How Big Was Rome in Ancient Times?

Rome, the eternal city, is one of the most ancient and significant cities in human history. Its magnificent architecture and rich cultural heritage have always captivated people’s imaginations.

One of the most frequent questions asked about Rome is how big it was in ancient times. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question in detail.

Geographical Location

Rome is located in central Italy, on the banks of the Tiber River. It is built on seven hills – Aventine Hill, Caelian Hill, Capitoline Hill, Esquiline Hill, Palatine Hill, Quirinal Hill, and Viminal Hill. The city has a strategic location that made it an important center for trade and commerce.

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome was founded in 753 BC by two brothers – Romulus and Remus. The city grew rapidly under their leadership and became a powerful empire that spanned across three continents – Europe, Asia, and Africa.

The Early Republic

In 509 BC, Rome became a republic after the overthrow of its last king. During this period, Rome’s population was estimated to be around 100,000 people. It was divided into four regions – Subura, Esquiliae, Collis Palatium (Palatine), and Collis Quirinalis (Quirinal).

The Late Republic

By the late Republic period (c.133-27 BC), Rome had become a major power in the Mediterranean world. Its population had grown to about one million people by this time. The city expanded beyond its original seven hills and encompassed several new regions like Campus Martius (Field of Mars), Circus Flaminius (Flaminian Circus), Aventine Hill region along with other suburban areas.

The Roman Empire

The Roman Empire was established in 27 BC, after Julius Caesar’s adopted son Octavian defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra. The population of Rome continued to grow during the empire period, reaching a peak of about two million people during the reign of Emperor Trajan (AD 98-117).

The Size of Rome

It is difficult to determine exactly how big ancient Rome was as there are no precise records available. However, historians have estimated the city’s size based on various sources.

It is believed that ancient Rome had a maximum area of approximately 1,285 square kilometers (496 square miles), making it one of the largest cities in the world at that time. The city had a vast road network that connected all its regions, and it was home to numerous magnificent structures such as the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Circus Maximus.

The Population

Rome’s population varied throughout its history. During the early Republic period, it was around 100,000 people.

By the late Republic period, it had grown to about one million people. During the empire period, its population reached a peak of about two million people.


In conclusion, ancient Rome was a massive city with a rich history and cultural heritage. Its size and population varied throughout its history but reached their peak during the empire period when it became one of the largest cities in the world. The legacy of ancient Rome continues to inspire people around the world today.