“Rome was not built in a day.”
It was a journey of centuries through transcending crisis and adversities…and it had men who built such a colossus of power and culture.
Rome was a small town in the central part of Italy but its location was significantly enriched with arable plains and a great Tiber River which had access to the sea for foreign trading.
Archaeological diggings revealed human inhabitants around 10,000 years ago and there were several legends as to who founded Rome – from the Trojan warrior Aeneas who was said to have set up a kingdom in Italy after the fall of Troy in 1100 BC, to the brothers Romulus and Remus in 753 BC. However, the earliest settlers could be traced to a group of people living in the Italian peninsula called the Latins. Then there were Greek colonists who established city-states in Sicily and Southern Italy while another group of people called the Etruscans settled in the prosperous trading cities to the north and west of Rome. The Romans adopted the Greeks’ architecture, alphabet, art, literature, religion, and military skills while they adopted the Etruscans’ skills for pottery making, road building and trading. So the Kingdom of Rome flourished under the Etruscan kings who ruled Rome and the surrounding land for more than one hundred years.
In 509 B.C., the Romans drove out the Etruscans and established the Roman Republic which was a government without a king, with leaders all coming from the class of wealthy landowners called patricians. They established the Senate, a 300-member council which controlled Rome’s finances and foreign affairs. The ordinary citizens called the plebeians could neither hold any government post nor marry a patrician. This ignited long years of resentment and struggle of the plebeians to gain equal rights with the patricians which, ultimately, led to their equal rights in 287 B.C. However, the most influential positions in government were still held by the patricians.
The Romans had such devotion to their city, gradually strengthening its army and conquered the Italian peninsula. Law and order, including protection to the people, were implemented to its conquered territories.
Then from 264 to 146 B.C., they went into three Punic Wars (against the North African city-state of Carthage) and eventually emerged victorious. By 133 B.C., Rome had the Greek territory and the whole Mediterranean.
Wealthy cities rose and more or less 90 million people, around 20% of the world’s population, were united under Roman rule and Roman law.