The city of Rome was the capital city of the civilization of Ancient Rome. It was located near the west coast of central Italy. Today, Rome is the capital of the country of Italy. The city started out small, but grew as the empire grew. At one point there were over 1 million people living in the city during ancient times. The city was center of power in the world for over 1000 years.
Many major Roman roads led into the city of Rome. The Latin name for road was Via and the major roads leading into Rome included the Via Appia, the Via Aurelia, the Via Cassia, and the Via Salaria. Inside the city itself there were also many paved streets.
Water was brought into the city by the use of several aqueducts. Some of the wealthy had running water in their houses while the rest of the people got their water from fountains placed around the city. There were also many public bath houses that were used to bathe and to socialize.
Founding of Rome
Roman Mythology has it that Rome was founded by the half-god twins Romulus and Remus on April 21, 753 BC. Romulus killed Remus to become the first King of Rome and the city was named after him.
The Seven Hills
The city of Ancient Rome was built on seven hills: Aventine Hill, Caelian Hill, Capitoline Hill, Esquiline Hill, Palatine Hill, Quirinal Hill, Viminal Hill. It is said that the original city was founded by Romulus on Palatine Hill.
At the center of the city and Roman public life was the Forum. This was a rectangular plaza surrounded by public buildings such as temples of the gods and basilicas where commerce and other public functions could take place. Many of the city's major events took place in the forum such as elections, public speeches, trials, and triumphal processions.
Roman Forum. Photo by Adrian Pingstone
Many important buildings were in or around the forum. Some of these included:
The Regia - A place where the original kings of Rome lived. Later it became the office for the head of the Roman priesthood, the Pontifex Maximus.
The Comitium - The main meeting place for the Assembly and the center of politics and judicial activity in Rome.
Temple of Caesar - The main temple where Julius Caesar was honored after his death.
Temple of Saturn - Temple to the god of agriculture.
Tabularium - The main records office of Ancient Rome.
Rostra - A platform where people would make speeches.
Senate Curia - The place where the Senate met.
Arch of Septimius Severus - A giant triumphal arch.
In later years the forum would become so crowded with people and buildings that many important functions had to move to other areas of the city.
The center of Rome had many other famous and important buildings like the Temple of Jupiter, the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, the Pantheon, and Pompey's Theatre.
Dome of the Pantheon in Rome by Dave Amos
Many of the main government buildings and the homes of the rich were constructed of stone, concrete, and marble. However, homes of the poor were made from wood. These homes caused a considerable fire danger and Rome had many terrible fires throughout its history.