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Watching some old history channel documentaries on it (search it on youtube). The history of rome itself can be understood in books that you may want to look at such as the fall of rome (or other books).
Religion: The roman government was first pagan that copied the greek mythology. Remember, the reason was due to people praying for the empire. Then Roman had a new revolution, christianity. Look at Nero or Roman Catholism
Government: Same as I said. Rome was a rich republic, meaning that the rich was elected due to no salaries in government.
Speaking of the History Channel, they also have a writeup on the Roman Empire at their site which you can check out here:
Thank you so much!!! (:
*Sorry it took so long for me to respond!