In antiquity, Italy was a very diverse region, inhabited by many ethnically, culturally, and linguistically distinct groups. The Etruscans and the Romans were two of these groups, and were located in Central Italy (equating to roughly the regions of Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio today) in the period spanning the first millennium BCE and the first five centuries CE. Etruscan civilization seems to have arisen in the ninth century BCE, becoming the dominant culture in Italy by the middle of the seventh century BCE, and in the following centuries, the Etruscans exerted a heavy influence upon their Roman neighbours, with a dynasty of Etruscan kings ruling Rome from the foundation of the city in 753 BCE until the monarchy was abolished, the royal family expelled, and the Republic founded in 509 BCE. Over the course of the next four centuries, Roman political, military, cultural, and linguistic influence expanded and Rome came to dominate the Italian peninsula. By the late first century BCE, the Etruscans, along with the rest of the Italic peoples, had been absorbed into what had become the Roman Empire, with a sphere of influence extending from northern Europe down to north Africa, and from western Europe across to the Near East. There were close connections between the Italian peninsula and Greece and the Near East throughout this period, and these are attested in both the literary and archaeological records.