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Roma







Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
Roma, formerly queen of almost the whole earth. Horace (L. iv. od. 3) calls her the prince of cities; and according to Martial (L. xii. epig. 8) she is terrarum dea gentiumque.

Rome, a city of Latium in Italy, situated on the Tiber, founded by the Alban youth, under the leadership of Romulus and Remus, the grandsons of Numitor. At least the most generally received opinion is that Rome was so called from Romulus, who was first named Romus, according to the authority of Servius. For when Romulus and Remus intertook jointly the building of the city, the latter wished that its name should be Remuria, from his own name. Romulus, on the other hand, preferred to have it named Roma. The auspices were given in favour of Romulus; nevertheless, the city was not styled Romula, lest such a dimunitive of the name should derogate in any degree from the majesty of the city.

Rome took for its sign the wolf suckling the twin brothers, in recognition of the well known story. When, indeeed, the power of the city became so great that the decendants of its father began to be ashamed of their origin, its history was adorned with fables. Hence the sagacious Livy, in his preface to his Libr. Histor., says: "Quae ante conditam condendamce urbem, poeticis magis decora fabulis, quam incorruptis rerum gestarum monumentis traduntur, ea nec adfirmare, nec refellere, in animo est." But although it is common belief that Rome was built by Romulus, because he founded a monarchy there, yet there are many authors who assert that, before him, Evander, from Arcadia, reigned over that part of the city, afterwards called Mons Palatinus; nay, there are others, especially the Greeks, who pretend that, before the time of Romulus, there existed in the same place a city named Rome, which had been built by a certain noble lady, Greek or Trojan, named Roma, who was with Eneas, it is not known in what quality, whether slave or wife.

Leaving these, however, and other opinions which have been advanced respecting the origin of Rome, and which are founded only on conjectures altogether arbitrary, we may regard it thus far certain, that she sprang from the smallest beginnings; that her first foundations were on the Palatine mount; and that her boundries were then from time to time enlarged round that spot to a vast extent. For Pliny (L. iii. c. 6) writes that in the reign of Vespasian, the circuit of the city was 13,000 paces. And Vopisens relates that the emperor Aurelian increased the compass of its walls to 30,000 paces. [So great and famous did this city in the end become, as the capitol of the most powerful and extensive empire ever known, though it owed its origin to a troop of herdsman, fugitive slaves, and robbers, conducted by a man of ability and resolution].

If writers have varied in their sentiments on the origin of Rome, they have equally differed with regard to the year of its foundation. The most general opinion assigns for that event the year from the creation of the world 3231, viz., 753 BC, the third year of the sixth Olympiad, 431 years after the ruin of Troy, and during the reign of Jothan, King of Judah.

Rome was called Septicollis, because she inclosed within her mural boundries seven hills, viz., Palatinus, Quirinalis, Aventinus, Coelius, Viminalius, Esquilinus, and Tarpeius, or Capitolinus. Such was "the eternal city" under King Romulus and his successors. And if, after the substitution of the consular for the monarchial form of government, she gained in point of extent, she was but a rude and unsightly mass of cabins and cottages, until the period of her being burnt by the Gauls. Subsequently to that event she assumed abetter architactural character, having been rebuilt in a more commodious and durable manner. But it is stated by her historians, that even so far down as the arrival of Pyrrhus in Italy, the houses were covered with only shingle and planks. Nor was it till the year 132 BC, that the embellishments of Rome commenced, then proceeding to that pitch of splendour to which Augustus carried them. A splendour which Nero, after playing himself the part of an incendiary with the old city, still further improved upon in restoring it from its ashes. This high a palmy state was under Trajan not only maintained, but rendered still more noble; and long after that great emperor's time it exhibited almost undiminished magnificence, in spite of the ravages of the Goths, the Vandals, the Ostrogoths, and other barbarians, whose assaults were scarcely more ruinous than the degeneracy of the people themselves. Rome still contains relics which serve to indicate what she must have been in the days of her imperial power and grandeur.

Romanum imperium -

The Roman domination or territorial jurisdiction, which began under kings (viz., Romulus and his six successors, Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostillius, Ancus Martius, Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, and Tarquinius Superbus), whose united reigns occupied a space of 243 years, did not extend further than within 18 (Roman) miles each way from the city.

But under consuls, amongst whom were sometimes Dictators, etc, the advance of Roman power, and the extent of Roman conquests, during a period of 447 years, were in effect nearly as follows: Italy captured as far as the Po; Africa and Spain subdued; Gallia and Britannia rendered tributary; the Illyrians, the Istrians, the Liburni, the Dalmatians, vanquished; Achaia invaded; the Macedonians overcome; war waged with the Dardanians, the Moesians, and the Thracians; the legionary eagle was panted on the banks of the Danube. Having defeated Antiochus, the Romans set foot for the first time in Asia; victories over Mithradates, they take possession of the Kingdom of Pontus, together with Armenia Minor, which that monarch had hels; they march into Mesopotamia, and enter into a treaty with the Parthians; they fight against the Arabians; Judea is conquered; Cilicia and Syria brought into subjection; at length Egypt is reached by the victorious arms of Rome, and her republic is no more.

Under the emperors, from Augustus to the times of Theodosius and his sons, a period of 440 years: the Cantabri, the Austures, and all Spain were placed under the yoke; the Alps, Rhaetia, Noricum, Pannonia, and Moesia were added to the empire; the whole tract of the Danube was reduced to the state of provinces; all Pontus and the Greater Armenia, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Arabia, and Egypt yielded obedience to the laws of Rome. And thus, by the successive efforts of these "foremost men of all the world," and by the valour and perseverance of the Roman people, this most august empire was elevated to the supremest height of human glory. Having for her limits the ocean on the west, the Rhine and the Danube on the north, the Tigris on the east, and Mount Atlas on the south.



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