c. 753 b.c.–a.d. 117
From its earliest beginnings as a small kingdom centered in Rome, the Roman Empire eventually grew to become one of the most powerful empires the world has ever known. After solidifying control over the Italian peninsula, the Romans fought a series of wars (the Punic Wars) with the growing Carthaginian Empire and absorbed their territory in Africa and Hispania. Pushing eastward into Greece, Asia, and Syria, and westward into Gallia (Gaul) and western Hispania, the Romans continued to expand their territory until they ruled the entire Mediterranean region by a.d. 117.