This walk starts in the Terme de Caracalla, one of the most impressive Roman ruins. You'll discover the popular Mouth of the Truth,... more » the romantic island on the Tiber, and the surprising Teatro Marcello (with medieval houses built on the ruins of the Roman theater).
This walk passes many important ancient landmarks, so it is important to know some Roman history:
The Roman Empire was huge: In 192 it included modern-day Italy, France, England, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Austria, Greece, Romania, Turkey, part of the Germany, Israel, all the north coast of Africa and large parts of the Middle East including the Tiger and Euphrates rivers.
"Barbarians" lived to the north of the empire in what is now Germany: Goths, Vandals, Teutons, Lombards. In the east lived the Scythes and the Parthia in the former empire of Alexander the Great.
The Pax Romana (Roman Peace) was a period from 27 B.C. to 192 when emperor Augustus was able to stop civil wars and Roman invaders were accepted in the conquered territories.
Some of the most famous Roman emperors include:
Julius Caesar who won the Gallic Wars, decreased the power of the senate to gain more power and became the first Roman dictator. He was killed in 44 B.C. on the Ides of March (March 15) by his trusted friend Brutus when the senate turned against him ("et tu Brute?" means "and you, Brutus?")
Octavius (44BC to 14BC), also known as Augustus and a relative of Caesar, governed during the second triumvirate. At this time, the Roman Empire was divided into three regions, each with a different ruler, all of whom made up the triumvirate (Latin for "of three men"). Octavius/Augustus governed modern Europe, Marcus Antonius the Orient and Lepidus the African regions.
When Marcus Antonius married Cleopatra (the last pharaoh of Egypt and a descendant of one of the Alexander the Great's generals) a scandal arose and a war began between Octavius and Marcus Antonius. Octavius won the war and Marcus Antonius committed suicide. Cleopatra knew she would be taken as part of the victory and killed herself with a poisonous snake.
Nero ruled from 54 to 68 and was not one of the most loved emperors, to say the least. He was the first emperor to organize massacres of Christians, including St. Peter and St. Paul. During his reign, he built many important buildings including theaters, and promoted athletic games. In 64, much of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire, and it is believed that Nero organized the fire to secure land that he wanted. less «