According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 B.C. by the brothers Romulus and Remus, sons of the war god Mars. It was built on seven hills beside the Tiber River, on the border of Etruria. Early Rome was ruled by kings until 509 B.C., when the nobles drove out the wicked Etruscan king Tarquin the Proud. Rome became a republic, ruled by two consuls elected from the senate each year. She overpowered her neighbors in Italy, and learned about Greek civilization from Greek city-states in the south. By 260 B.C. Rome had become a major force. A clash with the trading empire of Carthage in North Africa led to a century of terrible wars. Carthage was finally crushed in 146 B.C., leaving Rome as the greatest power in the Mediterranean.
The Map of Ancient Rome
Most of the Mediterranean gad fallen to Rome by 50 B.C. A few more provinces were added over the next 150 years, including Britain and the Empire was at its height by the 2nd century A.D.