4.1 The Dawn of Rome 2020

AGE 2. The Time of Greeks and Romans
4.1 The Dawn of Rome

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Slide 1: Slide
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This lesson contains 42 slides, with interactive quizzes and text slides.

time-iconLesson duration is: 45 min

Items in this lesson

AGE 2. The Time of Greeks and Romans
4.1 The Dawn of Rome

Slide 1 - Slide


Slide 2 - Mind map

Introducing the Romans
The Greeks had a very advanced civilisation. From the 5th century BC Greek culture and science flourished. Alexander the Great spread this culture in the Middle East in the 4th century BC.
But while Alexander was fighting his war in Persia, a new 
power arose west of Greece, in Italy : Rome.
Rome started as a small city state in 753 BC, but gradually the Romans took over the whole of Italy.
In 146 BC the Romans conquered Greece. They were impressed by what the Greeks had achieved. The Romans wanted to be like the Greeks. They copied their culture and spread it further across Europe, including the Netherlands. That is how our region became part of the Greek-Roman civilisation.

Slide 3 - Slide

What you can explain /  do after this lesson
  • The subject skill assignment 

  • who the founders of Rome were
  • how Rome changed from a monarchy into a republic
  • How the republic was ruled

Slide 4 - Slide

Word Duty

Senate: group of wise, old men that advised the king. Made laws in the Republic.
Tyranny:  government in which the ruler is cruel, unjust and oppressive.
Republic: form of government without a king
Consul: head of the senate in the Republic, had the right to command armies

Open your notebook and get a pen!


Slide 5 - Slide

Important dates in this lesson:

753 BC: founding of Rome. Romulus becomes the first king.
509 BC: Rome becomes a republic.

Slide 6 - Slide

This is the center of Rome, known as the "Forum Romanum". You can see ruins of temples and palaces.
But 2000 years ago, this place was the center of the world, the center of the Roman Empire.
Look at the video to get an impression what this place looked like 20 centuries ago....
triumphal arch.

Slide 7 - Slide

The Forum Romanum was the city centre of Rome, what was the Greek word for city centre?

Slide 8 - Open question

The founding of Rome

You may have seen this famous sculpture before.
Today it is in a museum in Rome. It is very important to the people of Rome because this sculpture tells them about the beginning of their city.

According to legend, Rome was founded by twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, who were the sons of the god Mars.

This bronze sculpture of the wolf that rescued Romulus and Remus was made in about 500BC. The babies were added in the AD1400s.
To find and to found. That can 
be confusing, 

to find = vinden
you find = jij vindt (present)
you found = jij vond (past)

to found = stichten
you found = jij sticht (present)
you founded = jij stichtte (past)

Slide 9 - Slide

The legend of Romulus and Remus                                                            Read, or listen            or both.......

There was once a pair of twin brothers called Romulus and Remus. Their mother was Rhea Silvia, the daughter of King Numitor, and their father was Mars, the God of War.
King Numitor had a brother, Amulius, who wanted to be king so much that he took the throne for himself. He was so desperate to keep his position as king that he had tried to stop Rhea Silvia from having any children of her own because they might try to take back the throne.
When Romulus and Remus were born to Rhea Silvia, Amulius was shocked and very angry. In his rage, he put the twin boys into a basket and threw them into the river Tiber. He wanted nothing more to do with them.
After the two boys had floated down the river in their basket, they were rescued by a mother wolf. She cared for the boys as if they were her own wolf babies and she fed them with her own milk.
Once Romulus and Remus got bigger, they were taken home by a shepherd called Faustulus. He and his wife looked after them in his home until they were adults. One day, Romulus and Remus discovered who they really were and made a plan to kill Amulius and reclaim the throne for their own family.
Once they had carried out their plan and made their grandfather king instead, they decided to build a city of their own. They disagreed about where to build it. Romulus thought that they should build it on the Palatine Hill, but Remus wanted to use the Aventine Hill. They each began to build their own walled city.
One day, Remus paid Romulus a visit. Remus mocked Romulus’s city and its low walls. Romulus became so infuriated that he killed Remus instantly, declaring that he would kill any person who ever made fun of his city, which he called Rome. He continued to build up his city and officially made himself king in 753 BC.



Slide 10 - Slide

Read The myth of "Romulus and Remus".

1a. Why do you think the wolf is one of Rome’s important symbols?

Slide 11 - Open question

1b. According to the myth, who was the father of Romulus and Remus?

Slide 12 - Open question

1c. The story of Romulus and Remus is and example of:
historical science
a creation narrative
a Greek myth
Roman religion

Slide 13 - Quiz

Early Rome: the monarchy

Rome was built on seven hills, close to the River Tiber.  Many ancient cities were built on hilltops, making them easier to defend. They were also built near a river, on which traders could sail with their merchant ships to bring food and other products to the city.
Gradually, Rome grew into a city-state.

At first Rome was run by a king, so it was a monarchy. The king made life and death decisions when he judged criminals. He also led the army and created laws. The king was advised by a group of wise old men, known as the senate. Senate comes from the Latin word senex, old man. 

When Rome was a monarchy, the city was still very small. 600 years later Rome would have more than a million inhabitants...
Romulus was the founder of Rome and also its first king. After Romulus, six more kings would rule Rome. All that time Rome was a monarchy.
Even a king can't do everything by himself. The Roman kings were advised by a group of rich, older men: the senators.
The assembly where they met to discuss politics was called the senate
But in the end it was the king who could make all the decisions himself.

Slide 14 - Slide

Slide 15 - Slide

2. Which of these 2 statements is correct?

I. In the beginning, Rome was a monarchy
II. In the beginning, Rome was a city state
both are correct
both are incorrect
only I is correct
only II is correct

Slide 16 - Quiz

Rome was built near a river on a hilltop.

3a. What was the benefit of building a city near a river?

Slide 17 - Open question

Rome was built near a river on a hilltop.

3b. What was the benefit of building a city on a hilltop?

Slide 18 - Open question

4. Which powers did the king have?

Slide 19 - Open question

5. This is a map of Italy around 400 BC.
By then, Rome was already 350 years old. But it was still a small country between other nations in Italy. Look for a historical map of Rome around 400 BC on internet. Then drag the names of the nations to their correct place in the map.

Slide 20 - Drag question

From monarchy to republic

After Romulus there were other kings, some were good, some were bad.  One king, Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud), became a tyrant. He had no respect for Roman traditions and soon the Roman senators made a plan to get rid of him. In 509 BC a man named Brutus led a group of senators against Tarquinius. They succeeded and the king was sent away from Rome. The Romans welcomed this as the end of tyranny.
And so Rome vowed never to have a king again. Instead they became a republic. 

A republic is a state without a monarch (king). 
The Roman republic was ruled by the senate, but the people too had a say through assemblies and elections.
As most of the power was in the hands of the rich senators, you can say that the Roman republic was more aristocratic than democratic.

The Republic of Rome was often shown in Latin as the abbreviation SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanorum – the senate and people of Rome) as was shown on the military standards.
the assembly of the senate in Rome. The senators, dressed in white togas with a purple edge,  discuss the politics of the republic. 

Slide 21 - Slide

6. Some kings ruled as tyrants.
What does that mean?
these kings respected Roman people, laws and traditions
these kings did not respect Roman people, laws and traditions

Slide 22 - Quiz

7. Why did the Romans want to get rid of Tarquinius Superbus?

Slide 23 - Open question

8. The abbreviation SPQR stands for
Senatus Populusque Romanus
(the Senate and people of Rome).
Why could we say it stands for the Republic?

Slide 24 - Open question

9. With "the senate and the people" they actually meant:
the patricians and plebeians
the consuls and the senators
citizens and non citizens
Romans and other people in Italy

Slide 25 - Quiz

The people of Rome

Even during the monarchy, ordinary Romans had a say. They did not have as much as the powerful nobles, of course, who formed a ruling class, known as the patricians. The patrician families owned most land, held many political offices and nearly all senators came from their class. All others were plebeians. They did not have much power and were afraid that the patricians might dominate them. So the Romans had an assembly just for the plebeians, called the Plebeian assembly. In this assembly each of Rome’s ten districts chose a people’s tribune. It was their job to protect the lower class from the upper class. When the patricians tried to make a law that would be really bad for ordinary people, a tribune would stop it. The people’s tribunes had the right to forbid a law, simply by saying “I forbid it” or veto in Latin.

This bronze sculpture of the wolf that rescued Romulus and Remus was made in about 500BC. The babies were added in the AD1400s.
Plebeians were the ordinary people, like shoemakers, carpenters, bakers, construction workers etc. 
But they were free men, not slaves. They were citizens of Rome, and therefore they had certain rights, like the right to vote during elections.
Patricians were the richest Roman families. They were also called the nobles (edelen)  because they owned most of the land and lived in beautiful villas. Children of patricians were automatically patricians too.
Only patricians could become senators. 

Slide 26 - Slide

Read "The people of Rome".
10a. What made the patricians so powerful? Name two reasons.

Slide 27 - Open question

10b. Could the patricians do whatever they wanted in the Republic?
Explain your answer.

Slide 28 - Open question

Ruling the Republic

Ruling a republic was more complicated than ruling a monarchy. In a monarchy the king ruled alone. He made all the decisions, no matter if anyone agreed with him. If you have a wise king, that may be okay, but if the king is a murderous madman? He can cause disaster for the country and nobody can stop him.

Rome became a republic just to make sure that power was never again in the hands of one man. How did they do that?

  1. The highest office in the republic was that of consul (= like a modern president). The Romans had not one, but two consuls.
  2. The consuls were elected from the senators for one year only
  3. The consuls needed to agree with each other. A consul could veto (= forbid) a bad decision from the other consul.
  4. A tribune, a representative of the plebeians, could also veto a decision by the consuls.

The senate had some 300 members. So they still needed someone to lead the senate. This became a consul. You can compare a Roman consul to a modern president, like the president of the USA (also a republic, by the way). Like a president today, a consul was elected.

statue of a Roman consul from the 1st century BC. He is wearing his toga, the traditional Roman dress which only Roman citizens were allowed to wear.

Slide 29 - Slide

Politics of the Republic (2)
The plebeians were not happy that they could not become senators themselves.
They threatened to leave the city. Without the work of the plebeians the city could not function.
This helped. The patricians gave the plebeians some power. Each year they could elect two Tribunes. Tribunes were representatives of the plebeians. They made sure that the consuls not only made decisions that were good for patricians, but also for the plebeians.
The tribunes had one very strong power; the power of veto.
Veto means “I forbid”. With this power the tribunes could stop any decision made by the consuls.

See a graphic overview of Republic Politics here

the senators are discussing a new law that the consuls want to install
a tribune of the plebeians wants to use his veto to stop the new law of the consuls
the two consuls listen to the tribune who wants to stop their new new law
these are two "lictores", bodyguards of the consuls
The senate during the Roman Republic

Slide 30 - Slide

Now make a note in your notebook.
New page: write down:
Lesson 4.1: the dawn of Rome.

Rome started as a city-state in 753 BC (8th century BC).
Rome was a monarchy: it was ruled by a king (= a monarch).
In 509 BC Rome became a Republic. A Republic is a country without a monarch.
The Roman republic was ruled by the Senate. Only patricians could be members of the senate. 
The Republic was not a democracy like Athens (where power was in the hands of the people). It was more an aristocracy, because power was in the hands of a small group of rich aristocrats (nobles): the senators.

Slide 31 - Slide

absolute monarchy
constitutional monarchy
republic: democracy
republic: aristocracy / 
republic: dictatorship
11. This may be a challenge. You may need to ask an adult to identify several political people from the past and present... Good luck.

Slide 32 - Drag question

Political systems are very complicated. And they can change over time. 300 years ago, a king had more power than a king today. This is a simplified overview of the most used political systems 

Slide 33 - Slide

12. After they got rid of the king, how did they replace him?
Explain why they did it that way.

Slide 34 - Open question

13. Which of these 2 statements is correct?

I. the Roman Republic was ruled by a king who was NOT a tyrant
II. Two consuls checked each other so none of them could be a tyrant
both are correct
both are incorrect
only I is correct
only II is correct

Slide 35 - Quiz

When the geese saved Rome (part 1)

There is a legend that in the year 387 BC the Gauls (or Celts) crossed the Alps and entered the Italy. They came searching for new land for their people and of course the wealth of the fertile north of Italy.
The Gauls heard about the power and wealth of Rome and so they wanted it for themselves. The Romans were warned of the advance of these barbarians from the north and went out to do battle. The Gauls were more terrible than the Romans could have imagined. Many of them fought naked and their bodies were painted and tattooed with strange designs. Their battle cries were horrifying. Their weapons were wicked and they wielded them with an ease that no Roman could match. The Roman soldiers, every one, turned tail and ran back through the city gates, leaving the gates wide open in their panic. They entrenched themselves on the Capitoline Hill.
At length the Gauls decided the Romans really were cowards and they entered the city, sacking, looting, and burning as they went. But they could not breech the high walls of the Capitoline Hill.
‘The Celts lived north of Italy. The Romans called them Gauls (Galliërs)

Slide 36 - Slide

When the geese saved Rome (part 2)

Then one night one of the Gaulish spies said he had found a way. They could climb up the back of the hill, up a steep cliff by means of handholds. If they climbed the hill quietly they could gather a strong enough force to battle their way to the gate and let their fellows in.
Now, the Capitoline Hill was the site of the temple of Juno. Since geese were sacred to Juno, the priests kept a flock of geese on the hill. It is lucky that they did for on the night the Gauls decided to scale the back of the Capitoline the sentries had fallen asleep on duty and the dogs were silently snoring. But the geese heard the invaders as they climbed the hill and they sent up such a cackling and honking and flapping of wings that captain Marcus Manlius woke abruptly, grabbed up his sword, and rushed out to the wall, calling his men as he ran. He was first to the wall, but others soon appeared at his right and at his left. They threw the Gauls back from the cliff.
The siege continued on for a few more weeks but the Gauls grew bored and decided to make a treaty. The Romans were able to buy peace at a great cost. But Rome endured and one day grew to be a great empire.

‘Celtic warriors, climbing the Capitoline hill, where the Romans were hiding
The Roman leaders negotiated with the Celtic leader Brennus for the price Rome would pay for the Gauls to leave. They decided on 1000 pounds of gold. But the Gauls used cheater weights that were heavier than standard. When the Romans complained,  Brennus said” Vae Victus”, "woe to the vanquished", and threw his sword onto the scale as well.

Slide 37 - Slide

14a. Which of these 2 statements is correct?

I. The Celts were the same as the Gauls.
II. before they entered Italy in 387 BC, the Celts lived north of the Alps.
both are correct
both are incorrect
only I is correct
only II is correct

Slide 38 - Quiz

14b. Which of these 2 statements is correct?

I. Brennus spoke the words "Vae Victis" because the geese had saved the Romans
II. The geese belonged to the temple of the goddess Juno.
both are correct
both are incorrect
only I is correct
only II is correct

Slide 39 - Quiz

Make a picture / scan of the summary of lesson 4.1
and upload it here.

Slide 40 - Open question

Write down one question about something from this lesson that you find difficult.

Slide 41 - Open question


Slide 42 - Slide