ListenLarger documents may require additional load time.
Ancient Rome
Research in Context. 2015.
Full Text: 

Ancient Rome refers to a period of Roman history that lasted between the eighth century bc and the fifth century ad. Ancient Rome went through many political changes during this time. It went from a kingdom to a republic to an empire. The city of Rome, located on the Italian Peninsula, was the center of ancient activity. Over the centuries, the Roman Empire became one of the largest empires in the world. At its peak, it had an estimated fifty million to ninety million citizens.

Ancient Roman thought and practices influenced modern society in many ways. These contributed to law, politics, architecture, art, language and many other ideas. The philosophy of the Roman Republic later inspired the government of the United States. After a long and successful period of power, internal clashes weakened Rome. These led to the fall of Rome and the dawn of an era known as the Dark Ages in Europe.

Geographic Boundaries

Ancient Roman civilization initially existed on the Italian Peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. Expansion efforts increased after Rome became a republic at the start of the sixth century bc. The republic controlled the entire region of Italy and most of the Mediterranean territories. The republic then extended to Africa, Sicily, and Hispania (present-day Spain). As an empire, Rome’s power grew to include a large portion of Northern Africa, Western Asia, the British Isles, and most of the European mainland. The Roman Empire controlled more than two million miles of land during its peak.


According to myth, descendants of Troy founded Rome in 753 bc. The Kingdom of Rome saw great architectural achievements. Many of its structures still stand in Italy. When Rome became a republic in 509 bc, its focus shifted to expansion. It developed a massive army to carry out invasions.

The Roman Republic experienced a period of economic divide, which led to civil war. These troubles led to the murder of one of the republic’s most famous leaders, Julius Caesar. Caesar’s death led to the end of the Roman Republic and marked the beginning of the Roman Empire.

Sidebar: HideShow

Julius Caesar

  • Julius Caesar held many political positions in the Roman Senate and often challenged its authority.
  • Caesar eventually led a civil war against the republic and won.
  • Caesar named himself dictator for life, which made Roman senators devise a plot to kill him.
  • The Republican senators Cassius and Brutus stabbed Caesar to death in 44 bc.
  • The republic was not restored after Caesar’s death. His nephew Augustus took over Rome and founded the Roman Empire. He named himself its first emperor.

The Roman Empire lasted for about five hundred years. Roman emperors expanded the territory during this time. The Roman Empire experienced two centuries of peace and prosperity before falling into disorder. It eventually was divided into the Eastern Roman Empire and Western Roman Empire. Roman citizens moved to the thriving east. This left the west vulnerable to invasion. The Western Roman Empire fell in 476 ad. The Eastern Roman Empire survived through the fifteenth century.


Ancient Rome influenced Western civilization. Ancient Roman philosophy and literature contributed to cultural high points such as the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment. Many modern forms of religion, specifically Christianity, were founded in ancient Rome. The Christian writings of Rome influenced the works of many important scholars, authors, and poets.

Many words in the modern English language stem from Latin, the primary language of ancient Rome. Roman numerals were used throughout Europe for many centuries after the fall of the empire. The modern twelve-month calendar was developed from Roman calendars. It uses many of the Roman names for months.

The Roman Republic established a system of government that inspired many modern forms of government. It formed a governing body known as the Senate. The United States modeled its Senate after this system. The republic also founded the practice known as checks and balances. This helps to keep any one office from gaining too much power.

Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
"Ancient Rome." Research in Context, Gale, 2015. Research in Context, Accessed 10 Dec. 2018.

Gale Document Number: GALE|WPSLUI057500293