Rome: the world’s largest city in 200 AD
Episode #4 of the course “Greatest Cities Throughout History”
In 200 A.D., Rome had roughly 1,200,000 citizens, and today it has over 2,500,000 residents. Rome started as a small Italian village along the Tiber River roughly 1,100 years before it became the largest city in the world. Rome was the capital of the extremely powerful Roman Empire, which controlled most of Western Asia, most of Europe, Britain, Northern Africa, and the Mediterranean islands.
According to legend, Rome was founded by Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the god of war, Mars. The story says that the twins were left in a basket and found by a female wolf near what would later be Rome, and it was this wolf who raised them to adulthood. They then defeated the king who was ruling at the time and founded their own city. Romulus became king of Rome after killing his twin, and the city was named after him. Regardless of the truth of the legend, Rome continued to be a monarchy for nearly 200 years. A republican form of government took over in 509 B.C.
When most people think of ancient Rome, they think of the extensive engineering and architectural splendor of the city—the Romans had roads, theaters, and baths. Rome is often cited as creating the first road in history, and they even created aqueducts, a system used to provide water to the many baths in Rome (the more elaborate ones even had hot and warm water options). The columns that the Romans used in their structures have been replicated by many other architects, and many still stand today, a testament to their impressive engineering.
Julius Caesar is perhaps the most well-known Roman. He was a military leader who was also the “governor” of three wealthy portions of Rome. However, Caesar did not rise to power in Rome until well after Rome lost its status as the largest city in the world.
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