The history of Rome begins with a myth, that of its founding by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. Abandoned as infants and nursed by a she-wolf, they built a city atop the Palatine Hill. After a dispute, Romulus killed Remus and named the city after himself.
Evolving from a monarchy, Rome established a long-lasting Republic ruled by the patrician Senate. The Republic ended centuries later when Julius Caesar assumed control as dictator in 49 BCE. His assassination by the Roman Senate on the Ides of March 44 BCE eventually led to the Roman Empire, as Caesar’s adopted son Octavian defeated the Senate and ushered in an era of peace as the first emperor, Augustus, in 27 BCE.
Great admirers of Greek culture, the Romans embraced and adapted the Greek architectural canons and the idealized vision of their sculpture. As their rule spread, the Romans also adopted many concepts from various conquered peoples throughout the Mediterranean, including their styles of art.
Late in its history, the Roman Empire divided into two spheres (East and West) and adopted Christianity as the state religion. Germanic invaders dealt the final blow in Rome’s slow fall, as Romulus Augustus (the last emperor) was deposed—and Rome ended, as it had begun in legend, with Romulus.