"Some races wax and others wane, and in a short space the tribes of the living
are changed, and like runners hand on the torch of life"
While Rome was at her beginning stages, and their kings were establishing the
direction that the cities were going in, their were very powerful neighbors
living in the north country at Etruria
, and they were known as the Etruscans. They were a very wealthy and educated
culture and had been expanding their territory from Etruria all through the
western Mediterranean, building city-states and eventually they expanded down
toward Rome. (see Ancient Italy Map
Around 575 BC. the Etruscans inhabited Rome and their kings (an aristocratic
family known as the Tarquins
) ruled Rome for the next 66 years. Rome had really benefited from their
influence because they were so advanced. They taught the Romans their alphabet and
how to build their houses with tile roofs. They also taught them many other
building techniques, including the famous "arch" which had, later on, been
attributed to Rome for its invention. The streets were laid out over the once mosquito
infested swamps, and at the center of the city was the great square called the
Forum, which became the seat of Roman government and law. The Tarquins also
built temples and taught the Romans their many religious rituals.
Rome had finally began to emerge as a highly civilized culture, and what was
once a bunch of small villages with huts and straw roofs, now had become a great
city with large walls and paved streets. In fact, Rome had gained fame very
quickly for her tremendous building feats that far surpassed that of her
teachers, the Etruscans and they became one of the wealthiest cities in Italy.
They built the Circus Maximus
(an arena for games that held seats for thousands of spectators), the Temple
of Jupiter (to honor their greatest god), and the Cloaca Maxima (a sewage
system that is still being used today).
Rome was prospering and advancing very fast until her 7th and last Roman king,
Tarquin the Proud, had come to power. He was a very cruel dictator, and he
despised the Senate
as well as the voice of the people. In 509 BC. the people rebelled and
overthrew him and cast him out. The people unanimously agreed "we will never again be
ruled by a king."