Ancient Rome

• Turn to a new page in your notebooks and title it “Unit 2: Ancient
• Write the following OBJECTIVE in your notes underneath:
• Evaluate how Rome’s central location and geographic features
made it a desirable location from which to expand
• Read the following quote from the historian Livy, in his work, The Early
History of Rome, about the cite of Rome, then answer the questions
• Not without reason did gods and men choose this spot for the cite of
our city—the healthy hills, the river to bring us produce from the inland
regions and sea-borne commerce from abroad, the sea itself, near
enough for convenience yet not so near as to bring danger from foreign
fleets, our situation in the very heart of Italy—all these advantages
make it of all places in the world the best for a city destined to grow
• What is the main idea of this quote?
• What arguments does Livy point out to support his argument?
• Evaluate how Rome’s central location and
geographic features made it a desirable
location from which to expand
• Peninsula extending 750 miles
from north to south
• Not very wide, averaging 120
miles across
• Alps fairly easy to cross
Italy easily accessible by other peoples in Europe
• Italy had more land for farming
Enabled large population
• Rome’s location inland on the Tiber River very favorable
Gave Rome a route to the sea, but was far enough away from it to be safe from pirates
• Rome built on seven hills
Made it easy to defend
• Italian peninsula juts into Mediterranean Sea
Made it important crossroads between western and eastern Mediterranean
After Romans established their empire around the Mediterranean, easier to govern because of its location
• Poor in mineral resources and lacking useful
• Huge amount of fertile land and precipitation
• Larger population
• Mountains easier to cross
• Agrarian (farming) people
• Easily accessible from Europe to the north
• Romans had no buffer civilization: constant
conflict on the Italian peninsula caused Italians to
become military society early in their history
Rich in mineral resources and useful harbors
Poor in fertile land
Lived behind huge mountain range
Trading people
Fairly cut off from rest of world
Warlike population to the north (the
Macedonians) served as buffer between
themselves and other Europeans
• According to Roman legend, city of Rome was founded in 753 BCE by Romulus and Remus
Twin sons of the god Mars and a Latin princess
They were abandoned on the Tiber River as infants and raised by a she-wolf
Decided to build a city near the spot where they were abandoned
Rome developed because of its strategic location and its fertile soil
Indo-European peoples moved into Italy from about 1500 BC to 1000 BC
Built on 7 rolling hills at a curve on the Tiber River, near center of Italian peninsula
Midway between Alps and Italy’s southern tip
Near the midpoint of the Mediterranean Sea
About Them:
Contributed to Rome:
Wandered into Italy across Alps around
1000 BCE
Lived in region of LatiumSpoke Latin
Herders and farmers lived in
settlements on top of one of Rome’s
hills: called Palatine Hill
First Romans
Built original settlement of Rome
Between 750 and 600 BCE, established
50 colonies on coasts of southern Italy
and Sicily
Cities became prosperous and
commercially active
Cultivated olives and grapes
Passed on their alphabet
Gave religious ideas to Romans
Gave Romans artistic and cultural
models through sculpture, architecture,
and literature
Native to northern Italy
• Region of Etruria
Skilled metalworkers and engineers
Came to control Rome and most of
Latium after 650 BCE
Had largest influence on early
development of Rome
Found Rome a village and turned it into
a city
Influenced Rome’s architecture,
especially the use of the arch
Gave religious ideas to Romans
Romans adopted Etruscan dress: toga
and short cloak
Roman army also borrowed its
organization from Etruscans
• 600 BCE: Etruscan became king
• Etruscan kings helped Rome grow from collection of hilltop villages to city that covered nearly 500
square miles
• Various kings ordered construction of Rome’s first temples and public buildings
• Swampy valley below Palatine Hill was drained, making public meeting place
• Later became the Forum, the heart of Roman political life
• Last king of Rome was Tarquin the Proud
• Harsh tyrant driven from power in 509 BCE
• Roman aristocrats (wealthy landowners who resented Etruscan king) overthrew him
• Romans declared they would never again be ruled by a king
• Established new government
• Called it a republic
• Form of government in which power rests with citizens who have the right to vote to
select their leaders
• In Rome, citizenship with voting rights granted only to free-born male citizens
• At the beginning of the republic, Rome surrounded by enemies
• For next 200 years, city engaged in continuous warfare
• 338 BC, Rome crushed Latin states
• Next 50 years, Rome waged war against people from central Appennines
• By 264 BCE, Romans had overcome Greeks and completed conquest of Southern Italy
• After defeating remaining Etruscan states to north, Rome had conquered virtually all of Italy
• To rule Italy, Romans devised the Roman Confederation
Under this system, Rome allowed some peoples, especially Latins, to have full Roman citizenship
Most remaining communities made allies who remained free to run local affairs but required to provide soldiers
for Rome
Loyal allies could improve their status and become Roman citizens
• Romans believed characteristics of their ancestors made them successful
Duty, courage, discipline
Stories by historian Livy about Cincinnatus
• Romans good diplomats
Smart in extending citizenship and allowing states to run own affairs
• Romans excelled in military matters
Accomplished and persistent soldiers
• Brilliant strategists
Built colonies (fortified towns) in conquered areas connected by roads so Romans could move troops quickly
• Practical in law and politics
Did not try to build an ideal government but created political institutions in response to problems as they arose
• Print out a copy of your group’s information handout
from my website
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• If you do not already have one, create a Gmail email
• Directions for doing both of these will be posted as a
Homework Assignment on my website

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