The Roman people traded by sea, since they owned the Mediterranean, and by their network of paved roads that extended well beyond the empire.
Trading neighbors included Greece, Egypt, Britain, India, Europe, Russia, and China.
They exported wine, olive oil, pottery to Europe, the Greek islands, Britain, and India. They also exported silver bowls and bronze ware to Russia and Northern Europe. They imported wheat from Egypt, and and silk from China.
Rome and Carthage were rivaling lands that had 3 wars to try to destroy each others power and take the others land. These wars were called the Punic Wars.
The first Punic War took place in Sicily because of the treaty that Carthage was accused of breaking. The treaty had stated that Carthage and Rome would stay off of each others land. The Romans declared war but they did not realize what a grand navy Carthage had. Rome then created an army to match Carthage’s and won the first Punic War.
The second Punic War was started by the General Hannibal because of his hatred towards Rome and his desire for revenge. He attacked a Roman ally and therefore Rome declared war. Hannibal could not be defeated for many years. They finally found a leader that was equal to Hannibal. His name was Scipio. They made him to commander and then he drove them from Spain and he defeated Hannibal. Carthage then had to sign a treaty saying not to ever attack them. They also had to pay them a fine.
Rome had attacked Carthage once more because they knew Carthage could not fight back. Finally Carthage had had enough and fought, Rome then burned down Carthage.
Roman religious ceremonies were always accompanied by Priests. The Romans sacrificed animals to please their gods.
Jews did not sacrifice animals at their religious ceremonies. They only prayed.
Christians don’t believe in sacrificing at their religious ceremonies either. They only drink wine and eat bread. They also give the “kiss of love”. That is a kiss that one man gives another man to represent friendship.
The first rulers of the Republic were Kings called the Etruscans. The Etruscans made changes to Rome such as the Greek alphabet, the military, stone arches, and they drained all of the marshy areas. Although Rome never abandoned their Latin language .
The Romans eventually got tired of the Etruscan rule so they overthrew the King and established a Republic.
In the Republic, citizens have the right to vote for their own leaders, and the Senate holds most of the power.
Later, the Twelve Tables (Rome’s legal system) was another major reform. The laws were first carved onto Twelve Tables and held in the city for everyone to see.
THE FALL OF THE REBULIC AND THE RISE OF THE EMPIRE
Julius Caesar was a popular and daring Patrician that ran for office. He decided the best way to win Rome's’ support was to have Military victories. He began fighting for Gaul, and then Britain, and had military victories in both. Then back in Rome, he lowered taxes and gave himself the name “dictator for life”.
The Senate then thought he had too much power and assassinated him in 44 B.C. This forced his adopted son to take over Rome. He ruled like an emperor but threatened to leave the Senators begged him to stay and gave him the name “Augustus”.
Rome became an empire after Julius Caesar’s assassination. The empire lasted for many, many years after that. In the empire Roman citizens could not choose their leader.
In the empire, economic growth was helped by a stable currency. It was quickly accepted in trade and commerce.
Augustus issued the currency in coins after taking power. As he had hoped they were soon accepted. These coins also made it easier to conduct trade over long distances.
The main coin was the gold denarius. The silver denarius is worth twelve times less than the gold denarius. The denarius value remained stable but only if it contained the same amount of gold or silver each year.
The designs on the coins were of the emperor and his building projects. In that way, the emperor used them as political advertisement.
Unemployment was a big problem in the Roman empire because of farming and slavery. A farmer who had to pay workers could not produce goods as cheaply as a slave owner could, therefore, slave owners could sell their crops for lower prices.
Farmers could not compete with this and therefore, had to sell their farms.
Thousands of people filled the streets, jobless. At one time the emperor had to feed many unemployed people with grain.
The wealthy class were also known as Patricians. Roman society and government strongly favored the Patricians over the poor class called the Plebeian.
The Patricians family homes were very grand. They were filled with artwork, jewels, furniture, sometimes a beautiful indoor pool, and a garden.
Patrician families also had elaborate dinners. For appetizers they would eat cooked mice, roasted parrots, and salted jellyfish. For their main meal they usually would have meat or asparagus. Then they would have dessert.
The Patrician people also had recreation. They could go to the baths were they would swim, get massages, go to the sauna, and eat light meals.
Chariot races were also a very popular place for the wealthy Patricians. The Circus Maximus held races and was the perfect place to find a boyfriend of girlfriend.
The lower, poor class were also known as the Plebeians. The Plebeians had little say in ancient Rome, therefore if a Plebeians failed to pay his debt, then a Patrician could sell them into slavery. The Plebeians also had a higher population than the Patricians too.
The Plebeians began to rebel before long however. Since all of the soldiers were Plebeians, they decided to go on strike until they received a voice in government. Their plan worked and they got what they wanted.
The Plebeian families were very poor and their apartments were very were very small and dangerous. They did not get to enjoy the luxuries that the Patricians did.
Wealthy Romans lived in grand houses with marble walls and colored flooring. The poor could not afford these houses and had to live in apartments called islands.
These islands were smelly and small and were usually six or more stories. Each island covered an entire block.
The first floor apartment were usually nicer and were not occupied by the poor. The more stairs it took to climb the cheaper the rent was. If a family could not pay their rent they were forced to live on the streets.
The upper apartments were very cheap, but also very dangerous, hot, smelly, dirty, and crowded. Fires were major threats because of the unclean waste disposal, rickety construction, and, cooking grills that caught fire easily.
In the family the men were always head of the household, and had control of his wife and children.
If the father should die the son would be head of the household and if they did not have a son then the head of the household would be the closest male relative.
Women had some power as well. For example they could own property. Her most important job was to be devoted to her home and family.
If a child grew up in a wealthy home, they would receive a great education. Girls would stay in school until they were 13, and then after that they would have to stay home and learn household skills. Boys would stay at school until they were 16.
Poor children could not afford to go to school and had to work with their parents.
There are many important ideas I learned about in ancient Rome. One Idea is the political achievement of The Republic. The Republic influenced many nations including America. Our country would not be the same without it.
Some other achievements in economy. The coin is one achievement. We can also learn from the Romans mistakes on Inflation, unemployment, and excessive military spending.
They made many achievements in ancient Rome such as aqueducts, system of laws, concrete roads, and the development of the Republic. Aqueducts are important to get water from, it also influenced our nation. System of laws are important because laws are always important in society. Concrete roads are important for every day life because of travel. The Republic is important because, like I said before, it influenced our nation.