Rome is the capital city and special commune ("Roma Capitale") of Italy. Rome is also the capital of Lazio, one of the 20 administrative regions of Italy. The Prophecy of Seven takes the seven demigods on board the Argo II there in The Heroes of Olympus series. It is also where the Mark of Athena eventually leads Annabeth to the Athena Parthenos.
Kingdom of Rome
According to Roman mythology, the city of Rome was founded in the year 753 BC (To the Romans, this date was 0 A.U.C. - Ab Urbe Condita - "From the Founding of the City"). Common myths denote the founder, Romulus, as being a descendant of the Latin kings of Albalonga, a city in the ancient region of Latium. Romulus is alleged to have killed his brother, or let his brother die, depending on the variation of the myth learned. Early Rome was a kingdom, with close ties to the neighboring Etruscans, of whom the nobility (patricians) of Rome were drawn from. Etruscan influence in early Rome is evident through the ethnicities of various Roman kings during the era of the Roman kingdom, the levy system of the military, and even the Roman pantheon of gods, which were adaptions of both Etruscan and Greek deities. Rome became a Republic when a revolution against the last king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, was successful. The revolution was led by one of the Republic's first Consuls, Lucius Junius Brutus. The casus belli (main cause of war) was the rape of Lucretia by Sextus Tarquinius. In one account of the myth, her suicide and oath of vengeance (passed on to none other than Brutus himself) was the immediate cause of the revolution.
Republic of Rome
The fledgling Republic faced many threats from within Italy itself, facing wars against the Etruscans, native Latins and natives of Italy (including Umbrians and Samnites) Greek colonials in southern Italy (called Magna Graecia - Greater Greece), and eventually, the Carthaginian Republic. During this time period, there were two so-called "Succession of the Plebs", which aimed to give the proletariat of Rome more power and say in government. One of the immediate results of this was the creation of the political rank, "Tribune of the Plebs", a rank that gave a voice to the people and allowed the holder to even veto the decisions of the Consuls (The highest political office in the Republic). During the mid-Republic, Rome would face numerous threats, most notably from the Greeks and the Carthaginians. King Pyrrhus of the Greek city-state of Epirus would send a powerful army across to Italy to fight the Romans on the mainland and Sicily, but was ultimately defeated and forced to retreat back to Greece after sustaining heavy casualties to his army in battles (his costly victories are commemorated in the term, "Pyrrhic Victory", a phrase meaning a victory that is so costly in terms of manpower, any more such victories would result in the annihilation of the army(ies). Rome fought a series of three successive wars with the Carthaginian Republic. While the First Punic War is relatively unknown in modern culture, it was fought mainly on Sicily and in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Second Punic War is the most famous of all, featuring prominent generals such as Hannibal Barca and Publius Cornelius Scipio the Junior (later known as Africanus - conqueror of Africa). The war started with the Siege of Saguntum, an allied Roman city, by the Carthaginians under Hannibal. Hannibal's father, Hamilcar Barca had been fighting a guerilla war in Sicily when he had heard Carthage had surrendered. Furious at being betrayed by his countrymen, Hamilcar made Hannibal swear to always be an enemy of Rome. Initially the war went well for the Carthaginians, Rome suffering massive losses at infamous battles such as at Lake Trasimene, Trebia, and the most infamous of all, the Battle of Cannae, which saw in some extreme accounts 50,000-75,000 Roman soldiers killed and a large portion of the Senatorial class of Rome killed on the battlefield all in one day. Rome was spared, however, as Hannibal did not siege Rome despite coming very close to it. Instead, he resided in southern Italy. Hannibal's tactic was to turn Rome's allies against Rome. This proved a futile effort, with only the city of Capua betraying Rome (it would later be severely punished by the Romans) However, an ambitious young general, Scipio, had seen his father die from wounds sustained in the war and he volunteered to lead an invasion of Iberia (modern day Spain), a significant base of finance for the Carthaginian war machine. He was immensely successful and this signaled the turning of the tables on Carthage.
Sustained loss in Iberia and increasingly bolder Roman attacks on Carthaginian soil turned the Carthaginian Senate against Hannibal (who was of the warring faction within the Carthaginian Senate), forcing him to retreat back to North Africa. Despite numerous previous failed assaults on Carthage and Africa itself, Scipio was successful and the two great generals (Scipio had studied Hannibal's tactics and even used them against him at this battle) met on the plains of Zama in North Africa. The two armies clashed but at the end of the day, Rome proved triumphant and Carthage agreed to pay a hefty tribute of money to Rome. Hannibal would later go on to serve as a military consultant in other nations and would be hunted for the rest of his life by the Romans until his suicide to prevent himself from being captured, paraded through Rome in a Triumph, and then strangled to death. After this Punic War, Rome would go on to launch a series of campaigns in the east against the Macedonian Kingdom and other allied city-states in Greece and Illyria.
The Third and last Punic War started when Carthage finally managed to pay off its debts, stabilize its economic conditions, and began to make a hefty sum of money from its traditional profession, trade. However, when the neighbouring kingdom of Numidia launched a raid against Carthage, it levied a large army, but Carthage was ultimately defeated by the Numidians. The raising of a large army, along with Rome's desire to expand to accommodate its growing population, led to the ire of the Romans being drawn and the ultimatum that Carthage subject itself to Roman terms lest war be declared. When Carthage refused, war was declared by both sides. This war was shorter and saw Carthage employ its own citizens (previously, Carthage's armies were strictly comprised of mercenaries) as soldiers. The final battle culminated in the Siege of Carthage, where both sides took heavy losses as street fighting ensued in the city. The city of Carthage was eventually burnt to the ground and its inhabitants enslaved or otherwise killed in the fighting.
Rome would later go on to expand into Greece, defeating the Macedonians repeatedly in wars, and further conflict and expansion brought Rome into conflict in the east as well, against the Successor Kingdoms that had formed after Alexander the Great died and his empire fractured into splinters. Near the late-Republic, corruption saw an increase and political gangs were commonplace in the streets of Rome. During this time, there were a series of slave revolts, involving the infamous Sparticus and his gladiators. Initial Roman attempts to quell them failed, as the Romans did not treat the revolts seriously, sending inadequate, "ad-hoc" forces which were ultimately defeated. During this time, the generals and historical figures Pompey Magnus (the Great) and Marcus Licinius Crassus rose to prominence, the former renowned for putting down revolts (such as the Sertorian revolt in Iberia and being officially recognized as having quelled the slave revolts), while the other being renowned for being the richest man in Rome at the time. Gaius Julius Caesar would be born during this era of the late-Republic and formed the First Triumvirate with these two men while he campaigned in Gaul (France), western Germania (Germany) and even Britannia (Britain). However, this was also when Rome would face a series of civil wars, when Julius Caesar was declared an enemy of the Republic due to jealousy and hatred by fellow senators. The casus belli of the civil war was when Caesar refused to disband his army along the Rubicon river (the traditional border dividing Italy with the northern provinces) and return to Rome for trial (where he would most certainly face execution). Caesar campaigned against his former friend and fellow Triumvirate, Pompey (Crassus had died campaigning against the Parthians (near modern day Iran and Iraq earlier) and emerged victorious in the war. He would also meet Cleopatra in Egypt, with whom he had an affair and an illegitimate (in the eyes of the Roman people and the Senate of Rome) son, Caesarion. He would later be assassinated by senators hoping to restore the Republic on the infamous Ides of March (he was Dictator of Rome, a political rank that denoted a person with full power to override the Senate in times of emergency - Caesar had the Senate appoint him this rank and extend it for life, something that did not sit well with the other senators).
Caesar adopted his nephew Octavian posthumously and he was named Caesar's heir. Octavian, known as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later known as Augustus) was an ambitious and cunning youth, forming the Second Triumvirate with Marcus Antonius (Mark Anthony, Caesar's trusted confidante and an officer under Caesar) and Marcus Lepidus. The Triumvirate initially started off shakily, with Octavian and Anthony declaring war on each other (with Octavian seemingly gaining the upper hand) before the two of them joined forces to stop a force led by the senators which had killed Caesar. They also became heavily involved in Egyptian affairs, Anthony supposedly being captivated by the ever cunning and manipulative Cleopatra (She strove to hold power by allying herself with Rome and the most powerful people in Rome - one of the most dominant powers in the Mediterranean). Octavian, seeing this, used this to drive a wedge between the Senate and Anthony, especially with Anthony's "Donations of Alexandria", a series of proclamations listing Anthony's and Cleopatra's children as the monarchs of eastern Roman provinces (this was highly illegal). A lengthy war ensued between them, ending with the duo committing suicide and Octavian emerging as the most powerful man in Rome, paving the way to the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Empire.
Octavian formed the Principate system of emperors. These emperors were not self-proclaimed as emperors or declared openly as such. Instead, to avoid the Roman people from viewing him as a king (Despite this, in the east, Octavian, now Augustus, was called Basileus by the Greek speaking people of the empire, effectively meaning "King"), he made himself Princeps, the "First Citizen". However, it was evident to the Roman people that this was merely a façade and many believed that the Republic was truly dead.
The Prophecy of Seven takes the seven demigods and Gleeson Hedge to Rome. When they first land Percy Jackson wants to start Annabeth off on her quest. Another team of Hazel Levesque, Leo Valdez, and Frank Zhang set off to find Nico di Angelo. Once Percy and Annabeth have left the ship they take their time and find a place to eat. While they are eating they meet two people who help Annabeth find the beginning of her quest. After Annabeth is gone Percy goes back to the ship to go on a separate mission with Jason Grace and Piper McLean.