Tarquin the
753-715 BC
715-673 BC
673-642 BC
642-617 BC
617-579 BC
579-535 BC
535-509 BC
Rome is much older than people realize. Its history can be traced for over 1,000 years. The first Romans were the Etruscans. The area which the Etruscans lived was called Tuscany. All of this is found in modern day Italy.

According to legend Rome's origins can be traced to the ancient city of Troy. Romulus and Remus who are considered the founders of Rome were the children of Rhea Silvia who was impregnated by the god Mars. Rhea Silvia was the daughter of Aeneas a Prince of Troy. Legend has it that they were born in 771 BC

The first Romans were a collection of rejects and losers from surrounding tribes, namely the Latins, Greeks, and Sabines. The Romans hated the Etruscans and vice versa. The Etruscans were more powerful and stronger than the Romans, and they let them know this whenever possible.

The city of Rome was founded by the brothers Romulus and Remus. These twins were sent to die by their evil uncle, an Etruscan king. This king believed that the twins would kill him and take his power when they grew up. To solve this, he threw them in the Tiber River. However, this did not happen. According to legend, the twins were rescued by a she-wolf.

The brothers grew up and did exactly what their uncle the king believed they were going to do, kill him and take his power and money. The year was 753 BC. The new people of Rome had a new problem. Which brother was to be the king? To solve this, the augers, which were the priests, told the brothers to each stand on a hill. The first bird to acknowledge one of the brothers would be the king.

The first bird that came flew towards Romulus. Remus was so jealous he killed his brother on the spot. This is just a prediction of things to come all through the history of Rome. Just because the twins killed the king did not mean that the Etruscans were just going to give up on their whipping boys. On the contrary, the Etruscans held the reins of power tighter for another 200 years.

Besides having the Etruscans as their masters for the lack of a better term, the Romans couldn't get any girls. They came up with a great plan; invite the large body of Sabines to a feast to show no hard feelings and a sense of unity against the Etruscans. Once the party was getting going and the Sabines were really, really drunk, the Romans who were not really drinking turned on their neighbors, killed as many as possible and stole their women.

By 509 BC the Romans had enough of the Etruscans. A situation occurred that couldn't be overlooked. The ruler of the Romans, a man named Servious was killed by another Roman/Etruscan named Tarquin. Servious was really loved and his death was not well received. This is not the situation I am referring to. Tarquin was very well liked by the Etruscans and this made Rome very uneasy.

Tarquin's son raped a woman named Luquesha. Luquesha was young, beautiful, polite, and nice. Everybody loved Luquesha. Luquesha was told by Tarquin's son that if she told anybody about the rape, he would kill her. Other sources say he would say that the real culprit was a slave. In Roman society, for a woman to do this with slaves was very scandalous. Instead of dealing with the shame of being raped, Luquesha killed herself.

Romans went mad. They killed every Etruscan they found, especially the ones of the royal family. The war between the Romans and Etruscans lasted over 100 years. The Romans were able to break away from the Etruscans finally in 392 BC

How exactly did the Romans defeat the Etruscans? Rome did something better than any other culture in Europe, organize. The Romans organized everything. They took the ideas from others made it their own and perfected them. Very rarely did the Romans invent something themselves. Rather, they took someone else's idea.

One idea that was their own, they created Triumph Arches for every major victory against the Etruscans. This became a tradition all through their history. The type of government that the Romans created was also unique. Rome was influenced by the Etruscans who in turn were influenced by the Greeks and the Carthaginians of Northern Africa. The king was not a hereditary position in Rome; rather the king was elected by the senate. The king did not hold absolute power either.

The Romans had one person who was called a dictator. The first dictator of Rome was a man named Cincinnatus. Cincinnatus is compared to George Washington. He was a farmer and a simple man, when his country called on him; he served, first as a general, then as a ruler. His rule was only for 6 months. Any dictator would be allowed to serve for another 6 months if a major emergency arrived.

The other unique part of the Roman government is that they created two councils to counter the possible tyranny of the dictator. The two councils were elected by the Senate who in turn was elected by the people. To us in the United States, we are the people, at least if you are over 18 years old. In Rome this was different. At first only the patricians were able to vote.

Patricians were the upper class citizens, mostly rich men who owned land. Roman citizens had the right to vote, to be elected, to get married, to own land, to participate in the priesthood, sue, sit on a jury, and did not have to pay taxes. With these privileges came responsibility. A citizen must participate in the census; serve as a soldier between the ages of 17 to 46.

In terms of politics, a specific ladder had to be climbed to hold power. At the bottom of this ladder a man must be a Roman citizen and must have money. A politician must have served at least a 10 year military career before holding political office. This is the minimum age of 27. An elected post in a minor part of civic government must be held for at least one year. The next stage is that of Quaestor at age 30. The Quaestor mostly deals with government funds and how to distribute.

At age 37 a Roman moves up to Aedile. Their primary job is to keep up monuments and supervise public works. At age 41 they may become a consul and have the official power to raise an army. With their army they are to go on expeditions for Rome. At 42, the citizen becomes a proconsul and must govern a province for a year.

The next step is a censor. The only way a man can become a censor is to have been a consul. After this, the Senate and dictator are in their grasp depending on their power, military backing, and banking account.

The other major classes of people were the Plebeians. Plebeian were members of Rome that were not rich and could not own land. Regardless, women could not become citizens.

The evolution of Roman government occurred between 509 BC-133 BC. There were two parts. The Assembly of Centuries, which was the entire Roman army. They passed laws and elected councils. The other was the Assembly of Tribes. This consisted of the Plebeians. The Plebeians took a note from the Greeks across the way. They demanded more rights. They were the backbone of Rome. So, in 471 BC a Tribune of 10 was elected to represent the interest of the Plebeians against political attacks. Eventually the 12 Tables developed a standardized law in Rome.

Between the years of 70 BC and 30 AD Rome entered its most popular time period. The year 70 B.C. is sometimes seen as the turning point in Roman history. A series of events changed Rome from a republic to an empire.

In the year 70 B.C. a slave revolt took place that changed Rome's view on slavery. The revolt was started by a man named Spartacus. Spartacus refused to fight and die for the people. The revolt lasted for two years. Rome sent their best general to stop the revolt Pompey.

Caesar was born in 100 B.C. into a wealthy patrician family. He was pushed hard his entire life. He tried to mold himself like Alexander the Great. Caesar used the great benchmarks of Alexander as his benchmarks too. Caesar was found at 25 weeping at the base of a statue of Alexander. The reason he was upset is because he did not control the entire world at the same age as Alexander.

Caesar rose quickly through the ranks of the Roman army. He was infamous for always winning no matter what the circumstances. Caesar is credited with conquering the Gauls (France), Spain, parts of Germany, and Britain. After every victory he became more and more powerful. He soldiers were loyal to Caesar, not the government. If Caesar wished it, his soldiers did it.

Because Caesar paid his soldiers a higher wage than the other generals, all the soldiers wanted to fight for him. A Roman had to be a very good soldier to be accepted into Caesar's army. After he conquered Spain in 61 B.C. the senate saw him as a very strong potential enemy. That is why they made him a co-council, but Caesar wanted more.

Caesar formed a partnership with the generals Crassus and Pompeii. This was called the First Triumvirate. Caesar's popularity was ever rising. The poor loved him because he gave money and food to them. He visited their sections of town. He drank with them. He made it look like he was one of them.

By 50 B.C. the government was scared to let Caesar enter Rome and would not let him cross the Rubicon River. Eventually Caesar was invited to Rome by himself, but he knew if this happened, he would be dead. To have his army cross the Rubicon would start civil war. Caesar chose civil war. The two generals Pompeii and Crassus were instructed to stop him.

Crassus is defeated in battle on the near Greece, but Pompeii escapes to Egypt. Caesar chases him to Egypt. There were two famous sayings that followed Caesar. The first one is, "Vini, Vidi, Vici," which means, "I came, I saw, I conquered."

The other saying was, "Lock up your wives, Caesar is coming." It was widely known that Caesar loved women, many women married or single.

Caesar decides to follow Pompeii to Egypt and upon his arrival the Pharaoh has a gift. Caesar is presented the head of Pompeii as a gift. Egypt is far from its glory, and Rome is the strongest power in the world. This however is not the best gift Caesar receives in Egypt.

That night Caesar is presented with an expensive rug. Upon placing the rug on the floor it started to move. Thinking it is an assassin, Caesar's men are quickly on the case. When they unrolled the rug, they found a woman in the rug. Cleopatra, the sister of the Pharaoh, gave herself as a gift. Caesar was pleased.

Cleopatra had to sneak herself to see Caesar. She was considered a threat to her brother's throne. Cleopatra was very intelligent, confident, and an excellent politician. Contrary to popular belief, Cleopatra was not good looking. Thank Hollywood for this. She is 18 years old when she and the older Caesar start their fling. Cleopatra's sexual appetite was only matched by Caesar. They were perfect for each other.

Upon their union, the Pharaoh was told that he will know rule Egypt jointly with his sister. She is his eyes and ears in Egypt when she was to come back after she returned with him to Rome. In Rome she is not well received. She is a foreigner, she is intelligent and they believe the treatment of Caesar's Roman wife Calpernia is the fault of Cleopatra. Rome hates her, but they still love Caesar. Caesar is not without his enemies, namely the senate.
When Caesar returns to Rome he demands to be made dictator for life. In other words, he wants to disband the Senate, the principal of government of Rome since Romulus and Remus in 753 B.C. In February of 44 B.C. Caesar demands his dictatorship and is given it. The bad news though, he is murdered by a group of Senators on March 15, 44 B.C. He is stabbed 35 times. The people of Rome wish to make him a god, but instead they burn down the houses of all the Senators that were involved. Many of them were murdered along with their families.
For a small amount of time Rome is in chaos. No real ruler could emerge until a group of three take control. These three men were Mark Anthony, one of Caesar's most trusted generals; Octavian, Caesar's grand-nephew who he officially adopted as his son; and Marcus Lepidus. They were the Second Triumvirate. Just like the First Triumvirate, power corrupts these three men.

Marcus Lepidus is the weakest of the three and is quickly eliminated. Mark Anthony left for Egypt and started a smear campaign against Octavian. Mark Anthony makes his push for ultimate power and starts war between the two men. While in Egypt, Mark Anthony meets and falls in love with an older, smarter Cleopatra. The two fall in love and together try to stop Octavian.

Octavian was not a soldier and was not a very strong man. He was a great politician and therefore not really given a lot of credit as a military man. Mark Anthony thought this weakness would win him the throne of Rome. Mark Anthony is wrong; Octavian is an excellent leader and pushes Mark Anthony.

In Egypt, a final naval battle explodes with many twists and turns. Mark Anthony is desperate and tries to trick Octavian into pulling out of his battle plan. Mark Anthony lets it leak that he has killed himself and his army is breaking up. Unfortunately the only person that believed this message was Cleopatra. Upon of hearing of Mark Anthony's death, she kills herself.

It is difficult to say why Cleopatra killed herself. If you read Shakespeare, it was out of love, possibly. The theory I prefer is that she did not want to be brought back to Rome and paraded as a trophy of war. As for Mark Anthony, maybe he did it for love, possibly. The theory I prefer is he saw the end was near, he couldn't be Octavian. In ancient times if a man killed himself, there would be no further smearing of his name.

Octavian Caesar became the emperor of Rome. He changed his name to Augustus Caesar. Augustus means "divine." Octavian initiated a time of peace and prosperity in Rome. His rule started in 27 B.C. and ended in 2 A.D. In the twilight of his rule, Augustus once said, "I left Rome a city of marble, I arrived it a city of bricks."