Why Is Rome Called The Eternal City?

The age of Rome is over 2800 years. First it was called the Eternal City back in the 1st century BC, because, despite its age, the city continued to grow, its size, power, splendor and influence over the world grew. At all times, Rome has attracted the attention of politicians, historians, artisans, musicians, artists and travelers. Rome in the most charming way combines ancient artifacts and modern buildings, material wealth and spiritual values, new trends in culture and old traditions. From this article it will become clear why Rome is called the Eternal City. Let's take a quick tour to learn more about its history, regiment and inhabitants. 

Legend Around Foundation of The City

According to an old legend, the city was founded by two brothers, Romulus and Remus, the sons of Mars and Rhea Sylvia. They come from the royal dynasty of  the ancient Latin city Alba Longa. By order of the local ruler Amulius (Rhea's uncle), the boys were thrown into the River Tiber, so that in the future they could not overthrow him from the throne. The slave, who was ordered to kill the children, took pity on the kids and let go of the basket with them floating on the water. The mighty waters of the Tiber carried them away from the Palatine Hill and nailed the basket to the shore, where the cry of the children was heard by a wolf.  She gently licked them and fed them with milk. Soon they were found by a  shepherd who raised the boys. He named them Remus and Romulus. The shepherd and his wife raised the brothers as their own children.

Having returned many years later to their native city of Alba Longa, Romulus and Remus learned the secret of their birth and restored their grandfather Numitron to the throne. Later, by the will of Numitron, the brothers went to the mouth of the Tiber River in search of territories to found there a colony of Alba Longa.

Two brothers chose the Palatine Hill to build a city. But a dispute arose between Romulus and Remus - who will be the sole ruler? And they decided to wait for the sign of the Gods. Remus saw six flying kites, and his brother saw twelve. This was a sign from above. Satisfied with the victory, Romulus put a sacred line on the Palantine in order to outline the borders of the city, which he named in his honor - Rome (it. Roma). Remus jokingly jumped over this border, and Romulus, angry with his brother, killed him. This is the legend of creating the "capital of the world", as it was once called.

Today, historians can tell the exact date of the Rome foundation - April 21, 753 BC. The land belonged to the representatives of the founding tribes, which were called patricians. Gradually, the population of Rome increased to one hundred thousand people. The newly arrived people and their descendants were called plebeians. They were free, but did not have their own land and could not engage in public affairs.

The most important holiday in Rome is the Day of the City, which is traditionally celebrated on April 21. On this day, the city celebrates its birthday, the gates of Rome are solemnly opened, and locals come to the parades and carnivals held in the form of gladiators and great personalities from the history of Rome.

Periods of Ancient Rome

During thousands years of its existence, Rome went through many changes. Ancient times are usually divided into the following periods:

  • royal - begins from the time of the foundation of the city and implies the rule of seven kings;
  • republican - the city expanded, becoming the capital of a new state;
  • imperial - began under the rule of Julius Caesar. Emperor  August continued its expansion, increased the space at the expense of the suburbs and divided the city into fourteen parts. After the fire, associated with the emperor Nero, the city was completely rebuilt by the Flavian dynasty. 

History of Ancient Rome ended in the fifth century when it was captured by the nomadic tribes Visigoths and later plundered by vandals.

During the Middle Ages, the city became the center of the papacy. Eventually, the Vatican Hill became its central place. The buildings that Christians used for themselves were best preserved. The remaining structures were destroyed by time and raids. A new time began for Rome by the attack of the French, who created there a republic and drove the pope out. The confrontation lasted for several centuries. The city was captured in turn by the French, Neapolitans, and popes.

Rome Conquering Italy

Since the advent of Rome, there has been a struggle with other tribes inhabiting the Apennine peninsula. First of all, the war was fought with the Etruscans. By the third century BC, a state with a center in Rome took possession of the entire peninsula. The Italian tribes were forced to submit, they gave part of their land, began to send their children to serve in the Roman army.  By 265 BC, Rome subjugated all of Italy. Then the city expanded its influence further and further.

Italy Taking Over Rome

Until the mid-nineteenth century, there was no Italy as a single country on the map. The lands were divided between independent kingdoms, and the Habsburg empire. In 1861, the struggle for unification began. The Italian states fought with the Austrians and French for their lands. Finally, in 1870 they entered Rome. In the same year, the city became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy. In 1922, the Eternal City was captured by the Nazis, it was occupied until 1943.

Who Said That Rome Is Eternal?

Rome was called the Eternal City by the poet Albius Tibullus who lived in 55-19 BC. In his poetic work (elegias), the author through Apollo conveys to the readers the idea that Rome will be a powerful city and calls it Urbs Aeterna, or Eternal City: "Not yet had Romulus drawn up the Eternal City’s walls, where Remus as co-ruler was fated not to live". Thus, Tibullus was responsible for starting the trend among people of thinking of their city as the pinnacle of society.

Many Roman speakers and writers began to use the name Eternal City in their writings and speeches. To better understand why Rome was called the Eternal City, it might be helpful to learn about some historical facts of that time. Tibullus lived during the reign of Octavian Augustus. Under this emperor, the city structures, that had been lost earlier, were reconstructed and restored. The emperor proudly declared that he had found the city brick, but left it marble. History has confirmed those words about eternity. Despite the wars, all kinds of upheavals, riots, the city has been rebuilding and strengthening its power. 

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