Mary Beard on why Rome ruled the world

How did an insignificant little settlement by the river Tiber grow into a mighty empire encompassing the Mediterranean world and much of western Europe? Mary Beard reveals the secret that lay behind the Roman empire's extraordinary expansion...

A group of five marble busts of typical early Roman citizens. The empire expanded by absorbing the peoples it defeated, giving rights and obligations to former outsiders. (Photo by Gjon Mili/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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