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The Ancient World: Rome

The Roman Empire lasted for over 700 years. Rome began in about 753 BC as a small town in central Italy, on the banks of the River Tiber. At the height of the empire, the Romans ruled much of Europe and parts of Africa and Asia. Roman was originally ruled by kings, but around 500 BC the last king was overthrown, and roman became a republic. It was ruled by two consuls, who were elected each year, and advised by a group of elders called the Senate. The Roman republic lasted almost 500 years. Bui then as the empire grew, fights within the Senate led to a breakdown of the system, and single rule was brought back.

The general Julius Caesar fought a war with a rival general Pompey, Caesar won and became dictator, but he was murdered. Another civil war began, between Caesar's nephew Octavian and the general Mark Antony. The winner this time was Octavian. He became the first emperor of Rome, and in 27 BC he was given the name Augustus. He was the first of a line of emperors that ruled until ad 476. The influence of Roman civilization is still around us today. Public buildings in the Roman style were built until the 19th century, and the laws of many modern countries are based on the Roman system. English, and many other European languages, are full of words from Latin, the language spoken in ancient Rome. And many modern roads follow routes that were originally Roman roads.

There were more people in well-to-do Roman households than there usually are in homes today. First, there was family itself. Then there were the household slaves, who were thought of as part of the family. Slaves who had earned their freedom could also be part of the household.


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