The third and second century BC saw the establishment of Roman hegemony over the Mediterranean and the East, through the three Punic Wars (264–146 BC) fought against the city of Carthage and the three Macedonian Wars (212–168 BC) against Macedonia.
From the beginning of the 2nd century BC, power was contested between two groups of aristocrats: the optimates, representing the conservative part of the Senate, and the populares, which relied on the help of the plebs (urban lower class) to gain power.
It is the fourth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits.
It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4.3 million residents.
Rome is also an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city.
Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies.
In the same period, the bankruptcy of the small farmers and the establishment of large slave estates provoked the migration to the city of a large number of people.
The city hosts the headquarters of many international business companies, such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p.
Traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves explain the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth.
The most familiar of these myths, and perhaps the most famous of all Roman myths, is the story of Romulus and Remus, the twins who were suckled by a she-wolf.
Because of this, in the second half of the second century and during the first century BC there were conflicts both abroad and internally: after the failed attempt of social reform of the populares Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus, Rome was established as a de facto empire, which reached its greatest expansion in the second century under the Emperor Trajan. the capital of the world, an expression which had already been given in the Republican period.
During its first two centuries, the empire saw as rulers, emperors of the Julio-Claudian, This time was also characterised by the spread of the Christian religion, preached by Jesus Christ in Judea in the first half of the first century (under Tiberius) and popularized by his apostles through the empire and beyond.