The Geography and Early Development of Rome

The Geography and Early Development of Rome

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  • The location and geography of Rome
  • The myth of Romulus and Remus
  • The Etruscan influence of engineering on the Romans
  • Rome is located in Italy, which includes a peninsula and islands in southern Europe. The Italian peninsula is shaped a lot like a boot and reaches into the Mediterranean Sea with its toe pointed toward the island of Sicily.
  • The Etruscan influence of sports on the Romans
  • The Romans have a myth about the founding of their city. Long ago, the story explains, a princess gave birth to twin sons, Romulus and Remus. The boys' father was Mars, the Roman god of war. The princess's uncle—the king—was afraid the boys would grow up to take his throne, so he ordered his men to drown them in the Tiber (TIE-bur) River. However, before the twins drowned, a wolf rescued them.
  • The Greek influence of architecture on the Roman civilization
  • Two important Etruscan structures the Romans adapted were the arch and the cuniculus. Etruscan arches rested on two pillars, which supported a half-circle of wedge-shaped stones. A keystone in the center held the other stones of the arch tightly in place.
  • The Greek influence of writing, art, and religion on the Romans
  • These Etruscan sports gained popularity in Rome. In Roman stadiums, thousands of slaves died fighting as gladiators, professionally trained fighters who battled either each other or wild animals. Romans also flocked to see charioteers risk their lives racing four-horse teams.
  • The Romans also used concrete to build huge stadiums like the Colosseum, where gladiators fought. The Circus Maximus, where people watched chariot races, could seat more than 200,000 spectators.
  • Roman writers were inspired by Greek poetry and myths. The Roman poet Virgil expanded on Greek tales of the Trojan War. Virgil's poem, the Aeneid, told how Aeneas fled to Italy after the war. According to Virgil, Aeneas was the ancestor of the first Romans. Roman artists created a lively and realistic style of their own. Greek artists often tried to replicate an ideal/perfect, human being or god. The early Romans had their own gods and rituals, but their ideas about the gods evolved as they interacted with other cultures. When the Romans encountered a similar god from another culture, they blended that god's characteristics with those of their own.
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