Ancient ROME The Superior Civilization


Centralized Government

  • Roman Republic (509 BCE)
  • In a republic, citizens elect leaders to run their government
  • SPQR = Senatus Populusque Romanus or the senate and the people of Rome
  • Roman republic came to be because of the people's discontent with the tyrannical Etruscan monarchy
  • A combination of aristocracy, oligarchy, and democracy
  • Magistrates: The most powerful magistrates were the to consuls, or Chief Magistrates of state
  • Assemblies (Comitia): Four assemblies
  • The position censor was elected by the Comitia Centuriata, their major task was to draw up revised lists of citizens (the census)
  • Senate
  • Plebian Tribal Council and Tribunes
  • Republican Law and Legislation:
  • Rome was among the very few societies in the ancient world to develop laws that were codified (officially written down)
  • The Twelve Tables (450 BCE)
  • The Corpus Juris Civilis, with over a million words
  • Roman law identifies two major divisions: civil law and criminal law

Agricultural Intensification

  • Consul of the roman empire Cicero, considered farming the best of all Roman occupations
  • The land around the city was productive and as the empire expanded it was fed by fertile land in Tunis and Algeria and the Crimea
  • Major crops included grapes, olives, peaches, cherries, plums and walnuts
  • Romans grafted apple trees and spread apple cultivation throughout their empire
  • Grain was grown on vast North African estates nourished with irrigated water from small dammed reservoirs and worked by slaves
  • The Romans had four systems of farm management:
  • Direct work by owner and his family
  • Tenant farming or sharecropping in which the owner and a tenant divide up a farm's produce
  • Forced labour by slaves owned by aristocrats and supervised by slave managers
  • Other arrangements in which a farm was leased to a tenant

State Religion

  • Roman religion was polytheistic
  • As the empire expanded, Rome refrained from imposing their own religious beliefs upon those they conquered
  • Roman religion were animistic in nature, believing that spirits inhabited everything around them, people included
  • Temples honouring their gods would be built throughout the empire
  • Cult worship was accepted by Roman society

Class Structure

  • Patricians:
  • Senatorial aristocracy
  • Landowning arisotcracy
  • Plebeians:
  • People
  • Landless poor
  • Social Structure:
  • Emperor
  • Senator, Knights
  • Small farmers, crafts people, shopkeepers
  • Slaves and common citizens (plebeian)
  • The family:
  • Property passed from father to son
  • Men at age 16 were considered adults and could marry
  • Role of Women:
  • Had freedom and independence but still under rule of husbands
  • Liberties: could go to public events, state functions, could own property, work outside home, manage own businesses

Development of Science and Writing

  • Romans were the first to build good schools and research institutions
  • Many roman developments in science come from scientists working in parts of West Asia and Africa that the Romans had conquered
  • Invented blow glass, mold-made pottery, and oil lamps

Merchants and Trade

  • The roman republic underwent great expansion
  • Their leader Brennus is remembered at the Brenner Pass, one of the most important road and rail links between Italy and the rest of Europe
  • By the second century BCE, Sicily was supplying thousands of tonnes of grain to Rome
  • Southern Spain supplied Rome with cooking oil
  • Italy supplying wine, produce, leather, and woollen goods
  • Increase in roman military activity led to a massive increase in the trade in arms and armour.

Occupational Specialization

  • Specialized occupations in politics, administration, farming, crafts people, and shopkeepers
  • Political Occupations:
  • Senators - There are about 600 members who reported directly to the emperor
  • Magistrates
  • Equites also known as 'knights' and had control over administration and finance
  • Censor
  • Administrative occupations:
  • Procurator - An agent who could hold a variety of posts and jobs from finance to administration
  • Publicanus - A tax collector
  • Notarii - Clerks who kept the minutes of meetings


  • The roman military dominated the Western world for over a thousand years
  • The core of Rome’s military strength lay in the professionalism of their heavy infantry
  • What had started as a regional force of citizen soldier farmers evolved into a massive full time professional army, the world’s first
  • Roman military conquered the Mediterranean world from Mesopotamia to Scotland
  • founded traditionally at 753BC until the last western Roman emperor was deposed in 486AD
  • Populace and military seemed to have a relentless drive, never yielding to defeat, even after suffering catastrophic losses
  • The Roman’s constructed a formidable defensive wall and would be known throughout their history for their fortifications and engineering


  • Roman architecture continued the legacy left by the earlier architects of the Greek world
  • Adopted new construction techniques, used new materials, and combined existing techniques with creative design to produce a whole range of new architectural structures
  • The Romans did not invent lime mortar but they were the first to use it to produce concrete
  • Aqueducts & Bridges - Sometimes massive structures, with single, double, or triple tiers of arches, were designed to carry fresh water to urban centers from sources sometimes many kilometers away.
  • Basilicas - The basilica was adopted by the Christian church but was conceived by the Romans as a place for any large gathering, with the most common use being law courts, roof was supported by columns and piers on all sides.
  • Baths - Roman baths display arches, domes, vaults, and buttresses. The largest of these complexes were built along a single axis and included pools, cold and hot rooms, fountains, libraries, under-floor heating, and sometimes inter-wall heating through terracotta piping
  • Apartments (4-5 storeys)-insulae
Pont Du Gard
Severan Basilica
Baths of Caracalla

Significant Figures

  • Virgil - He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid
  • Hadrian - Roman emperor known for building Hadrian's Wall. He also rebuilt the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma.
  • Augustus - Considered the first emperor of rome
  • Constantine- Was an emperor who He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself
  • Marius - Roman general and statesman and he held the office of consul seven times during his career. Something that is unprecedented in the Roman Empire


  • 3 times the size of Ancient Greece
  • Tiber and Po Rivers are very ideal to travel for trade/communication
  • East of the mountain range is the Adriatic sea used for transportation of goods, food source, and recreation
  • A thin layer of volcanic ash made the soil along the Po and Tiber rivers which makes it best suited for agricultural use


  • Constructed numerous aqueducts in order to bring water from often distant sources into cities and towns
  • Supplying public baths, latrines, fountains and private households, mining operations, milling, farms and gardens
  • Aqueducts moved water through gravity alone, along a slight downward gradient within conduits of stone, brick or concrete
  • Most aqueduct systems included sedimentation tanks, which helped reduce any water-borne debris


Created with images by webroi - "rome italy landmark" • guy_dugas - "pont du gard aqueduct roman" • Travcoa Travel - "Leptis Magna 6" • pmorgan67 - "Baths of Caracalla"

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