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Prior to their exposure to Etruscan culture, Rome was a small community ruled by tribal chiefs. Under Etruscan influence Rome was transformed into city with a working infrastructure and a thriving cultural center which had contact with other Italian cities and the various peoples of the Mediterranean.
The Roman expansion included the seizure of Carthage from the Phoenicians and their territories in North Africa, Spain and Sicily. They went on the take control of all the territories surrounding the Mediterranean, including Greece, Asia Minor and the Middle East. This substantial expansion stretched the administrative capabilities both within Rome and in its outer territories.