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Ancient Rome

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Essay title: Ancient Rome


Ancient Rome was one of the world's first empires. This paper discusses the formation of Rome along with Rome's expansion. The paper will continue by describing some of the recreational and leisure activities that some Roman's enjoyed. The paper will then cover the decline of Rome, indicating some of the aspects that contributed to it, and finally the fall of the great Empire.

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome grew from a small settlement on the Tiber River, into an empire that covered the entire Mediterranean world. A civilization was created by the Romans that formed the basis for modern Western civilization. The brilliance of the Romans rests in its military, its government administration, and its law. Military discipline was valued as was cunning diplomacy. The Romans adopted Greek culture after conquering Greece but the Romans did not adopt nor develop a philosophical theory of state or society, instead they practiced power and law. Roman civil law was precise in formulation and logic of thought, the downside to Rome's civil law was its inequality and social prejudice (Linderski, 2007).

Foundation (753 B.C.)

Legend dictates that Rome was founded by descendants of Aeneas. Aeneas was a Trojan hero who fled to Italy after the fall of Troy. Legend states that Romulus and Remus, sons of Aeneas, were abandoned at birth and reared by a female wolf. The two brothers established a town on the Palatine, which is one of the Seven Hills of Rome, and ruled together for a time. The two brothers eventually quarreled. Romulus became the sole ruler after slaying his brother Remus. Tradition shows Rome being founded on April 21, 753 B.C. which to this day is still celebrated as a national holiday (Linderski, 2007).


By 264 B.C., Rome had dominated all of Italy south of the Po Valley, not by force, but by its fairly liberal alliance system. Approximately one tenth of the peninsula was known as Roman land (ager Romanus). At the time, Roman land meant any land that was governed by Rome. Rome's interest in expansion beyond Italy was limited because Rome's trade interests were limited. However, being protectors of both Italian and Greek allies, the Roman's grew concerned for their allies that eventually drew the Romans into wars to the east and west of Italy, wars that lead to the acquisition of territory in both areas (Boren, 2007).

Carthage was Rome's rival to the west. The Carthaginians were a formidable force at sea who controlled southern Spain, western Sicily, and Sardinia plus a large area in Northern Africa. Romans and Carthaginians had many alliances in the past, but Roman expansion led to three great wars with Carthage. The prize of these wars was the control of all the western Mediterranean. The first conflict was sparked by the Campanians appeal for help to Rome. The requested Roman troops arrived to aid the Campanians and a minor skirmish broke out that caused the longest conflict that either side had fought (Boren, 2007).

The first Punic war, 264-242 B.C., was marked by greater casualties than any war that Rome had fought prior. Most of the casualties were from losses at sea. From 264 to 261, the Romans tried to steer the Carthaginians from Sicily by force; The Romans used the strength of their infantry but were unable to siege many fortified towns. In 261, after realizing their plans on land were failing, the Romans turned to the sea to enlarge their fleet even though the Romans had little nautical experience. However, the Romans did have help from the Italian states which were better equipped. Instead of assaulting the Carthaginians ship by ship, the Romans attempted to board their enemies ship's so the Roman marines could use their superior fighting prowess (Warmington, 2007).

Rome realized its first naval victory in 260 when a fleet of 143 Roman ships defeated a fleet of 130 Carthaginian ships. The battle won Rome 31 ships and cost the Carthaginian's ten-thousand men. Rome's initial victory was not a decisive one, however, further engagements at sea and in Sicily allowed Rome to enlarge its fleet. Now with a larger fleet, Rome invaded North Africa. A Carthaginian force was sent to intercept the Roman onslaught but was defeated losing 94 ships (Warmington, 2007).

Heavy losses in population from both Rome and Carthage were realized. Although Carthage sustained smaller losses in population, because of its heavy use of mercenaries, Carthage's financial situation was grim. Carthage had exhausted its financial means and was unable to procure further mercenaries. Because of the population loss by Rome and Carthage's monetary depletion, military operations were on a reduced scale. During this time Carthage had allowed the majority

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