Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire and the cultural and political capital for much of the world for centuries. It is located on a series of foothills on the Tiber River, the largest river in central Italy, 18 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. These foothills acted as natural barriers against enemies. The city was founded in 783 B.C. by Romulus and Remus.

During the reign of Tarquinius Priscus (616-578 B.C.) the town developed into an organized city, including an army and political system. Furthermore, construction of the most famous Roman temple, the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill, began during this time. In 509 BC discontent among the people in Rome led to a revolt against the king, Tarquinius Superbus, and the Roman Republic began. Initially an aristocratic government was established, led by two consuls, but eventually more individuals were instituted into the process. The common language was Latin.

Claudius ruled Rome during A.D. 41-54, and Nero ruled during A.D. 54-68. Paul arrived and most likely died in Rome during Nero's reign. This period was called the Principate period in Roman history.