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Rise of the ancient Roman Empire by MARIO Ancient Roman Empire Rome had a war god in its lineage and wolf milk in its belly implying that its citizens had a knack for warfare which they would prove again and again Early in Romes history the city was conquered by the Etruscans the most notable civilization in Italy before Romes rise to power The Etruscans who would influence Roman civilization had migrated to Italy from Asia Minor probably in the 12th century BC Their distant past is a mystery because their language has no relationship to any other group of languages Their Italian homeland Etruria consisted of a loose confederation of city-states They were noted for their metalworking and their fine pottery The Etruscans were at the height of their power during the 6th century BC By 500 BC their civilization was in decline and at about that time the Romans rose up and claimed power in their city establishing a republic A patrician class initially ruled Rome but over time the Plebs or common people gained influence As late as 390 BC when Greece and Persia were great powers in the world Rome was still so weak that it was sacked by the Gauls However during the 4th and 3rd centuries BC the Romans became masters of central and southern Italy Roman armies entered Greece where they were both conquerors and conquered They defeated the Greek armies but they were overawed by Greek culture and brought back to Rome a taste for fine art and literature Romes most powerful rival was now the distant city of Carthage ruler of north Africa and the western Mediterranean During the Punic Wars Rome suffered the humiliation of seeing a Carthaginian army on its soil for more than a decade Neither Rome nor Carthage led by the great general Hannibal could prevail Finally the Carthaginians were forced to withdraw and Rome chased them
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