A brief visit to the Romans

There’s very little time left in this year, but just enough, thankfully, to let you experience some of the gruesome qualities of the ancient Romans.

The BBC website describes the Romans as “ingenious but brutal”. I think this is a succinct and accurate description. The Romans built superbly designed roads, triumphal arches and aqueducts and administered a massive empire for hundreds of years, but despite their brilliance in many fields they certainly had a brutal streak.

This map of the Roman Empire is in the public domain and is kindly provided by Wikimedia Commons. It shows the remarkable breadth of the Empire at its greatest. You may not recognise the names of the countries but you should be able to figure out which countries they are by their geographical position.

This map of the Roman Empire is in the public domain and is kindly provided by Wikimedia Commons. It shows the remarkable breadth of the Empire at its greatest. You may not recognise the names of the countries but you should be able to figure out which countries they are by their geographical position. For a larger version, see the bottom of this post.

The Romans are remembered for many qualities, not all of them pleasant. They are famous for their military conquests; for their cruel punishments, such as the one inflicted on Jesus and the thousands of slaves they executed for rebellion along the Appian Way; for the blood sports in their amphitheatres, where by all accounts they bayed for blood and got it; and for the decadence they displayed during their huge banquets. These are just a few examples.

Nevertheless, their influence on the modern world has been immeasurable, like that of the ancient Greeks. Most modern languages have many words that originate from Latin; the script used by the Romans is the one used in most countries for writing today; the administrative methods, architecture and engineering of the ancient Romans have been admired and emulated ever since their empire finally collapsed.

The Western Roman Empire officially came to an end in 476AD, a date that is usually considered to mark the end of the ancient period and the beginning of the medieval period. This depends on which historian you read, of course.

Ironically and paradoxically, even though they were in many ways warlike and vicious, they imposed upon their large empire an enforced peace. Even in the midst of all their decadence, the learning and ideas that flourished during that time of peace (known as “Pax Romana”) provided a basis for later civilisations to build upon.

JB Jordan chariot race IMG_0468

Our family friend, John Bayley, took this shot of a reenactment of a Roman chariot race during his visit to Jordan in 2009. I hope it gets you in the mood for gladiators and blood sports.

JB Roman reenactment, Jordan IMG_0400 2009Reenactment of a Roman legion in formation, also taken by John Bayley.

Click HERE for the Gladiator: Dressed to Kill Game from the wonderful BBC website if you haven’t have played this game already. (You can also click on the pic below.)

Roman Mosaics: The Romans loved to make pictures with small tiles. Click HERE for some pictures of Roman mosaics to inspire you. Then try making your own by clicking on my mosaic below to go to a site that lets you design one online.

A Roman Street

Toss everything that doesn’t belong in a Roman street into the time tunnel in this game from the BBC. Click HERE.

The History of Pizza

Read this interesting story by clicking HERE.

Jesse's castle

Jesse's drawing of a plan for an impregnable medieval castle (assuming no modern contrivances were available)

This map of the Roman Empire is in the public domain and is kindly provided by Wikimedia Commons. It shows the remarkable breadth of the Empire at its greatest. You may not recognise the names of the countries but you should be able to figure out which countries they are by their geographical position.

This map of the Roman Empire is in the public domain and is kindly provided by Wikimedia Commons. It shows the remarkable breadth of the Empire at its greatest. You may not recognise the names of the countries but you should be able to figure out which countries they are by their geographical position.

Term 2: A Touch of Rome and so to the Medieval World…

Hi, 7F! I hope your holiday was less dangerous than mine. I had to cross roads with traffic like this:IMG_4699adj

Check the guy in the front right of the photo. I do believe he’s texting. This photo was taken in Ho Chi Minh City and when you cross streets there, or to be more accurate plunge suicidally into the traffic, you wonder whether you will survive to reach the other side. Yet oddly enough there’s a certain order in the chaos – just like in my history classes with you.

So I’m glad to be safely back with you all, though I’d like to have another adventure in Vietnam SOON. I hope your holiday had just the right mixture of rest and adventure, like mine.

JB Jordan chariot race IMG_0468

***************(This doesn’t look like easy driving either. Our family friend, John Bayley, took this shot of a reenactment of a Roman chariot race during his visit to Jordan earlier this year. I’m glad this driver isn’t texting!)JB chariot race in Jordan IMG_0460

Another shot by John…This could almost be the Circus Maximus in Rome if there were a few toga-clad Romans in the background…

Ancient Rome and medieval Europe were dangerous places in their own way. Sure, the Romans made great roads and aqueducts and administered a massive empire for hundreds of years, but despite their brilliance in many fields they had a brutal streak. They loved their blood sports – and today, in recognition of this, and AFTER you’ve completed the task in the post below this one, you can go to gladiator school. You’ll find it less bland than normal school, but of course more dangerous as well. The exam result in gladiator school was highly likely to be death, even if you showed great aptitude.

JB Roman reenactment, Jordan IMG_0400 2009Reenactment of a Roman legion in formation, taken by John Bayley during his trip to Jordan this year.

First, do the work on the post titled: Back from Camp and All Roads Lead to Rome

Then and only then, visit the Gladiator Game at the BBC Website.

Try to survive, please. I’d like you to be around for the crusades and the Black Death later this term.

Kind regards and welcome back,

Ms Green.

 David looks up at the Colosseum in 1995.

More Roman Revelry (or Easy Activities on Ancient Rome)

If you have finished reading about Pompeii, you will be relieved that you have never been melted by a pyroclastic surge like the poor people who lived there in 79AD. You can now go on to other activities that will introduce you to this powerful, violent and influential civilisation.

Click HERE for the Gladiator: Dressed to Kill Game from the wonderful BBC website if you haven’t have played this game already. (You can also click on the pic below.)

 Roman Mosaics: The Romans loved to make pictures with small tiles. Click HERE for some pictures of Roman mosaics to inspire you. Then try making your own by clicking on my mosaic below to go to a site that lets you design one online.

Click HERE to view a Roman mosaic of a dog – you will love it.

A Roman Street

Toss everything that doesn’t belong in a Roman street into the time tunnel in this game from the BBC. Click HERE.

 

The History of Pizza

Read this interesting history before going on to the task below this table. Click HERE

Now see what you can find out about ONE of the famous leaders of ancient Rome. Here are a few names to get you started. Start a page of information about one of these leaders, with quotations, pictures and details of his life.

  • Julius Caesar

  • Tiberius

  • Claudius

  • Caligula

  • Nero

  • Constantine

Good luck!

Ros.