Chapter 8 The Rise of Ancient Rome Chapter Preview

Download 129.01 Kb.
Size129.01 Kb.
Chapter 8

The Rise of Ancient Rome

Chapter Preview

This chapter will examine the rise of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire.

Section I

The Roman Republic

Section 2

The Roman Empire

Target Reading Skill

Word Analysis In this section you will learn how to recognize and pronounce unfamiliar words by recognizing word origins and by breaking down words into prefixes, suffixes, and roots.

The ruins of Ephesus (Er ih sus), a Roman city in Asia Minor


Location Over a period of about 500 years Rome grew from a village fighting to protect its borders to a great city in control of the world around it. Identify How are the positions of Rome and Athens similar? How does the size of Italy compare to the other areas identified on the map? Draw Conclusions Athens dominated the world for a short time, but Roman rule lasted for centuries. What means of travel and transport did the Romans need in order to keep control of their empire?


Section 1

The Roman Republic

Prepare to Read


In this section you will

1. Learn about the geography and early settlement of ancient Rome.

2. Understand how Romans formed a republic.

3. Identify the reasons that the Roman Republic went into decline.

Taking Notes

As you read the section, look for details about the rise and collapse of the Roman Republic. Copy the chart below, and use it to record your findings.

Target Reading Skill

Use Word Parts In this section you will read the word reorganized. Break it into a prefix and root to try to learn its meaning. The prefix re- means "again." The root "organized" means "to put in order."

Key Terms

republic (rih PUB lik) n. a type of government in which citizens select their leaders

patrician (puh TRISH un) n. a member of a wealthy family in the ancient Roman Republic

plebeian (plih BEE un) n. an ordinary citizen in the ancient Roman Republic

consul (KAHN sul) n. an elected official who led the Roman Republic

veto (VEE toh) n. the power of one branch of government to reject bills or proposals passed by another branch of government

dictator (DIK tay tur) n. a person in the ancient Roman Republic appointed to rule for six months in times of emergency, with all the powers of a king

The Tiber River in Rome

In ancient times, young Romans learned about the founding of their state. But it was a story that mixed a little fact with a great deal of legend. The main characters in the story were twin brothers, Romulus (RAHM yuh lus) and Remus (REE mus). They were the children of a princess and Mars, the Roman god of war. A jealous king feared that the twins would someday seize power from him. He ordered them to be drowned. But the gods protected the infants. A female wolf rescued them. Then a shepherd found the twins and raised them as his own. The twins grew up, killed the unjust king, and went off to build their own city. At a place where seven hills rise above the Tiber River, the twins founded the city of Rome.


Rome's Geography and Early Settlement

We can learn much from the story of Rome's founding—even if the tale is mostly legend. We learn that the Romans valued loyalty and justice. People who broke the law were severely punished, just as Romulus and Remus punished the king. We also learn that the Romans highly valued the favor of the gods.

Geographical Advantages The first settlers on Rome's seven hills were not thinking about building a great empire. They chose that site because it seemed to be a good place to live. The hills made the area easy to defend. The soil was fertile, and the site had a river. From the mountains of central Italy, the Tiber River flowed through Rome before emptying into the Tyrrhenian (tih REE nee un) Sea. As centuries passed, Romans discovered that the location of their city gave them other advantages. Rome was at the center of a long, narrow peninsula we now call Italy. Italy juts out into the Mediterranean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea was at the center of the known Western world.

The Dolomite Mountains are part of the Italian Alps. This mountain range stood as a great divide between Italy and the rest of Europe.


Links to Science

Etruscan Dentistry The Etruscans were among the first people to use human- made substitutes for lost teeth. Evidence of ancient Etruscan dentistry has been found by archaeologists and can be seen today in museums. One notable example comes from the 600s B.C.: The Etruscan dentist placed soldered gold bands over the patient's remaining teeth, and in the empty bands the lost teeth were replaced by human teeth and, in one spot, the tooth of an ox!

The Etruscans We know very little about the people who actually founded Rome. We do know, however, that their first settlements date from about 900 B.C. Rome grew slowly as the Romans fought their neighbors for land.

About 600 B.C., a mysterious people, the Etruscans (ih TAUS kunz), took power in Rome. They spoke a language unlike any other in Italy. Although we have many examples of their writing, we can read very little of it.

Where did the Etruscans come from? Even today, no one is sure. For a time, Etruscans ruled as kings of Rome, but many Romans did not like being ruled by an all-powerful king and having no say in how they were governed. Some ancient Roman historians claimed that in 509 B.C. the Romans revolted against the harsh reign of Tarquinius Superbus (tahr KWIN ee us soo PUR bus) and drove the Etruscans from power. Many modern historians doubt the truth of this story and are not sure exactly how and when the rule of the Etruscan kings ended and the Roman Republic began.

Although the Romans defeated the Etruscans, the victors adopted Etruscan ideas. For example, many of the Roman gods were originally Etruscan gods. The Romans also borrowed the Greek alphabet that the Etruscans used. The Roman garment called the toga came from the Etruscans as well.

Reading Check What is known about the Etruscans?

Etruscan Art

This Etruscan sarcophagus dates from about 510 B.C. Like many ancient peoples, the Etruscans used sarcophagi as coffins. This one was made for a married couple.

Analyze Images How can you tell that this sarcophagus was found in pieces and then reassembled?


MAPMASTER Skills Activity

Peoples of Ancient Italy

Movement In its origins Rome was only one of many cities and villages inhabited by a tribe called the Latins. Older and better established cultures had a foothold on the Italian peninsula.

Identify Use the key to locate the three civilizations that were established nearby as Rome began to expand.

Infer Which of the three does it seem Rome would have had to overcome first? Why? What does the location of Greek and Carthaginian possessions suggest about their value to Greece and Carthage proper?

Go Online Use Web Code mup-0812 for step-by-step map skills practice.

Romans Form a Republic

After removing the last Etruscan king, the Romans vowed never again to put so much trust in kings. They wanted a government that did not rely on one ruler. Over the next several centuries, Rome expanded its territory and found ways to govern that better represented the will of its citizens.

By 264 B.C., the Romans had gained control of the entire Italian peninsula (the area that makes up present-day Italy) and had firmly established a new form of government—a republic. In a republic, citizens have the right to vote select their leaders. The leaders rule in the name of the people.

The Roman Senate In the Roman Republic, the most powerful part of the government was the senate. The senate mirrors our own legislative branch of government—the branch that pro poses and votes on new laws. At first, the senate was made up only of 300 upper-class men called patricians. A patrician was a member of a wealthy family in the ancient Roman Republic. Ordinary citizens were known as plebeians. In the early republic, plebeians could not hold office or be senators.

Daily life activities were often the subjects of Roman art.


The Roman Consuls Two chief officials called consuls led the government. The consuls, like our U.S. President, were the chief executives of the government. They were responsible for enforcing the Republic's laws and policies. The consuls were elected by the assembly of citizens. Before 367 B.C., plebeians could not be consuls. The senate advised the consuls on foreign affairs, laws, and finances, among other things.

Consuls ruled for one year only. They almost always did what the senate wanted them to do. Power was divided equally between the consuls. Both had to agree before the government could take any action. If only one consul said, "Veto" ("I forbid"), the matter was dropped. A veto is the rejection of any planned action by a person in power. Today, we use "veto" to mean the rejection of a proposed law by the President of the United States.

Other Important Officials The Romans knew that their government might not work if the two consuls disagreed. For this reason, Roman law held that a dictator could be appointed to handle an emergency. In the Roman Republic, a dictator was a Roman official who had all the powers of a king but could only hold office for six months.

Praetors (PREE turz) were other important officials. At first they functioned as junior consuls, but later, they served as judges in civil-law trials—trials that settled disputes about money, business matters, contracts, and so on. Thus, the praetors helped to develop some of the first rules for Roman courts of law.

Timeline Skills

The Roman Republic lasted for almost 500 years. Identify By what year did Rome control the Italian peninsula? Analyze About how long did the republic's main period of conquests around the Mediterranean Sea last? What event occurred near the end of that period?

The Roman Republic

265-146 B.C. Roman conquests around the Mediterranean Sea

120-44 B.C. Breakdown of the Roman Republic

509 B.C. Roman Republic is founded.

450 B.C. Laws of the Twelve Tables are adopted.

367 B.C. Plebeians are allowed to be consuls.

264 B.C. Rome controls all of the Italian peninsula.

44 B.C. Caesar rules Rome and is assassinated.

146 B.C. Carthage is destroyed.

27 B.C. Octavian becomes the first Roman emperor.


Patricians Versus Plebeians The expansion of Rome's influence throughout Italy caused growing troubles between patricians and plebeians. Patricians and plebeians had different attitudes and interests. Patricians thought of themselves as leaders. They fought hard to keep control of the government. Plebeians believed that they had a right to be respected and treated fairly. Plebeians did not trust the actions of the patrician senate. They believed that the senate was often unfair to the plebeians. Therefore, plebeians formed their own groups to protect their interests.

Many patricians grew wealthy because of Rome's conquests. They took riches from those they had defeated in war. Then they bought land from small farmers and created huge farms for themselves. Plebeians did not work on these farms. Rather, the work was done by slaves brought back from conquests. Many plebeian farmers found themselves without work. The cities, especially Rome, were filled with jobless plebeians.

Eventually, angry plebeians refused to fight in the Roman army. It was then that the patricians gave in to one of the main demands of the plebeians. This demand was for a written code of laws which was called the Laws of the Twelve Tables. The Twelve Tables applied equally to all citizens. They were hung in marketplaces so that everyone could know what the laws were. Despite this victory, the plebeians never managed to gain power equal to that of the patricians.

Master of the Mediterranean While patricians and plebeians fought for power in Rome, Roman armies were conquering new territories. Roman armies invaded territories controlled by Carthage, a North African city in what is now the country of Tunisia. The Romans drove Carthage from Spain and seized control there in 20 B.C. By 146 B.C., after a long series of bloody wars, the Romans had completely destroyed Carthage and its empire. Other Roman armies finished the job of conquering Macedonia in that same year. Then the Romans turned their attention to the land of Gaul, most of which is present-day France.

Reading Check What complaints did the plebeians have against the patricians?

The Sack of Carthage

The artist Tiepolo portrays the final destruction of Carthage by the Roman Empire in his painting. At the final surrender, the city that once had a population of more than a quarter million people was left with only 50,000 survivors. Analyze Images What other titles might be appropriate for Tiepolo's depiction of the war with Carthage?


Julius Caesar was a powerful dictator of the Roman Empire. Later Roman leaders adopted his name as a title. In time, Caesar came to mean "emperor."

Prefixes and Roots

What is the meaning of reorganize?

The Decline of the Republic

Even though it ruled a large area, Rome was in trouble by 120 B.C. Some leaders tried to break up estates and give land to the plebeians. The patricians fought back, and plebeian leaders were murdered.

Over the next seventy-five years, a number of the most successful Roman generals gathered private armies around them and fought for power. Consuls no longer respected each other's veto power. Rome dissolved into civil war, with private armies roaming the streets and murdering enemies. As Rome seemed about to break up, Julius Caesar (JOOL yus SEE zur) arose as a strong leader.

The Rise of Julius Caesar Caesar was a smart leader, eager for power. From 58 to 51 B.C., he led the army that conquered Gaul. He killed, enslaved, and uprooted millions of Gauls. He captured huge amounts of gold. His strong leadership won him the loyalty of his troops. They would follow him anywhere—even back to Rome to seize power. In 49 B.C., Caesar returned to Italy. War broke out between Caesar and the senate. Caesar won the war and became dictator of the Roman world in 48 B.C. Recall that under Roman law, a dictator could rule for only six months. Caesar's rule, however, lasted far longer than that. Although some elements of the republic remained, Caesar ruled with great power, taking much of the power that had once belonged to the senate.

The Death of a Dictator For four years, Caesar took over important public offices. In 45 B.C., he became the only consul. In 44 B.C., he became dictator for life. Caesar took many useful steps to reorganize the government. But it seemed to many senators that Rome once again had a king. They hated this idea.

On March 15, 44 B.C., Caesar had plans to attend a meeting of the senate. His wife sensed danger and urged him not to go, but Caesar insisted. At the meeting, a group of senators gathered around Caesar. Suddenly, they pulled out knives and stabbed him. He fell to the ground, dead. Caesar had been a strong leader. However, many Romans felt that he had gone too far and too fast in gathering power.


From Republic to Empire Civil war followed Caesar's death. When the war ended after thirteen years, Caesar's adopted son, Octavian (ahk TAY vee un), held power. In 27 B.C., the senate awarded Octavian the title of Augustus (aw GUS tus), which means "highly respected." He was the first emperor of Rome. The rule of Augustus marked the beginning of the Roman Empire and the end of the Roman Republic.

The Roman Republic had lasted nearly 500 years. The government worked well for much of that time. As a republic, Rome grew from a city-state to a holder of vast territories. It developed the largest elected government the world had seen up to that time. But civil war and the ambition of powerful political figures ate away at Rome's republican forms of rule. For the next 500 years, the great Roman civilization would be ruled, not by the people, but by an all-powerful emperor.

In the next section, you will read about how the Roman emperors ruled their vast empires and about some of the innovations in technology and law that developed during the Roman Empire.

Reading Check What did Julius Caesar do to become dictator of Rome?

In addition to receiving the title Augustus, Octavian was later honored as Pater Patriae, or father of his country.

Section 1 Assessment

Key Terms

Review the key terms listed at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains the term's meaning.

Target Reading Skill

Apply your knowledge of the pre fix re-. What does re-create mean?

Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Recall Describe the geography and early settlement of Rome.

(b) Explain Why did the Romans overthrow the Etruscans?


(a) List What were the important features of the Roman Republic?

(b) Analyze Why did the Romans want the republic to have two consuls rather than one?


(a) Identify Describe the features of the rule of Julius Caesar.

(b) Draw Conclusions Why would the Roman senate be likely to lead the opposition to Caesar's growing power?

Writing Activity

Julius Caesar was a strong leader, but his leadership angered the Roman senate. Write a list of pros and cons about Julius Caesar's leadership.


Focus On The Roman Senate

The Roman Senate was the most powerful governing body in the Roman Republic. It began as a group of advisors to the king. When the king was exiled in 510 B.C., the Senate took control of the government. At that time, it was decided that there would be two consuls who would rule with advice from the Senate. Consuls had power for one year and then became senators. Senators usually served for life. The Senate advised on home and foreign policy, laws, and questions of money and religion. It dealt with foreign powers and settled disputes among the Roman provinces.

A Senate Debate During most of the Roman Republic, the Senate had 300 members. Not all senators had to be present in order for a debate to take place. Only a quorum—a percentage of the whole group—had to be in attendance.

A senator had to be a good orator, or highly skilled at public speaking. Orators were known for their precise choice of words, their expert use of description, and their powers of persuasion. Famous orators like Cicero (106-43 B.C.) were sometimes able to sway the opinion of the entire city of Rome with their arguments.

In the illustration, Cicero is addressing the Senate. He and his fellow senators wore togas, which were the most dignified type of Roman dress. Senators' togas had a broad purple stripe. Like other Roman men, senators would have been cleanshaven and would have worn their hair short.



In the scene below, Cicero is shown making a speech shortly after becoming consul. His forceful speaking skills helped him win office.

A Senator's Toga

Roman senators wore togas edged with a broad purple stripe, as shown in the present-day photo.


Explain What was the role of the Roman Senate?

Infer The United States also has a Senate. Why might the Founding Fathers have chosen this name for the American governing body?


Skills for Life

Synthesizing Information

During his trip to Rome with his family, William was most impressed by the ancient ruins in the center of the city. It was here that government business of the Roman Republic had been conducted. The tour guide pointed out that many of America's present-day methods of government are borrowed from the ancient Roman Republic: an elected chief executive, a senate, and a court system based on laws designed to protect all citizens.

William told his parents, "When we return from vacation, I would like to make a report to my class on the government of the Roman Republic. What should my first step be?"

William's mother replied, "You will have to synthesize all the information you learned while in Rome."

William gulped, "Synthesize information? How do I do that?"

When you are asked to synthesize information, you should find the main ideas and weave them into a conclusion. Synthesizing information is a skill that can help you in all of your subjects in school.

Learn the Skill

When you synthesize information, you summarize. Use the following steps to synthesize:

1. Identify the main idea of each piece of information. Main ideas are broad, major ideas that are supported by details.

2. Identify details that support your main ideas. You may want to make notes or create a chart. The details will give information about your main ideas.

3. Look for connections between pieces of information. These connections may be similarities, differences, causes, effects, or examples.

4. Draw conclusions based on the connections you found. Do not think about details at this point, but of the main ideas and the general, overall statements you can make to tie these together.


Practice the Skill

Use the steps above to synthesize information about the government of the Roman Republic. Rely mainly on Section 1 of this chapter, especially the material under the heading Romans Form a Republic.

1. Study the information about the government of the Roman Republic, and add one or two main ideas in the first column of the chart. Two are already supplied.

2. Now write details that support each main idea. Do this for other main ideas that you have identified.

3. Do the main ideas show contrasts or similarities among the branches of the government of the Roman Republic? Jot down any connections.

4. Your main ideas should help you write a one- or two- sentence conclusion that answers questions such as "What kind of government did ancient Rome have before the first emperor took over?"

Apply the Skill

Use the steps on this page to synthesize information about the government of the Roman Empire in a brief, well-organized paragraph. Refer to the main text of Section 2 of this chapter, but you may also use maps, photographs, captions, and other sources. Do not summarize everything you read about the Roman Empire. Concentrate on the form of government.


Section 2

The Roman Empire

Prepare to Read


In this section you will

1. Learn how Rome ruled an empire.

2. Understand the Greek influence on Rome.

3. Identify key aspects of Roman architecture and technology.

4. Learn about key aspects of Roman law.

Taking Notes

As you read, find main ideas and details about the Roman Empire. Copy the outline below, and use it to record your findings. Expand the outline as needed.

I. Governing the empire

A. Boundaries and territory



B. Augustus

Target Reading Skill

Recognize Word Origins You can decode an unfamiliar word by knowing the word's origin. For instance, you might not know the key term aqueduct, but you can uncover the meaning if you know that it comes from the Latin words aqua (water) + ductus (act of leading).

Key Terms

province (PRAH vins) n. a unit of an empire

Colosseum (kahl uh SEE um) a large amphitheater built in Rome around A.D. 70; site of contests and combats

aqueduct (AK wuh dukt) n. a structure that carries water over long distances

polytheism (PAHL ih thee iz urn) n. a belief in more than one god

arch (ahrch) n. a curved structure used as a support over an open space, as in a doorway

Located on the grounds of the Colosseum, the arches were built in honor of Constantine's victory over Maxentius. The arches are inscribed with the saying, "Constantine overcame his enemies by divine inspiration."

In his epic poem the Aeneid (ee NEE id), Virgil challenges Romans to play to their strengths. The following passage expresses his beliefs and hopes for Rome:

"There will be others to beat the breathing bronze with greater skill and grace. So others too will draw out living faces from the marble. Argue legal cases better, better trace the motions of the sky, And so pronounce the cycles of the stars. For you, 0 Roman, it is due to rule the peoples of your Empire. These are your arts: to impose peace and morality, To spare the subject [powerless] and subdue [control] the proud."

from the Aeneid

Virgil says that other cultures may produce beautiful art or fine philosophers and astronomers. But Romans are most fit to govern, he says, and will do so wisely and fairly. Virgil was not alone in his hopes for just rule under Augustus, the first Roman emperor.


Ruling an Empire

When Augustus came to power, Roman control had already spread far beyond Italy. Under Augustus and the emperors who followed him, Rome gained even more territory. Look at the map titled The Roman Empire at the beginning of this chapter. The Roman Empire stretched from Britain to Egypt. Rome controlled all the lands around the Mediterranean. With pride, Romans called the Mediterranean mare nostrum (MAH ray NAWS trum), or our sea.

The Power of Augustus Augustus was an intelligent ruler. When he was struggling for power, he often ignored the senate and its laws. But after he won control, he changed his manner. He showed great respect for the sen ate and was careful to avoid acting like a king. He did not want to suffer the same fate as Julius Caesar. Augustus often said that he wanted to share power with the senate. He even said that he wanted to restore the republic.

What really happened was quite different. Romans were so grateful for Rome's peace and prosperity that they gave Augustus as much power as he wanted.

Governing Conquered Peoples The Romans took some slaves after a conquest, but most of the conquered people remained free. To govern, the Romans divided their empire into provinces. Each province, or area of the empire, had a Roman governor supported by an army. Often, the Romans built a city in a new province to serve as its capital.

Wisely, the Romans did not usually force their way of life on conquered peoples. They allowed these people to follow their own religions. Local rulers ran the daily affairs of government. As long as there was peace, Roman governors did not interfere in conquered peoples' lives. Rather, they kept watch over them. Rome wanted peaceful provinces that would supply the empire with the raw materials it needed. Rome also wanted the conquered people to buy Roman goods and to pay taxes. Many of the conquered people adopted Roman ways. Many learned to speak Latin, the language of the Romans, and worshiped Roman gods.

Augustus, First Emperor of Rome

With the rule of Augustus, a period of stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana, or "Roman peace," began. Generalize Use what you have read in the text to describe the kind of ruler Augustus was.


Marcus Aurelius was the last of the five "good emperors." In this stone sculpture, he pardons the barbarians whose attacks weakened the Roman Empire.

The Five "Good Emperors" Augustus died in A.D. 14. For eighty-two years after his death, Roman history was a story of good, bad, and terrible emperors. Two of the worst were Caligula (kuh LIG yuh luh) and Nero. Both may have been insane. Caligula pro claimed himself a god and was a cruel, unfair ruler. Nero murdered his half-brother, his mother, and his wife. In fact, Caligula and Nero were so despised that Romans later tried to forget them by removing mention of their reigns from official records.

In A.D. 96, Rome entered what is called the age of the five "good emperors." Only the last of these emperors had a son. Each of the others adopted the best young man he could find to be the next emperor.

Perhaps the greatest of the five "good emperors" was Hadrian (HAY dree un). He worked hard to build a good government. His laws protected women, children, and slaves. He issued a code of laws so that all laws were the same through out the empire. Hadrian reorganized the army so that soldiers were allowed to defend their home provinces. This gave them a greater sense of responsibility. Hadrian traveled throughout his empire, commissioning many buildings and other structures. He even traveled to the British Isles, where he commissioned a great wall to be built, parts of which still stand today. Hadrian also encouraged learning.

The last of the "good emperors," Marcus Aurelius (MAHR kus aw REE lee uhs), chose his son Commodus (KAHN uh dus) to follow him. Commodus was a terrible leader who ruled with great brutality. His reign ended the age of peace and prosperity that Rome had enjoyed under its five previous emperors.

The Empire in Decline During the reign of Commodus, things started going badly for the Roman Empire. In Chapter 9, you will learn how bad government, economic problems, and foreign invaders all helped contribute to the fall of the Roman Empire.

Reading Check Why was Hadrian considered one of the five "good emperors"?


The Greek Influence on Rome

The Romans had long admired Greek achievements. People said that Hadrian spoke Greek better than he spoke Latin. Marcus Aurelius wrote a famous book of philosophy in Greek. Many Romans visited Greece to study Greek art, architecture, and ideas about government.

Religion Greek religion influenced Roman religion. Like the Greeks, Romans practiced polytheism—the belief in more than one god—and offered prayers and sacrifices to their gods. Many Roman gods and goddesses had Greek counterparts. For exam ple, the Roman god of the sky, Jupiter, shared characteristics with the Greek god Zeus. The Roman goddess of arts and trades, Minerva, is similar to the Greeks' Athena. The Romans also adopted heroes from Greek mythology, such as Heracles known as Hercules to the Romans. As their empire spread, Romans appealed to and adopted other foreign gods as well.

Building on Ideas Both the Greeks and the Romans valued learning, but in different ways. The Greeks were interested in ideas. They sought to learn truths about the world through reason. They developed studies such as mathematics, philosophy, and astronomy, or the study of the stars and planets. The Romans benefited from the study of these subjects, but they were more interested in using these studies to build and organize their world. Under the Romans, architecture and engineering blossomed. With these skills, the Romans built their empire.

Reading Check In what ways did the Greeks and Romans value learning?

Word Origins

The word polytheism comes from the Greek words poly and theos. If theos means "god," what does poly mean?

Zeus, the god of sky and weather, was the most important Greek god. He was a protector of peace and political order and hurled thunderbolts at those who angered him. He is shown here with Ganymede, his cup-bearer. His Roman counterpart, Jupiter, is shown above.


Links to Science

The Roman Arch Roman architects made great use of the curved structure called the arch. Arches span openings in buildings. An arch can hold great weight above it. The Romans probably learned about arches from the Etruscans. Beginning in the 300s B.C., Romans used arches for aqueducts (water channels), bridges, and monuments.

Architecture and Technology

Early Roman art and architecture copied the Etruscan style. Then, the Romans studied and copied Greek sculpture and architecture. Later, they developed their own art and architecture styles.

The Roman Style Roman statues and buildings were heavier and stronger in style than those of the Greeks. The Romans made advances in the use of the arch—a curved structure used as a support over an open space, as in a doorway. Romans used arches to build larger structures. They used wide arched ceilings to create large open spaces inside buildings.

In earlier times, most large buildings had been built of bricks and then covered with thin slabs of marble. However, Romans developed an important new building material—concrete. Concrete was a mix of stone, sand, cement, and water that dried as hard as rock. Concrete helped the Romans construct buildings that were taller than any previously built.

The Colosseum Possibly the greatest Roman building was the Colosseum, the site of contests and combats between people, and between people and animals. This giant arena held 50,000 spectators. Its walls were so well built that the floor of the arena could be flooded for mock naval battles in real boats. Stairways and ramps ran through the building. There were even elevators to carry wild animals from dens below up to the arena.

Roads and Aqueducts Roman engineers built roads from Rome to every part of the empire. Do you know the saying "All roads lead to Rome"? In Roman times all of the major roads did lead to Rome, so no matter what road travelers started out on, they could get to Rome. These roads allowed the Roman military to maintain firm control by traveling quickly to all parts of the empire. The map in the Regional Overview titled Ancient Roads of the Roman Empire shows this network of roads.

Romans were famous for their aqueducts, structures that carried water over long distances. The aqueducts were huge lines of arches, often many miles long. A channel along the top carried water from the countryside to the cities. Roman aqueducts tunneled through mountains and spanned valleys. Some are still being used today. To learn more, see the Eyewitness Technology feature titled The Roman Aqueduct.

Reading Check What are some characteristics of Roman buildings?



The Roman Aqueduct

The Romans built aqueducts to bring fresh water to the city. Sources of water had to be at elevations higher than the city, as pumping was not a practical way of moving water. Engineers tunneled through mountains and bridged valleys to create a gradual, even slope. Follow the numbers to see how the water flowed from the mountains to the city.

Roman Arches

Water traveled through hollow passages in the stonework, which was supported by arches.

1. Water from mountain springs flows into a collecting pool. Mud and gravel settle out.

2. Water pressure carries water across the valley and up the other side, to a pool at a lower elevation.

3. To maintain a gentle slope, arches carry the water high above the ground.

4. The water runs underground in tunnels and trenches.

5. Aqueducts bound for different parts of the city cross at this tower.

6. The water runs into a settling pool. From there, smaller channels carry it to public baths and fountains.

Keeping the Water Fresh

Around four out of every five miles of aqueduct ran underground. Underground tunnels kept the water fresh, by keeping out dirt and animals. The Roman government did not allow anyone to damage an aqueduct, pollute the water, or use it for private consumption.


Why were the arches built high above the land?


Knowledge of the laws and legal procedures of Rome was helpful in pursuing a government career. Many Roman officials, such as the Senators depicted in this sculpture, argued cases in court and served as judges.

Roman Law

Like Roman roads, Roman law spread throughout the empire. The great Roman senator Cicero (sis uh roh) expressed Roman feeling about law when he said, "What sort of thing is the law? It is the kind that cannot be bent by influence, or broken by power, or spoiled by money."

A later ruler named Justinian (juh STIN ee un) created a code of justice from Roman law. That code includes these laws:

"No one suffers a penalty for what he thinks. No one may be forcibly removed from his own house. The burden of proof is upon the person who accuses. In inflicting penalties, the age and inexperience of the guilty party must be taken into account."

Code of Justinian

Roman law was passed on to other cultures, including our own. In fact, Roman ideas of justice are basic to our system of laws. For example, under Roman law, persons accused of crimes had the right to face their accusers. If reasonable doubt existed about a person's guilt, that person would be considered innocent.

Reading Check Recall two features of Justinian's code, and explain their meaning.

Section 2 Assessment

Key Terms

Review the key terms listed at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains the terms meaning.

Target Reading Skill

If the Latin word colosseus means "colossal" or "very large," what might you guess about the Colosseum?

Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Describe At its height, what area did the Roman Empire cover?

(b) Explain How did Rome handle the difficulties of governing its large empire?


(a) List What did the Romans learn from the Greeks?

(b) Explore the Main Idea How did the Roman's technological achievements help them strengthen their empire?


(a) Name What was the Justinian code of law?

(b) Draw Conclusions What did Cicero mean when he said that the law "cannot be bent by influence, or broken by power, or spoiled by money"?

Writing Activity

Write down a few ideas for guidelines that you would give to every new governor of a Roman province. For example, how should the governor treat the people of the province?


Chapter 8 Review and Assessment

Chapter Summary

Section 1: The Roman Republic

• Rome's geographic setting helped the city grow into an important civilization.

• Rome's early ruling people, the Etruscans, were overthrown by the Romans who established a Republic.

• Julius Caesar took over the weakened republic and became Rome's dictator.

• After Caesar's murder and a long civil war, Augustus emerged as the first emperor of Rome.

Section 2: The Roman Empire

• The expanding Roman Empire was a challenge for Augustus and other emperors who ruled it.

• The Greeks influenced Roman learning and religion.

• The Romans were masters at creating large public buildings and road networks.

• Roman law spread throughout the empire and continues to influence civilizations today.

Sarcophagus of the Spouses

The Arch of Constantine

Key Terms

Choose the correct word(s) for each of the definitions below.
1. an ordinary citizen in the ancient Roman Republic

A patrician

B dictator

C plebeian

D consul
2. an arena in ancient Rome

A villa

B Colosseum

C aqueduct

D province
3. an elected official who led the ancient Roman Republic

A consul

B dictator

C plebeian

D patrician
4. a unit of an empire

A emperor

B province

C plebeian

D citizen
5. a structure that carries water over a long distances

A arch

B dictator

C patrician

D aqueduct


Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Recall How were the Etruscans governed?

(b) Explain How was the Roman republican form of government different from Etruscan rule?


(a) Identify What power allowed the consul to reject any proposed government policy?

(b) Draw Inferences During the Republic, what problem in the two-consul setup was addressed by appointing a dictator?


(a) Contrast What were the main differences between the patricians and the plebeians?

(b) Identify Effects What measure was taken to address the complaints of the plebeians?


(a) Identify Causes What led to the decline of the Roman Republic?

(b) Identify Effects How did the decline of the Roman Republic affect the governing of Rome?


(a) Recall How did Augustus come to power?

(b) Compare and Contrast Why did the Roman Senate strike down Caesar, but hand more power to Augustus?


(a) Identify What was the Colosseum?

(b) Explain What does the saying "all roads lead to Rome" mean?


(a) Identify What contributions did Romans make to law? To technology?

(b) Generalize What was the importance of these contributions?

Skills Practice

Synthesizing Information In the Skills Activity in this chapter, you learned about the importance of synthesizing information. When synthesizing information, find the main ideas and use them to formulate a conclusion.

Reread the section on Architecture and Technology from Section 2 of this chapter. Create an outline in which you synthesize the most important information from this section.

Writing Activity: Government

Suppose that you are a speechwriter for a Roman senator around the time that Augustus becomes the first emperor of Rome. Write a speech addressed to the senate that argues either for or against giving Augustus more power.

MAPMASTER Skills Activity

Place Location For each place listed below, write the letter from the map that shows its location.

1. Rome

2. Mediterranean Sea

3. Gaul

4. Spain

5. Greece

6. Carthage


Standardized Test Prep

Test-Taking Tips

Some questions on standardized tests ask you to analyze a timeline. Study the timeline below. Then follow the tips to answer the sample question.

TIP When you read a timeline, line up each date with the significant event that occurred on that date. Place as many events as you know above the proper dates to help you eliminate wrong answers.

Choose the letter that best answers the question.

Where would "the first Roman emperor" go on the timeline?

A point A

B point B

C point C

D point D

TIP Carelessness costs points on multiple-choice tests. Think carefully about each date and event on the timeline.

Think It Through As you look over the timeline, ask yourself, When did the first emperor take office? It must have happened after all the trouble and turmoil surrounding the rule of the dictator Julius Caesar and his murder by a group of senators. If you know that, then you know that the first emperor took office after Caesar was murdered in 44 B.C. The only possible answer, then, is D.

Practice Questions

Use the tips above and other tips in this book to help you answer the following questions.

1. In the Roman Republic, what happened if the two consuls disagreed in an emergency?

A A dictator was appointed.

B A third consul was appointed.

C The senate made the final decision.

D All citizens voted.

2. The Romans were heavily influenced by

A the Greeks.

B the Chinese.

C the Persians.

D the plebeians.
3. Which of the following is a key feature of a republican government?

A rule by a king

B dictatorship

C polytheism

D elected officials
Use the timeline below to answer Question 4.

4. At which point on the timeline did the Romans overthrow the last Etruscan king?

A point A

B point B

C point C

D point D


Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page