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Origins of Rome

Rome was said to be founded in 754 BC by two twin boys named Romulus and Remus. These two boys were abandoned by their parents, but were said to be cared for and suckled by a she-wolf. Archaeologists have discovered that life in Rome had actually begun in the 9th or 8th century BC as a series of small farmsteads on a group of hills overlooking the River Tiber. Early Rome houses such as the so-called "Hut of Romulus", were preserved as a pattern of postholes on the Palentine. This hut would of had walls of wattle and daub, and thatched roofs. This settlement was intelligently positioned, as it was overlooking a convenient crossing point on the Tiber and near a important salt route to and from the river mouth.

A critical development came in the late 7th century BC, when an Etruscan dynasty, the Tarquins, took control of Rome and changed it from a village and into a city. The Forum valley was then converted into a public square with a gravel paved surface. Pons Sublicius a wooden bridge was thrown across the River Tiber, as well as an Etruscan-style temple to Jupiter Capitolinus build on the Capitol. There may also have benn an agger, or city wall, with a defensive ditch beyond it. This is the oldest defence which survives today, the Servian Wall, which dates back from the 4th century BC.

Roman historians state that the Romans evicted their last Etruscan king, Tarquin the Proud, in 510 BC, and became a republic governed by a pair of annualy elected magistrates, the consuls. It was a huge step, the first step which was to take Rome in less than five centuries from small Italian town to the giant of the Mediterranean.