time that the German emperor, Otto II, and the Russian Grand Prince Vladimir intermarried with daughters of the East Romans emperor, the old Roman Kingdom continued, but, without dominion, more on the Ten Horns in the next devotion.