History of Rome, Italy

By | November 25, 2021

According to abbreviationfinder, Rome is a Southern European city, located on the Italian peninsula. As the capital of the Italian Republic, Rome is also the most populous city of the same, head of the province of the same name and of the Lazio region. Its area is 1285 km².


Rome began its history as one more village among the many others of shepherds and peasants who spread out the hills and tiny valleys of the area. The first residents were possibly a conglomeration of people of different origins who lived outside the economic and cultural development of their prosperous neighbors, that is, the Etruscans to the North and the Sabines and Latinos to the South.

Archaeologists discovered the remains of a primitive town corresponding to the 8th century BC on the Palatine, with its burials at the foot. Starting from the original nucleus, the population must have spread over the slopes of the nearby hills and, a century later, through the valley between them.

The remote origins of the city of Rome are lost in legend; being surely previous to the year (753 BC) in which the Roman authorities later dated its foundation. In the same way, while it is unlikely that its foundation arose from an explicit and deliberate action, later Roman traditions adorned its emergence with various legends, collected especially by the Roman historian Livy, that link the origin of Rome to a lineage of gods and heroes.

Most were inclined to think that in one of the fierce arguments between the two brothers, Romulus killed Remus in a fit of rage, and, instantly repentant, decided to call the city Rome. According to tradition, Rome was founded on the 11th before the calends of May, it would be April 21, 753 BC, corresponding to the third year of the sixth Olympiad.

Romulus is said to have reigned for thirty-three years.

As soon as Rome was founded, it came into conflict with its neighbors. According to legend, the first conflict was to get women, whom they kidnapped during games to which they invited all the surrounding towns. They defeated everyone, except the Sabines, as the fight ended in a peace treaty won by the women, who did not want to lose their parents and brothers or their husbands. From this treaty the union of the two peoples would emerge.

The city was converted into the capital of the Roman Kingdom (ruled by 7 kings according to tradition), of the Roman Republic (From 512 BC ruled by the two consuls and the Senate) and of the Roman Empire (From 31 BC ruled by a emperor); its success depended on its military conquests, commercial predominance in the Mediterranean and the assimilation of neighboring cultures (such as the Etruscan and the Greek).

Roman rule spread throughout almost all of Europe and along the Mediterranean coast, while its population reached one and a half million residents.


Urban development in Antiquity

When the Latin nuclei that inhabited the hills of the Quirinal, Esquilino and Celio merged with those of the Palatino, they fortified the inhabited enclosure, and thus began the first phase of ancient Rome towards the 8th century BC During a second phase the perimeter of the The city was spread over the Capitoline Hill and through a small valley that separated it from the Palatine (the Roman Forum was located there). From the 6th century BC are the main buildings: Royal Palace, Forum, Cloaca Maxima and Tullianum.

A period of great construction activity followed: temples, basilicas, aqueducts and consular roads (Via Appia, Via Latina, Via Flaminia, etc). The real reorganization took place in the time of Augustus, under whose reign temples and monuments were rebuilt and new ones were erected. The fire in the city, attributed to Nero, in (68) made a large number of buildings disappear, rebuilt shortly after by the same emperor.

The work begun by Nero was continued by his successors: Vespasiano (Colosseum), Titus, Domitian (renovation of the temples of Vesta, Augustus and Minerva, of the Stadium, the Odeon, in Pantheon, etc.). The work of the latter emperor was continued by Trajan (Forum and Baths), Hadrian (Elio bridge, temples of Marciana and Venus, Mausoleum, etc.), Septimius Severus, Caracalla (Baths). In the days of Maxentius the homonymous basilica was built, and of Constantine, his successor, the Arc de Triomphe, the Constantine Baths and the Elenianas are preserved.

During the 3rd and 4th centuries Rome remained in all its splendor, until 410, when it was attacked and sacked by Alaric ; from this moment its monumental decline began.

Urban development in the Middle Ages and the modern Renaissance

The popes transformed the old pagan buildings into Christian ones and ordered the construction of new ones and the great basilicas during the 8th and 9th centuries (San Pablo, San Lorenzo, Santa María la Mayor, etc.). In the 11th centuryanother invasion (that of the Normans, in 1084) left the city in ruins. The popes rebuilt it and it was constituted in two blocks: the religious city, which the pontiffs reserved for themselves (Vatican, Leonine City), and the secular city, enclosed in the chain of feudal fortresses.

During the 12th and 13th centuries, remarkable urban improvements were made and numerous palaces and public buildings were built. See population of Italy.

From Pope Nicholas V the city underwent a great transformation, and during the 15th and 16th centuries it reached an extraordinary monumental stage, reaching the peak of its splendor in the time of Julius II. The Vatican was enlarged, the Sistine Chapel and the Lodges were built and decorated.

Leo X abandoned part of the construction projects of Julius II and devoted himself with determination to the beautification and reconstruction of numerous churches and basilicas, following the inspiration of Sangallo, successor of Bramante and of Rafael as papal architect. Sixtus V was the true creator of modern Rome. During the pontificate of Clement VIII, the demolition of St. Peter’s Basilica and the change of plan of the current basilica from a Greek cross to a Latin cross (it was consecrated in 1613) was completed. Baroque art culminated during the pontificate of Urban VIII thanks to the activity and genius of Bernini.

Modern and contemporary Rome

At the beginning of the Modern Age, during the Renaissance period, Rome played an important cultural role by becoming one of the main artistic and humanistic centers of Italy. The arts and letters were promoted by the popes and artists of the stature of Michelangelo and Raphael worked there.

After World War I, Italy was left in the hands of a fascist government led by Benito Mussolini, who took the city in 1922, eventually declaring it an Empire and being an ally of Nazi Germany. This was a period in which the population grew rapidly, going from 212,000 residents during the unification to a little more than a million, but this trend ceased at the beginning of the Second World War (1939-1945), time in which Rome was damaged by both the Allied bombing and the Nazi occupation; after the execution of Benito Mussolini and the end of the war, the Referendum of 1946 abolished the monarchy and established the Italian Republic.

After the war, Rome grew momentarily, as a consequence of “The Italian Economic Miracle” of reconstruction and modernization. Rome became a popular city between the 1950s and 1960s, being the years of La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life). Rome had another population acceleration in the 1980s when the municipality reached 2.8 million residents.

History of Rome, Italy