The Roman Empire, you meant that surely.
No, I meant the Roman Republic, during all those centuries before the Caesar and the Civil War turned it into an empire.
Rome was the original republic, and it worked pretty well at making for a powerful large state with a largely committed citizenry; better than Greece with its petty little quasi-democratic states that imploded pretty quickly (Athens' democratic "Golden Age" lasted only about 50 years); better than the petty despotism that substituted for government in most other places; a little bit better than monarchy in places like Egypt, although to be fair, monarchy gave the republic a better run than anything else, because there is a religious component to monarchy that commands loyalty of most of the people, quite unlike despotism or even democracy if you happen to be in the out-of-power party.
Republican Rome is probably the best ancient parallel to us, but it's not all that good a parallel. Certainly Britain's not much of a parallel, or wasn't. The American Colonies were seriously democratic places; England didn't become democratic in any real sense until the Reform Act of 1832.