How Was Rome Founded and Ruled?

By Alice Nichols

How Was Rome Founded and Ruled?

Rome, the capital city of Italy, has a rich and fascinating history. Its story begins with its legendary foundation and is followed by centuries of rule by various emperors and leaders. In this article, we will explore the origins of Rome and delve into the different forms of governance that shaped its destiny.

The Foundation of Rome

Rome’s foundation is steeped in mythology and legend. According to ancient Roman tradition, the city was founded by twin brothers Romulus and Remus in 753 BC. Legend has it that they were abandoned as infants but were saved by a she-wolf who nurtured them until they were found by a shepherd.

As they grew older, Romulus and Remus decided to build a city on the banks of the Tiber River. However, a dispute arose between them over who would rule the new city. In the end, Romulus killed Remus and became the first ruler of Rome.

The Roman Kingdom

Following its foundation, Rome went through different phases of governance. The first phase was known as the Roman Kingdom, which lasted from 753 BC to 509 BC. During this period, Rome was ruled by kings who held absolute power.

  • King Romulus: As mentioned earlier, Romulus became the first king of Rome after killing his brother Remus. He was responsible for establishing many of Rome’s early institutions and customs.
  • The Seven Kings: After Romulus’ reign ended with his mysterious disappearance in a storm, six more kings succeeded him over several decades. These kings include Numa Pompilius, Tullus Hostilius, Ancus Marcius, Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, and Tarquinius Superbus.

The Roman Republic

In 509 BC, Rome transitioned from a monarchy to a republic. The Roman Republic lasted for nearly five centuries and marked a significant shift in governance. Power was no longer concentrated in the hands of a single ruler but was divided among multiple officials.

Under the republic, Rome was led by two consuls who were elected annually. These consuls shared executive power and served as the highest authorities in the state. They were responsible for leading the Roman army, presiding over the Senate, and making important decisions.

Additionally, there was an assembly of citizens called the Comitia Centuriata. This assembly played a crucial role in passing laws and electing magistrates. It consisted of different classes of citizens divided into voting units known as centuries.

The Roman Empire

In 27 BC, Rome underwent another significant transformation with the establishment of the Roman Empire. The transition from republic to empire marked the beginning of imperial rule and centralized authority under emperors.

Augustus Caesar became Rome’s first emperor and ushered in an era known as Pax Romana or “Roman Peace.” During this time, Rome experienced relative stability and expansion under successive emperors like Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and many others.

The emperors held supreme power and were considered both political leaders and divine figures. They controlled vast territories, implemented administrative reforms, built grand structures like the Colosseum and aqueducts, and influenced various aspects of Roman life.


Rome’s journey from its mythical foundation to becoming a powerful empire is a testament to its enduring legacy. The city’s early days as a kingdom, transition to a republic, and eventual establishment of an empire shaped its governance and set the stage for its remarkable achievements in art, architecture, law, and culture.

From Romulus and Remus to the mighty emperors who ruled over vast territories, the story of Rome’s founding and rule continues to captivate our imagination and remind us of the profound impact ancient civilizations have on shaping the world we live in today.