Ancient Rome

Roman Colleseum
This chapter is about Ancient Rome, in Italy, Europe. It existed from 753 BC to 430 AD.


The government of Rome had three branches: the Magistrates, the Senate, and the Assemblies and Tribunes. The first part of Rome's government was the Magistrates. Magistrates were elected by the people. There were also two consuls, the most powerful of the Magistrates. There were two consuls so that neither one would be more powerful than the other.
The Roman Senate was a group of wealthy people that advised the king. Instead of having to give up their position in the government, the Senate got to keep their positions for life.
Assemblies could be made up of all Roman citizens.


Roman society had many levels. At the bottom were the slaves. Slaves were possessions and had no rights. They were used as personal servants, in mining, in manufacturing, and in building roads and aqueducts.

Slaves were always a part of ancient Rome. Many were acquired through war, when they were captured and brought
Ancient Roman Kitchen
Ancient Roman Kitchen
back to Rome as prisoners. Others were obtained through trading with other countries for things like wheat, horses or gold. Lastly, slaves were found through the selling of children. Parents could decide to sell their own children to pay off debts. Also, the children of slaves were always born as slaves. They had to work their life long. It was possible for a slave to become free, but only if 1. The master of a slave decided to let the slave go free (which rarely happened), or 2. A slave had saved enough money to buy his or her own freedom.
But even with these opportunities, slaves almost never got free after being enslaved.
Next in the social order were the freed men. They had once been slaves, but their masters had released them, or they had bought their freedom. Freed men could not move up the social pyramid, they were always second to last, with only the slaves below them.

Rome's citizens had two branches: Plebeians and Patricians. Plebeians were the common people. They were the majority of the population and they were mostly peasants, craftspeople, traders and other workers.

The plebeians ('plebs') were immediately above the freed men. They were mostly peasants, the poorest people of the Roman Empire. They were the most numerous, apart from the slaves. But although they were so many, they did not have that much say in the government. The Roman Republic worked by voting for everything that was being decided. The men of the plebeians, the patricians and the Roman senate had the right to vote, and they voted in order of their social standing. The order went from most important (senators) to least important (plebeians). The problem was that the voting was stopped as soon as there was an obvious choice. Often, the plebeians didn’t even get to vote.
Above the plebeians were the patricians, which made them second in the social order. They were rich, although not really wealthy. Patricians normally had jobs with higher incomes, unlike the peasants. They were descendants of some of the first Romans, which made them socially superior to the plebeians.
Roman Architecture
Romans made many advancements in architecture. Some of them include, arches, domes, and they improved Greek columns. Romans were also the first people to use cement for building. The Coliseum and the Pantheon are both excellent examples of Roman architecture. We see today that a vast majority of buildings still include Roman architecture. Some buildings with Roman architecture are the Capital Building in Washington DC and the University of Phoenix’s football stadium.

Daily Life

Ancient Roman Daily Life
Ancient Roman Daily Life

Women in the Roman Empire did not have much say in the running of society. They did not have the right to vote, couldn't own anything, and couldn’t be witnesses in court. From the beginning of her life, a woman was always dependent on someone. First, as a child, she was dependent on her father. As soon as a woman married, she was dependent on her husband. If she became a widow, she was dependent on a widow-guardian. A woman was almost always in the house, only leaving it when she went to visit friends or to the market.


A baby’s birth was very public. There normally wasn’t a real doctor, only a midwife. As soon as the child was born, it belonged to the father. He could keep it, give away it for adoption, or kill it. Many babies were given away due to poverty. If the child was deformed, it would be killed or exposed. The mother could not decide what would happen to her child. Sometimes, families gave their sons to other families who lacked male heirs. Since there were no schools, children were educated by their fathers, in agriculture, warfare, and Roman culture.


Men were the heads of the family, controlling their children and wives. They normally had jobs outside the house, and only came back home later in the day. Rich men wore togas (rich gowns worn over the shoulder). They had a good breakfast, prayed to their gods, and started to work. This was normally writing letters to other Romans. In the evening, they would go home, eat a good dinner and maybe go to the baths. But the poor men got up with the first daylight, ate some bread for breakfast and worked the whole day long. They would eat bread for dinner, and go to sleep to be fit for the next day.


The Romans were polytheistic (which means to believe in more than one God). They actually had the same Gods as the Greek had, but the Romans had given them different names. There were many myths about these gods, some of them very famous and popular. The Romans had to give offerings to these mighty Gods, so they would have mercy on the people. The Romans believed that the Gods acted more like humans, and also had faults.

There were major Gods, and minor Gods. Here is a list of a few of them:
Jupiter : The God of the skies, the father of all Gods. Portrayed as a great and trustworthy being, unlike the scandalous Greek version.
Juno : mother of all gods, god of marriage. Married to Jupiter, portrayed as a trusting, stable, happy woman, while the Greeks showed her as an unstable, jealous, miserable woman.
Minerva : goddess of wisdom and war strategy. Sprang from Jupiter's head after he had a terrible headache.
Venus : goddess of love. Came from the ocean, claimed by Neptune.
Cupid : God of love. Son of Venus and Aries.
Mercury : messenger of gods. Helped many Greek heroes. Has the ability to fly, takes messages from god (or goddess) to other gods, goddesses, or humans. Son of Jupiter
Mars : god of war. Is the first son of Jupiter and Juno. Violent and aggressive, his throne is draped with human skin
Neptune : god of the sea. Eldest of the brothers of of Zeus, Hades and himself. Took the Sea and Water (after drawing lots) for himself.
Apollo : god of sun. Twin brother to Diana. Very protective of his sister
Diana : goddess of the moon. Twin sister to Apollo. Didn't interact very much with any of the other gods, goddesses, or humans. Favored by Jupiter
Pluto : god of death. Given rule of the Underworld (after drawing lots with his brothers). The greediest of all the gods of goddesses. Kidnapped one of the minor goddesses.

Famous People

Romulus and Remus getting fed by the Wolf
Romulus and Remus getting fed by the Wolf
In the Roman Era, there were many famous people who helped with the rise of Rome. Aeneas was a Trojan hero who traveled to Italy and formed an alliance with a group of people there, called the Latins. They fought against the other groups of people in Italy. Afterward, he married the daughter of a Latin king and had a child and the children after him became the rulers of the city. Romulus and Remus were descendants of Aeneas. In a legend about them, when they were babies, they were put in a basket and tossed into the Tiber River. There, a wolf found them and raised them for most of their lives. The
Cincinnatus, the great Dictator of Rome
Cincinnatus, the great Dictator of Rome
n, a shepherd found them and adopted them. When they were grown, Romulus and Remus wanted to build a city to mark the place where the wolf had found them. During the construction of the city, Remus started making fun of Romulus's ideas. In a fit of anger, Romulus killed his brother, then finished the city by himself, naming it after himself. However, the most famous ruler from the early Republic of Rome was Cincinnatus. Originally a farmer, Cincinnatus was elected because he didn't seem eager to keep his power. All the people of Rome admired his abilities and his loyalty to the republic. The early citizens of the US wanted their leader to have the same qualities as Cincinnatus. Some people actually called George Washington the "American Cincinnatus". The people of Ohio admired Cincinnatus so much that they named one of their cities after him, Cincinnati.

__Enduring Impacts__
Rome had many enduring impacts. The most known enduring impact of Rome is its style of government. Many different countries styled their own government after ancient Rome's. A republic is where people elect leaders to govern them. The system of voting to elect leaders is still used today in many countries, including the US. Other parts of their government that are enduring impacts are the importance of written laws, equal treatment and rights and duties of all citizens. This has lead to a greater system called Civil Law. Civil Law is a legal system based on a written code of laws, similar to the system created by the Romans. Another field of enduring impacts Rome had is science and engineering. Rome was the first known civilization that built a network of roads. They built their roads using a cement made of mixed lime, volcanic rock and ash. Then, they made layers to build the road on top of, each layer a different material, to make the road more durable. Many of the roads haven't worn down even after centuries of traffic crossing on them. Rome also had another part in the architecture field they had created aqueducts. An aqueduct is a raised channel used to carry water from mountains into cities. Roman builders also learned how to used connected arches to form vaults. A vault is a set of arches that support the roof of a building. Romans used vaults to make huge, wide openings in buildings. Roman architecture duplicates some older Greek designs such as columns for their public buildings and the idea of covering them with marble. Another of Rome's achievements is their artwork. They made realistic statues and lifelike portraits. They also made mosaic paintings and statues. These paintings and mosaics decorated the buildings. Many of the Roman paintings were frescoes. A fresco is a type of painting done on plaster. Most of the Roman painters liked to paint pictures of people, or portraits. Roman sculptors tried to recreate what the Greeks did with their statues, with their own Roman style. Rome was even home to some of the greatest authors in the world. One of them was Virgil, who wrote an epic about the founding of Rome, which was called the Aeneid. Another was Ovid. He wrote poems about Roman mythology. The authors of Rome wrote in Latin, the language of government and law. The people in the Roman world wrote, conducted business, and kept records in Latin. In the eastern half of the empire, the Greek language was just as important. Later, Latin developed into many languages and also influenced languages too. These languages are called Romance languages. Romance languages include Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. Most non-Romance languages, English, for example, contain Latin words. For instance, circus and et cetera are some of the words that originate from Latin. Latin words are even common in scientific terms and mottoes.

The Arch
The arch was put into many Roman architecture and was used to support many buildings. It is the most commonly seen in pictures of Roman architecture and buildings. It could support a lot of weight and looked grand and impressive. It is still used today in modern architecture. The most common seen arch is are the arches in the Collosium, a Roman building where people fought each other or animals.


Ancient Rome is still a large influence on modern societies today. Governments, architects, and anyone speaking English is being influenced by Rome. Despite the similarities between modern societies and Rome, life was completely different back then. Abortions were common and not looked down upon. Women had barely any rights, and there was a massive social hierarchy. Rome had a vastly different lifestyle back then, with no internet and limited resources, but still managed to invent many things that still shape society today.

Revised by Junyoung