The development of civilization is affected by geography. Rome did not spring into being as a power on the Italian peninsula. It began as a tiny village along the Tiber River. It was an excellent location, with seven hills offering a natural defensive barrier. The Tiber River gave these early settlers access to fresh water for drinking and bathing, as well as a waterway for trade, and food to eat. The flatland, on the other side of the Tiber River, was perfect for farmland. The soil was good so crops could be grown easily.
In ancient times, there were enemies everywhere. These early people still had to feed, shelter, bathe themselves and water their animals. The area along the Tiber River, in the seven hills, offered what they needed. They started their city on the top of one hill. They walled around it. As they expanded, they also expanded their wall, until one wall encircled all seven hills.
There is an old saying: Rome was not built in a day. But with all these advantages, it's no wonder that Rome grew quickly.
Ancient Rome Maps - see below (free use clipart for kids and teachers, right click and save to your computer)
Rome as a Kingdom
Rome as an Empire
Fall of Rome