After deposing their last Etruscan king, Tarquin, in 509 BCE, the new Roman republic first consolidated its power, by alliance or conquest, over the plain of Latium. The Romans then confronted their former overlords and neighbours, the Etruscans, seizing control of the River Tiber in 396 BCE. Rome itself was sacked by Gallic invaders in 387 BCE and came close to annihilation. It rebounded, to challenge and eventually conquer its other regional rival, the Samnites. In 282–272 BCE, it completed the subjugation of the Etruscans, conquered Tarentum in Italy’s south, and repulsed an invasion from Epirus. Through the first Punic War (264–241 BCE), it graduated, through its defeat of Carthage, to international power, seizing Carthage’s Sardinian and Corsican colonies shortly afterwards. It then moved Cisalpine Gaul (225–223 BCE), pushing its northern boundary to the foothills of the Alps. Now, only Carthage threatened its dominance of the western Mediterranean.
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