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- Italian Peninsula, in the middle of the
Mediterranean Sea (strategic location)
- Mediterranean climate: mild winters and
hot summers and low precipitation, good for
dry-land crops ( wheat, olive trees and vines)
- The city was founded on the banks of
River Tiber, surrounded by seven hills.
FOUNDING OF ROME
- According to the legend, Rome was founded
by two twins called Romulus and Remus,
saved from dying drowned by a she-wolf.
The name of the city comes from Romulus.
- According to historical data, Rome was
founded in 753 BC by the Latins, the
people who lived in the region called Latium.
The city was created near River Tiber and
built on seven hills. Romulus was the first
king of Rome.
STAGES OF ROMAN HISTORY
- MONARCHY: 753 BC-509 BC
- REPUBLIC: 509 BC-27 BC
- EMPIRE: 27 BC-476
- Ruled by a king, chosen by the most
important families in the city, the patricians.
- Kings had a lot of power (political, military
and judicial) and were also religious leaders.
They were helped by the Senate, an
assembly formed by senators, who were the
heads of the leading families.
- In the 6th
century BC the Etruscans, a people
from the North of the Italian Peninsula,
- Seven kings: four Latin kings and
- Etruscan domination ended in 509 BC, when
King Tarquin the Proud was expelled after
MONARCHY (753 BC-509 BC)
REPUBLIC (509 BC-27 BC)
- Republic comes from RES
PUBLICA (“public matters,
what concerns to
- New government elected by
the citizens, but not all could
participate in the same
way (the patricians elected
the Senate and had
privileges of voting in the
comitia or assemblies)
- Three main institutions:
Elected by all the citizens
in theory, but in fact only
the patricians participated.
They proposed laws,
elected the magistrates
and decided on matters of
war and peace.
Formed by 300 former
consuls. They gave advice
to the magistrates, passed
laws and directed foreign
6 types of magistrates
- Consuls: highest
the army and called the
- Praetors: in charge of
- Censors: in charge of
making the census
- Quaestors: in charge of
- Aediles: in charge of
- Dictators: extraordinary
magistrates in periods of
crisis. They held all the
power for six months
- Tribunes of the plebeians:
elected by the plebeians to
defend their rights after
Political career of the Roman
magistrates: no one could be
consul if he hadn’t been praetor,
aedile and quaestor before.
Rome expanded and controlled all the Italian Peninsula. But in their expansion to the West of
the Mediterranean Sea, their interests came into conflict with the Carthaginian Empire. The
Romans and the Carthaginians fought in three wars called the Punic Wars. There were 3 wars
between 264-146 BC. Finally the Romans defeated the Carthaginians and extended their power
to the west of the Mediterranean Sea.
TERRITORIAL EXPANSION DURING THE REPUBLIC
In this period the Romans conquered territories in France (Gaul) and the Iberian Peninsula
(Hispania). Later they conquered Greece and Egypt.
CONFLICTS DURING THE REPUBLIC
- Confrontment between patricians and plebeians. In the 5th century BC the plebeians got equal
rights with the Law of the Twelve Tables and a tribune to defet their interests (tribune of the
century BC: the Gracchus brothers tried to reform the Republic and reduce the differences of
wealth, but they died violently.
century: slave revolt led by Spartacus, corruption, internal problems…
- Several dictators were appointed and the generals of the army got more power. There were two
triumvirate: Julius Caesar, Crassus and Pompey. But a civil war broke out between them.
The winner was Julius Caesar. He was proclaimed perpetual dictator, but in 44 B.C he was
assassinated by a group of senators and supporters of the Republic.
triumvirate was formed by Mark Antony, Lepidus and Octavian. After several wars,
Octavian took control. The Senate gave him maximum power.
In 27 B.C Octavian pacified the situation in
Rome and the Senate gave him full powers
and the title of Augustus (chosen by the gods)
He introduced a new form of government
called the Empire.
The emperor concentrated a lot of power:
-head of the army
-he presided over the Senate
-highest religious leader
- in charge of foreign policy
-he made laws and decided upon taxes.
SOME ROMAN EMPERORS
CLAUDIUS CALIGULA NERO VESPASIAN
CARACALLA TRAJAN HADRIAN MARCUS AURELIUS
t and 2nd
century : most splendorous period in the history of Rome. Long period of peace ,
maximum expansion and prosperity of the Roman Empire, which extended to the British Isles, the
North of Africa and Asia Minor. Trade and the economy grew and Rome became the biggest city in
CRISIS OF THE 3rd
Big crisis due to different reasons:
-conquests stopped and there were less slaves to work the land and less incomes to maintain the
-pressure of the Barbarians (foreigners) on the borders of the Empire
-peasants and soldiers revolted and anarchy spread.
-Cities were attacked and many people escaped to the countryside.
Consequences: production decreased, trade collapsed, many people moved to the countryside
(ruralization process) and the power of the emperors decreased, because they were unable to solve
the problems of the people.
reinforced the borders
In the 4th
century some emperors tried to make some reforms to solve the problems:
- tolerated Christianity
- moved the capital city to
Constantinople in the East
divided the Empire into
two parts among his sons
Arcadius and Honorius, so
that it could be defended
DIVISION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE
Western Empire (capital city in Rome)
Eastern Empire (capital city in Constantinople)
In 375 the Huns (a tribe from
Central Asia) invaded the
Germanic territories and the
Germanic tribes escaped to the
South and came into the Roman
Empire. The Romans were
unable to stop the invasion of
Pushed by the Huns , the Germanic peoples migrated to the interior of the Roman Empire,
mainly to the West part, where emperors were weak and couldn’t stop them
Main Germanic peoples: Sueves, Vandals, Alans, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Angles,
Saxons, Jutes, Alamanni, Lombards, Franks, Burgundians, Slavs
In 476 the Ostrogoths, a Germanic people, conquered the city of Rome and deposed Romulus
Augustulus ( a 15 year boy), the last Roman emperor of the West. The Western Roman Empire
disappeared and new Germanic kingdoms appeared in its place. The Eastern Empire survived
under a new name, Byzantine Empire, until 1453.
FALL OF THE WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE
•CITIZENS: they were free and had rights: they could own
property, go to trials, vote and get married. Differences
between them according to their wealth.
•NON- CITIZENS: they had no rights.
-Freedmen: people who were
slaves in the past and had been
freed by their owners.
-Slaves: not free. They could
become freedmen if their owners
set them free.
Women were considered non-citizens. They were always under the rule of a man: first under their
fathers and after under their husbands. However, they could do some things: they could own
property, manage businesses and go to parties and shows.
TRADE: the Romans developed trade within the Empire, but they
also traded with other parts of the world: They imported
silk, cotton and spices from China, and they captured slaves
in Africa. Trade reached a big development thanks to an
important network of roads and ports. The Mediterranean
Sea was so important for the Romans that they called it
MARE NOSTRUM (“our sea”).
AGRICULTURE: main crops: wheat, olives and grapes. The lands were
cultivated by small farmers or slaves),
CRAFTSMANSHIP: many workshops in the cities, where
MINING: mines of gold, salt, silver, copper, tin, lead and iron in
different parts of the Empire. In Hispania they
worked the mines of mercury in Almadén and the mines of
gold in León and Asturias.
MODEL OF A ROMAN
Cities followed the model of Roman military
camps., were walled and had two main
streets: CARDUS (from North to South) and
the DECUMANUS (from East to West).
The rest of the streets were built in a grid.
BARCINO CITY PLAN CAESAR AUGUSTA CITY PLAN
In the centre of the city there was the FORUM, a big square. The main buildings of the city were
situated around the forum: the capitol (the main temple of the city), the curia (the meeting
place of the city council), the basilica (building for trade and trials)
Roman cities had all kind of facilities: fountains in the streets, sewage systems, buildings for
leisure, such as thermal baths, theatres, circus and amphitheatres.
Blocks of very small apartments that were rented to
poor people. Frequently insulae were built with
bad materials, there was no running water in them
and there was a big risk of fire.
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE ROMAN VILLA
OF CARRANQUE, TOLEDO
Houses of the rich people in the
countryside. Peasants and slaves lived
The Romans were polytheistic. They worshipped:
-the LARES and PENATES: gods who protected the Roman families and their homes. They were
worshipped at home in a small altar called LARARIUM
-the MANES: the spirits of their ancestors
-When they conquered Greece, they became fascinated by Greek culture and adopted the
Greek mythology and worshipped the same gods, but changed their names
- Monotheistic religion appeared in the 1st
century, founded by the followers of Jesus
- As the Christians refused to worship the
Roman Emperor, the Romans started
persecuting the Christians. This forced
them to practise their religion in secret
(ceremonies in catacombs, subterranean
galleries in which they also buried their
- In 313 Emperor Constantine allowed
Christianity in the Roman Empire. The
Christians could practise their religion
- In 380 Emperor Theodosius declared
Christianity the only religion of the Roman
Empire. All the other religions were
forbidden and their followers were
persecuted. The Church was created and
the bishop of Rome, called the Pope,
became the main authority of Christianity.
ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS USED BY THE ROMANS
- The Romans drew inspiration from Greece, but
also from other peoples they conquered and
created their own and unmistakable style
- Very practical builders: their buildings were
made to last: they used stone and invented
mortar (similar to cement)
- Simple, but practical architectural elements:
columns, pilasters, round arch, vault and dome
- PUBLIC WORKS
- ROADS: to communicate the Empire
- BRIDGES: to cross rivers
- AQUEDUCTS: to transport fresh water to ciyies
- SEWAGE SYSTEMS: to eliminate black waters
- RELIGIOUS: TEMPLES
- CIVIL: BASILICAE: for trials and trade
- TRIUMPHAL ARCH
- COMMEMORATIVE COLUMN
- THERMAL BATHS: public baths
- CIRCUS: for chariot races
- THEATRE: for theater plays
- AMPHITHEATRE: for fgladiator and
ARCH OF MEDINACELI, SORIA
ARCH OF BARÀ, TARRAGONA
MARCUS AURELIUS COLUMN
The Trajan Column in Rome, built to commemorate the victory of Emperor Trajan in Dacia
(present Romania) is decorated with reliefs that show the different episodes of Trajan’s military
campaign in Dacia.
JULIUS CAESAR CRASUS POMPEY
MARK ANTONY LEPIDUS OCTAVIAN
was inspired in
but the Romans
were interested in
reflected the real
features of the
SOME ROMAN EMPERORS
CLAUDIUS CALIGULA NERO VESPASIAN
TRAJAN HADRIAN MARCUS AURELIUS
DIOCLETIAN CONSTANTINE THEODOSIUS
LAST EMPEROR OF THE
WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE
As time went by,
less realistic and
ROMAN MOSAICS IN POMPEII
The Romans used paintings to decorate the walls of the houses.
They also used mosaics: picture or decorative design made by setting small coloured pieces of
stone or tiles into a surface.
There are many mosaics in Pompeii, a Roman city that was covered by lava after the eruption of
the volcano Vesuvius in 79 AD.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT,
MOSAIC IN THE
HOUSE OF THE FAUN
BODIES OF ROMANS PETRIFIED
BY THE ERUPTION OF VESUBIUS
VOLCANO IN THE CITY OF POMPEII (79 AD)