According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, and was then governed by seven Kings of Rome. In the following centuries, Rome started expanding its territory, defeating its neighbours (Veium, the other Latins, the Samnites) one after the other. The traditional account of Roman history, which has come down to us through Livy, Plutarch, Dionysius of Halicarnassus and others, is that in Rome's 1st centuries, it was ruled by a succession of seven kings. The traditional chronology, as codified by Varro, allots 243 years for their reigns, an average of almost 35 years, which, since the work of Barthold Georg Niebuhr, has been generally discounted by modern scholarship. The Gauls destroyed all of Rome's historical records when they sacked the city after the Battle of the Allia in 390 BC (Varronian, according to Polybius the battle occurred in 387/6), so no contemporary records of the kingdom exist, and all accounts of the kings must be carefully questioned. Italia, under the Roman Republic and later Empire, was the Italian peninsula from Rubicon to Calabria. During the Republic, Italia was not a province, but rather the territory of the city of Rome, thus having a special status: for example, military commanders were not allowed to bring their armies within Italia, and Julius Caesar passing the Rubicon with his legions marked the start of the civil war. Octavius was awarded the titles of Augustus and Princeps by what remained of the Senate, and was proclaimed Imperator (which at the time only meant "supreme commander") by his Legions. Even if he was careful to abide the rules of the old republic, Octavius actually ruled as an Emperor, and the Roman Empire was born. This became apparent in 14 AD, when he died and was succeeded by his adoptive son, the former general Tiberius. The Battle of Actium resulted in the defeat and subsequent suicides of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Octavian, now sole ruler of Rome, began a full-scale reformation of military, fiscal and political matters. The powers that he secured for himself were identical in form, if not in name, to those that his predecessor Julius Caesar had secured years earlier as Roman Dictator. In 36 BC, he was given the power of a Plebeian Tribune, which gave him veto power over the senate, the ability to control the principle legislative assembly (the Plebeian Council), and made his person and office sacrosanct. Up until 32 BC, his status as a Triumvir gave him the powers of an autocrat, but when he deposed Mark Antony that year, he resigned from the Triumvirate, and was then given powers identical to those that he had given up. In 29 BC, Octavian was given the authority of a Roman Censor, and thus the power to appoint new senators. The senate granted Octavian a unique grade of Proconsular imperium, which gave him authority over all Proconsuls (military governors). The unruly provinces at the borders, where the vast majority of the legions were stationed, were under the control of Augustus. These provinces were classified as imperial provinces. The peaceful senatorial provinces were under the control of the Senate. The Roman legions, which had reached an unprecedented number (around 50) because of the civil wars, were reduced to 28. Augustus also created nine special cohorts, ostensibly to maintain the peace in Italy, keeping at least three of them stationed at Rome. These cohorts became known as the Praetorian Guard. In 27 BC, Octavian transferred control of the state back to the Senate and the People of Rome. The Senate refused the offer, which, in effect, functioned as a popular ratification of his position within the state. Octavian was also granted the title of "Augustus" by the senate, and took the title of Princeps, or "first citizen". As the adopted heir of Caesar, Augustus preferred to be called by this name. Caesar was a component of his family name. Julio-Claudian rule lasted for almost a century (from Julius Caesar in the mid-1st century BC to the emperor Nero in the mid-1st century AD). By the time of the Flavian Dynasty, and the reign of Vespasian, and that of his two sons, Titus and Domitian, the term Caesar had evolved, almost de facto, from a family name into a formal title. Augustus' final goal was to figure out a method to ensure an orderly succession. In 6 BC Augustus granted tribunician powers to his stepson Tiberius, and before long Augustus realized that he had no choice but to recognize Tiberius as his heir. In AD 13, the point was settled beyond question. A law was passed which linked Augustus' powers over the provinces to those of Tiberius, so that now Tiberius' legal powers were equivalent to, and independent from, those of Augustus. Within a year, Augustus was dead. The establishment of the empire brought substantial benefits to the provinces, which could now appeal to the emperor against rapacious administrators, rather than to the corrupt senatorial class to whom the administrators usually belonged. Furthermore, Roman citizenship was slowly extended to the provinces, and the rule of law became less arbitrary. In the early 1st century AD and the 2nd century AD, Roman Italy thrived. Rome became the centre of Western Civilization, and even though much of Roman culture was heavily influenced by that of the Greeks and the Etruscans, the Romans revolutionized modern society and the arts, particularly regarding politics, education, law, the military system, architecture, philosophy, cuisine and the ways of life. Rome became one of the most important political, cultural, scientifical, educational and literary centres of all time, and its vibrant artistic scene was also thanks to the emperors' grand construction works, building impressive and grand palaces, temples and monuments, and the several poets, writers and philosophers who resided there at the time, such as Livy, Seneca and Tacitus, to name but a few. Despite its military strength, the empire made few efforts to expand its already vast extent; the most notable being the conquest of Britain, begun by emperor Claudius (47), and emperor Trajan's conquest of Dacia (101-102, 105-106). In the 1st and 2nd century, Roman legions were also employed in intermittent warfare with the Germanic tribes to the north and the Parthian Empire to the east. While armed insurrections (e.g. the Hebraic insurrection in Judea) (70) and brief civil wars (e.g. in 68 AD the year of the four emperors) demanded the legions attention on several occasions. After the death of emperor Theodosius I (395), Italia became part of the Western Roman Empire. Then came the years of the barbarian invasions, and the capital was moved from Mediolanum to Ravenna. In 476, with the death of Romulus Augustulus and the return of the imperial ensigns to Constantinople, the Western Roman Empire ends; for a few years Italia stayed united under the rule of Odoacer, but later it was divided between several kingdoms, and did not reunite under a single ruler until thirteen centuries later.