The Ancient Rome

The Colosseum
The Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum,
was one of the best-known arenas of ancient times.
Construction began in A.D. 72 (Anno Domini / Year of the
Lord) under the Emperor Vespasian. Arches and columns
were prominent features. A wooden floor covered with sand
was found at the Colosseum’s center. Beneath this wooden
center, a maze of passageways with cells holding slaves, early
Christians, and wild animals could be found. When completed
in A.D. 80, the emperor celebrated by holding 100 days of
games and competitions.
The oval-shaped arena could seat more than 50,000 spectators
who watched many bloody competions and mock naval
On the Banks of the Tiber
How did geography and myth each influence the early development
of the Roman Republic?
The Location of Rome
Located near the center of the Italian peninsula. The
Italian peninsula is boot-shaped and extends from
southern Europe into the Mediterranean Sea.
Mountain range known as the Alps separates the
peninsula from the rest of Europe.
The Apennines is a long mountain range that runs down
the center of the peninsula. Think of it as Italy’s
Bodies of water that surround it: Adriatic,
Mediterranean, and the Tyrrhenian Seas.
A. Rome’s Geographic Setting
1. Has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and
warm, dry summers. What is a Mediterranean climate?
San Francisco’s climate has been described as this.
2. Unlike mountainous Greece, the Italian peninsula has
large plains. This gave more arable land, or land suited
for farming.
3. Italy has important rivers, namely the Tiber, Arno and Po.
B. The Tiber River
1. 2nd largest river in Italy and flows into the Tyrrhenian
Sea, to the West. It is in a region known as Latium. In
ancient times Latium was lush and green; today it is
rather arid, or dry.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Salt from the Tiber River
The Tiber River, in addition to being a trade and
transportation route, provided the ancient Romans with
one of their earliest items to trade: salt. The salt was
collected and then transported to other parts of the Italian
peninsula by the Via Salaria (“Salt Road”). Across the
peninsula, salt was used to preserve and season foods
and as an additive to food for herds of animals. Salt was
of such value that ancient Romans made regular offerings
of salt to the gods.
Q: Based on this tidbit of info, can you infer where our
word salary comes from and why?
II. The Origins of Rome
Around 1000 B.C. (B.C. refers to “Before Christ”) a people called the Latins
settled in Latium. They founded a village on Palatine Hill, one of the seven
hills of Rome. There were other villages; eventually they became the city of
A. Founding Myths
1. The Aeneid is an epic poem written by Virgil. It
describes the journey of a Trojan warrior named Aeneas.
Biography Quest:
Virgil was a Roman poet who lived from 70 B.C. to 19 B.C. in
ancient Rome. Why was he important? His epic poem,
The Aeneid, celebrates the values and achievements of ancient
Rome. The poem has also proven influential to many later poets.
2. Romulus and Remus (descendants of Aeneas)
These twins were said to be of divine, meaning god or godlike.
They had a human mother and their father was Mars, the
Roman god of war.
A jealous uncle put the babies in a basket and thrown into the
The boys were saved by a she-wolf and then rescued by a
This bronze statue is prominently located in the Capitoline
Museum in Rome.
When they were grown up, they set out to found a new city.
However, they could not agree on the best location for their city.
In the heat of the dispute, Romulus killed Remus. Romulus then
founded the city, named it after himself and became the first
Rome’s founding myths have little basis in fact. BUT they do
signify something about the Roman people.
From early times they believed Rome was destined for
greatness. They wanted to link its history with gods and
legendary heroes. They did so by creating myths that would
glorify Rome’s beginnings as well as its founders.
B. Growth of the City
1. Rome’s location played a key role in its growth.
Cicero, a Roman author wrote that “the location
Romulus Chose…was unbelievably favorable. It
seems to me that even then, Romulus foresaw that
this city would be the seat and home of a great
empire.” -Cicero, On the Commonwealth
2. Rome’s seven hills provided Romans
with a natural defense against attack.
They could farm in the fields below, then
make a retreat to their hilltop homes for
3. The Tiber River provided access to a
nearby port.
4. It was located on key trading routes. Salt
and iron were some of the items the
Romans used for trade.
1. Rome developed from a small settlement along the Tiber
2. Rome’s location allowed it to grow into a larger city with
natural defenses and access to major trade routes.
Lesson 2: Rise of the Roman Republic
Main Idea:
The Roman Republic was established after the people of Rome
overthrew the Etruscan kings.
From Monarchy to Oligarchy
A. The Etruscan Kings
1. Tarquin the Elder gains control of Rome and
becomes its king.
2. Etruscan kings ruled with the consent of Rome’s
wealthy aristocrats. They formed a body of
government called the Senate. Advised king.
3. There was also an assembly made up of citizens who
could bear arms. They had no real power.
B. Etruscan Improvements
1. Adapted the Greek alphabet; became basis for the Latin
alphabet, still in use today.
2. Brought a strong military to Rome; their military organization, the phalanx, would later aid Roman expansion.
3. Improved the city by
a. Creating a sewer system
b. Streets laid in a grid, or rectangular, pattern
c. Streets paved with cobblestones
d. Introduced the arch in construction
4. Religion
a. Augury used to predict the future. Priests, known as
augurs, would read the will of the gods. How? They
would observe the flight patterns of birds; they would
examine animal intestines.
And how it
Focus Questions
What factors influenced the rise and development of the
Roman Republic?
How did geography and myths influence the early
influence and early development of the Roman Republic?
What steps did Rome take in its progress from a
monarchy to a republic?
What were the roles of each of the three parts of the
government of the republic?
What traditions, values, and beliefs influenced Roman
The Sands of Time…
Recalling what we learned…
What was the purpose of mythology in ancient Greek
So, how do you think the ancient Romans used mythology?
How is the government of the United States organized? There
are three branches of government: legislative, executive and
judicial. The Constitution explains the basic laws of the U.S.
VOCABULARY you should know…
1. legislative: makes the laws
2. executive: enforces the law
3. judicial: interprets the law
So, in our nation- Congress is the legislative
branch; the President and his Cabinet make
up the executive branch; the Supreme Court
and its judges make up the judicial branch.
Let’s recall the ancient Egyptians. Remember
their social order?
Nobles, priests, officials
Merchants, artisans
Q: What purpose did social order serve in
ancient Egypt? Think of this as we discuss
the Romans.
The Roman Republic
What factors influenced the rise and
development of the Roman Republic?
The Forum
Similar to the Greek agora, the Forum
served as both market place and meeting
place in ancient Rome. Government
buildings, temples, monuments, and streets
lined with shops gave the Forum a square
or rectangular shape.
And many of its pieces were used in new
construction across the city. In fact, the Forum
became so desolate that at one point it was known
as the Campo Vaccino, or “Cow Field.”
However, excavations in the 19th and 20th
centuries led to the restoration of many of the
Forum’s temples and arches. The ruins of this
magnificent complex can be seen in Rome today.
C. Formation of the Republic
1. Tarquin the Proud (3rd Etruscan king whom the Romans
grew tired of. He was a harsh ruler and the Romans
The Ballad of Tarquin the Proud
By Arturius Perezius
Dedicated to the Septimus Gradius
Come and listen to the story of
Tarquin the Proud
Whose harsh rule of Rome
Made the people become loud.
He did things without
Consulting the Senate
He executed well known upper classers
Probably with knuckles of brass, er…
His son wasn’t better
A pain in the tuchus you might say
He assaulted a lady one lovely summer day
The woman didn’t like it
So her life she did take.
Her family wasn’t happy
In fact they were upset
They vowed to take revenge.
To bad there weren’t tabloids
Or those cheezy newpapers
‘cause a family member
Told of all of Tarquin’s crimes
In fact the people supported the family and their
And poor, poor Tarquin…
Well, he was overthrown
So Tarquin the Proud
His reign did come to an end
And the Romans cheered and applauded
The new government to come
They established a
Republic, republic
Yeahhhhh! Republic!
2. Republic: a government in which citizens have the right
to vote and elect officials.
3. Consuls stood as the highest officials in the Roman
government. They did the jobs once done by the
How did the government of Rome move from a monarchy
to a republic?
Logo of the Republic
The letters SPQR stand for the Latin phrase Senatus
Populusque Romanus which means “the Senate and
People of Rome.” The logo represented the Republic
on items such as buildings and coins.
Q: What symbol is used to represent countries today?
Senatus Populusque Romanus
The Struggle of the Orders
Before the Republic, Rome was divided into two groups
called orders. One order was the patricians. They
represented the upper class of Roman society.
The other order was the plebeians, or the common
people of Rome.
A. Patricians and Plebeians
Rome’s government and organization highly favored
the patricians. The plebeians, in contrast, had little
power or influence. Marriage between the orders was
Plebeians had little influence on Rome’s economy.
Most worked as peasant farmers and were poor. If
a plebeian owed money and could not pay, that poor
plebeian could be sold into slavery. This practice of
enslaving people who cannot pay their debts is
known as debt bondage.
Army / Slave
B. The Plebeians Rebel
They figured if the patricians could govern Rome, they
wouldn’t need plebeian soldiers. They really wanted
a voice- representation- in the government.
They wanted an assembly with real power.
In 471 B.C. the Tribal Assembly was formed and
became part of the Roman government.
tribune: top officials of the plebeian assembly
Tribunes represented the plebeian interests in government
affairs. They had the power to block laws that they deemed
unfair to the people.
tribune: top officials of the plebeian assembly
C. The Twelve Tablets
The first written law code of the Republic.
Some of the laws concerned family, property, crime,
and punishment.
A father shall have absolute power over his children.
Things sold and delivered shall not become the property of
the buyer until he has paid the seller.
A person committing burglary in the night may be lawfully
killed. A thief in the daytime may not be killed unless he
carried a weapon.
No one shall be put to death except after the trial.
Roman Fasces:
A fasces was carried by Roman officials
as a symbol of their authority and power
to punish.
Origin and symbolism
The traditional Roman fasces consisted of a bundle of white birch
rods, tied together with a red leather ribbon into a cylinder, and
often including a bronze axe (or sometimes two) amongst the
rods, with the blade(s) on the side, projecting from the bundle. It
was used as a symbol of the Roman Republic in many
circumstances, including being carried in processions, much the
way a flag might be carried today.
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