The history of Rome started when Remus and Romulus were born. They were the sons of a Roman god, Mars and Rhea Silvia who was a princess. The city of Alba Longa where the princess lived was ruled by Nimitor. He didn’t want anyone to dethrone him and so he ordered the princess to become a Vestal Virgin. He had the twins drown in the river. However, the servant who was in charge to throw the babies took pity on them. The servant put them both in a basket and pushed it down the Tiber River so they wouldn’t drown but safely carried away by the current. The twins ended up in the seven hills in which they were found by Lupa who was a she-wolf.
Lupa nursed the babies in her lair which was situated on Palatine Hill until a shepherd found them and decided to raise the twins. They grew up to be shepherds but they also managed to defeat Nimitor. Circa 753 B.C.E, the twins decided to establish their city. Legend has it that Romulus killed his own twin brother in an argument over who would rule the city. Romulus then named the city after himself, Rome. Roman Empire was one of the supreme civilizations in history. Ancient Rome left us a handful of momentous and even world-changing events whose impacts are still present to this day. If you want to learn the rich and eventful history of Ancient Rome then you have come to the right place. We’ve collected a list of the greatest, noteworthy and most significant historical events of Ancient Rome.
When talking about important historical events of Ancient Rome, we should start off with the obvious, i.e. Remus and Romulus. The twins were wandering for days until they were crossing the famous seven hills. These hills then became the starting point on which the Roman civilization began. While in search for a new place to establish their very own city, the twins were faced with seven options in which to build the city. The hills were Esquiline, Capitol, Celio, Aventine, Palatine, Viminal, and Quirinal. Romulus intended to establish the city on the Palatine Hill while Remus preferred the Aventine Hill. The twins then consulted Augury in the hopes for reaching a decision. Birds were observed to figure out which one was favored the most by the gods. It is believed that Remus saw 6 birds while Romulus had seen a total of 12 birds. Despite the fact it was Remus who had spotted less birds, but he didn’t want to back down and went on to argue that it was he who had laid eyes on them first. Therefore, Remus believed that they should settle on the Aventine Hill. Undeterred, his brother proceeded to construct a wall around the Palatine Hill. Annoyed that he was ignored, Remus decided to ruin the structure by jumping over it. Driven by rage, Romulus murdered Remus.
Legend has it the event occurred in 754 B.C.E. After killing his brother, Remus, Romulus was able to gain absolute control over two million square miles stretching all the way from Britain to Asia Minor and from Rhine River to Egypt. Up to this day, Archaeologists still provide several viewpoints about the original founder of Rome. Nevertheless, Romulus and Remus are taken and are believed by many as the true founders.
The beginning of the classical Roman civilization began when Rome became a Republic. Ancient Romans developed a big city empire which was ruled by the king at the beginning. They then formed a new governmental structure in 509 B.C.E which was called The Republic. This structure that the Romans created was modeled by many across the globe over centuries. The start of the Roman Republic can be traced back to the time when Etruscan conqueror was overthrown by the Romans themselves. Etruscan had had Roman under control with an iron fist for over hundreds of years. The Romans then began to set up the new government structure once they were freed from Etruscan power.
The newly founded Rome Republic gave its
citizens the freedom to select the representative to rule on their behalf. At
first, after the fall of the monarchy, the Romans were controlled by the great
families, also known as the patricians. The plebians or remaining citizens had
no control or say over any political policies despite the fact they might be
just as wealthy as the patricians. Tensions between the two classes only grew
from there, especially since the poorer residents had the bulk of the army.
They questioned the unfairness of it all; why they had to go to wars and the
profits would go to the patricians. The Roman citizens also set themselves
apart from the non-citizens and slaves by donning a toga. Various classes were
created among the citizens as well as with the difference in social status and
In order to appease the plebians, the Laws of the Twelve Tables were enacted. It became known as the first recorded Roman law code. The struggle and tension between the plebians and the patricians grew thicker. The common people wanted to protect their social, legal and civil rights. This prompted a commission of ten men to be appointed. They were known as Decemviri (43 B.C.E). The men wrote a code of law that pacified the needs and concerns of the plebians. The Tables tackled domestic complications with an emphasis on both private property and family life. For example, common people were not only prohibited from imprisonment for debt but they were also granted the right to appeal a magistrate’s decision. Later, the plebians were eventually allowed to marry patricians and become consuls.
The rights of the plebians in the Rome Republic continued to increase. The Lex Hortensia, in 287 B.C.E, eventually declared that all laws passed by the Concilium Plebis were binding to both the patricians and plebians. It has come to pass that the Twelve Tables was one of the earliest surviving law codes in Ancient Rome.
The story of Hannibal and the Carthaginians marked the second Punic War (218 – 202 B.C.E) against the Romans. When they lost to Rome in the first Punic War, the Carthaginians put a lot more thought into the second one. Both Rome and Carthage were on a temporary truce. When the Romans began to take more and more control of the Mediterranean Sea, where both economies (Carthage and Rome) heavily depended on, the Carthaginians became worried. That’s when a young general named Hannibal came into the scene. He was the son of Hamilcar who was one of the most powerful Carthaginians generals. He had been forming his own plan to defeat the Romans, especially after his father’s death.
Invading the Romans by sea would be a sure
defeat like last time. His Great Plan was, later on, became known as one of the
historical events of Ancient Rome. His plan to take down the Romans
comprises of a surprise effect in which they would come to Italy and attack
from the Alps. In spring, 218 B.C.E, Hannibal led one of the biggest military
journeys of history that comprises 60000 soldiers crossing the snowy mountains
of Alps and hot valleys. After 15 rough days passing the Alps, only 20000 of
his soldiers survived. However, the local Gauls who hated the Romans made up
for the loss. The Romans were taken aback by the sudden arrival that it created
chaos. Hannibal defeated the Romans twice: in a cavalry fight next to the river
Ticinus and afterward at the river Trebia. He didn’t stop there. He tore
through the whole Roman legions in a massive battle near the lake of Trasimeno.
All the non-Roman citizens but slaves were expelled from Rome in 98 B.C.E. This period was known as the drastic point in the ancient Roman history for the Romans decided that all who were not citizens must be exiled. They could stay on the exception that they held the status as a slave. While there was not much definitions and facts when it came to this particular period of ancient Rome, but it was still highly regarded as the far-reaching and harsh period for the non-citizens in ancient Rome.
In 50 B.C.E, the Romans introduced its first gold coins called ‘aureus’. It was worth 25 silver denarii. The 1st aureus was minted at the time of the Silla war against Mitridate and weighed 1/30 of the Roman pound. It was thought to be the presumable origin of the gold from the war booty. The fractions of this gold coin were the quinarius which was equal to half aureus. The minting of gold coins in Rome only really began after the conquest by Caesar along with the availability of gold from the mines.
Initially, the weight of the coin was fixed to 1/38 or equivalent to 8.55 gram under Caesar ruling. It was then decreased to 1/40 pound or 8.02 gram. The mass of the aureus coins was decreased to 1/45 pound with the monetary reform of Nero. The weight was further reduced to 1/50 pound with the reform of Caracalla. These gold coins were used mostly for the trading from the first century B.C to fourth century A.D. The end of these coins took place in 309 when the solidus was introduced by Constantine I as a gold coin.
One of the world’s most famous dictators took the 4th place in this list of significant historical events of Ancient Rome. Born on July 12, 100 B.C.E, Gaius Julius Caesar was the son of a Praetor that governed the province of Asia. His mother was Aurelia Cotta who was of noble birth. Caesar joined the army when the new dictator, Sulla, began a systematic purge of those who held to the Populare ideology. Caesar is one of those people was ultimately targeted. This event led him to join the army and became one of the most effective soldiers.
While sailing to Greece in 75 B.C.E, he was kidnapped by pirates and held for ransom. Even though he was treated well and maintained the good relations with the kidnappers, Caesar repeatedly told them that he would hunt them down and crucify them upon his release, but they thought it was a joke. When he was released, he held true to his words and had their throats slit before the crucifixion. This determination, to do exactly what he said he’d do, became the starting point of his defining characteristics throughout his life. His first victory was when he conquered Gaul in 58 B.C.E. This led to more victories as in Asia Minor and Egypt. His dictatorship could be marked when his triumph in Rome surpassed all others. He began a complete reform of Rome’s administration, including the new calendar system. When his friend in the Senate pass a resolution that he was to be dictator for life, rumors were spread about that he wanted to end the long Roman republic tradition.
What’s more significant and momentous than the life of Julius Caesar himself is probably the day he was assassinated. When the gossip about Caesar wishing to be king and put stop to Roman Republic tradition, a plot was hatched to bring him down. The plan involved as many as sixty people, led by Cassius and Brutus.
On March 15, which was funnily the idea of March in the Roman calendar came about, Caesar was sitting in his seat in the Senate when they started to execute their plan. More than twenty senators stabbed him, as a way to share the responsibility. Caesar collapsed at the foot of a statue of his old enemy, Pompey and stained it with his own blood.
His death led to a new civil war. Instead of strengthening the old Roman Republic tradition as they had hoped, it resulted in chains of events that eventually led within twenty years to the end of the Roman Republic. It was replaced with the Roman Empire, and in a sense, it was Caesar’s empire. The first five emperors came from Caesar’s family and it spanned for almost 100 years.
The one responsible for the establishment of the Roman Empire would be Augustus. After successfully defeated Marc Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.E, he also simultaneously put an end to the Roman Republic. The new governing structure brought extreme wealth while facing few military defeats. The Roman Emperor held absolute control in matters of social reforms, war, and religion. The Empire reached its peak when the territory stretched from English/Scottish border to Saudi Arabia in 117 C.E. At its height, the population reached 70 million which accounted for 20% population of the world.
However, the Empire became weaker due to the constant civil war, financial ruin, and barbarian invasion. The capital city had been moved from Rome to Ravenna eight years before the fall of the Empire. However, considering the fact that barbarians managed to march so far into Roman territories proved that the Empire was in the dire state of affairs. When the city of Rome was sacked by the Goths, it led to the fall of the Empire in 476 C.E. However, the period of Roman Empire left us legacies such as the Latin language, Roman numerals, and religion (Christianity). They also left great architecture such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon.
In Ancient Rome, the highest religious priest was called Pontifex Maximus. He was not a real magistrate, but rather a regular citizen. Pontifices were responsible for the entire Roman state cult and for several cults in particular. Initially, the post was only opened, patricians. However, the plebians, later on, started occupying the post and everything suddenly became politicized. Julius Caesar was also appointed pontifex maximum (63 B.C.E). He kept the office until his death. He was then replaced by Marcus Aemilius and when he died, the emperor Augustus was responsible for the state cult.
It was only when Augustus assumed power that he gave the right to appoint other pontifices. When the election of pontifices came to an end, the new Emperor eventually gained all religious dignity and the responsibility of the whole Roman state. From that point forward, a position in the college of pontifices was a symbol of special imperial favor and was comparable to decoration in the modern age.
Ancient Rome held so much more than just what’s written here. Nevertheless, these significant historical events of Ancient Rome are meant as a guide to help you understand Rome in the past in a big picture. It was clear that the Romans went through many drastic changes before A.D., starting from social to the political structure. There also lies many changes in religion and architecture as well. As a matter of fact, it’s believed that Rome had the most advanced civilization that greatly influences different parts of the world.