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ROME (Roma)

No city on Earth can boast a historical, artistic and cultural heritage as rich as that one found in Rome.
Rome is not only the capital of Italy, but is an ancient city that during its heyday was the capital of the entire known world, as to be called "Caput Mundi", exactly, the "capital of the world" in Latin .
In the center of Rome there is the Papal States, also known as Vatican City, the pope's seat and center of Catholicism, the religion for a long time more common in Europe and still nowadays one of the most widely practiced in the world.
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For this series of reasons, Rome, over the centuries, influenced significantly all Western culture, just think of the alphabet and the Romance languages, all derived from Latin, the language of the ancient Romans.

Rome is a city that oozes history, art and culture. Monuments, plazas, fountains, archaeological digs, historical buildings, museums, bridges on the Tiber river, and so on, they meet at each corner of the city and the tourists can not do anything but be conquered by the generosity with which Rome offers its own treasures.

About the origin of the name, the most reliable versions are two. The first dates back to the Etruscan word "Ruma", meaning breast, and could thus refer or to the myth of Romulus and Remus suckled by the wolf, or to the shape of the hilly area of the Palatine and Aventine.
The second version of the origin of the name, believes that "Rome" is a derivation of the word "Rumon" or "Rumen", archaic name of the Tiber, and then "Rome" would mean "city of the river."

Some archaeological finds evidence that the first settlements on the banks of the Tiber date back to the late ninth century BC, but tradition has it that Rome was founded between 753 and 754 BC by Romulus and Remus. The geographical position significantly facilitated the rapid development of the original group during the epoch of 7 kings of Rome.
It's in that period, in fact, that formed a group of political administrators wise and evolved, leading to the transformation of the monarchy into a republic (509 BC) and to a definitive break with the past and the Etruscan culture.

After about a century, Rome dominated the area corresponding to the current Lazio and, after suffering an invasion by the Gauls in 390 BC, Rome continued to expand its borders in a constant and uninterrupted manner for the entire following century.
At the end of the third century BC, Rome had occupied the entire Italian peninsula and, a few decades later, with the end of the Punic Wars against Carthage, the Rome boundaries extended along the entire Mediterranean basin.

After the end of the wars for domination of the Mediterranean, some internal disputes arose in Rome. These were initially focused on two points: the question of citizenship, which, in fact, excluded the Italian allies of Rome by the division of the spoils of war, and the agrarian question raised by the mob who demanded the limitation of land ownership and the redistribution of public lands.
These contrasts, however, degenerated into infighting for power and the years between 130 and 70 BC were characterized by continual conspiracies and coups.

In this period of intense internal conflicts began to emerge charisma and pragmatism of Julius Caesar who in 59 BC, after having formed an alliance with Pompey and Crassus (the first triumvirate) obtained the consulship and the military command of Italy Northern Italy and Gaul. With the death of Crassus, the balance within the alliance with Pompey broke down irreparably. Caesar, who during his stay in Gaul and northern Italy had created a very large base of power, defeated Pompey in a few years and was appointed dictator for life.

Even though Caesar centralized power in his hands and limited the senate's power, he led a prudent policy and in some ways even democratic. In the conquered territories, in fact, were distributed land to the veterans and the Senate, until then the preserve only of Roman citizens, was also opened to provincials.

During the period of Caesar's dictatorship, Rome conquered Gaul and extended its dominions to the Atlantic Ocean, invaded for the first time Britain and Germany and annexed Spain, Greece, Egypt, Pontus, and Africa. The Roman Empire was born.

Between the power struggles that went on a rampage after Caesar's death, which occurred in 44 BC, prevailed over the figures of Antonio, a Caesar's lieutenant, Octavian, adopted son and heir of Caesar and Lepidus, a Caesar's consul. These three personages made an agreement (the second triumvirate) for the management of power. The second triumvirate ended 31 BC when Lepidus entered into conflict with Octavian and retired to private life, but especially when Octavian bent with the force the Antonio's desire to transform the empire into a monarchy of oriental type.

Octavian remained the sole master of the Empire and began the reorganization on the basis monarchist. In 27 BC, the Senate named him emperor and accorded him the title "Augustus", a title which was then used for all the emperors who succeeded him.

The policy of Augustus was never expansive and all the military campaigns had intended only to stabilize and reinforce the boundaries of the Roman Empire.

During the imperial period, Rome went through a large urban development. It is, in fact, in this era that Romans started to build great public buildings, temples, roads, bridges and aqueducts. Many of these structures are still nowadays in operation. The successors of Augustus continued to build great works reflecting the period of great splendor of the Roman Empire at the turn of the first century BC and first century AD.

In 192 AD, after the death of the emperor Commodus, a new era opens for the Roman empire: emperors held the absolute power, the Senate was deprived of authority, the army was the foundation of political power and Christianity began to become a cult widespread. In the third century AD the Christian community had assumed such a dimension that it had became the first community in Italy and Africa Latinized. Emperors frightened by the power and widespread dissemination among all social classes of this religion, began to persecute Christians.

Still in the third century AD, the ruling class back to being that of landowners, mostly coming from the army and not from the aristocracy, as it happened before. This new class, where barbarians were by far the most numerous, constituted the social base of the third and fourth centuries emperors, who were all of barbaric origins. It is in this period that the Rome's decline begins.

The emperor Diocletian decided to move the Empire's capital to Nicomedia, because this city was closer to the areas threatened by barbarians. Moreover, since he had realized that it was impossible for him alone to take under control the entire empire, he appointed a new emperor, Massimiano, to whom entrusted the government of the Western Roman Empire, whose capital was established in Milan. The two emperors, extremely busy to deal with the difficult situation both on the domestic and the outside front, appointed two "Caesars", that is to say, two people with the task of helping the emperors.

After the death of Diocletian and after a period of civil war, Constantine became the new emperor. In 312 AD, he succeeded in reunifying the whole Roman Empire. One of the reasons that favored the Constantine's success, was the recognition and legalization of Christianity.

One of the most important decisions taken by Constantine was to transfer the capital to Byzantium, moving to East the center of gravity of the empire once and for all and enshrining the definite decline of Rome.

After the death of Constantine, there were again clashes over succession and various emperors alternated without changing the geo-political structures of the empire.

We must await the death of Emperor Theodosius, in 395 AD, whose children split the empire, dividing it into Eastern Roman Empire and Western Roman Empire once and for all. In 402 AD, the capital of the Western Roman Empire was moved to Ravenna.

The end of the Western Roman Empire is dated 476 AD, when the barbarian king Odoacer deposed the last Western Emperor, Romulus Augustulus, and ruled with the title of "res Gentium".

Rome, after the fall of the Western Empire was reduced to little more than thirty thousand inhabitants. Its importance had became marginal and this allowed the city to enjoy a certain autonomy. In 743, Pope Gregory the Great, on the basis of the donations of Ninfa and Norma from Constantine V, took advantage of this autonomy to make Rome the center of Christianity and the seat of temporal power.

The pope's position as sole and undisputed representative of Latin Christianity and thanks to successes in the Crusades, was considerably strengthened. Roma took a significant benefit from this situation and knew a period of great prosperity.

The transfer of the papacy to Avignon, which took place in 1309, gave a clear indication of the close link between the fate of the pope and Rome. During this period, in fact, Rome was torn by the rivalry between the Colonna and the Orsini, the most powerful families of Rome and the subsequent attempt (failed) of Cola di Rienzo to form a popular government.

In 1377 Pope Gregory XI moved the papal seat in Rome and in 1420 was officially declared capital of the Papal States by Pope Martin V, starting a new era of great stability that lasted for the next two centuries.

In 1798, the French, after having broken off relations with the Papal States occupied the city and declared the Roman Republic. After nearly two years of occupation, the French were driven out by the Bourbons, who supported the Pope.

However, the revolutionary ideologies, liberal and patriotic which were upsetting Europe, penetrated even to Rome. Pope Pius IX had to fled to Gaeta and the Roman Republic was declared again. Napoleon III, who wanted to ingratiate himself with the French Catholics, sent his troops to the aid of the pope. The new Roman Republic offered a heroic resistance but, a few days later, had to surrender their weapons.

This episode, however, had opened a Roman question, since it was clear the incompatibility between the temporal power of the pope and the need for Italian national unity. Piedmont had annexed almost the entire Italian territory, and the prime minister, Cavour, had not hesitated to proclaim the Kingdom of Italy with Rome as capital, but could not go further because the pope enjoyed the protection of the French of Napoleon III.

The French defeat by the Prussians, smoothed the way for the Kingdom of Italy and in 1870, after a series of fruitless negotiations with Pope Pius IX, the soldiers of General Cadorna entered Rome through the breach of Porta Pia. General Kanzler, head of the papal army surrendered Rome to Cadorna, except the Vatican.

The Roman question was finally ended in 1929, when the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy signed the Lateran Treaty which confirmed the sovereign state of Vatican City and the recognition of the Kingdom of Italy with Rome as the capital by the Vatican.

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