In this video, students explore Italy, the boot-shaped peninsula in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Italy's northern boundary is a mountain range called the Alps. Another mountain range, the Apennine Mountains, runs the length of the peninsula. This range has the effect of breaking the peninsula into smaller regions. Rome obtained the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica after its conflicts with Carthage in North Africa.
A Roman’s-Eye View: The Italian Peninsula
Italy is the boot-shaped peninsula in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea between Spain to the west and Greece to the east. The northern part of Italy is part of continental Europe and is bounded on the north by the Alps, some of the tallest mountains in Europe. Though tall and picturesque, they are not impassable, and there was much traffic between the tall peaks. Another mountain range, the Apennine Mountains, runs the length of the Italian peninsula. This range has the effect of breaking the long, narrow peninsula into compartments which various peoples inhabited in the centuries leading to Rome’s expansion. At that point, Rome was inhabited by a people called the Latins. As time passed and Rome came to prominence, the various other peoples either allied themselves with the Latins or were eventually conquered by them.
Rome gained Sicily as the result of the First Punic War with Carthage, a Phoenician city on the coast of North Africa. The Carthaginians commanded a large navy, and in order to defeat them, the Romans had to develop and learn to control one of their own. By the end of this conflict, Rome occupied Sicily, its first overseas territory, as well as the islands Sardinia and Corsica to the west of Italy. They were also equipped with a naval force capable of spreading Rome’s prominence across the Mediterranean.
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