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Research - Ancient Rome - Quick History of Rome

Perhaps this should have been the first topic, but it seems to fit well after a small taste of Roman culture - the gladiators and the infamous Colosseum.

Legend says that Rome was named after the god Romulus who killed his twin brother, Remus, both orphaned and raised by a wolf mother. The spot on the hill where they were raised by the she-wolf became the founding point of the city.

Rome was founded on Palatine Hill (8th century BC) amid a wet, swampy area that was rife with malaria. How ironic, that from such humble beginnings, Rome grew into the most powerful civilization in the ancient world. Palantine Hill also became the favorite spot for emperors to live.

600 BC, construction of the permanent city began; channels of open drains were cut to remove the excess water and were later covered.

Around 500 BC, the infamous Roman Republic was formed.

27 BC - Rome's first emperor, Augustus, gains power, starting the "golden age". He reportedly said he found Rome a city of bricks and turned it into a city of marble, which he certainly tried with all his building projects.

The empire stretched over 2 million square miles.

There were several reasons why Roman influence was able to spread so quickly.

First, the Roman army was well-organized, disciplined and modernized. The technique of forming lines of shields to fight helped them conquer unorganized "barbarians". That's not to say Roman armies won all the battles they fought but they won enough to become powerful.

Second, the appeal of Roman culture led many to surrender in exchange for a taste of the finer things - such as wine and olive oil. This is why there are Roman baths throughout England.

Third, Rome was very willing to give citizenship. Citizenship had its priviledges, which appealed to "barbarians" who otherwise had no rights in their own countries.

Around the First Century AD, Rome had over a million people - possibly one of the most populus cities in the world at this time.

By the Second Century AD, there were over 60 million people living in the Roman Empire, making it one of the greatest in the western world.

To compare, today there is about 2.8 million people living in Rome.

At its height, Rome was the richest city on Earth. Most of their wealth came from conquering and plundering villages or from taxes they collected from their conquered barbarians.

In 476 AD, the last emperor was overthrown, chaos ensued and Rome fell apart. The population dropped from over a million to about 100,000 and without proper maintenance, the aqueducts dried up and buildings fell into disrepair.

We'll talk about the emperors in more detail later...


Official Site of Rome

Wikipedia - History of Rome

History Learning Site

Map courtesy of Wikipedia

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