According to the Ancient Roman historian, Livy, Rome was founded

in 753 bce by Romulus. Livy’s account of early Rome is based on legend, although we know that there was a real settlement on the site of present-day Rome by the 8th century bce. As this settlement grew it came under the rule of the Etruscans . It was probably Etruscans who drained marshes between the seven hills (see page 4) to create the Forum (see page 16).

ROMULUS AND REMUS According to legend, twin brothers Romulus and Remus were abandoned at birth on the banks of the River Tiber. A she-wolf found the twins and cared for them (above) until they were rescued by a shepherd. When they grew up, the brothers decided to start a settlement on the hills above the river. They quarrelled about who should be king. Romulus climbed to the top of the Palatine, while Remus ran up the Aventine. Six vultures flew over the Aventine, which Remus thought was a sign that he would be king—but then 12 vultures flew over Romulus’ hill. Romulus later murdered Remus and became the first king of Rome.

The Republic of Rome In 509 bce Livy states that the Romans overthrew the Etruscan rulers and set up a Republic . This was run by officials called consuls , who were elected every year. Over the following centuries the Republic became more and more powerful as the Romans took over other tribes, including the Etruscans. The power of the Roman Republic brought it into conflict with the Carthaginians, who controlled much of North Africa and Spain. The wars between Rome and Carthage, known as the Punic Wars , lasted for 120 years.

This painting shows the Carthaginian leader, Hannibal, leading his troops across the Alps to attack the Romans. ⌂


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