The city of Rome started as an unnoticed community of Latin-speaking shepherds, who settled on seven hills in modern-day Italy near the Tiber River. Since the river made it easy to farm crops and trade goods, the city eventually grew successful. Shortly afterwards, the strong citizens of the city raised an army to invade and conquer surrounding villages.
The first king of Rome was a man named Romulus, who took power in 735 B.C. There is a well-known legend told about him. Romulus and his twin brother Remus were heirs to the throne of their settlement. On the sandy bank of the Tiber River, their corrupt and sinister uncle left them in a basket. Like a selfish thief in the night, he wanted to steal their crown. They were rescued by a loving wolf and raised by a shepherd. As adults the brothers decided to construct a magnificent city on the spot where they had been saved, but an argument started between them and it soon escalated into a fight. It got out of hand and Remus was slain by Romulus who then named the city “Rome” after himself. Even though Rome’s roots were a handful of shepherds living on a couple of hills, it would slowly evolve into the greatest empire the world has ever seen.
It was a hot, scorching August day in the Roman city of Pompeii. Hundreds of people had gathered for the annual festival for Vulcan, the god of fire. Cato and Valentina stood on the beach where a massive bonfire had built. They hoped that Vulcan would be merciful and wouldn’t let their crops be burned by fire. Around Cato and Valentina visitors joyfully celebrated with dancing and singing.
Suddenly, the ground shook. Cato and Valentina’s attention turned to Mt. Vesuvius, which was the home of Vulcan. Immediately, debris and lava blew and blasted out of the top of the monstrous mountain, now an active volcano. Mt. Vesuvius was an angry beast. Frightened visitors desperately sprinted for their lives. Since their carriage was at their house, the married couple tried to make it back for an escape.
“Valentina, pack up the valuables while I ready the horse,” Cato yelled. “Let’s not worry about the valuables. I’ll help you prepare the carriage. We need to get the hell out of here as swiftly as possible!” shrieked the aghast Valentina. They left not a moment too soon. Their house and the other houses in the area were struck by massive rocks and swallowed by the molten lava. Although Cato and Valentina got out of the city alive, many of their neighbors were buried alive. Cato cursed Vulcan while Valentina wept for the many lost lives. The once magnificentcity of Pompeii lay in ruins.
In his house, David, a 14 year old boy, had been waiting impatiently. He had been trained to participate in a chariot race at the crowded, noisy Circus Maximus. It had always been his dream and today was the day. David was ecstatic because the winner of the race was gifted 300 denarius. His parents had not been worried, but were excited and proud. They had been sure David could easily win without being injured.
After David and his parents had departed from their house, they headed for the renowned colosseum. When they had arrived, David readied his deft, powerful, and energetic horse which was as black as night. As David looked up a familiar person caught his eye. It was Josiah, his old friend. Josiah had threatened and insulted David a week before the event. “You better watch your back because I’m coming for you,” Josiah had yelled. “The contest is only one week away, and, mark my words, I will crush you!” “And I’ll be ready for you,” David had declared defensively. He had been resolved to win the competition and be praised. When the race started, the sound of horses’ hooves could be heard thundering quickly and the deafening noise of the audience bellowing boisterously beneath the blazing sun. At first, the event at the Circus Maximus had been a tie between David and Josiah the entire time, but neither one had been wounded.
However, right before the finish line Josiah whipped David in the side causing him to lean over. When David was weak, Josiah ruthlessly rammed his old friend sending David flying through the air. After David flew through the air and he hit his head on the rocky, hard ground, he brutally broke his neck. David had been murdered by his own friend and was now lying dead on the sideline of the stadium. David’s parents were appalled. Josiah was exalted and was laughing maniacally while David’s parents were heartbroken and vowed revenge.