The Geography of Rome

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1 The Geography of Rome

2 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

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

6 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.

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.

11 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.

12 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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