Rome was more than an empire. Human history had never seen anything like its overwhelming dominance of the world it conquered, with an influence that extended across the map both through military conquest and cultural impact. Once the calculated brutality of the Roman Army had conquered and assimilated a foreign land into its empire, the export of Roman philosophies of art, architecture, medicine and urban planning would continue to influence that land for centuries and even millennia to come. By exporting both the glorious achievements and inevitable contradictions of their own society throughout the world, Rome lived on - from Syria to Spain, England to Israel, its glories and its vices, its grandeur and tragedy. From its beginnings in a marsh on the banks of the Tiber, through its Golden Age and into its inexorable decline, the story of the Roman Empire is a tale of conquest and corruption, excellence and excess, unprecedented triumph and unimaginable loss.