The Geography of Rome

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The Geography of Rome
The Geography of Rome
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Around 3,000 years ago, a tribe of people known as the Latins settled on the hilltops above the
Tiber river. This cluster of small villages eventually grew to become the city of Rome - one of the
most splendid cities in the ancient world and capitol of the mighty Roman Empire
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This location had many advantages for the Latin people. At this spot, the Tiber river narrowed and
there was an island in the middle so people could cross. The coast was about 15 mi. away - close
enough to reach the sea by boats, but far enough away from pirates who roamed the
Mediterranean Sea. From the hills above the river, it was easy to spot enemies and fight them off.
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The Founding of
Rome
The legend of the founding of
Rome actually starts with a
Greek legend. The story
begins with Aeneas, a
mythical hero from the Illiad,
who had escaped from the
city of Troy. After many
adventures, Aeneas finally
arrived in Italy and married a
Latin princess and started a
new line of kings. Two of
Aeneas' decendants were
twin brothers named
Romulus and Remus.
The Founding of
Rome
The boys' great uncle, who was
king at the time, was worried they
may grow up and take away his
throne. So, he ordered them to be
drowned in the Tiber river. The
king's men felt bad for the babies
and floated them down the river
instead where they were found and
raised by female wolf name Lupa.
The wolf raised them until a
shepard found them. The boys
grew up and killed their uncle and
decided to build a city along the
Tiber river.
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The Founding of
Rome
While the brothers were
building the city, they had a
violent argument and
Romulus killed his brother
Remus. Romulus became
king of the new city and
named it Rome after himself.
According to legend , this
happened in 753 B.C.
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Geography of Rome
There are many good reasons
why the city of Rome grew
where it did. The city was built
along seven hills which
protected it from attack.
Second, the Tiber River made a
fine "highway for travel to the
Mediterranean Sea for trade.
Lastly, the farming area was
surrounded by inactive
volcanoes. Ash from earlier
eruptions created a thin but rich
soil. Farmers grew wheat,
beans cabbage, lettuce, figs,
and other fruits. The farmers
also grew grapes in the rocky
soil of Italy.
The First Romans
The earliest settlers on the
Italian peninsula arrived in
prehistoric times. From
about 1000 to 500 B.C.,
three groups inhabited the
region and eventually battled
for control. They were the
Latins, the Greeks, and the
Etruscans. The Latins built
the original settlement at
Rome, a cluster of wooden
huts atop one of its seven
hills, Palatine Hill. These
settlers were considered to
be the first Romans.
The First Romans
Between 750 and 600 B.C.,
the Greeks established
colonies along southern Italy
and the island of Sicily. The
cities became prosperous
and commercially active.
They brought all of Italy,
including Rome, into closer
contact with Greek
civilization.
The First Romans
The Etruscans were native
to northern Italy. They were
skilled metalworkers and
engineers. The Etruscans
strongly influenced the
development of Roman
civilization. They boasted a
system of writing, for
example, and the Romans
adopted their alphabet. They
also influenced Rome’s
architecture, especially the
use of the arch.
The First Romans
Rome was conquered by the
Etruscans. Many of the
things that we associate as
Roman came from the
Etruscans, chariot races,
gladiator fights, sewers, and
aquaducts. Eventually the
Romans overthrew the
Etruscians around 509 B.C.
The First Romans
During the period of Etruscan
rule, Rome continued to grow
and develop. However, the
people of the small city on the
Tiber River could not have known
what the future would hold. As
you will soon see, Rome would
one day become the center of
one of the most power empires
in history. Roman law, language,
and achievements would affect
not only all of Italy, but all of the
world.
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