The ancient city of Rome

About 2,000 years ago, the city of Rome was central to the empire that stretched from Scotland to Syria.

Rome ruled over 45 million people across Europe, North Africa and Asia.



What was life like in ancient Rome?

Legend has it that Rome was founded by the twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, the sons of the god Mars.

The twins wanted to start a new city but couldn't agree on where to build it. This caused a fight where Romulus killed Remus. Romulus then named the new city 'Roma' after himself.


  • The first king of Rome was Romulus, and the last was Tarquin the Proud in 509BC.
  • Rome then became a republic, and a group of men called senators shared power.
  • The army grew more powerful, and the senators could not always control the army. By 49BC, Julius Caesar, a great general, ruled Rome like a king again, but some senators didn't like it and killed him in 44BC.
  • A few years later, Caesar's adopted son Octavius took power and became the first Emperor of Rome.



The Romans believed in many gods and goddesses, such as the god of thunder, love, war, and wisdom. Romans always collected more gods from the people they conquered, like the goddess Isis from Egypt. Some emperors were declared gods too.

Christians refused to worship the emperor as a god and were arrested and put to death. Later on, the Romans became Christians. Under Emperor Constantine, Christianity became the official religion in the 4th century AD.


At the start of the 5th century, the Roman Empire started to crumble. Barbarian tribes from northern Europe often attacked Rome. In AD410, the Visigoths tribe stormed into Rome, killed people and destroyed many buildings in their wake.

Romulus Augustus was the last Roman Emperor. He lost power in AD476 and was replaced by Odovacar, a prince from Germany.


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