What Were The Two Capitals Of Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome was one of the most powerful empires in the world and it was the dominant political power in the Mediterranean for over 500 years. Roman culture and architecture had a lasting impact on Europe and the world. The city of Rome was divided into two capitals, the old city (Roma Caput Mundi) and the new city (Roma Nova).

The old city of Rome was established in the 7th century BC and it was the seat of the Roman Republic. This was the original capital of the Roman empire. Here, the Senate held its meetings, where important decisions were made. The Senate was guarded by the legendary Lictor, a bodyguard of the sovereign. This area was also home to many of Rome’s highly-revered monuments, such as the Coliseum and the Pantheon, as well as its most important religious sites.

Roma Nova, the new city of Rome, was founded in the 4th century BC by Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus. It was created to be the political center of the Roman empire. Augustus placed the Ara Pacis, an altar dedicated to the goddess of peace, at one end of the new city. New public buildings, such as the temple to the divinities of Augustus, the Curia, and the library of Pollux, were erected. Roma Nova became the official capital of the Roman empire in 31 BC, when the Senate moved from the old city to the new one.

However, the old city of Rome still maintained its importance as long as the Roman Empire survived. It remained a religious center, a place of great festivals and public games. The city also focused on art and literature. Even after the fall of Rome, Roma Caput Mundi had a special place in Roman culture and was continued to be honored by many people. It was and still remains a symbol of grandeur and grand vision.

Modern historians and academics agree that Ancient Rome was politically divided into two capitals. However, opinions vary as to which one held more significance and whether or not it can be said that both cities were equally important. Scholars believe that, due to the sheer size and importance of Rome, both cities had their own historical importance and each held a symbolic meaning and purpose for the people that lived there.

Ancient historian Tacitus wrote that, unlike other cities in the past, Rome was divided into two cities, which he referred to as “the old and the new.” He concluded that the two had different characteristics that complemented each other and allowed them to work together in a symbiotic relationship. Other historians, such as Strabo and Plutarch, believed that the two cities were equally important and that both cities had a part in creating the complex history of the Roman people.

In conclusion, it can be said that the two capitals of Ancient Rome were Roma Caput Mundi and Roma Nova. The former was the original capital, where the Senate held its meetings and where many of Rome’s most famous monuments and religious sites were located. The latter was the official capital of the empire, where new public buildings and monuments were constructed. Scholars have different opinions about their respective significance but, ultimately, both capitals were key in creating the complex history of the Roman people.

Political Significance

The two capitals of Ancient Rome were of great importance politically. In the old city were located the Senate and the legendary Lictors, the bodyguards of the sovereign. This area was also the seat of several important religious sites and monuments. The new city was also politically significant, since it was here where Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus decided to place the Ara Pacis and other important public buildings.

As the political power of Rome increased, the balance between the old and the new cities shifted. It is believed that the old city’s role diminished as the new city gained power. This political dynamic between the two cities ultimately led to the eventual fall of the Roman Republic in 31 BC.

Despite the shift in balance, both cities were of great political significance. Both cities had their own strengths, which allowed them to work together in order to create the complex history of the Roman people. While the old city was the seat of monuments and religious sites, the new city was in charge of public buildings and the official decisions. Both cities contributed to the success of the Roman Empire.

Cultural Significance

An often overlooked fact is that the two capitals of Ancient Rome were not only of political importance but of great cultural significance as well. The old city was home to arts, literature and performances that shaped the lives of Romans at the time. The various monuments and public squares were a source of pride for the Roman people.

The new city was equally important to the culture of Rome. The construction of new monuments and public buildings by Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus marked a new era for the city. With the new political power, Roma Nova also became the center of culture, with new literature and performances taking place.

The two capitals can therefore be seen as two distinct but complementary entities. Rome as a whole was a place of great creativity, achievements and culture. The old city provided the monuments and religious sites that were revered by the Romans while the new city was the driving force of the Roman Empire.


The two capitals of Ancient Rome remain an integral part of their legacy today. Rome still holds many of the monuments and religious sites located in the old city, whilst the new city is still a source of guidance for many Romans. Even after the fall of the Roman Empire, Roma Caput Mundi was remembered as a place of grandeur, culture and vision.

Roma Nova, though its significance lessened after the fall of the empire, still stands as a reminder of its past glory. The new city is filled with magnificent monuments, public squares, and ancient architecture, all of which still have their importance to the people of Rome.

The legacy of the two capitals of Ancient Rome is still seen today. The old city is still revered for its monuments and religious sites, whilst the new city is remembered for its public buildings and monuments. Both cities had their place in the Roman Empire and both contributed greatly to the culture and legacy of Ancient Rome.


The two capitals of Ancient Rome, Roma Caput Mundi and Roma Nova, were central to the city’s complex history. Roma Caput Mundi was the original and sacral capital of the Roman Empire, housing its most important monuments, religious sites and the legendary Lictor. Roma Nova was created by Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus as the political capital and placed the Ara Pacis at one end of the city. Both capitals were politically and culturally significant and each had their role in shaping the Roman Empire.

Pride in Rome remains to this day, and the two capitals of Ancient Rome will forever have a place in its complex and ever-evolving history. The two cities complemented and completed each other, and this symbiotic relationship helped to create the legacy of Ancient Rome.

Moshe Rideout is a professional writer and historian whose work focuses on the history of Ancient Rome. Moshe is passionate about understanding the complexity of the Roman Empire, from its architecture to its literature, political systems to social structures. He has a Bachelor's degree in classic studies from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing a PhD in classical archaeology at UMass Amherst. When he isn't researching or writing, he enjoys exploring ruins around Europe, drawing inspiration from his travels.

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