Rome was found in 753. The first Romans were Latins, Greeks, and Etruscans. Rome was built on seven rolling hills at the curve on the Triber river. In 509 BC, the last king of Rome, Tarquin the Proud established a republic. Free-born male citizens were the only ones with voting rights. In the early, different groups of Romans struggled for power. One was the Patricians, the wealthy landowners, and the plebeians, the common farmers, artisans, and merchants
Rome was at the peak of its power from the beginning of Augustus's rule in 27 BC to AD 180. During this time, the Roman Empire included more than 3 million square miles. By collecting taxes, Augustus's government had money to fix roads, build and repair temples, and civil service. In AD 96 a new line of emperors established itself on the Roman throne called the Good Emperors. Stability in the Roman legal system was achieved by law assemblies, the Senate, or the emperor.Agriculture was the most important industry in the empire. About 90 percent of the people were engaged in farming.
The Fall of the Roman Empire
The rich lived extravagantly. They spent large sums of money on gardens, slaves, and luxuries. Wealthy men spent much of their time in politics. Unlike the wealthy, most of the residents of Rome barely had the necessities of life. During the time, much of the city's population was unemployed. Slaves were a significant part of Rome, it was widespread and supported the economy. The Romans, at least those of the upper classes, placed great value on education and literacy. The earliest Romans worshiped powerful spirits or divine forces, called numina, believed to reside in everything around them.
Rome and the Roots of Western Civilization
Life in the Roman Empire
A Jew named Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea. At the age of 30, Jesus began to to preach, teach , and performed miracles. Jesus emphasized God's personal relationship to each human being. As Jesus preached from town to town, he became more and more famous. He attracted large crowds and because his message ignored wealth, his message had a special appeal to the poor. The Roman governor accused Jesus and he was sentenced to be crucified.
During the third century AD, several factors prompted the weakening of Rome's economy. As taxes rose, the value of money declined since Rome was no longer expanding. Harvests in Italy and western Europe became increasingly meager because overworked soil lost its fertility.Feelings of loyalty eventually weakened among citizens. Its final collapse was the result of internal problems and outside invasions.
Under the Roman Empire, hundreds of territories were knitted into a single state. Each Roman province and city was governed the same way. By the second century BC, Roman had conquered Greece and had to greatly admire Greek culture. The mixing of Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman cultural elements produced a new culture called, Greco-Roman culture. Romans learned the art of sculpture from the Greeks. The Romans also borrowed much of philosophy from the Greeks.