Best cities to explore for when the Romans overthrew their last Etruscan king, the tyrannical Tarquinius Priscus, thereby gaining an aversion to any hint of monarchy and winning independence for their city-state on the banks of the Tiber. Although a republic governed by a senate of elders, inequality remained. The common people, called plebeians, were subservient to the ruling upper class, known as the patricians. The story of the early republic was chiefly the plebeians’ successful struggle for representation in the government and expansion of Rome’s control over the rest of the Italian peninsula at the expense of its weak and disorganized rivals; thus demonstrating the Roman penchant for military organization, discipline, and diplomacy. Yet, not content with holding sway over Italy, the Romans created great armadas and spread their influence about the Mediterranean. This brought confrontation with Carthage, a formidable military, naval, and trading power of North Africa. Rome faced the Carthaginian challenge with characteristic determination. Best cities to explore 2016.