For at least 14,000 years in Rome, there has been archaeological proof of human existence, but the heavy layer of much younger debris covers Paleolithic and Neolithic sites. At least, 10,000 years of human presence was confirmed by the many stone tools, pottery and stone weapons that were left behind. The effect of the well known story of Rome's basis tends also to turn attention from its actual, and much more ancient, origins.
The Monarchy, Republic, and the Empire
The earlier known facts about Rome were concealed from history. The city was discovered by Romulus on April 21, 753 BC, known in Rome tradition. The well known ancestry of the city tells that Romulus and Remus unquestionably planned to construct a city. Virgil, the well known Roman poet, thinks of this belief when he described Aeneas as leaving the fall of Troy by arriving to Latium to find a line that was originated by Romulus, first king of Rome. There is archaeological proof that pastoral settlements on the Palestine Hill are what created Rome in the area of the future Roman Forum. According to some archaeologists, they disagree that Rome was without question discovered in the middle of the 8th century BC, the date is still under dispute. The original territory evolved into the capital of the Roman Kingdom, which was ruled by a succession of seven kings, according to tradition, and also by the Roman Republic from 510BC, which was governed by the Senate, and finally the Roman Empire from 27BC, which was controlled by an Emperor. This outcome was to be determined on military conquering, occupied state of being, as well as the intelligence of the surrounding civilizations, mostly particularly the Etruscans and Greeks. From its establishment Rome, in spite of losing battles from time to time, had been winning in war up till 386 BC, when it was for a short time controlled by the Gauls. Known in time, the Gauls proposed to give Rome back to its people for a thousand pounds of gold. The Romans did not do it, wanting to take back their city by fighting for it rather than to allowing to be beaten, after which the Romans won back their city.
The Republic was well to do, strong and stable long before it was an empire. Known to tradition, Rome came to be a republic in 509 BC. Under the rule of Augustus (Octavian), after a few centuries Rome became the elaborated city of popular creativity. During the 3RD century BC, Rome was the supreme city of the Italian peninsula, having vanquished and destroyed the Saines, the Etruscans, the Samnities and most of the Greek territories in Sicily, Campania and Southern Italy in general. For the first time, Rome was able to become the capital of an overseas empire after its reputation increased during the Punic wars when it fought against Carthage, the great Mediterranean Empire. In the early part of the 2nd century BC, Rome went through an important growth in population as Italian farmers, who were forced to leave their inherited farmlands, because of the forming of slave-operated farms called latifunda, immigrated to the city in large amounts. The win against Carthage in the first Punic war brought together the first two regions outside the peninsula, Sicily and Corsica at Sardinia. Areas of Spain proceeded and in the early part of the 2nd century the Romans got involved in the matters of the Greek world. When all Hellenistic kingdoms and the Greek city-states were descending, they were tired from all the continuing civil wars and the dependency on mercenary troops. The Battle of Corinth in 146 BC led to the fall of Greece and the beginning of Roman control over the country.
With Emperor Augustus, 63 BC-AD 14, who was known as Octavian before his throne accession, discovered the Principate in 27 BC, the Roman Empire was started. Augustus headed a government group, which he considered himself to be a ruler with the power for life, instead of considering himself a dictator like Julius Caesar had done, had caused him to be killed on March 15, 44 BC. With the large amount of the rebuilding of the city of Rome, the Emperor Augustus began the wonderful program of social, political and economic reform. As the city came into existence, it was marked with admired and great new manufactured buildings, such as palaces, fora and basilicae. Augustus was an elaborate and intellectual person of the arts, and his court was visited by such poets as Virgil, Horace and Propertius. His control also introduced the Pax Romana, a connection of freedom, which went on as long as 200 years. When he no longer was ruler there were other emperors such as Caligula, Nero, Trajan, and Hadrian. During the night of the July 19 to 19 in 64 AD, the Roman Emperor known as Nero was known to be mean and powerful and the myth was when he was emperor he fiddled the night Rome was burning. One-third of the people died, due to the Antonine Plague of 165-180.
Roman controlled large amounts over most of the Western Europe and the land of the Mediterranean, though its power through other states and the complete power of its proximity were greater than its formal borders. There was beyond one million people living in the city. For just about a thousand years, Rome was known as the most important, wealthy and biggest city in the Western world. When the Empire began to descended and was separated, it lost its capital seat to Milan and then to Ravenna, and was passed in recognition by the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Constantinople, whose Greek people continued through the centuries to call themselves Roman.
Under Emperor Constantine I, the Bishop of Rome became the Pope, because of his increase in political and religious importance. Rome became the center of the Catholic Church as was designated by the Pope. With the fall of Rome in 410 AD by Alaric I and the defeat of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, Rome continually suffered through alternating rule of the Byzantine and Germanic empires. The people descended from over a million in 210 AD to the amount of 35,000 in the Early Middle Ages. The decline in population reduced the large city to groups of inhabited buildings scattered among the large areas of ruins and vegetation. Rome continued to exist as part of the Byzantine Empire until 751 AD. The Lombards finally ended the Exarchate of Ravenna, which was the last empire to have a grip on the city, of the Byzantines in northern Italy. During 756, Pepin the Short granted the Pope limited authority over Rome and the bordering areas, thus creating the Papal States. During 845, the Muslim Arabs entered Rome and robbed St. Peter's Basilica.
Rome stayed as the capital of the Papal States until it was attached to the Kingdom of Italy in 1870. The city was a greater scared site during the Middle Ages and the point of progress between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire beginning with Charlemagne, who was crowned its first emperor in Rome in 800 by Pope Leo III. Rome kept its status as the Papal capital and a holy city for centuries, despite it being an independent city for short periods throughout the Middle Ages. It remained the capital even after the Papacy was relocated to Avignon from the brief period of 1309 to 1377.
The capital of the Italian Renaissance was moved from Florence to Rome in the later half of the 15th century. The grandeur of other Italian cities is what the Papacy sought to equal and surpass, so they began creating more extravagant churches, bridges, town squares, and public spaces, which included the new Saint Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, Ponte Sisto, which was the earliest bridge to be constructed across the Tiber since the antiquity, and the Piazza Navona. The Popes gave financial support of the arts, which attracted artist such as Michelangelo, Perugino, Raphael, Ghirlandaio, Luca Signorelli, Botticelli, and Cosimo Rosselli.
There was papal corruption during this period of time. Children were fathered, nepotism, and simony took place by the Popes. The Reformation took place, because of the corruption of the Popes and the excess of the buildings they constructed, which also caused the Counter-Reformation. Wild parties, living in excess, immoral lives, and a state of decline took place by Popes, such as Alexander VI. Rome became the center of art, poetry, music, literature, education, and culture while the popes were living their excessive and rich lives. In terms of wealth, grandeur, the arts, education, and architecture, Rome was now able to be included in the competition taking place among the major cities in Europe.
Rome was changed by the Renaissance period. Pieta by Michelangelo and the frescoes of the Borgia Apartment were created during Innocent's reign. Pope Julius II, who reigned from 1503 to 1513, as well as his successors, Leo X and Clement VII, who were members of the Medici family, gave Rome its highest point of magnificence. During the reigns of Pope Julius II, Leo X, and Clement VII, about 20 years, Rome achieved becoming the center of the art world. The St. Peter's Basilica, which was constructed by the Emperor Constantine the Great, had fallen into a state of disrepair. It was torn down and the new St. Peter's Basilica was constructed in its place. Artist, such as Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Botticelli, and Bramante were hosted by the city. Bramante constructed the temple of San Pietro in Montorio and was planning to renovate the Vatican. One of the most famous painters in Italy, Raphael, created frescoes in the Cappella Niccolina, the Villa Farnesina, the Raphael's Rooms, and many other famous paintings. Michelangelo became famous for painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and creating the statue of Moses for the tomb of Julius. The religious character of Rome was lost, but it became a Renaissance city. There were a large number of popular feats that took place as well as horse races, parties, intrigues, and promiscuous episodes. There was a rich economy in Rome during this period. One of the individuals who took up residence in the city was Agostino Chigi, a Tuscan banker, who was a financial supporter of the arts and a friend to Raphael. The preservation of the ancient ruins was supported by Raphael, before his untimely death. The war between France and Spain caused looting to take place in Rome for the first time in over a thousand years. The Landsknechts of Emperor Charles V ransacked the city in 1527, which ended the golden age of the Renaissance in Rome.
In 1545, starting with the Council of Trent, the church started the Counter Reformation, which was an answer to the Reformation, which was a large scale questioning of the church's power on the spiritual matters and governmental affairs. The loss of confidence in the church led to a major shift in turning the power away from the church. Rome, once again, became the center of the reformed Catholicism under the popes of Pius IV through Sixtus V. There were new monuments constructed to celebrate the Papacy's return to greatness. During the 17th and early 18th century, the Popes and Cardinals continued the movement of the reformation by having the city's landscape lined with baroque buildings. The Eternal City saw new ideas, which showed the papacy's support of the archeological studies and the improvement of the people's welfare throughout the Age of Enlightenment. During the Counter Reformation, there were some problems.
While attempting to restrain the anti-church policies of the European powers, there were a few setbacks. In 1773, Pope Clement XIV was forced to have the Jesuit order ended, which is one of the more notable setbacks.
The Late Modern and Contemporary Eras
The Roman Republic, which was constructed under the influence of the French Revolution, halted the rule of the Popes. Rome was joined to the French Empire while Napoleon was ruling the city. The Congress of Vienna of 1814 reinstated the Church State with the Pope in charge after Napoleon's Empire fell. Because of the revolutions of 1848, there was another Roman Republic that rose in 1849. Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi, who were two influential figures of the Italian unification process, fought on the side of the republic.
Florence became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy with Rome becoming the focus of hopes during the Italian reunification. The capital of Italy became Rome in 1861 while it was still under the control of the Pope. The foreign policy of Napoleon III protected the last traces of the Papal States in the 1860s. During the Franco-Prussian War, the Italian troops were able to conquer the city after finding a breach near Porta Pia, causing the French protection of the Papal States to diminish. After the seize of the city by the Italian troops, Pope Pius IX formally announced that he was a prisoner in the Vatican. Rome became the capital of Italy in 1871.
Italian Fascism began to rise after World War I. Benito Mussolini guided the movement. He marched through the city in 1922 and declared a new Italian Empire that allied Italy with Nazi Germany. The city's population rose above one million inhabitants between the wars. Rome escaped the tragic fate of other European cities, because of its status as an open city during World War II. The city was taken over by Germans from the Italian Armistice until it became liberated on June 4, 1944. Anglo-American forces bombed the city on June 19, 1943. The San Lorenzo district was one of the hardest hit areas. There were 3,000 deaths and 11,000 people wounded as a result of the bombing.
Rome saw an increase in its growth after the war ended. It was a driving force behind the Italian economic miracle of the post war reconstruction and the modernization of the country. During the 1950s and 1960s, the city became a fashion icon. These were the years of la dolce vita, or the sweet life. There were popular classic films created, such as Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, Roman Holiday, and La Dolce Vita, which were filmed at the Cinecitta Studios, located in the city. The population of the city continued to increase until the mid 1980s. The city saw a population of 2.8 million residents. The population began a slow decline after this period as some of the residents began to move to the nearby suburbs.