Ancient Rome was the center of one of the largest and most powerful empires in history. With its center in today’s Italy the Roman Empireconquered the whole Mediterranean region and spread its influence to the Middle East, Northern Africa, Western and Central Europe. It reached the height of its power between 100 and 200 A.D. Afterwards the Roman Empire began to collapse because it became too big to rule. The West Roman Empire ended in 476 A.D. when Germanic tribes invaded, the East Roman Empire continued to exist for manycenturies.The ancient Romans influenced countries and civilizations in the following centuries. Their language, Latin, became the basis for many other European languages. Governments and legal systems in the western world were founded on Roman law. The ancient Romans were the first to build bridges, concrete roads and a sewage system that took waste water away from houses and homes.