At the center of the Roman empire was
the capital city of Rome. From the eighth century B. C. to the first century A. D. Rome
grew from a collection of sheepherders' huts to an enormous city.
Rome was built on Palatine, one of the
seven hills that lay east of the Tiber River. The Etruscans lived in Rome during the
early days of the empire. They were the first people to plan and lay out Rome's city
streets and build its sewers. In the early fifth century B. C. Rome was divided into four
Peasants met at the center of these four
regions to exchange goods. This meeting place became known as the forum. The forum was an
open space surrounded by markets, government buildings, and temples.
After the Etruscans, the growth in Rome
was completely unorganized until Julius Caesar ruled from 59 to 44 B. C. He developed a
detailed plan which was carried out by Augustus and his son-in-law Agrippa. At this time
the city was divided into fourteen districts.
The Forum Romanum
courtesy and ©1997 Leo Curran, Maecenas: Images of
Ancient Greece and Rome
|Julius Caesar had a new forum built at
the foot of the Capitoline Hill. In the center of the forum was the Temple of Venus
Genitrix. Later Augustus had two other forums built.
In 64 A. D. Rome was
destroyed by a large fire. The city had to be rebuilt from scratch. By the second century
more that 1,200,000 people lived in Rome.