Overview of Rome

History of Rome

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The history of Rome is one of the oldest and most renound histories of Western civilization and its prominence dates back to ancient times. According to legend, Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus on April 21, 753 BC.

A city in the area of the future Roman Forum and Palatine Hill began to develop into a capitol of the Roman Kingdom and was ruled by a succession of seven kings, according to tradition. From 510 BC the Roman Republic formed and was ruled by a Senate until the rule of an emporer took over, establishing the Roman Empire from 27 BC when Roman dominance expanded overseas.

For almost a thousand years, Rome remained the most important city in the Western world. It was finally surpassed in prestige by the Eastern capital of Constantinople. However, a new power was quietly developing in Rome and was situated in the Catholic Church and invested in the Pope.

After the Sack of Rome in 410 AD and during the Early Middle Ages, Rome’s population dipped to a mere 20,000 and remained under the authority of the Byzantine Empire. By 800 AD, Rome began to revive again as a “holy city,” and Papal capitol.

Despite the plague, the Great Schism and the sack of 1527 by Chales V, the Holy Roman Emporer, Rome flourished as a cultural and artistic hub of Western Europe especially during the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Through the 17th and 18th centures, Rome was driven by papal priorities invested in the Counter-Reformation process.

By the 19th century, the nationalistic drives of the Kingdom of Italy, ruled by King Vittorio Emmanuele, let Rome become the center of hope for Italian unification. In 1871, Rome was declared capital of the newly unified Italy, when the population of the city was a mere 213,633.

In the 20th century and after World War I, Rome saw rise to Italian fascism under Benito Mussolini in 1922, who allied Italy with Nazi Germany. During World War II, Rome endured several bombings and raids by the Allied forces between 1943 and 1944. After Mussolini was executed at the end of the war, a 1946 referendum abolished the monarchy in favor of the Italian Republic. Rome grew rapidly and became the directive centre of the reconstruction and modernization of Italy.

In the 1950s and 60s, Rome became fashionable, hence the term la dolce vita, or “the sweet life.” In 1960 the Olympic Games were held in Rome, the first Olympics to be fully covered by television. The Christian Democratic party of Italy dominated the government from 1948 until its demise in 1992 due to allegations of corruption. One of the party’s most memorable leaders, Aldo Moro, was assassinated in Rome in 1978. Rome witnessed more violence in 1993 when two mafia bombs exploded in the city centre. By 1995, the population grew to about 2 million. Currently, Rome faces a rising trend in population, which demands city leaders to resist a subsequent decrease in the quality of life mostly due to traffic and traffic-caused pollution.

Update 22/04/2008

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