The Rise Of The Roman Empire
Italy is a long and narrow land in the form of a boot that stretches out into the Mediterranean. In the north there are the Alps. Even though Italy was half covered in mountains it had good, fertile soil, warm climate, and plenty of rainfall for farming.
At about 1000 B.C. several groups of people moved into Italy. One of them were the Latins who came from across the Alps and started a settlement known as Rome. Another were the Etruscans who came from Asia Minor and settles in western Italy. Then came the Greeks who settled in southern Italy.The Latins learned many things from the Etruscans and Greeks. They learned about building roads and planting crops from the Etruscans. The Greeks were the base of Latin language and religion.
Rome/Roma became a very powerful city state. It stood on a hill a the river. This made a good defensive position. Rome later conquered many other cities. Rome became the center of many trade routes. This made Rome prosperous.
Between 750 B.C. and about 500 B.C., Rome was ruled by the Etruscans. The King was helped by a group of rich landowners called the patricians. At about 500 B.C. the patricians overthrew the king and set up a republic. A republic is a system of government were officials were elected by citizens.
At the head of the Roman Republic were 2 consuls. The consuls were like 2 kings/presidents. The only thing was that consuls could serve a max of only 1 year! The real power in the roman government though was in the senate. The senate was made up of 300 patricians who were appointed by the consul to serve for life. The senate passed the laws and chose who would be the consuls.
The common people of Rome were the plebeians. The plebeians were soldiers, farmers, workers, etc. The plebeians elected an assembly to represent them in the government. The only problem was that the assembly had little power!
This angered the plebeians. So how were the plebeians going to seek revenge? They went on strike! Moved out of Rome! The patricians were helpless without workers to do their work. The patricians finally gave the plebeians more rights , and the plebeians returned.
Rome though had a very large threat from Carthage. A war broke out between Rome and Carthage. Rome one the first part of the war. Then a great strategic general named Hannibal lead his army to Rome for a surprise attack. Hannibal remained in Rome for 15 years! Meanwhile Carthage had been destroyed and later Hannibal and his army. The threat from carthage was no more! The Golden Age Of Rome had begun.