According to a mix of legend and historical record, the Ancient Roman civilisation spanned from the mythical foundation of Rome as a town in 753 BC by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus, to the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD at the hands of Germanic tribes, led by Odoacer/Odovacer.
In between its birth and demise, the Republic and then Empire covered a vast territory, controlling the Mediterranean region and incorporating much of Europe as well as parts of Western Asia and North Africa. Roman expansion spread a common tongue and culture, a vast transport and trade network, technological innovation and Roman law. Though gone as a power, much of Rome’s legacy continued after the fall of the Empire.
This animated GIF shows the growth of Ancient Rome from the establishment of the Roman Republic as a city-state in 509 BC to its fullest extent as an Empire and subsequent decline. The timescale of the map ends at the start of the reign of the Byzantine or East Roman Emperor Justinian, who ruled from 527 to 565 AD.
This GIF was created by Wikimedia commons user Roke
The Republican period is shown as maroon, while the united Empire is purple. The Eastern and Western Roman Empires are represented as wholly distinct from 405 AD onwards, with the West as blue and the East as green. At the final phase there is no blue on the map at all.