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Ancient Rome
Roman Military
Roman Military
• The army was organized into legions.
• Each legion has 5000 men.
• Each legion has its own leader, its own banner,
and its own number. Each also had its own
• Each legion was broken into several fighting
groups known as cohorts of about 480 men.
Roman Military
Cohorts were then divided into centuries.
If a soldier was brave, clever and fought well
he could become a centurion in charge of 80
ordinary soldiers called legionaries. Each
troop of about 80 legionaries was called a
century. There were 59 centuries in a legion
and about 30 legions in the Roman army.
There were also other soldiers called
auxiliaries who included the cavalry. The
centuries were divided into contubernium of
eight men sharing one tent.
To show the differences in ranks centurions
carried a special stick to show who they were.
They used the stick to beat any soldier who
disobeyed an order. The important centurions
also wore special armour, which emphasized
their rank.
Roman Military
Eight men = One Contubernium
Ten Contubernium = One Century (80 men)
Two centuries = One Maniple (160 men)
Six Centuries = One Cohort (480 men)
Ten Cohorts = A legion (6000 men)
Roman Military
• A legionary's uniform included a
rectangular shield, a short sword, a
dagger, a metal jacket, a belt, a
helmet, a kilt, a shirt, and hobnailed
sandals. The legion wore special
hob-nailed sandals.
• Their hobnailed sandals were
designed to make a loud noise as
they marched. They were also
accompanied by trumpets and other
noise makers. Add the many
colorful banners waving above their
heads, and you can probably
understand why an approaching
legion was an impressive sight and
Roman Military
Gaius Marius changed the military from
having farmers as soldiers to having a
standing army.
Roman soldiers had to be tough. They
were expected to march 20 miles a day
wearing armour. They were also
expected to carry their own shield, some
food and camping equipment. They
were called Marius’ Mules.
Soldiers were also trained to fight
together. They marched into battle in a
flexible line with their shields next to each
other. If the enemy shot arrows at them
the soldiers in the rows behind the front
line would lift their shields over their
heads like a roof to protect them. This
was called a testudo, which means
Roman Military
The Roman Army was made up of men from all
over the Empire, no women were allowed to join.
These men were professional soldiers whose only
job was to fight and defend Rome. (Standing Army)
Initially only property owners such as farmers could
serve in the army, but from the 1st century
B.C.onwards anybody could join.
Each legionary served for 25 years. After serving in
the ranks, they serves as a verteranus (a reserve
soldier). If they lived through their service, they could
retire. They were given land and a pension (gratuity:
fixed sum of money) so that they live
comfortably. The land they were given was located in
the provinces. This was very clever of Rome. It gave
their retired military men a place to call home that
they would defend. This system placed loyal military
men all over the provinces.
The Republic Fails
• Rome needed tax money. The government
needed to pay the legions, and build roads, sewers,
aqueducts, and arenas. They needed to pay for the
welfare program put in place to help feed the
growing number of poor in Rome. To get this tax
money, Rome used tax farmers. Tax farmers were
Romans who paid a flat fee to the Roman Republic
for the privilege of collecting taxes from a territory.
To recoup their investment, tax farmers levied a tax
against every citizen in their territory. Tax collectors
expected to make a profit. Their business was the
business of tax collection. That was understood.
Under this system, there were many abuses, as the
government could not control how each tax farmer
runs their individual business. There were no rules.
A tax collector could charge one person almost
nothing, and charge another person a great deal of
tax, knowing that person could not pay. If you did
not pay the taxes you owed, you could be sold into
slavery. Tax collectors were powerful people under
the Republic.
The Republic Fails
• Under the Republic, elected
officials used their positions to
get rich. To get elected, some
people were buying votes. The
poor were quite happy to sell their
votes to the highest bidder. Under
this system, many people were
elected to office who were poor
governors. Graft and corruption
were rampant. Rome suffered
from this. Rome had bad
The Republic Fails
• Under the Republic, Rome did not
have a police force. Rome's streets
were not safe for citizens after dark.
Crime was everywhere. Wealthy
Romans hired guards to protect
themselves and their families. Some
build private armies. During elections
especially, these private armies often
clashed and fought in the streets. The
government recognized this problem,
but they could not put a police force in
place because they did not have
enough money to pay them.
First Triumvirate
• Political alliance between Julius Caesar,
Pompey & Crassus. The rule of three men.
• Caesar was a great military leader, who also
was famous amongst the masses as he spent a
lot of money in their behalf. He organized
spectacular public games and gave gifts of food.
• Crassus was a military hero and the richest man
in Rome
• Pompey was a military hero.
• Caesar held the positions of consul and general
Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar was a great general and an
important leader in ancient Rome. During his
lifetime, he had held just about every
important title in the Roman Republic
including consul, tribune of the people, high
commander of the army, and high priest
(Pontifex Maximus)
In Gaul, he wrote Commentaries on the
Gallic Wars, which made him known as a
great military leader
While Caesar was fighting in Gaul, Crassus
was fighting in Persia and was killed.
Pompey ruled Rome almost as a dictator.
He suggested new laws, most of which were
approved by the Senate. He reorganized the
army. He improved the way the provinces
were governed. The Romans even named a
month after him, the month of July for Julius
Julius Caesar
• Julius Caesar told the people that
he could solve Rome's problems.
Certainly, the Republic had
problems. Crime was
everywhere. Taxes were
outrageous. People were hungry.
Many were out of work. It was
easier to use slaves to do work
than hire Roman people. The
people were angry that their
government had not been able to
solve the many problems facing
the Republic.
Julius Caesar
• As Julius Caesar became more
powerful, and more popular with
the people, leaders in the Senate
began to worry. They were afraid
that Julius Caesar wanted to take
over the government and rule
Rome as a king. The leaders of
ancient Rome had vowed that the
Roman people would never be
ruled by a king again. That
promise went back over 500
years in time, to when the Roman
Republic first began.
Julius Caesar
• Caesar was ordered to disband his army
and resign. Instead we crossed the
Rubicon River and entered Italy.
• One of the laws of the original Twelve
Tables was that no general could enter the
city with his army. Julius Caesar ignored
this law. In 49 BCE, he entered Rome with
the Roman Legion, and took over the
government. The poor people of Rome,
who made up the bulk of the population,
were glad. The people called him "father of
the homeland“. The Senate was furious.
• Pompey managed to escape to Egypt
where he was murdered, thus ending the
1st triumvirate.
Julius Caesar
• Caesar defeated the republican forces.
Pompey, their leader, fled to Egypt
where he was assassinated. Caesar
followed him and became involved with
the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.
• Caesar was now master of Rome and
made himself consul and dictator.
• He used his power to carry out muchneeded reform, relieving debt, enlarging
the senate, building the Forum and
revising the calendar.
• Strong leader
• improved lives
• made laws to help the poor
• created new jobs
• gave citizenship to more people
Julius Caesar
• Dictatorship was always
regarded a temporary
position but in 44 BC,
Caesar took it for life. His
success and ambition
alienated the strongly
republican senators. A group
of these, led by Cassius and
Brutus, assassinated Caesar
on the Ides (15) of March 44
Spartacus - Gladiator & Slave
• Spartacus was born a freeman. He joined the army,
but he ran away. When he was caught, he was sold
into slavery to work as a gladiator. Some gladiators
were freemen. But most, like Spartacus, were slaves,
who had been sold to a gladiator school. When these
men were not fighting, they were locked up in the
gladiator school, to make sure they did not escape.
• One day, in 73 BCE, Spartacus did just that - he
escaped. Around 70 other gladiators escaped with
him. They armed themselves with knives from the
cook's shop. They found a wagon full of gladiator
weapons. They stole those, too. They camped on
Mount Vesuvius. Rome sent an army of 3000
soldiers to capture the runaway slaves. Spartacus
attacked from the rear. The Roman army was
defeated. Rome tried again. This time they sent 6000
men. Spartacus won that battle as well.
Spartacus - Gladiator & Slave
• When other slaves first heard that Spartacus had
escaped, some ran away and joined Spartacus. But
when Spartacus and his men defeated the Roman
army, many slaves ran away to join him. The
people knew Spartacus. He was a gladiator. He
was famous. Rome's slaves felt if they could reach
Spartacus, Spartacus would keep them safe. In a
very short amount of time, Spartacus and his
followers had swelled from 70 to over 100,000
• Rome was terrified. The wealthy Roman way of life
was dependant upon slaves. That is one reason so
many poor Roman citizens were out of work. Slave
labor was free. About 1/3 of the people in the
Roman Empire were slaves. Wealthy citizens could
not allow this revolt to succeed, not if they wanted
to keep their lifestyle.
Spartacus - Gladiator & Slave
• Catching Spartacus was not easy.
Spartacus and his followers spent their
first winter with plenty of good food that
they stole from the surrounding
countryside. They prepared for battle.
They made weapons. They drilled. The
gladiators taught others how to fight like
a gladiator.
• Spartacus and his followers were hunted
for two years. They defeated every effort
to capture them. When Rome finally
caught up with him, they killed Spartacus
and everyone with him.
• The ruler of the family was the oldest male. That could be the
father, the grandfather, or perhaps even an uncle. His title was pater
familias. The pater familias led religious ceremonies, taught his sons
how to farm, and made all the important decisions. This word was
law as far as his family was concerned. He owned the property, and
had total authority, the power of life and death, over every member
of his household.
• Even when his children became adults, he was still the boss. But, he
was also responsible for the actions of any member of his
household. He could order a child or an adult out of his house. If
anyone in his household committed a crime, he could be punished
for something his family did. It was not against the law for the head
of the house to put a sick baby out to die or to sell members of his
family into slavery.
• A women had no legal protection. She was
not a citizen of Rome. Her job was to take care
of the house and to have children. Mothers who
could read and write taught their children how to
read and write. She taught her girls how to cook
and sew and care for a family. But women could
leave the home to shop or see a play or visit a
temple. Women who could afford it used slaves
to shop and cook. Wealthy women could leave
the house, but spent a large part of their day on
personal grooming - styling their hair, and
dressing ornately.
• Children were trained to obey their elders and
be loyal citizens. You couldn’t talk back. If you
talked back, you could find yourself out the door.
You could try to go to a friend’s house, but the
odds were good that they would not take you in.
• Some families kept slaves. Slaves were
treated well, in most cases, because they were
property. They had food to eat, jobs to do, and
clothes to wear. But they were not free to look
for a better family. They were slaves. They were
• Rome as a Kingdom: In early Roman
days, kids did not go to school. A
Roman boy's education took place at
home. If his father could read and
write, he taught his son to do the
same. The father instructed his sons
in Roman law, history, customs, and
physical training, to prepare for war.
Reverence for the gods, respect for
law, obedience to authority, and
truthfulness were the most important
lessons to be taught.
• Girls were taught by their mother.
Girls learned to spin, weave, and sew.
The rich had tutors for the children,
but mostly, the kids were taught at
Rome as a Republic: About 200 BCE, the Romans
borrowed some of the ancient Greek system of
education. Although they did not add many subjects, they
did begin sending their boys, and some of their girls, with
their father's permission, to school, outside their home, at
age 6 or 7.
The goal of education in ancient Rome was to be an
effective speaker. The school day began before sunrise,
as did all work in Rome. Kids brought candles to use until
daybreak. There was a rest for lunch and the afternoon
siesta, and then back to school until late afternoon. No
one knows how long the school year actually was; it
probably varied from school to school. However, one
thing was fixed. School began each year on the 24th of
The children studied reading, writing, and counting.
They read scrolls and books. They wrote on boards
covered with wax, and used pebbles to do math
problems. They were taught Roman numerals, and
recited lessons they had memorized. At age 12 or 13, the
boys of the upper classes attended "grammar" school,
where they studied Latin, Greek, grammar, and literature.
At age 16, some boys went on to study public speaking at
the rhetoric school, to prepare for a life as an orator.
• The very early Romans wore a toga. It
looked like a white sheet 9 yards long.
Togas were arranged very carefully, in a
stylish way. Togas fell out of style
rather early. (The toga was
inconvenient, and people felt the cold
when they wore it.) To get anyone to
wear them, even very early emperors
had to legislate the wearing of togas by
at least senators. Eventually, the
emperors gave up. The Romans
switched to comfortable tunics, which
looked like long tee-shirts. They were
far more practical. Tunics were made of
cool linen, for summer wear, and warm
wool, for winter wear. Sometimes, they
worn trouser like affairs.
• Roman Men: Rings were the
only jewelry worn by Roman
citizen men, and good manners
dictated only one ring. Of
course, some men did not
follow "good taste", and wore
as many as sixteen rings.
Hairstyles and beards varied
with the times. In early Roman
times, men wore long hair and
full beards. For a while, they
were clean-shaven with short
hair. About 1c CE, they had
started to style their hair, and
wear beards again.
• Roman Women: Women enjoyed gazing at
themselves in mirrors of highly polished metal (not
glass). The ancient Roman women loved ornate
necklaces, pins, earrings, bracelets and friendship
rings. Pearls were favorites. Women often dyed their
hair, usually golden-red. They used false hairpieces
to make their hair thicker or longer. Sometimes,
Roman women wore their hair up, in carefully
arranged styles, held with jeweled hairpins.
Sometimes they wore it down, curled in ringlets.
Parasols were used, or women might carry fans
made of peacock feathers, wood or stretched linen.
Women's street shoes were made of leather, like a
man's. In the house, most Romans (men and women)
wore sandals. Women's sandals were brightly
colored. Some were even decorated with pearls.
• BULLA: Children wore a special
locket around their neck, given to
them at birth, called a bulla. It
contained an amulet as a protection
against evil and was worn on a chain,
cord, or strap. Girls wore their bulla until
the eve of their wedding day, when their
bulla was set aside with other childhood
things, like her toys. Boys wore their
bulla until they day they became a
citizen. Boys bullas were put aside and
carefully saved. A boy's bulla could be
wore by the owner again, if he won
special honors. For example, if he
became a successful general, and won
the honor of triumph, he would wear his
bulla in ceremonial parades, to protect
him from the evil jealously of men or
• Romance Language = A language that developed in an
area that had been part of the Roman Empire, such as
French, Spanish and Italian
• Vernacular = Everyday language of the people
• He attempted to provide a year-by-year
account of Rome’s developing power.
• This account was called the Annales
• It was in verse to make easier to
• Cicero was a famous Roman statesman.
He was born six years before Julius
Caesar. They were in politics at the same
time. Cicero was from a wealthy family. He
was educated as a lawyer. He served in the
Senate. He served as elected Consul, the
highest position in government under the
Republic. He was a wonderful speaker.
When Cicero spoke, people listened.
• Cicero said about government, "In a
kingdom, only the king has many rights.
Kings can be wise and just. But rule by one
person can easily become tyranny."
• When Julius Caesar entered the city of
Rome with his army, and declared himself
dictator, Cicero said: "I see no reason for ...
being alarmed except the fact that, once
departure has been made from the law,
everything is uncertain; and nothing can be
guaranteed as to the future which depends
upon another man's will, not to say caprice.
When Caesar declared himself dictator for
life, his action was in direction violation of
the principals of a constitutional republic."
• The day Julius Caesar was assassinated,
Cicero was there. But he was not one of
Julius Caesar's attackers.
• Cicero lived at time when Rome was
changing from a constitutional republic to a
dictatorship, ruled by emperors. Cicero fought
in the way he knew best, with words and
speeches, about the importance of keeping a
constitutional government. His words did not
fall on dead ears, but the Senate had lost
nearly all its power.
• As the transition continued, and Rome
became ruled by an all-powerful emperor,
Cicero had to flee Rome. He ran for his life.
But he was captured by the emperor's forces,
and killed.
• His legacy of writings tell us a great deal
about ancient Roman government and daily
life. Cicero's words are still powerful today,
just as they were two thousand years ago.
• In the 500 years Rome was an Empire, there were over 140
different emperors!
Some emperors were good. Some emperors were bad.
Some were just plain crazy.
Second Triumvirate
• Alliance between Octavian (Caesar’s adopted
son), Marc Antony & Lepidus
• They divided up the republic:
– Octavian took the West
– Antony took the East
– Lepidus took Africa
• Octavian attacked Antony in the Battle of Actium.
Antony had befriended Cleopatra, who Rome
did not trust
• Antony & Cleopatra fled and committed suicide.
• Caesar’s grand-nephew, Octavian, became dictator in 27 B.C. He
changed his name to Augustus, meaning respected one or revered one.
• Augustus was the first true emperor of Rome. He was given the title
Princeps, which means 1st citizen or first amongst equals. The Augustan
period is known as the Principate.
• Under the leadership of Augustus, the following things were
– laws were passed giving citizens more rights
– Romans were the first people to take a census
(a count of the country’s people)
- A professional army, divided into large groups
called legions, was established
– Roads were built
– New government buildings (basilicas), temples, libraries, and public
- baths were built.
– The aqueduct system (a system to carry water from place to place) was
– Created a group of firefighters known as vigils, who were freed slaves
An Ancient Roman Epic - The
• The heroic deeds of Prince Aeneas are
wonderfully told in the ancient story of
the Aeneid, written by the great
Roman poet, Virgil (official poet of the
Emperor Augustus). It was written
around 30 BCE.
• The story takes place in the years
between the fall of Troy and the
founding of Rome by Romulus and
Remus, twin sons of the war god
Mars. It tells what happened to the
survivors of the city of Troy. It was
written, in part, to justify Rome's right to
expand her empire.
• Was a poet who used his gifts to applaud
the benefits of peace, Augustan rule and
the Roman supremacy.
• He wrote Odes.
• Augustus, the first Roman emperor, ruled for 45 years. It was during
the reign of Augustus that people got used to being ruled by one
leader. Rome went on to greatness under the Empire, but the
Roman Republic was no more.
• For 45 years, Rome was at peace. This period is the beginning of
the Pax Romana, or Roman Peace. The phrase "Roman Peace" is a
bit misleading. The Romans continued to expand their empire during
this period. They did not always do so peacefully. Things were not
always peaceful in the city of Rome. Rome did not always have the
best leadership. Some emperors were very cruel. Some were
insane. But the empire continued to be stable. For around 200
years, the Roman Empire was united.
• The Romans were great builders. Many of their incredible buildings
and engineering projects were constructed during this period of
relative peace. Culture and literature flourished. Much of Greek
culture was adopted during this period.
• Caligula = Declared himself a god and tried to have
his horse made a senator
• Claudius = Became an excellent ruler following
Caligula’s death and was chosen by the Praetorian
Guard (A special palace guard who policed Rome.)
• Vespasian = Changed the system of hereditary
succession to the throne. As the emperor before him,
Nero, had no heirs.
• Marcus Aurelius = Had a humanitarian approach to
government, which helped unify the empire.
• Theodosius = Last Roman Emperor
• There are many stories and legends about Emperor
Nero. Most are not very pleasant. Nero was not the
first insane emperor in office. But he was certainly one
of the most famous.
• Nero did not go insane all at once. Rather, he went
insane slowly. As time went on, his behavior became
more and more odd, and then more and more
murderous. He murdered his own mother and wife
and poisoned Caligula’s son.
• It was rumored that he started the great fire in Rome.
He blamed the Christians and ordered many of them
to be tied to poles and set on fire to light his party.
• He spent most of his time staging plays and musical
• The leaders of Rome in the Senate wanted to do
something about it, but they were afraid. It was not
until Nero ordered some of the members of the
Senate to kill themselves that they finally took action.
The Senate ordered Nero's immediate execution.
When Nero heard about it, he killed himself.
Trajan & Hadrian
• Trajan was the first Roman emperor who was not from
He was Spanish. He was a great conqueror. Under his
rule, the empire grew and covered more geography than
at any other time.
Hadrian was Trajan’s adopted son.
• He consolidated the Empire by taking
making many trips across the empire.
• His famous monuments are:
– Villa at Tivoli
– Hadrian’s wall
– The Pantheon
Villa at Tivoli
Hadrian’s wall
The Grand Pantheon
• The Grand Pantheon was a
temple first built in the very
early days of the Roman
Empire. It was dedicated to all
the Roman gods. The Romans
used concrete (an ancient
Roman invention) to build the
dome of the Pantheon, which
even today is still one of the
largest single-span domes in
the world. The construction of
this building greatly influenced
western architecture.
The Baths
• The Public Baths were extremely popular. Roman women and
men tried to visit the baths at least once every day. The baths had
hot and cold pools, towels, slaves to wait on you, steam rooms,
saunas, exercise rooms, and hair cutting salons. They had reading
rooms and libraries, as among the freeborn, who had the right to
frequent baths, the majority could read. They even had stores,
selling all kinds of things, and people who sold fast food. The
baths were arranged rather like a very large mall, with bathing
• The baths were packed. The people loved them. At one time, there
were as many as 900 public baths in ancient Rome. Small ones
held about 300 people, and the big ones held 1500 people or
more! Some Roman hospitals even had their own bathhouses. A
trip to the bath was a very important part of ancient Roman
daily life.
Thermae (Baths)
• a system to carry water from place to place
Improvements under the Empire
Many things changed. Although the Senate
met and argued, and had advisory power,
the real power was now in the hands of an
all-powerful emperor. The Roman people
would never have accepted a king.
However, they seemed to have no problem
accepting the leadership of a dictator, who
called himself an emperor. Under Augustus,
the first Roman emperor, the people got
used to being ruled by one leader.
Other changes included:
Establishment of Public Health
Programs: The government created new
public health programs. One program
distributed free bread to workmen on their
way to work in the morning.
Improvements under the Empire
Reduction in Crime: Under the empire, the
Roman legionnaires policed Rome's streets.
They worked in small groups. They could quickly
band together in large groups as necessary.
Their hob-nailed sandals made quite a loud
sound on Rome's cobblestone streets. When
criminals heard the legionaries approaching, they
typically scattered. The legionaries were armed
and well trained.
Improvements for Women: Life was very
different for women during the Empire than it
was under the Republic. During the Empire, it
was legal for women to own land, run
businesses, free slaves, make wills, inherit
wealth, and get a paid job. Women could even
use the public baths. There were separate hours
for men and women, but women were allowed
inside. These were all new privileges.
Improvements under the Empire
• Public Theatre: Under the empire,
Rome built huge theatres. Plays were
no longer performed only in the Forum.
Admission was free.
• Free Spectacles: The government
constructed other huge public buildings
and improved open-air facilities. These
were used to host events called
spectacles. Chariot racing was held in
the Circus Maximus. The Colosseum
hosted the gladiator games. Admission
to spectacles was free.
• Amphi-theatres are "theatres in the round": amphimeans "around" in Greek.
• An amphitheatre is for action: it's a sports arena, where
the spectators sit around the field. They need to see, but
they don't really need to hear, so an amphitheatre can be
much larger.
The Colosseum
• The Colosseum was a huge public entertainment center. The
Colosseum could seat 50,000 spectators. Some people were not lucky
enough to have a seat in the Colosseum. If you didn't mind standing, the
Colosseum could hold up to 70,000 spectators! This is where the
ancient Romans gathered to watch bloody combat between gladiators,
and battles between men and wild animals. This is where they threw
people to the lions! To see men being killed was very entertaining to the
ancient Romans. On occasion, they flooded the Colosseum with water,
to hold naval battles. During the battles, many competitors died.
• The ancient Romans were great builders. They built things to last. The
Colosseum was built of concrete, faced with stone, as were most
amphitheaters. It was built in the early days of the Roman Empire,
around 70 CE. It was designed to host huge spectacles. Anyone could
attend the events in the Colosseum. Admission was free.
• Roman gladiators were trained in mortal combat, a
form of public entertainment in ancient Rome.
• The word gladiator comes from the Latin word
gladius (sword).
• Wealthy or important Romans often asked for funeral
games to be held in their honor.
• The popularity of the games grew and spread
throughout the Roman empire. Eventually gladiatorial
games became lavish public entertainments,
especially after the Coliseum in Rome opened
• Roman gladiators were usually convicted criminals,
slaves, or prisoners of war.
• Many gladiators came from the lands Rome had
• Some gladiators who managed to survive the fierce
fighting became famous or even wealthy.
• Men of the very lowest social rank sometimes bound
themselves to the owner of a gladiator troupe,
enduring branding, chains, flogging, and brutality at
the hands of their masters to become gladiators.
• Gladiators went through intense training and were
taught complex moves so they could better entertain
the audience.
• Gladiators were supposed to fight to the death, but if
they fought extremely well the crowd could decide to
spare both fighters. The crowd voted by showing
thumbs up or thumbs down — although whether or
not thumbs up meant “life” has not been verified.
Sometimes gladiators won prize money.
• At a large event there could be hundreds of
gladiators. In the Coliseum, the audience could be
as large as 50,000 people.
After other entertainments in the morning,
such as hunting wild animals and
the execution of criminals, gladiators would
enter the arena. They would approach the
emperor and proclaim, Ave, Imperator,
morituri te salutamus (Hail, Emperor, we who
are about to die, salute you).
• As Christianity spread and the power of the
Roman Empire declined, the appeal of the
games diminished.
• In 326 C.E. Constantine began the process of
abolishing gladiator games. In 400 C.E.
Emperor Honorius banned gladiators forever.
Circus Maximus
The ancient Romans loved chariot racing. In early Roman times, young
nobles used to race their chariots around the 7 hills of Rome. People had to
scatter to get out of the way. They stopped for no one.
In the 6c BCE (about 2,500 years ago!), the ancient Romans built the Circus
Maximus in the city of Rome. Basically, the Maximus was a race track. It
was designed to race chariots. Women could attend the races. They could
sit with men. That was very unusual.
The original Circus Maximus was built out of wood. It burnt down a couple
of times. During the Roman Empire, the Circus Maximus was rebuilt using
marble and concrete (an ancient Roman invention!).
The Circus Maximus was not the only circus in the Roman Empire. The
Romans built circuses, outdoor racetracks, all over the Empire. The Circus
Maximus was the most well known race track. It could seat over 250,000
people! Admission was free. Anyone could attend the races, including
Rome's poor. There were races every day. It was the height of success to
race in the Circus Maximus.
Pompeii was an ancient
Roman city, buried by a
volcanic eruption. 2000 years
later, archaeologists uncovered
the city. The people in ancient
Pompeii did not have a chance
to escape. The city had been
quickly buried by volcanic
ash. When archaeologists dug
out the city, two thousand years
later, they found petrified bread
still in the ovens that had been
baking that day. Archaeologists
learned a great deal from the
ruins of this ancient city
because it had been so well
• Rome’s Greatest Historian
• He was financial minister, elected
Praetor, consulship
• His major works were the Histories
and the Annals.
• He set the standard for historical
research and writing for the rest of
the Western Roman Empire.
• He believed that it was the
historians job to get to the
objective truth and not have bias.
Julia Domna
• She became a formidable
• After her husbands death, she
unsuccessful supported her son,
Geta, to become emperor.
• Although Geta was removed from
office, she played an influential
role in politics and administration
of the empire.
• She was given the title of Mother
of the Senate and of the
• Rome slaves were 1/3 of the
• Slaves were used in almost every
aspect of human activity: builders,
gladiators etc.
• Lowest order of slaves were the
outside workers
• Highest order of slaves worked
• Manumission is when a slave can
buy their own freedom or a
deceased owner’s will frees them.
• Promoted to Emperor by his
fellow soldiers in the
Praetorian Guard.
• Divided the empire into 2
parts: East and West
The Roman Empire is Split into
Two Pieces
• Because of the well-built Roman roads the
success of the legionnaires and the
leadership of Rome's more able emperors
and generals, the Roman Empire grew to
enormous proportions. It was huge!
• It covered most of Europe, most of North
Africa, and some of Asia. That created
• One problem was that it was getting difficult
to manage the empire effectively. Word went
out from Rome, but the provinces did not
always do what they were told. Rome
seemed very far away to the people in the
The Roman Empire is Split into
Two Pieces
• Another big problem was that the provinces
were putting a great financial strain on Rome.
Taxes and trade goods from the provinces
were pouring into Rome, but supplies to
support the provinces were also pouring out.
Money was needed to build new roads, to
support the legionnaires, and to enable more
growth. Rome needed more growth because
they needed new regions to tax, to refill
Rome's treasury.
• When the old emperor died, the army
selected General Diocletian to be the new
emperor of Rome. One of the first things
Emperor Diocletian did was to put price
controls in place to help stop inflation. He
created a law that stated if you charged more
than the price limit, you could be killed. The
punishment for breaking any of his laws was
quite severe.
The Roman Empire is Split into
Two Pieces
• After some thought, Emperor Diocletian decided
the only thing to do with Rome was to split the
empire in half. That way, it would be easier to
manage. This created two Roman empires - the
Western Roman Empire and the Eastern
Roman Empire. Each side had a ruler in charge
of it. But the ruler who was in charge of Rome
was the senior ruler.
• The Western Roman Empire (Europe/North
Africa) included the city of Rome.
• The Eastern Roman Empire (Turkey/parts of
Asia) included the city of Byzantium.
• Rather than rule Rome, Diocletian chose to rule
the Eastern Roman Empire. He placed a good
friend in charge of Rome. Before he left town,
Emperor Diocletian moved a great deal of
Rome's money over to the Eastern Roman
Empire. He left Rome forever.
• Constantine: Constantine was the first
Christian Roman emperor.
• He lived in the Eastern Roman Empire, and
chose his capital to be the small town
Byzantium, which he renamed
• The western side of the empire, which
included the city of Rome, became less and
less important to the Eastern Roman Empire.
Byzantium was located in a perfect position
to trade with the east and the west. Rather
than send traded goods onto to Rome,
Constantine kept most of the goods in his
own half of the empire. As well, he pulled
monies from Rome to support and build
Rise of Christianity
• During the first century CE, a new religion took hold
in Rome. It was called Christianity. The followers of
Christianity were called Christians. Christians
believed in one god. They refused to worship the
Roman gods. In ancient Rome, that was against the
law. Christians were hunted as criminals.
• In spite of persecution, Christians grew in numbers
rapidly. Christians actively looked for converts. They
told others about the benefits of being Christian.
Christians came from every walk of life in ancient
Rome, but Christianity had great appeal to Rome's
– Life After Death: Christianity promised life after
death in heaven. In the Roman religion, only gods
went to heaven. Emperors were considered gods.
Everyone else went to the underworld.
– Equality: Christianity promised equal opportunity.
You had to be born into the nobility. You could join
Christianity and be equally a Christian.
Rise of Christianity
• After nearly 300 years of persecution, in
313 CE, Emperor Constantine ruled that
Christianity was legal and that Christians
would no longer be persecuted for their
beliefs. This does not mean that Rome
finally had religious freedom. It meant only
that it now legal to worship Roman gods or
to be Christian. Every other religion was
still illegal. The lack of religious freedom in
ancient Rome contributed to the fall of the
Roman Empire.
Valens & The Barbarians
Valens tried to be a good emperor, but he inherited a
great many problems. By the time he took over,
Rome was just about broke. Some of Rome's wealth
had been spent in warfare. Some had been spent on
the development of Constantinople, the capital of the
Eastern Roman Empire. And much had been wasted
by the outlandish behavior of some of Rome's less
able rulers.
Without money to use for repairs, the famous Roman
roads started to fall into disrepair. Without good
roads, fresh supplies of men and goods did not
always reach the far ends of the empire. Nor were
needed goods getting back to Rome. Barbarian tribes
had always raided the Roman Empire. These days,
barbarian raids on the provinces were becoming
more successful.
In ancient Rome, a barbarian was the name given to
any people who lived outside the borders of the
Roman Empire. You were also called a barbarian if
you did not speak Latin.
Valens & The Barbarians
There were five main barbarian tribes in
Europe. Each wanted to conquer the
famous Roman Empire. These tribes were
the Huns, Franks, Vandals, Saxons, and
Visigoths. They were all attacking various
pieces of the Western Roman Empire at the
same time. Forts and strongholds along the
road were destroyed. There were few cities
in the outlying regions of the empire, but
those that existed were attacked.
Rather than try to defend against all the
barbarian tribes who had turned their eyes
on Rome, Emperor Valens tried to turn one
barbarian tribe against another. Since the
barbarian tribes rarely got along anyway, it
was a smart thing to do. Valens went one
step further. He believed that if he could get
some of the barbarians working for him, he
might be able to restore order.
Valens & The Barbarians
• Valens allowed a fierce and
battle-strong barbarian tribe, the
Visigoths (Goths), to settle in the
Danube region of the Western
Roman Empire. He promised
these settlers that Rome would
help with food and shelter,
provided they helped by keeping
order in their section of the
• When Valens did not keep his
promises, the Visigoths rebelled.
It was the beginning of the end of
the Western Roman Empire. The
Western Roman Empire finally
fell in the year 476 CE.
Valens & The Barbarians
• When people say "Rome fell",
they mean the Western Roman
Empire. The Western Roman
Empire, pictured to the right in
dark gold, included the city of
ancient Rome. The Western
Roman Empire fell into the Dark
Ages in 476 CE.
• The Eastern Roman Empire,
pictured in green below, with its
capital Constantinople, continued
for another thousand years.
Review of the Fall of Rome
• Rome had quite a run. First a
monarchy, then a republic, then an
empire – all roads led to Rome for
over 1200 years.
• In the Mediterranean, Rome was in
• During the Imperial period, Rome had
some wonderful emperors. Rome
also suffered from a series of bad,
corrupt and just plain crazy emperors.
• There were lots of reasons why
Rome fell.
Review of the Fall of Rome
Problems towards the end of the Empire included
• The empire was too large to govern effectively.
• The army was not what it used to be. There was corruption
in the military - dishonest generals and non-Roman soldiers.
• Civil wars broke out between different political groups.
• Emperors were often selected by violence, or by birth, so the
head of government was not always a capable leader.
• The increased use of slaves put many Romans out of work
• The rich became lazy and showed little interest in trying to
solve Rome problems.
• The poor were overtaxed and overworked. They were very
• Prices increased, trade decreased.
• The population was shrinking due to starvation and disease.
That made it difficult to manage farms and government
• The Empire starting shrinking. The Huns, Visigoths, Franks,
Vandals, Saxons and other barbarian tribes overran the
Review of the Fall of Rome
• The ancient Romans tried to solve some of their
problems by splitting the Roman Empire in half, hoping
that would make the empire easier to manage. Each side
had an emperor, but the emperor in charge was the
emperor of the western half, the half that included the city
of Rome.
• The Western Roman Empire did not do well. Instead of
getting stronger, they became weaker. By 400 AD, it was
pretty much over. The Huns, Franks, Vandals, Saxons,
Visigoths – any of these barbarian tribes might have been
the group that finally brought Rome down. They were all
attacking various pieces of the Western Roman Empire.
In 476 AD, the Visigoths sacked Rome. Europe entered
the Dark Ages.
• The eastern half of the Roman Empire received a new
name – the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire did
fine. It lasted for another 1000 years!

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