The introduction to Ancient Rome covers Rome's earliest days! Rome began as a monarchy, with its first king being Romulus, in 753 B.C. Rome would be ruled by seven kings, and with the deposition of Rome's last king, Tarquinius Superbus, Rome transitioned into a republic, and this video demonstrates how it functioned.
Rome faced numerous conflicts during the days of the Republic, including defending the Italian peninsula against the Gauls, and fighting three 'Punic Wars' against its rival neighbor, Carthage. Rome gained a significant amount of land and capital from its victories in the Punic Wars, but these victories would ultimately lead to the Republic's fall. Political instability and military reforms gave rise to dictatorships, such as those of Sulla and Julius Caesar. Caesar became the most powerful man in Rome, and after his assassination at the hands of Optimate senators, Rome suffered a series of civil wars. These civil wars resulted in the republic's transition to an empire, beginning with the reign of Augustus Caesar in 27 B.C.
Rome had transitioned from a republic, to imperial rule. The previous civil wars left Rome in ruins, but Augustus Caesar repaired Rome, and ushered in a two hundred year period of stability known as Pax Romana, or Roman Peace. During the Pax Romana, Rome would see a series of emperors- some admirable, such as Augustus or Marcus Aurelius, and some wicked, like Caligula and Nero. In the midst of these rulers, a new religious movement known as Christianity was forming, which would ultimately shape Roman history forever. Rome gradually became too large to sustain itself, and eventually collapsed. Political instability, plagues, economic hardships, and constant attacks from barbarians eventually took their toll. The Eastern Roman Empire would survive for another thousand years as the Byzantine Empire, while the Western Roman Empire collapsed, and plunged Western Europe into the Dark Ages.
The rise and fall of Rome would influence Western Civilization as it is known today.