Italy 500 BCE

The peoples of Italy, including the Romans, have come under the influence of Greek and Etruscan civilization.

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What is happening in Italy in 500BCE

By 700 BCE, when Italy first appears in (Greek) written records, most of its inhabitants lived as farmers or herders in villages or small towns, and spoke an Indo-European language.  Colonists from Greece had already established several city-states in the south of Italy and in Sicily. These have brought Greek civilization to the peninsula, and with it the alphabet, Greek styles of art and architecture, and other Greek ways.

The Etruscans – and Rome

Another sophisticated civilization – that of the Etruscans – has emerged, under Greek influence. It is centred on a group of wealthy city-states in central Italy. At around this time their power reaches its peak with the establishment of outposts in the Po valley, in the north. By 500 BCE, other Italian peoples are living in city-states, and that distinctively Greek political form, the republic, is taking root in the peninsula.

In central Italy, the small city of Rome is even now winning its independence from Etruscan domination and becoming one of these new-fangled city-republics. It is from this time and place that one of the greatest empires in world history can trace its rise.

Next map, Italy 200 BCE

Read more about early Rome here


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