History begins in the 8th century BC with the foundation of the city of Rome, which was at first a monarchy until under the seventh king there was a war with the Etruscans and a republic ruled by two consuls and a senate was established. In the centuries the Romans, a people of soldiers, law-makers and rulers, gradually conquered the whole of Italy, then started their expansion in the Mediterranean and towards north in central Europe as far as the British Isles. The republic gave way to an Empire in the first century BC, and the first - and one of the greatest - Emperors, Augustus, reorganized the Empire in regions, so that Lazio and Campania were the Prima Regio.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD, in the war against the Goths (535-553) the Eastern, or Byzantine, Roman Empire reclaimed Lazio for a period, then had to abandon the region to defend the Adriatic possessions against the Lombards. It was in that period that the only authority left in Lazio was the bishop of Rome, who strengthened the political power of the church in the area. After centuries of fighting against local lords, the State of the Church gained finally a total supremacy on Lazio and surrounding territories (Umbria and Marche).
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