More than two thousand years ago, at a time when the people in the British Isles and in most parts of Western Europe were living the lives of savages, occupied in fighting, hunting, and fishing, dwelling in rude huts, clad in skins, ignorant of everything that we call civilization, Rome was the centre of a world in many ways as civilized as ours is now, over which the Roman people ruled. The men who dwelt in this one city, built on seven hills on the banks of the river Tiber, gradually conquered all Italy. Then they became masters of the lands round the Mediterranean Sea: of Northern Africa and of Spain, of Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor and the Near East, and of Western Europe. The greatness of Rome and of the Roman people does not lie, however, in their conquests. In the end their conquests ruined them. It lies in the character, mind, and will of the Romans themselves.