Rome according to legend was founded by a feral child called, Romulus. He was one of two brothers, according to Roman lore, who along with his brother Remus was raised by a she-wolf. He had killed his brother to become Rome's first King, This colorful tale, while not based on much fact, points to the aggressiveness and ambition that would characterize the Roman Empire. From its founding in 753 B.C. along the Tiber river as a small village by a band of rustic Latins, they were on a 1000 year road towards greatness. Rome grew steadily due to its proximity to a port and because of its fertile agricultural lands. At first Rome was ruled by a monarchy for the first 200 years of its existence, but they would eventually tire of being ruled by their Etruscan overlords, who had asserted themselves into the Roman Monarchy as Rome became prosperous, and in 509 B.C. drove them out of Rome. They established a Republican form of government. Within the next 500 years of Republican government managed to unify the entire Italian Peninsula under its reign. They would also go on to conquer much of the ancient Mediterranean superpowers. However, it was not completely smooth sailing for the Romans. During this time, they had been subject to invasions by various barbarian peoples, as well as, the Carthaginians who would become their archenemy. However, the Romans inevitably prevailed against all comers. From the Carthaginians, Rome's greatest enemy, they exacted the annihilation of this once powerful seafaring nation. From the Greeks, they would gain culture and science, indeed fluency in Greek was a sign of proper and upper class upbringing in Roman society. From the Egyptians, they gained the vast agricultural resources of the Nile, and naturally the lands of all these conquered peoples, indeed the people themselves as slaves for the Empire. The Romans would elect a dictator or Caesar as they were called by the Romans, in its times of need to defend Rome. So it was inevitable that ambitious Romans would seek to secure this position for themselves permanently. The first Emperor of Rome would be Gaius Octavius in 27 B.C. He would usher in the period of Imperial Rome. Rome's greatest export was the idea of Rome itself, almost everyone wanted to be Roman for what it represented and what they could gain from it. The might and territory of Rome would continue to expand during the Imperial period, but it would also cause the Empire to be split into two, the Eastern and Western Roman Empire. This was caused by the large distances that defensive forces needed to secure due to Rome's large frontier, and because of re-emerging conflicts between Rome and its barbarian neighbors. Indeed, one of these barbarian peoples, the Germans, would inflict the greatest wounds ever to be suffered by the mighty Roman Empire. They would eventually seize the mantle of Empire and indeed adopt its royal titles from the Romans. The German title of Kaiser, and the Russian title of Czar were both derived from the Roman title of Caesar.
Rome while initially persecuting the Christian faith, would however become its greatest Champion. By the end of the Roman Empire, Rome would make Christianity its state religion and establish the papacy in the Western Roman Empire. However, after 476 A.D. the birthplace of the Roman Empire in the Italian Peninsula would be largely under foreign control. While continuing to leverage its position as the center of the Catholic Christian faith to remain relevant. This period would mark the end of the Roman Empire as a coherent whole. Much of Italy would remain under foreign rule until the modern era. The Eastern Roman Empire, which was more Greek then Roman, however would continue for another 1000 years after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. But it too would fall when it was overcome by Muslim invaders in the 15th Century.
While the Roman Empire had been over for more then fifteen centuries, the vestiges of its empire in the form of religion, and the memories of its glorious past would continue to effect and inspire many great nations that was to follow. It would also experience a period of cultural revival during the Renaissance, and lift Europe out of the Dark Ages. While never regaining its former stature as a superpower, it would still eventually emerge as a center of culture and style in the present day.
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