The art and architecture of ancient Rome, the foundation of which is traditionally given as 753 bc. From then until 509 bc it was ruled by Latin and Etruscan kings, but a crisis of monarchy led to the establishment of a Republic, which lasted from 509 to 27 bc. After the successful Punic Wars against Carthage in the 3rd and 2nd centuries bc, Rome became a world power and its culture was rapidly hellenized after the conquest of Greece in 146 bc. Civil wars caused the Republic to collapse and it was replaced by the Empire, distinguished by the magnificent and ambitious building programmes instigated by many of its emperors. The spread of Christianity undermined the structure of the Empire, especially after it was recognized as the official religion of the Empire under the Edict of Milan in 313 ad during the reign of Constantine the Great. With the foundation of Constantinople in 324 ad the Empire was effectively split into eastern and western halves with Rome becoming the centre of the Roman church and Constantinople the capital of the Empire and centre of Byzantine art.