The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, Hellenistic period, it is succeeded by medieval Greek. Koine is regarded as a separate historical stage of its own, although in its earliest form it resembled Attic Greek and in its latest form it approaches Medieval Greek. Prior to the Koine period, Greek of the classic and earlier periods included several regional dialects. Ancient Greek was the language of Homer and of fifth-century Athenian historians and philosophers, it has contributed many words to English vocabulary and has been a standard subject of study in educational institutions of the Western world since the Renaissance. This article contains information about the Epic and Classical periods of the language. Ancient Greek was a pluricentric language, divided into many dialects; the main dialect groups are Attic and Ionic, Aeolic and Doric, many of them with several subdivisions.
Some dialects are found in standardized literary forms used in literature, while others are attested only in inscriptions. There are several historical forms. Homeric Greek is a literary form of Archaic Greek used in the epic poems, the "Iliad" and "Odyssey", in poems by other authors. Homeric Greek had significant differences in grammar and pronunciation from Classical Attic and other Classical-era dialects; the origins, early form and development of the Hellenic language family are not well understood because of a lack of contemporaneous evidence. Several theories exist about what Hellenic dialect groups may have existed between the divergence of early Greek-like speech from the common Proto-Indo-European language and the Classical period, they differ in some of the detail. The only attested dialect from this period is Mycenaean Greek, but its relationship to the historical dialects and the historical circumstances of the times imply that the overall groups existed in some form. Scholars assume that major Ancient Greek period dialect groups developed not than 1120 BCE, at the time of the Dorian invasion—and that their first appearances as precise alphabetic writing began in the 8th century BCE.
The invasion would not be "Dorian" unless the invaders had some cultural relationship to the historical Dorians. The invasion is known to have displaced population to the Attic-Ionic regions, who regarded themselves as descendants of the population displaced by or contending with the Dorians; the Greeks of this period believed there were three major divisions of all Greek people—Dorians and Ionians, each with their own defining and distinctive dialects. Allowing for their oversight of Arcadian, an obscure mountain dialect, Cypriot, far from the center of Greek scholarship, this division of people and language is quite similar to the results of modern archaeological-linguistic investigation. One standard formulation for the dialects is: West vs. non-west Greek is the strongest marked and earliest division, with non-west in subsets of Ionic-Attic and Aeolic vs. Arcadocypriot, or Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot vs. Ionic-Attic. Non-west is called East Greek. Arcadocypriot descended more from the Mycenaean Greek of the Bronze Age.
Boeotian had come under a strong Northwest Greek influence, can in some respects be considered a transitional dialect. Thessalian had come under Northwest Greek influence, though to a lesser degree. Pamphylian Greek, spoken in a small area on the southwestern coast of Anatolia and little preserved in inscriptions, may be either a fifth major dialect group, or it is Mycenaean Greek overlaid by Doric, with a non-Greek native influence. Most of the dialect sub-groups listed above had further subdivisions equivalent to a city-state and its surrounding territory, or to an island. Doric notably had several intermediate divisions as well, into Island Doric, Southern Peloponnesus Doric, Northern Peloponnesus Doric; the Lesbian dialect was Aeolic Greek. All the groups were represented by colonies beyond Greece proper as well, these colonies developed local characteristics under the influence of settlers or neighbors speaking different Greek dialects; the dialects outside the Ionic group are known from inscriptions, notable exceptions being: fragments of the works of the poet Sappho from the island of Lesbos, in Aeolian, the poems of the Boeotian poet Pindar and other lyric poets in Doric.
After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BCE, a new international dialect known as Koine or Common Greek developed based on Attic Greek, but with influence from other dialects. This dialect replaced most of the older dialects, although Doric dialect has survived in the Tsakonian language, spoken in the region of modern Sparta. Doric has passed down its aorist terminations into most verbs of Demotic Greek. By about the 6th century CE, the Koine had metamorphosized into Medieval Greek. Ancient Macedonian was an Indo-European language at least related to Greek, but its exact relationship is unclear because of insufficient data: a dialect of Greek; the Macedonian dialect (or l
Trajan was Roman emperor from 98 to 117. Declared by the Senate optimus princeps, Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who presided over the greatest military expansion in Roman history, leading the empire to attain its maximum territorial extent by the time of his death, he is known for his philanthropic rule, overseeing extensive public building programs and implementing social welfare policies, which earned him his enduring reputation as the second of the Five Good Emperors who presided over an era of peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean world. Trajan was born in the city of an Italic settlement in the province of Hispania Baetica. Although misleadingly designated by some writers as a provincial, his family came from Umbria and he was born a Roman citizen. Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in 89 Trajan supported Domitian against a revolt on the Rhine led by Antonius Saturninus. In September 96, Domitian was succeeded by Marcus Cocceius Nerva, an old and childless senator who proved to be unpopular with the army.
After a brief and tumultuous year in power, culminating in a revolt by members of the Praetorian Guard, Nerva was compelled to adopt the more popular Trajan as his heir and successor. He was succeeded by his adopted son without incident; as a civilian administrator, Trajan is best known for his extensive public building program, which reshaped the city of Rome and left numerous enduring landmarks such as Trajan's Forum, Trajan's Market and Trajan's Column. Early in his reign, he annexed the Nabataean Kingdom, his conquest of Dacia enriched the empire as the new province possessed many valuable gold mines. Trajan's war against the Parthian Empire ended with the sack of the capital Ctesiphon and the annexation of Armenia and Mesopotamia, his campaigns expanded the Roman Empire to its greatest territorial extent. In late 117, while sailing back to Rome, Trajan fell ill and died of a stroke in the city of Selinus, he was deified by the Senate and his ashes were laid to rest under Trajan's Column. He was succeeded by his adopted son Hadrian.
As an emperor, Trajan's reputation has endured – he is one of the few rulers whose reputation has survived nineteen centuries. Every new emperor after him was honoured by the Senate with the wish felicior Augusto, melior Traiano. Among medieval Christian theologians, Trajan was considered a virtuous pagan. In the Renaissance, speaking on the advantages of adoptive succession over heredity, mentioned the five successive good emperors "from Nerva to Marcus" – a trope out of which the 18th-century historian Edward Gibbon popularized the notion of the Five Good Emperors, of whom Trajan was the second; as far as ancient literary sources are concerned, an extant continuous account of Trajan's reign does not exist. An account of the Dacian Wars, the Commentarii de bellis Dacicis, written by Trajan himself or a ghostwriter and modelled after Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico, is lost with the exception of one sentence. Only fragments remain of a book by Trajan's personal physician Titos Statilios Kriton.
The Parthiká, a 17-volume account of the Parthian Wars written by Arrian, has met a similar fate. Book 68 in Cassius Dio's Roman History, which survives as Byzantine abridgments and epitomes, is the main source for the political history of Trajan's rule. Besides this, Pliny the Younger's Panegyricus and Dio of Prusa's orations are the best surviving contemporary sources. Both are adulatory perorations, typical of the late Roman era, that describe an idealized monarch and an idealized view of Trajan's rule, concern themselves more with ideology than with actual fact; the tenth volume of Pliny's letters contains his correspondence with Trajan, which deals with various aspects of imperial Roman government, but this correspondence is neither intimate nor candid: it is an exchange of official mail, in which Pliny's stance borders on the servile. It is certain that much of the text of the letters that appear in this collection over Trajan's signature was written and/or edited by Trajan's Imperial secretary, his ab epistulis.
Therefore, discussion of Trajan and his rule in modern historiography cannot avoid speculation, as well as recourse to non-literary sources such as archaeology and epigraphy. Marcus Ulpius Traianus was born on 18 September 53 AD in the Roman province of Hispania Baetica, in the city of Italica. Although designated the first provincial emperor, dismissed by writers such as Cassius Dio as "an Iberian, neither an Italian nor an Italiot", Trajan appears to have hailed on his father's side from the area of Tuder in Umbria, at the border with Etruria, on his mother's side from the Gens Marcia, of an Italic family of Sabine origin. Trajan's birthplace of Italica was founded as a Roman military colony of Italian settlers in 206 BC, though it is unknown when the Ulpii arrived there, it is possible, but cannot be substantiated, that Trajan's ancestors married local women and lost their citizenship at some point, but they recovered their status when the city became a municipium with Latin citizenship in the mid-1st century BC.
Trajan was the son of Marcia, a Roman noblewoman and sister-in-law of the second Flavian Emperor Titus, Marcus Ulpius Traianus, a prominent senator and general f
Luis de Góngora
Luis de Góngora y Argote was a Spanish Baroque lyric poet. Góngora and his lifelong rival, Francisco de Quevedo, are considered the most prominent Spanish poets of all time, his style is characterized by what was called culteranismo known as Gongorismo. This style existed in stark contrast to Quevedo's conceptismo. Góngora was born to a noble family in Córdoba, where his father, Francisco de Argote, was corregidor, or judge. In a Spanish era when purity of Christian lineage was needed to gain access to education or official appointments, he adopted the surname of his mother, Leonor de Góngora, his uncle, Don Franscisco, a prebendary of Córdoba Cathedral, renounced his post in favor of his nephew, who took deacon's orders in 1586. As a canon associated with this Cathedral, he traveled on diverse commissions to Navarre and Castile; the cities that he visited included Madrid, Granada, Jaén, Toledo. Around 1605, he was ordained priest, afterwards lived at Valladolid and Madrid. While his circle of admirers grew, patrons were grudging in their admiration.
In 1617 through the influence of the Duke of Lerma, he was appointed honorary chaplain to King Philip III of Spain, but did not enjoy the honor long. He maintained a long feud with Francisco de Quevedo, who matched him in wit. Both poets composed lots of bitter, satirical pieces attacking one other, with Quevedo criticizing Góngora's penchant for flattery, his large nose, his passion for gambling. Quevedo accused his enemy of sodomy, a capital crime in 17th century Spain. In his "Contra el mismo", Quevedo writes of Góngora: No altar, garito sí. Góngora's nose, the subject of Quevedo's "A una nariz", begins with the lines: Érase un hombre a una nariz pegado, / érase una nariz superlativa, / érase una nariz sayón y escriba, / érase un peje espada muy barbado; this angry feud came to a nasty end for Góngora when Quevedo bought the house he lived in for the only purpose of ejecting him from it. In 1626 a severe illness, which impaired the poet's memory, forced him to return to Córdoba, where he died the next year.
By he was broke from trying to obtain positions and win lawsuits for all his relatives. An edition of his poems was published immediately after his death by Juan López de Vicuña; the collection consists of numerous sonnets, ballads, songs for guitar, of some larger poems, such as the Soledades and the Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea, the two landmark works of the refined style called "culteranismo" or "Gongorismo". Miguel de Cervantes, in his Viaje del Parnaso, catalogued the bad poets of his time, he considered Góngora to be one of the good ones. Velázquez painted his portrait. Numerous documents and satires of his rival Quevedo paint a picture of a man jovial and talkative, who loved card-playing and bullfights, his bishop accused him of attending choir, of praying less than fervently when he did go. Góngora's passion for card-playing contributed to his ruin. Frequent allusions and metaphors associated with card-playing in Góngora's poetry reveal that cards formed part of his daily life, he was reproached for activities beneath the dignity of a churchman.
Culteranismo existed in stark contrast with conceptismo, another movement of the Baroque period, characterized by a witty style, games with words, simple vocabulary, conveying multiple meanings in as few words as possible. The best-known representative of Spanish conceptismo, Francisco de Quevedo, had an ongoing feud with Luis de Góngora in which each criticized the other's writing and personal life; the word culteranismo blends culto and luteranismo and was coined by its opponents to present it as a heresy of "true" poetry. The movement aimed to use as many words as possible to conceal meaning. "Góngora's poetry is inclusive rather than exclusive", one scholar has written, "willing to create and incorporate the new in the form of neologisms." Góngora had a penchant for Latinate and Greek neologisms, which his opponents mocked. Quevedo lampooned his rival by writing a sonnet, "Aguja de navegar cultos," which listed words from Góngora's lexicon: "He would like to be a culto poet in just one day, / must the following jargon learn: / Fulgores, joven, presiente / candor, construye, métrica, armonía..."
Quevedo mocked Góngora's style in several sonnets, including "Sulquivagante, pretensor de Estolo." This anti-Gongorist sonnet mocks the unintelligibility of culteranismo and its widespread use of flowery neologisms, including sulquivagante. He was the first to write poems imitating the speech of blacks. Góngora had a penchant for apparent breaks in syntactical flow, as he overturned the limitations of syntax, making the hyperbaton the most prominent feature of his poetry, he has been called a man of "unquestioned genius and limitless culture, an initiator who enriched his language with the vast power and scope of a mighty pen." As far away as Peru, he received the praise of Juan de Espinosa Medrano, who wrote a piece defending Góngora's poetry from criticism called Apologético en favor de Don Luis de Góngora, Príncipe de los poetas lyricos de España: contra Manuel de Faria y Sousa, Cavallero portugués. As Dámaso Alonso has pointed out, Gongora's con
Gorgias was an ancient Greek sophist, pre-Socratic philosopher, rhetorician, a native of Leontinoi in Sicily. Along with Protagoras, he forms the first generation of Sophists. Several doxographers report that he was a pupil of Empedocles, although he would only have been a few years younger. "Like other Sophists, he was an itinerant that practiced in various cities and giving public exhibitions of his skill at the great pan-Hellenic centers of Olympia and Delphi, charged fees for his instruction and performances. A special feature of his displays was to ask miscellaneous questions from the audience and give impromptu replies." He has been called "Gorgias the Nihilist" although the degree to which this epithet adequately describes his philosophy is controversial. His chief claim to recognition is that he transplanted rhetoric from his native Sicily to Attica, contributed to the diffusion of the Attic dialect as the language of literary prose. Gorgias was born sometime between 490 and 480 BC in Leontinoi, a Chalcidian colony in eastern Sicily, allied with Athens.
His father's name was Charmantides. He had a brother named Herodicus, a physician, sometimes accompanied him during his travels, he had a sister, whose name is not known, but whose grandson dedicated a golden statue to his great uncle at Delphi. It is not known whether Gorgias had children. Gorgias is said to have studied under the Sicilian philosopher Empedocles of Acragas, but it is not known when, for how long, or in what capacity, he may have studied under the rhetoricians Corax of Syracuse and Tisias, but little is known about either of these men, nor is anything known about their relationship with Gorgias. It is not known what kind of role Gorgias may have played in the politics in his native Leontinoi, but it is known that, in 427 BC, when he was around sixty years old, he was sent to Athens by his fellow-citizens as the head of an embassy to ask for Athenian protection against the aggression of the Syracusans. After 427 BC, Gorgias appears to have settled in mainland Greece, living at various points in a number of city-states, including Athens and Larisa.
He was well known for delivering orations at Panhellenic Festivals and is described as having been "conspicuous" at Olympia. There is no surviving record of any role he might have played in organizing the festivals themselves. Gorgias's primary occupation was as a teacher of rhetoric. According to Aristotle, his students included Isocrates.. Additionally, although they are not described as his students, Gorgias is thought to have influenced the styles of the historian Thucydides, the tragic playwright Agathon, the doctor Hippocrates, the rhetorician Alcidamas, the poet and commentator Lycophron. Gorgias is reputed to have lived to be one hundred and eight years old, he won admiration for his ability to speak on any subject. He accumulated considerable wealth. After his Pythian Oration, the Greeks installed a solid gold statue of him in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, he died at Larissa in Thessaly. The philosophies of the pre-Socratic Greek Sophists are controversial among scholars in general, due to their subtle and ambiguous writings and to the fact that they are best known as characters in Plato's dialogues.
Gorgias, however, is frustrating for modern scholars to attempt to understand. While scholars debate the precise subtleties of the teachings of Protagoras and Prodicus, they agree on the basic frameworks of what these thinkers believed. With Gorgias, scholars disagree on the most basic framework of his ideas, including over whether or not that framework existed at all; the greatest hindrance to scholarly understanding of Gorgias's philosophy is that the vast majority of his writings have been lost and those that have survived have suffered considerable alteration by copyists. These difficulties are further compounded by the fact that Gorgias's rhetoric is elusive and confusing. Many of Gorgias's propositions are thought to be sarcastic, playful, or satirical. In his treatise On Rhetoric, Aristotle characterizes Gorgias's style of oratory as "pervasively ironic" and states that Gorgias recommended responding to seriousness with jests and to jests with seriousness. Gorgias blurs the lines between serious philosophical discourse and satire, which makes it difficult for scholars to tell when he is being serious and when he is joking.
Gorgias contradicts his own statements and adopts inconsistent perspectives on different issues. As a result of all these factors, Scott Porter Consigny calls him "perhaps the most elusive of the polytropic quarry hunted in Plato's Sophist. Gorgias has been labelled "The Nihilist" because some scholars have interpreted his thesis on "the non-existent" to be an argument against the existence of anything, straightforwardly endorsed by Gorgias himself. Nihilism is the belief that nothing can be known or communicated, it is associated with pessimism and
Pliny the Younger
Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo, better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped educate him. Pliny the Younger wrote hundreds of letters, of which 247 are of great historical value; some are addressed to notables such as the historian Tacitus. Pliny served as an imperial magistrate under Trajan, his letters to Trajan provide one of the few surviving records of the relationship between the imperial office and provincial governors. Pliny rose through a series of the cursus honorum, he was a friend of the historian Tacitus and might have employed the biographer Suetonius on his staff. Pliny came into contact with other well-known men of the period, including the philosophers Artemidorus and Euphrates the Stoic, during his time in Syria. Pliny the Younger was born in Novum Comum around 61 the son of Lucius Caecilius Cilo, born there, his wife Plinia Marcella, a sister of Pliny the Elder.
He was the grandson of Senator and landowner Gaius Caecilius, revered his uncle, Pliny the Elder, provided sketches of how his uncle worked on the Naturalis Historia. Cilo died at an early age; as a result, the boy lived with his mother. His guardian and preceptor in charge of his education was Lucius Verginius Rufus, famed for quelling a revolt against Nero in 68 AD. After being first tutored at home, Pliny went to Rome for further education. There he was taught rhetoric by Quintilian, a great teacher and author, Nicetes Sacerdos of Smyrna, it was at this time. When Pliny the Younger was 17 or 18, his uncle Pliny the Elder died attempting to rescue victims of the Vesuvius eruption, the terms of the Elder Pliny's will passed his estate to his nephew. In the same document the younger Pliny was adopted by his uncle; as a result, Pliny the Younger changed his name from Gaius Caecilius Cilo to Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus. There is some evidence. A memorial erected in Como repeats the terms of a will by which the aedile Lucius Caecilius Cilo, son of Lucius, established a fund, the interest of, to buy oil for the baths of the people of Como.
The trustees are named in the inscription: "L. Caecilius Valens and P. Caecilius Secundus, sons of Lucius, the contubernalis Lutulla." The word contubernalis describing Lutulla is the military term meaning "tent-mate", which can only mean that she was living with Lucius, not as his wife. The first man mentioned, L. Caecilius Valens, is the older son. Pliny the Younger confirms that he was a trustee for the largess "of my ancestors", it seems unknown to Pliny the Elder, so Valens' mother was not his sister Plinia. Pliny the Younger married three times, when he was young, to a stepdaughter of Veccius Proculus', who died at age 37. Letters survive in which Pliny recorded this last marriage taking place, his attachment to Calpurnia, his sadness when she miscarried their child. Pliny is thought to have died during his convention in Bithynia-Pontus, around 113 AD, since no events referred to in his letters date than that. Pliny was by birth of equestrian rank, that is, a member of the aristocratic order of equites, the lower of the two Roman aristocratic orders that monopolised senior civil and military offices during the early Empire.
His career began at the age of 18 and followed a normal equestrian route. But, unlike most equestrians, he achieved entry into the upper order by being elected Quaestor in his late twenties. Pliny was active in the Roman legal system in the sphere of the Roman centumviral court, which dealt with inheritance cases, he was a well-known prosecutor and defender at the trials of a series of provincial governors, including Baebius Massa, governor of Baetica. Pliny's career is considered as a summary of the main Roman public charges and is the best-documented example from this period, offering proof for many aspects of imperial culture. Pliny crossed all the principal fields of the organization of the early Roman Empire, it is an achievement for a man to have not only survived the reigns of several disparate emperors the much-detested Domitian, but to have risen in rank throughout. Pliny penned his first work at age 14: a tragedy in Greek. Additionally, in the course of his life, he wrote numerous poems.
He was known as a notable orator. Pliny's only oration that now survives is the Panegyricus Traiani; this was delivered in the Senate in 100 and is a description of Trajan's figure and actions in an adulatory and emphatic form contrasting him with the Emperor Domitian. It is, however, a relevant document that reveals many details about the Emperor's actions in severa
A courtier is a person, in attendance at the court of a monarch or other royal personage. The earliest historical examples of courtiers were part of the retinues of rulers; the court was the centre of government as well as the residence of the monarch, the social and political life were completely mixed together. Monarchs often expected the more important nobles to spend much of the year in attendance on them at court. Not all courtiers were noble, as they included clergy, clerks, secretaries and middlemen with business at court. All those who held a court appointment could be called courtiers but not all courtiers held positions at court; those personal favourites without business around the monarch, sometimes called the camarilla, were considered courtiers. As social divisions became more rigid, a divide present in Antiquity or the Middle Ages, opened between menial servants and other classes at court, although Alexandre Bontemps, the head valet de chambre of Louis XIV, was a late example of a "menial" who managed to establish his family in the nobility.
The key commodities for a courtier were access and information, a large court operated at many levels: many successful careers at court involved no direct contact with the monarch. The largest and most famous European court was that of the Palace of Versailles at its peak, although the Forbidden City of Beijing was larger and more isolated from national life. Similar features marked the courts of all large monarchies, including in India, Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, Ancient Rome, Byzantium or the Caliphs of Baghdad or Cairo. Early medieval European courts travelled from place to place following the monarch as he travelled; this was the case in the early French court. But, the European nobility had independent power and was less controlled by the monarch until around the 18th century, which gave European court life greater complexity; the earliest courtiers coincide with the development of definable courts beyond the rudimentary entourages or retinues of rulers. There were courtiers in the courts of the Akkadian Empire where there is evidence of court appointments such as that of Cup-bearer, one of the earliest court appointments and remained a position at courts for thousands of years.
Two of the earliest titles referring to the general concept of a courtier were the ša rēsi and mazzāz pāni of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.. In Ancient Egypt we find a title translated as high great overseer of the house; the courts influenced by the court of the Neo-Assyrian Empire such as those of the Median Empire and the Achaemenid Empire had numerous courtiers After invading the Achaemenid Empire Alexander the Great returned with the concept of the complex court featuring a variety of courtiers to the Kingdom of Macedonia and Hellenistic Greece. The imperial court of the Byzantine Empire at Constantinople would contain at least a thousand courtiers; the court's systems became prevalent in other courts such as those in the Balkan states, the Ottoman Empire and Russia. Byzantinism is a term, coined for this spread of the Byzantine system in the 19th century. In modern English, the term is used metaphorically for contemporary political favourites or hangers-on. In modern literature, courtiers are depicted as insincere, skilled at flattery and intrigue and lacking regard for the national interest.
More positive representations include the role played by members of the court in the development of politeness and the arts. Examples of courtiers in fiction: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Sir Lancelot from Arthurian legend, Gríma Wormtongue from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Count Hasimir Fenring and Gaius Helen Mohiam from Frank Herbert's Dune. Petyr Baelish and Varys from George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire. Ivan Vorpatril from Lois McMaster Bujold's series Vorkosigan Saga. Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. Brokerage at the Court of Louis XIV, by Sharon Kettering. 1, pp. 69-87.
In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed; the Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117. In its many centuries of existence, the Roman state evolved from a monarchy to a classical republic and to an autocratic semi-elective empire. Through conquest and assimilation, it dominated the North African coast and most of Western Europe, the Balkans and much of the Middle East.
It is grouped into classical antiquity together with ancient Greece, their similar cultures and societies are known as the Greco-Roman world. Ancient Roman civilisation has contributed to modern language, society, law, government, art, literature and engineering. Rome professionalised and expanded its military and created a system of government called res publica, the inspiration for modern republics such as the United States and France, it achieved impressive technological and architectural feats, such as the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts and roads, as well as the construction of large monuments and public facilities. The Punic Wars with Carthage were decisive in establishing Rome as a world power. In this series of wars Rome gained control of the strategic islands of Corsica and Sicily. By the end of the Republic, Rome had conquered the lands around the Mediterranean and beyond: its domain extended from the Atlantic to Arabia and from the mouth of the Rhine to North Africa.
The Roman Empire emerged with the dictatorship of Augustus Caesar. 721 years of Roman–Persian Wars started in 92 BC with their first war against Parthia. It would become the longest conflict in human history, have major lasting effects and consequences for both empires. Under Trajan, the Empire reached its territorial peak, it stretched from the entire Mediterranean Basin to the beaches of the North Sea in the north, to the shores of the Red and Caspian Seas in the East. Republican mores and traditions started to decline during the imperial period, with civil wars becoming a prelude common to the rise of a new emperor. Splinter states, such as the Palmyrene Empire, would temporarily divide the Empire during the crisis of the 3rd century. Plagued by internal instability and attacked by various migrating peoples, the western part of the empire broke up into independent "barbarian" kingdoms in the 5th century; this splintering is a landmark historians use to divide the ancient period of universal history from the pre-medieval "Dark Ages" of Europe.
The eastern part of the empire endured through the 5th century and remained a power throughout the "Dark Ages" and medieval times until its fall in 1453 AD. Although the citizens of the empire made no distinction, the empire is most referred to as the "Byzantine Empire" by modern historians during the Middle Ages to differentiate between the state of antiquity and the nation it grew into. According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21 April 753 BC on the banks of the river Tiber in central Italy, by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, who were grandsons of the Latin King Numitor of Alba Longa. King Numitor was deposed by his brother, while Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, gave birth to the twins. Since Rhea Silvia had been raped and impregnated by Mars, the Roman god of war, the twins were considered half-divine; the new king, feared Romulus and Remus would take back the throne, so he ordered them to be drowned. A she-wolf saved and raised them, when they were old enough, they returned the throne of Alba Longa to Numitor.
The twins founded their own city, but Romulus killed Remus in a quarrel over the location of the Roman Kingdom, though some sources state the quarrel was about, going to rule or give his name to the city. Romulus became the source of the city's name. In order to attract people to the city, Rome became a sanctuary for the indigent and unwanted; this caused a problem, in that Rome was bereft of women. Romulus visited neighboring towns and tribes and attempted to secure marriage rights, but as Rome was so full of undesirables he was refused. Legend says that the Latins invited the Sabines to a festival and stole their unmarried maidens, leading to the integration of the Latins with the Sabines. Another legend, recorded by Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, says that Prince Aeneas led a group of Trojans on a sea voyage to found a new Troy, since the original was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. After a long time in rough seas, they landed on the banks of the Tiber River. Not long after they landed, the men wanted to take to the sea again, but the women who were traveling with them did not want to leave.
One woman, named Roma, suggested that the women burn the ships out at sea to prevent their leaving