City of Rome
How did Rome gets its name?
Rome is the capital city of Italy. Building started in 753 B.C. and the Romans have a story to explain how this happened. Twin boys, Romulus and Remus, were taken from their mother and left by the river Tiber to starve. A mother wolf found the babies and looked after them until they were old enough to take care of themselves.
Years later, Mars (the Roman God of war) told the boys to build a city where they had been found. The two boys built this city, but ended up at war with each other. Romulus won the battle and the city became known as Rome. Today, historians and archaeologists agree that people started living in Rome long before the time of Romulus and Remus, but many people still believe in their legend.
How was Rome ruled?
At first, Rome was ruled by kings. They were sometimes very cruel and the last king, Tarquin the Proud, was overthrown. Rome then became a republic for the next four hundred years.
This republic was ruled by a senate, and people called Senators were elected to do different jobs in the senate. However, not everyone was allowed to vote in these elections. Women and slaves were not allowed to vote and neither were poor people. Those Roman people who were not slaves were called 'citizens'.
In the 1st century B.C. the generals who controlled the army became very powerful. Rome was no longer just a city, it was the capital of an empire. The Romans ruled lands from France to North Africa. You can see this in our map.
Who were the Roman Emperors?
A Roman Emperor was the man who ruled over the Empire. At first, Rome was ruled by Generals but this caused problems. The Generals were always fighting over who would have the final say in running the Empire.
Eventually the Generals were replaced by just one man - The Emperor. The first Emperor to come to power was Augustus in 27 B.C. He was a popular Emperor who brought peace after many years of fighting. Not all the Emperors were so good...