Early History of Ancient Rome

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Roman Daily Life

The early history of ancient Rome is more mythical than real.

Historians have argued for centuries about the founding of ancient Rome.

Most believe that ancient Rome was founded around 1000 B.C.E. next to the Tiber River.

A mythical account of ancient Rome begins in 753 B.C.E. when the twin brothers of Mars, the god of war, founded the city.

None the less, ancient Rome became the most powerful in the known world for more than 1,500 years.

A mythical account of ancient Rome

The mythical account of ancient Rome starts when the twin brothers of Mars, the god of war, were born.

Their names were Romulus and Remus. The mother of the twin brothers was Rhea Silvia, the daughter of Numitor, who was the king of Alba Longa. Numitor was removed by his brother Amulius, and he killed all male heirs to the throne.

The twin brothers were cast aside as infants and raised by a she-wolf with the help of a woodpecker and a shepherd and his wife.

The twin brothers would go to war with Amulius and kill him. They then placed their grandfather, Numitor, back on the throne.

The twin brothers then set out to create a new city. Unfortunately, they could not agree on which of the Seven Hills of Rome to begin building their new city. Romulus wanted the town to be built on Palatine Hill, and Remus favored the Aventine Hill.

The two brothers started making on their hill. At one point, Romulus had constructed a wall around his city on the Palatine Hill.

Mythical accounts have Remus jumping over the wall to make fun of Romulus, but Romulus became mad and killed his brother. After killing his brother, Romulus named the city Rome after himself.

The founding of ancient Rome

Most historians believe that the city was formed around 1,000 B.C.E. Most likely, the city was founded by farmers because the soil next to the river was fertile.

During the formation of early ancient Rome, there were several groups of people that lived in the area, including Latin, Greek, Sabines, and the Etruscans.

Some historians believe the name of the city traces back to the Etruscan word for the Tiber River, which was “rumon.” Historians think that the culture in early ancient Rome was influenced by the Etruscans who were a powerful group of people in the region and because many early ancient Roman kings were of Etruscan descent.

There are seven hills that overlook the Tiber River.

Ancient Rome was built on the Palatine Hill because it could be easily defended, and the other six hills offered natural barriers against enemies.

Eventually, the other six nearby hills were cleared of timber, and buildings were constructed. After several centuries ancient Rome became the center of trade and power with all roads built leading to the city.

Early rule of ancient Rome

Early ancient Rome was ruled by kings with Romulus ruling for 37 years from 753 B.C.E. until 717 B.C.E.

While Romulus was king, he established the military, the senate who were advisors to the king, and a judiciary system.

Romulus also waged war on his neighbors named the Sabines. He was known for stealing the young women of the Sabines and Latins in order to form marriages with the men of ancient Rome.

This caused problems between the groups of people around ancient Rome, and war broke out. When the war against the Sabines ended in a stalemate, he was forced to jointly rule with King Titus of the Sabines.

Romulus would kill King Titus after five years and rule early ancient Rome solely on his own.

After Romulus’ mysterious death, there were six more kings elected by the people to rule early ancient Rome.

The last king of early ancient Rome was named Tarquin the Proud. He was a violent and cruel king towards the people of early ancient Rome. In 509 B.C.E., the people and senate were exhausted with his cruelty.

They revolted and ousted King Tarquin from early ancient Rome. The people then formed a new style of government not ruled by a king called a Republic.

The new Roman Republic was ruled by two consuls voted into the office by the people. The consuls were instructed by the senate, and they served a one year term in office.

Facts about early ancient Rome

  • According to the mythical account, early ancient Rome was founded in 753 B.C.E. by the twin brothers of Mars, the god of war. Their names were Romulus and Remus.
  • Romulus killed his brother Remus over a dispute of which hill overlooking the Tiber River the city would be built on.
  • There are Seven Hills that overlook the Tiber River. Romulus built early ancient Rome on the Palatine Hill, which was easily defended against enemy attacks.
  • Historians believe early ancient Rome was founded around 1000 B.C.E. by farmers because of the fertile soil next to the Tiber River.
  • Romulus ruled for 37 years as king. He formed a military, a senate of advisors to him, and a judiciary system.
  • Early ancient Rome was ruled by seven kings, including Romulus, for more than 200 years.
  • The last King of Rome was Tarquin the Proud. He was ousted by a revolt of the people and senate. The Roman Republic was then formed in 509 B.C.E. and ruled by two consuls who were voted into office by the people.

Questions and Answers

  1. What were the names of the twin brothers who were the sons of Mars?

Romulus and Remus

  1. Which of the Seven Hills was early ancient Rome built upon?

Palatine Hill

  1. Around which year do historians believe early ancient Rome was founded by farmers?

1000 B.C.E.

  1. Who was the last king of early ancient Rome?

Tarquin the Proud

  1. What was the Etruscan name for the Tiber River?

Rumon