Legends and history of Rome Italy
The legends and initial history of Rome Italy are intertwined, and what's more the history of Rome is for the most part also the history of Italy.
• History of Rome Italy: Beginnings
• The legend
• The Roman Republic
• The Roman Empire
• The rise of Christianity
• The fall of the Roman Empire
• Rome and the renaissance
• Baroque Rome
• Rome and the unification
• Rome and the modern era
History of Rome Italy: The beginnings
Of course Neanderthals have been wandering around Europe and Italy since more than 20 000 years ago but by the start of the Bronze age around 2000BC there are records of several Italic tribes spread throughout Italy.
At around 900BC the Etruscans settled and controlled the area between the Arno River in Tuscany and the Tevere in Rome. The Etruscans continued to develop along with the founding of Rome but they were eventually overwhelmed by the Roman Republic. The last Etruscan City falling to Rome around 300 BC.
Legend has it that Rome was initially ruled by kings, 753 - 510 BC. The 1st king being Romulus. Then as a Republic by consuls, 510 - 30 by BC and finally by Emperors, 30 BC - 470 AD
History of Rome Italy: The legend begins
Romulus and twin Remus were supposedly raised by a she-wolf in a cave on Palatine hill in Rome. Romulus was said to have killed his twin brother in a dispute over who was to govern the city.
What followed was the rule of the seven kings of Rome, Romulus being the 1st (and if you really want to know, then Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Martius, Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius and Tarquinius Superbus.)
With Tarquinius expelled for tyranny and moral misconducts against the people of Rome, the royalty was overthrown and so began the history of the Roman Republic- and the end of Etruscan rule. The Patricians (from latin meaning "fathers") established an autocratic commonwealth.
Return to the top
History of Rome Italy: The Roman Republic
In 390 BC the gauls won a remarkable battle against the Romans and they took control over Rome for forty years. They eventually returned to their own lands (apparently they missed their onion soup) and Rome was rebuilt.
The punic wars which ended with the destruction of the Carthage began in 264 BC and ended in 146 BC at which time Greece also succumbed to the rule of Rome.
In 50 BC the population of Rome reaches 1 000 000.
On 15th March 44 BC Julius Caesar (Giulio Cesare) was assassinated during a senate meeting.
History of Rome Italy: The Roman Empire
27 BC - 14 AD Julius Caesar's nephew Octavian became the first emperor of Rome - Caesar Augustus.
During his reign Christ was born and the Western world experienced the golden age of literature with Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Livy and Tacitus.
98 AD - 117 AD Under emperor Trajan, the Roman empire achieved it's largest size and dominance.
118 - 138 AD Hadrian's time of "containment" of the Empire and a time when some of the most glorious testaments to Roman Architecture was adorned on and throughout the Roman Empire.
After Hadrian began the internal crises and implosion of the Roman Empire. At the end of the 3rd century AD. Emperor Diocletian divided the Empire into Western and Eastern administrative powers.
Return to the top
History of Rome Italy: The rise of Christianity
312 A.D. After being persecuted for centuries christians gained religious freedom under Emperor Constantine and in 331 A.D. he transferred the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium - which he later renamed Constantinople.
History of Rome Italy: The sacking of Rome and the middle ages.
410 A.D. Rome is sacked by the Goths and in 476 A.D. Odoacer claimed himself as ruler of Italy. And so began the middle ages.
A tug-of-war ensued between the Goths and Byzantines. When the Northern European Lombards invaded Italy in 568 A.D. Italy was divided between the Lombard barbarians and the Eastern Empire - the Byzantines. (The term "barbarians" was derogatory and used to describe foreigners who did not speak the Greek language. Greek being the Roman Byzantine Empire's official language.)
The Roman Empire starts gradually being replaced by Papal Rome and when Charlemagne, king of the Franks, defeats the Lombards in 800 AD he is crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Leo III.
In 1305 Pope Clement V moves the Papal seat from Rome to Avignon where it stayed until 1377.
Return to the top
History of Rome Italy: The Renaissance.
Thanks to the eagerness of the popes in Rome (Pope Nicholas V, then Julius II and Leo X) to outdo the cultural and architectural advancements of (mostly) Florence, this period saw huge investments by the Papacy into the many of Rome's iconic symbols that we see today:
Artists, who need no introduction, found an abundance of work in "Caput Mundi" - Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael, Cellini, Ghirlandaio and Botticelli, to name a few.
1527 Spain's turn, and the troupes of Charles V of Spain sacked the city of Rome. Pope Clement VII took refuge in Castel Sant' Angelo.
History of Rome Italy: Baroque Rome.
del tritone" in
By the late 1500s the Catholic church had become immensely rich and certainly many a protestant found themselves questioning the direction of the Catholic Church. This, along with some Pope's delving's into Nepotism and Simony (paying for papal positions), found the Catholic Church trying to appease the people and re-interest their flocks with sumptuous buildings of immense grandeur, literally dripping with ornature.
Great news for artists like Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini who helped to transform Rome with beautiful churches, villas, statues and fountains.
Return to the top
History of Rome Italy: Rome and the unification.
1805 Napoleon transforms the Italian republic into a monarchy and Italy has a brief taste of unity again. In 1816 the monarchy collapses and Italy splits once again into smaller states.
For the next 50 years patriarchs like Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi fight to unify Italy. In 1848 Rome is briefly declared a Republic but Garibaldi's troupes are forced out by the French protecting and supporting the pope.
Finally on 20 September 1870 Rome is stormed by troops of the king and an end comes to the papal leadership of Rome.
History of Rome Italy: Rome and the modern era.
1922 Mussolini and his fascists march on Rome and King Victor Emmanuel III asks Mussolini to appoint a new government.
The Lateran Pact (now part of the Italian Constitution) is made between Mussolini and the Catholic Church bringing to an end centuries of conflict between church and state. The Vatican State is established and Catholicism is declared the official state religion and taught in schools.
1935 Italy invades Ethiopia for the 2nd time (the 1st time, in 1896, they were defeated). The population of Rome is 1 000 000.
2002 Out with the Lira, Italy adopts the EURO as it's currency.
A lot of work went into creating this page, if you found my summary of the History of Rome Italy interesting or it helped you in some way please show your appreciation by bookmarking this page, thank you.
Related pagesFacts about Rome Italy
Italian national anthem
Brief history of Italy
Fun facts about Italy
Rome 8 BC
(These four maps of the ancient Roman Empire actually line the walls of the present day Roman Forum)
The Republic after the punic wars
Top Learn Italian Course Reviews