Rome grew from a small village 509bce to the ruler of most of the I_a_i__n peninsula 244 years later. Rome would later develop into the greatest western e_pi__e of the a__c__e__t world. The city was p__o__e__t__d from enemy i__v__s__on by seven h__l__s and a shallow r__v__r. From the hills the Romans could see e__e__i__s approach. Experienced Roman s__i__o__s with small ships were able to n__v__g__te the T__b__r River, but the river could not accommodate large s__a__o__ng vessels necessary to attack the city.