According to legend,the city of Rome was founded in 753 B.C. by Romulus,who became its first king. The last king was overthrown in 509 B.C., when a republic was established. It was ruled by popular assemblies of male citizens;the senate, made up of wealthy noble; and two executives, called consuls. The republic had an efficient and well-trained army, which by the end of third century B.C. had conquered much of Italy. It then went on to conquer many of the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

In the first century B.C., Julius Caeser became dictator (an all-powerful ruler). Many Romans were unhappy at having a single ruler, and Caeser was assassinated in 44 B.C. A struggle for power developed between Caeser’s adopted son, Octavian, and Mark Antony. Octavian became the first emperor of Rome in 27B.C., taking the name Augustus.


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