Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla in Rome, were the city's second largest Roman public baths, or thermae built between AD 212 and 216/217, during the reigns of emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla. They were in operation until the 530s and fell into disuse and ruin. However, they have served as an inspiration for many other notable buildings, including the Baths of Diocletian, Basilica of Maxentius, the original Pennsylvania Station and Chicago Union Station. Art works recovered from the ruins include famous sculptures such as the Farnese Bull and the Farnese Hercules. Today the Baths of Caracalla are a tourist attraction. Construction of the baths was initiated by emperor Septimius Severus and completed during the reign of his son, Caracalla, they were inaugurated in AD 216. The baths were located in the southern area of the city, Regio XII, where members of the Severan family commissioned other construction works: the via nova leading to the baths and the Septizodium on nearby Palatine Hill. For work to have been completed in the time of Caracalla, workers would have had to install over 2,000 metric tons of material every day for six years in order to complete it between 211 and 216.
Work on additional decorations continued under Caracalla's successors Elagabalus and Severus Alexander. The baths were mostly finished by 235. Renovations were conducted under Aurelian and by Diocletian. Under Constantine the Great the caldarium was modified; the building was heated by a hypocaust, a system of burning coal and wood underneath the ground to heat water provided by a dedicated aqueduct. The baths were open to the public; the baths were functional in the 5th century when they were referred to as one of the seven wonders of Rome. Olympiodorus of Thebes mentions a capacity of 1,600; this is interpreted to refer to the maximum number of simultaneous visitors, as the daily capacity is thought to have been 6,000 to 8,000 bathers. The baths remained in use until the 6th century. In 537 during the Gothic War, Vitiges of the Ostrogoths laid siege to Rome and severed the city's water supply. Shortly thereafter the baths were abandoned. Located too far away from the still populated area of Rome, the baths were disused but in the 6th and 7th centuries were used for the burials of pilgrims who died after being cared for in the nearby Xenodochium of Santi Nereo ed Achilleo.
Some simple tombs from this era have been found inside the bath area. Popes Adrian I, Sergius II and Nicholas I may have had some work done on the aqueduct through the 9th century; the earthquake of 847 destroyed much of the building, along with many other Roman structures. At least since the 12th century the baths were used as a quarry for construction materials, of decorative pieces to be reused in churches and palaces. During the 14th century, the area was used as gardens. In the mid-16th century Pope Paul III had excavations conducted in the area during the construction of his new villa. In 1545-7 many large statues, made of marble and bronze, were recovered from the ruins. During the 16th century, the pope granted the area to the Roman Seminary of the Jesuits, it was used as a playground for children. Philip Neri may have brought children from his oratory here – he is believed to have commissioned the fresco Madonna supported by an angel still located in the natatio. Between the 16th and 18th century interest in the structure was rekindled and several famous architects made drawings of the ruins.
The aqueduct serving the baths was in use up to the 19th century. The Aqua Antoniniana aqueduct, a branch of the earlier Aqua Marcia worked on under Diocletian, was built to serve the baths. In 1824, excavations at the baths were conducted by Count Egidio di Velo, whose findings included the mosaics showing athletes now at the Vatican Museums. Further work followed by Luigi Canina in the frigidarium and by Battista Guidi. From 1866 to 1869 restoration work in the central part of the complex revealed a torso of Hercules, porphyr columns and figure-adorned capitals. In 1870 the area became the property of the Italian government and Pietro Rosa conducted excavations in the eastern palaestra. In 1878/9, Giuseppe Fiorelli discovered mosaics in western palaestra. From the early 20th century, excavations expanded into the outer areas of the complex and downward, revealing the subterranean passages, including a mithraeum. Systematic work on the galleries, started in the 18th and 19th centuries, resumed after 1901.
On the eastern side more work was done in the late 1930s, when an opera stage was installed in the caldarium. Except for some sketches no documentation of these restorations survives. Further restoration work took place in the 1980s, when thick vegetation and illegally built houses in the area were cleared away; the southern wall with its cisterns, the southwestern library and the octagonal hall known as the Temple of Jupiter were restored at that point. In 1998-9, the opera stage was dismantled and modern visitor facilities were added to the baths, they reopened to the public in 2001. The baths were the only archaeological site in Rome to be damaged by an earthquake near L'Aquila in 2009, they were again damaged, though minor, in August 2016 by an earthquake in central Italy. The bath complex covered 25 ha; the complex is of rectangular shape. Its construction involved the moving of a substantial amount of earth, as parts of the nearby hills had to be removed or leve
Libya the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania and Cyrenaica. With an area of 1.8 million square kilometres, Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world; the largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, located in eastern Libya. Libya has been inhabited by Berbers since the late Bronze Age; the Phoenicians established trading posts in western Libya, ancient Greek colonists established city-states in eastern Libya. Libya was variously ruled by Carthaginians, Persians and Greeks before becoming a part of the Roman Empire.
Libya was an early centre of Christianity. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the area of Libya was occupied by the Vandals until the 7th century, when invasions brought Islam to the region. In the 16th century, the Spanish Empire and the Knights of St John occupied Tripoli, until Ottoman rule began in 1551. Libya was involved in the Barbary Wars of the 19th centuries. Ottoman rule continued until the Italian occupation of Libya resulted in the temporary Italian Libya colony from 1911 to 1947. During the Second World War, Libya was an important area of warfare in the North African Campaign; the Italian population went into decline. Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951. A military coup in 1969 overthrew King Idris I; the "bloodless" coup leader Muammar Gaddafi ruled the country from 1969 and the Libyan Cultural Revolution in 1973 until he was overthrown and killed in the 2011 Libyan Civil War. Two authorities claimed to govern Libya: the Council of Deputies in Tobruk and the 2014 General National Congress in Tripoli, which considered itself the continuation of the General National Congress, elected in 2012.
After UN-led peace talks between the Tobruk and Tripoli governments, a unified interim UN-backed Government of National Accord was established in 2015, the GNC disbanded to support it. Parts of Libya remain outside either government's control, with various Islamist and tribal militias administering some areas; as of July 2017, talks are still ongoing between the GNA and the Tobruk-based authorities to end the strife and unify the divided establishments of the state, including the Libyan National Army and the Central Bank of Libya. Libya is a member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, the OIC and OPEC; the country's official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims. The Latin name Libya referred to the region west of the Nile corresponding to its central location in North Africa visited by many Mediterranean cultures which referred to its original inhabitants as the "Libúē." The name Libya was introduced in 1934 for Italian Libya, reviving the historical name for Northwest Africa, from the ancient Greek Λιβύη.
It was intended to supplant terms applied to Ottoman Tripolitania, the coastal region of what is today Libya having been ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1551 to 1911, as the Eyalet of Tripolitania. The name "Libya" was brought back into use in 1903 by Italian geographer Federico Minutilli. Libya gained independence in 1951 as the United Libyan Kingdom, changing its name to the Kingdom of Libya in 1963. Following a coup d'état led by Muammar Gaddafi in 1969, the name of the state was changed to the Libyan Arab Republic; the official name was "Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" from 1977 to 1986, "Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" from 1986 to 2011. The National Transitional Council, established in 2011, referred to the state as "Libya"; the UN formally recognized the country as "Libya" in September 2011, based on a request from the Permanent Mission of Libya citing the Libyan interim Constitutional Declaration of 3 August 2011. In November 2011, the ISO 3166-1 was altered to reflect the new country name "Libya" in English, "Libye" in French.
In December 2017 the Permanent Mission of Libya to the United Nations informed the United Nations that the country's official name was henceforth the "State of Libya". The coastal plain of Libya was inhabited by Neolithic peoples from as early as 8000 BC; the Afroasiatic ancestors of the Berber people are assumed to have spread into the area by the Late Bronze Age. The earliest known name of such a tribe was the Garamantes, based in Germa; the Phoenicians were the first to establish trading posts in Libya. By the 5th century BC, the greatest of the Phoenician colonies, had extended its hegemony across much of North Africa, where a distinctive civilization, known as Punic, came into being. In 630 BC, the ancient Greeks colonized the area around Barca in Eastern Libya and founded the city of Cyrene. Within 200 years, four more important Greek cities were established in the area that became known as
The Principate or early Roman Empire is the name sometimes given to the first period of the Roman Empire from the beginning of the reign of Augustus in 27 BC to the end of the Crisis of the Third Century in 284 AD, after which it evolved into the so-called Dominate. The Principate is characterised by the reign of a single emperor and an effort on the part of the early emperors, at least, to preserve the illusion of the formal continuance, in some aspects, of the Roman Republic, it is etymologically derived from the Latin word princeps, meaning chief or first, the political regime dominated by such a political leader, whether or not he is formally head of state and/or head of government. This reflects the principate emperors' assertion that they were "first among equals" among the citizens of Rome; the title, in full, of princeps senatus / princeps civitatis was first adopted by Octavian Caesar Augustus, the first Roman'emperor' who chose, like the assassinated dictator Julius Caesar, not to reintroduce a legal monarchy.
Augustus's purpose was to establish the political stability needed after the exhausting civil wars by a de facto dictatorial regime within the constitutional framework of the Roman Republic as a more acceptable alternative to, for example, the early Roman Kingdom. The title itself derived from the position of the princeps senatus, traditionally the oldest member of the Senate who had the right to be heard first on any debate. Although dynastic pretenses crept in from the start, formalizing this in a monarchic style remained politically unthinkable. In a more limited and precise chronological sense, the term is applied either to the Empire or the earlier of the two phases of'Imperial' government in the ancient Roman Empire, extending from when Augustus claimed auctoritas for himself as princeps until Rome's military collapse in the West in 476, leaving the Byzantine Empire sole heir, or, depending on the source, up to the rule of Commodus, of Maximinus Thrax or of Diocletian. Afterwards, Imperial rule in the Empire is designated as the dominate, subjectively more like an monarchy while the earlier Principate is still more'Republican'.
Under this'Principate stricto sensu', the political reality of autocratic rule by the Emperor was still scrupulously masked by forms and conventions of oligarchic self-rule inherited from the political period of the'uncrowned' Roman Republic under the motto Senatus Populusque Romanus or SPQR. The theory implied the'first citizen' had to earn his extraordinary position by merit in the style that Augustus himself had gained the position of auctoritas. Imperial propaganda developed a'paternalistic' ideology, presenting the princeps as the incarnation of all virtues attributed to the ideal ruler, such as clemency and justice, in turn placing the onus on the princeps to play this designated role within Roman society, as his political insurance as well as a moral duty. What was expected of the princeps seems to have varied according to the times. Speaking, it was expected of the Emperor to be generous but not frivolous, not just as a good ruler but with his personal fortune providing occasional public games, horse races and artistic shows.
Large distributions of food for the public and charitable institutions were means that served as popularity boosters while the construction of public works provided paid employment for the poor. With the fall of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in 68 CE, the principate was redefined in formal terms under the Emperor Vespasian in 69 CE; the position of princeps became a distinct entity within the broader – formally still republican – Roman constitution. While many of the cultural and political expectations remained, the princeps was no longer a position extended on the basis of merit, or auctoritas, but on a firmer basis, allowing Vespasian and future emperors to designate their own heir without those heirs having to earn the position through years of success and public favor. Under the Antonine dynasty, it was the norm for the Emperor to appoint a successful and politically promising individual as his successor. In modern historical analysis, this is treated by many authors as an "ideal" situation: the individual, most capable was promoted to the position of princeps.
Of the Antonine dynasty, Edward Gibbon famously wrote that this was the happiest and most productive period in human history, credited the system of succession as the key factor. This first phase was to be followed by, or rather evolved into, the so-called dominate. Starting with the Emperor Diocletian, oriental type of styles like dominus became current, though not legal, but there could by definition never be a clear, constitutional turning point, so this appreciation remains subjective; the reality is gradual development. This process is said to be established by the Emperor Septimius Severus. After the Crisis of the Third Century resulted in the Roman Empire's political collap
Septimius Severus known as Severus, was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna in the Roman province of Africa; as a young man he advanced through the cursus honorum—the customary succession of offices—under the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Severus seized power after the death of Emperor Pertinax in 193 during the Year of the Five Emperors. After deposing and killing the incumbent emperor Didius Julianus, Severus fought his rival claimants, the Roman generals Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. Niger was defeated in 194 at the Battle of Issus in Cilicia; that year Severus waged a short punitive campaign beyond the eastern frontier, annexing the Kingdom of Osroene as a new province. Severus defeated Albinus three years at the Battle of Lugdunum in Gaul. After consolidating his rule over the western provinces, Severus waged another brief, more successful war in the east against the Parthian Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to the Tigris.
He enlarged and fortified the Limes Arabicus in Arabia Petraea. In 202 he campaigned in Mauretania against the Garamantes, he proclaimed as Augusti his elder son Caracalla in 198 and his younger son Geta in 209. In 208 he travelled to Britain, reoccupying the Antonine Wall. In the same year he invaded Caledonia, but his ambitions were cut short when he fell fatally ill of an infectious disease, in late 210. Severus died in early 211 at Eboracum, was succeeded by his sons, thus founding the Severan dynasty, it was the last dynasty of the Roman Empire before the Crisis of the Third Century. Born on 11 April 145 at Leptis Magna as the son of Publius Septimius Geta and Fulvia Pia, Septimius Severus came from a wealthy and distinguished family of equestrian rank, he had Italian Roman ancestry on his mother's side and descended from Punic – and also Libyan – forebears on his father's side. Severus' father, an obscure provincial, held no major political status, but he had two cousins, Publius Septimius Aper and Gaius Septimius Severus, who served as consuls under the emperor Antoninus Pius r.
138–161. His mother's ancestors had moved from Italy to North Africa. Septimius Severus had two siblings: Publius Septimius Geta. Severus's maternal cousin was consul Gaius Fulvius Plautianus. Septimius Severus grew up in Leptis Magna, he spoke the local Punic language fluently, but he was educated in Latin and Greek, which he spoke with a slight accent. Little else is known of the young Severus' education but, according to Cassius Dio, the boy had been eager for more education than he had got. Severus received lessons in oratory: at age 17 he gave his first public speech. Around 162 Septimius Severus sought a public career in Rome. At the recommendation of his relative Gaius Septimius Severus, Emperor Marcus Aurelius granted him entry into the senatorial ranks. Membership in the senatorial order was a prerequisite to attain positions within the cursus honorum and to gain entry into the Roman Senate, it appears that Severus' career during the 160s met with some difficulties. It is that he served as a vigintivir in Rome, overseeing road maintenance in or near the city, he may have appeared in court as an advocate.
At the time of Marcus Aurelius he was the State Attorney. However, he omitted the military tribunate from the cursus honorum and had to delay his quaestorship until he had reached the required minimum age of 25. To make matters worse, the Antonine Plague swept through the capital in 166. With his career at a halt, Severus decided to temporarily return to Leptis, where the climate was healthier. According to the Historia Augusta, a unreliable source, he was prosecuted for adultery during this time but the case was dismissed. At the end of 169 Severus journeyed back to Rome. On 5 December, he took office and was enrolled in the Roman Senate. Between 170 and 180 his activities went unrecorded, in spite of the fact that he occupied an impressive number of posts in quick succession; the Antonine Plague had thinned the senatorial ranks and, with capable men now in short supply, Severus' career advanced more than it otherwise might have. The sudden death of his father necessitated another return to Leptis Magna to settle family affairs.
Before he was able to leave Africa, Mauri tribesmen invaded southern Spain. Control of the province was handed over to the Emperor, while the Senate gained temporary control of Sardinia as compensation. Thus, Septimius Severus spent the remainder of his second term as quaestor on the island of Sardinia. In 173 Severus' kinsman Gaius Septimius Severus was appointed proconsul of the Province of Africa; the elder Severus chose his cousin as one of his two legati pro praetore, a senior military appointment. Following the end of this term, Septimius Severus returned to Rome, taking up office as tribune of the plebs, a senior legislative position, with the distinction of being the candidatus of the emperor. About 175, Septimius Severus, in his early thirties at the time, contracted his first marriage, to Paccia Marciana, a woman from Leptis Magna, he met her during his tenure as legate under his uncle. Marciana's name suggests Punic or Libyan origin, but nothing else is
The equites constituted the second of the property-based classes of ancient Rome, ranking below the senatorial class. A member of the equestrian order was known as an eques. During the Roman kingdom and the 1st century of the Roman Republic, legionary cavalry was recruited from the ranks of the patricians, who were expected to provide six centuriae of cavalry. Around 400 BC, 12 more centuriae of cavalry were established and these included non-patricians. Around 300 BC the Samnite Wars obliged Rome to double the normal annual military levy from two to four legions, doubling the cavalry levy from 600 to 1,200 horses. Legionary cavalry started to recruit wealthier citizens from outside the 18 centuriae; these new recruits came from the first class of commoners in the centuriate organisation and were not granted the same privileges. By the time of the Second Punic War, all the members of the first class of commoners were required to serve as cavalrymen; the presence of equites in the Roman cavalry diminished in the period 200–88 BC as only equites could serve as the army's senior officers.
After c. 88 BC, equites were no longer drafted into the legionary cavalry, although they remained technically liable to such service throughout the principate era. They continued to supply the senior officers of the army throughout the principate. With the exception of the purely hereditary patricians, the equites were defined by a property threshold; the rank was passed from father to son, although members of the order who at the regular quinquennial census no longer met the property requirement were removed from the order's rolls by the Roman censors. In the late republic, the property threshold stood at 50,000 denarii and was doubled to 100,000 by the emperor Augustus – the equivalent to the annual salaries of 450 contemporary legionaries. In the republican period, Roman senators and their offspring became an unofficial elite within the equestrian order; as senators' abilities to engage in commerce was limited by law, the bulk of non-agricultural activities were in the hands of non-senatorial equites.
As well as holding large landed estates, equites came to dominate mining and manufacturing industry. In particular, tax farming companies were all in the hands of equites. Under Augustus, the senatorial elite was given formal status with a higher wealth threshold and superior rank and privileges to ordinary equites. During the principate, equites filled the senior administrative and military posts of the imperial government. There was a clear division between jobs reserved for senators and those reserved for non-senatorial equites, but the career structure of both groups was broadly similar: a period of junior administrative posts in Rome or Italy, followed by a period of military service as a senior army officer, followed by senior administrative or military posts in the provinces. Senators and equites formed a tiny elite of under 10,000 members who monopolised political and economic power in an empire of about 60 million inhabitants. During the 3rd century AD, power shifted from the Italian aristocracy to a class of equites who had earned their membership by distinguished military service rising from the ranks: career military officers from the provinces who displaced the Italian aristocrats in the top military posts, under Diocletian from the top civilian positions also.
This reduced the Italian aristocracy to an idle, but immensely wealthy, group of landowners. During the 4th century, the status of equites was debased to insignificance by excessive grants of the rank. At the same time the ranks of senators were swollen to over 4,000 by the establishment of a second senate in Constantinople and the tripling of the membership of both senates; the senatorial order of the 4th century was thus the equivalent of the equestrian order of the principate. According to Roman legend, Rome was founded by its first king, Romulus, in 753 BC. However, archaeological evidence suggests that Rome did not acquire the character of a unified city-state until ca. 625 BC. Roman tradition relates that the Order of Knights was founded by Romulus, who established a cavalry regiment of 300 men called the Celeres to act as his personal escort, with each of the three Roman "tribes" supplying 100 horse; this cavalry regiment was doubled in size to 600 men by King Lucius Tarquinius Priscus.
That the cavalry was increased to 600 during the regal era is plausible, as in the early republic the cavalry fielded remained 600-strong. However, according to Livy, King Servius Tullius established a further 12 centuriae of equites, a further tripling of the cavalry, but this is anachronistic, as it would have resulted in a contingent of 1,800 horse, incongruously large, compared to the heavy infantry, only 6,000-strong in the late regal period. Instead, the additional 12 centuriae were created at a stage around 400 BC, but these new units were political not military, most designed to admit plebeians to the Order of Knights. Equites were provided with a sum of money by the state to purc
Geta was Roman emperor with his father Septimius Severus and older brother Caracalla from 209, when he was named Augustus like his brother, who had held the title since 198. Severus died in 211, although he intended for his sons to rule together, they proved incapable of sharing power, culminating with the murder of Geta in December of that year. Geta was the younger son of Septimius Severus by his second wife Julia Domna. Geta was born in Rome, at a time when his father was only a provincial governor at the service of Emperor Commodus. Conflicts between Geta and Caracalla were constant and required the mediation of their mother. To appease his younger son, Septimius Severus gave Geta the title of Augustus in 209. During the campaign against the Britons in the early 3rd century AD, imperial propaganda promoted the image of a happy family that shared the responsibilities of rule. Septimius Severus entrusted Julia Domna with the role of counsellor, Caracalla acted as the emperor's second in command, administrative and bureaucratic duties were Geta's responsibility.
In reality, the rivalry and antipathy between the brothers did not abate. When Septimius Severus died in Eboracum in early 211, Caracalla and Geta were proclaimed joint emperors and returned to Rome, it is said that on the journey from England to Rome the two brothers kept well away from each other, not once lodging in the same house or sharing a common meal. Their joint rule was a failure; the Imperial Palace in Rome was divided into two separate sections, neither allowed the servants of the other into his own. They only met in the presence of their mother, with a strong military guard, being in constant fear of assassination; the historian Herodian asserted that the brothers decided to split the empire in two halves, when, by the end of 211, the situation had become unbearable. Caracalla tried unsuccessfully to murder Geta during the festival of Saturnalia. On the 26th of December, Caracalla had his mother arrange a peace meeting with his brother in his mother's apartments, thus depriving Geta of his bodyguards, had him murdered in her arms by centurions.
Caracalla ordered the damnation of his memory, carried out, as is clear from the archaeological record. Caracalla was thereafter tormented by guilt over his deed, but sought to expiate it by adding to this crime the proscription of all his brother's former followers. Cassius Dio stated that around 20,000 men and women were killed or proscribed on this charge during this time. Few marble portraits attributable to Geta survive to date due to the thorough damnatio memoriae which resulted in the erasing of his images; however Roman coins with his image are plentiful, can reflect how his father Septimius Severus and Geta himself wanted him to be seen by the Roman people. Images of Geta and his older brother Caracalla cannot be well distinguished until the death of the father. Both sons were supposed to be presented as suitable heirs to the throne, showing thus more "depth" to the dynasty. On his coins, who became Augustus in 198, was shown with a wreath of laurels, while Geta remained bareheaded until he himself became Augustus in 209.
Between 209 and their father's death in February 211, both brothers were shown as mature young men with a short full beard, ready to take over the empire. Between the death of Septimus Severus and the assassination of Geta, Caracalla's portraits did not change, while Geta was depicted with a long beard with hanging hairs, much like his father, a strong indication of Geta's efforts to be seen as the "true" successor of his father. Septimia Severan dynasty family tree Dio Cassius lxxvii. Birley, Anthony R.. Septimius Severus: The African Emperor. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415165911. Life of Geta
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