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According to tradition, the first six kings had been benevolent rulers, but the last was a cruel tyrant who was overthrown by a popular uprising.

The prevalent modern view is that the monarchy at Rome was incidentally terminated through military defeat and foreign intervention.

Roman society originated as a society of small farmers.

A proper Roman marriage could not take place unless bride and groom were Roman citizens, or had been granted special permission, called conubium.

From then on Greek influence would become an increasingly important element within Roman life.

However, the Romans would give Greek culture their own slant, giving it a new grandeur which can be seen in Roman remains throughout the empire.

753 BC – traditional date for the founding of Rome 509 BC – traditional date for the founding of the Roman Republic 390 BC – traditional date for the sack of Rome by the Gauls 264-241 and 218-202 BC – The First and Second Punic Wars (the great wars with Carthage) 83-31 BC – period of Civil Wars leads to the fall of the Roman Republic 27 BC – Augustus establishes himself as the first of the Roman emperors 117 – the Roman Empire reaches its largest extent 312 – the conversion of the emperor Constantine to Christianity 410 – Rome is sacked by the Goths 476 – the last Roman emperor in the West is deposed (For more detailed timelines, see the timelines for the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.) The city of Rome is located in central Italy, but the empire it came to rule covered the entire Mediterranean basin, together with much of western Europe.

At its greatest extent in stretched from present-day northern England to southern Egypt, and from the Atlantic coast to the shores of the Persian Gulf.

Rome’s location in central Italy placed it squarely within the Mediterranean cluster of civilizations.

The most famous of these was that of the Ancient Greeks, but others included those of the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians and the Etruscans, plus several lesser-known peoples such as the Lycians.

Augustus insisted on other restrictions on marriage.

Citizens were not allowed to marry prostitutes or actresses and provincial officials were not allowed to marry the local women.

In its early centuries Rome was particularly influenced by the powerful Etruscan civilization to its north, from which it acquired many aspects of its culture.

As Rome’s reach expanded, it came into direct contact with the Greeks.

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