As Greece reached the height of its prosperity Rome which lye slightly to the west slowly began its rise as a civilization. The Greeks centered their culture around Art and literature whereas opposed to the Romans who settled their culture upon warfare and leadership. Without planning, would rise very steadily as an empire. Shortly before Christ most of the surrounding cities and nations were at peace under Rome's rule.
Early Romans kept no written records. Their history is so mixed up with fables and myths that historians have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction. Historians only know of two early works of Roman history, the history of Livy and the Roman Antiquities of Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
The old legends say that Romulus founded the city in 753 BC. Romulus was a mythical person, but there is some evidence that the kings who are said to have followed him actually existed.
Shortly before 600 BC several Etruscan princes from conquered Rome across the Tiber River. Taraquinius Priscus, the first of the Etruscan kings, drained the city’s marshes. Servius Tullius, the second Etruscan king, made a treaty with the Latin cities, which acknowledged Rome as the head of all Latium.
The last king, Tarquinius Superbus, was a tyrant who opposed the people scorned religion. Under the rule of the Etruscans, Rome grew in importance and power. Great temples and impressive public works were constructed. Trade prospered and by the end of the 6th century BC Rome had become the largest and richest city in Italy.
The old Latin aristocracy ended up rebelling against the Etruscan kings. Junius Brutus led the rebellion against Tarquinius Superbus in 509 BC. The young republic was now set out on its long career of almost constant warfare and conquest. At the time it did not seem destined to rule the civilized world. It was only a tiny city-state, much like the city-states that were flourishing at the same time in Greece.