Roman Civilization in Italy

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Roman Civilization                                                                    (Back to menu of History of Italy)

Already during the Copper Age the area of the Alban Hills, just to the south of the mouth of the Tiber, was inhabited by an Italic agricultural and pastoral tribe called Latini. And it was due to them, in all probability, that Rome was founded towards the middle of the 8C BC on one of the numerous hills (the Palatine) in the marshy depressions surrounding the river. The town and territory occupied by the Latini expanded gradually during the royal period (753-510 BC, under the seven kings of Rome: Romulus, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Tarquin Priscus, Servius Tullius and Tarquin the Proud). In this period the juridical and social organization of the new nation evolved, revealing clear influence from the nearby Etruscan civilization.

Territorially, at the end of the 6C BC, Roman Lazio extended over some 2000 sq km. It covered the lower Aniene Valley as far as its junction with the Tiber and from there to the sea, besides including the major part of the Alban Hills and the coast from the mouth of the Tiber to the promontory of Anzio. Alongside stock rearing and agriculture the economy of the Latin monarchy was based on commerce, favoured by Rome's geographic position between Campania (Magna Grecia) and Etruria as well as by the proximity of the mouth of the Tiber, which was a harbour of growing importance also because of the presence of productive salt pans.


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