2.8 Romanisation

The Time of Greeks and Romans
2.8 Romanisation
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Slide 1: Slide
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This lesson contains 37 slides, with interactive quizzes, text slides and 1 video.

time-iconLesson duration is: 45 min

Items in this lesson

The Time of Greeks and Romans
2.8 Romanisation

Slide 1 - Slide

Slide 2 - Slide

Word Duty

  • Romanisation: to become more like the Romans
  • Cult: a small sub-religion or a different form of a religion
  • monotheism: belief in only one god (mono = one)
  • Gladiators: trained slaves that fought each other in the arena
  • Batavian rebellion: revolt against Rome by the Batavians (lived in the modern day Netherlands) 
  • Denarii (singular: denarius): most common silver coin Rome used

Slide 3 - Slide

What you will learn in 
this lesson
  • How Caesar conquered Gaul
  • How Caesar started a civil war
  • Why Caesar was murdered
  • How the republic changed into a monarchy again
  • How Augustus became the first Roman emperor
  • Where our word "keizer" comes from

Slide 4 - Slide

What is this lesson about?
Becoming more Roman, or Romanising, had many advantages; political rights for citizens, better trade and nice buildings. But if you resisted Roman rule, they would punish you.

Slide 5 - Slide

Write down the names of the group members

(first + last name)

Slide 6 - Open question

You may have noticed that today, Dutch people are becoming more like the Americans. The Dutch watch more American TV shows than Dutch shows, drink Coca Cola, eat at McDonalds and play American videogames. This is happening because we feel an appeal to America, a land of great wealth and power. Not much changed in 2,000 years; people felt the same way back then, but in those days it was the Romans they imitated.
source 2.8.1
McDonalds in Eindhoven

Slide 7 - Slide

How to become a Roman?

Many people in the empire did not just imitate the Romans, they wanted to be Roman citizens. This gave you many rights: as a Roman you had better protection by law, you were allowed to own land in Italy, you could vote in the assemblies and could hold a political office.
There were a few ways to join Roman citizenry. You become a member of a Roman family, either by means of adoption or marriage.
In that last case citizenship would start with your children. Many young men tried to become Roman by serving in the army for twenty-five years. Afterwards you received a diploma that stated that you were now a Roman citizen. You would then have all the rights of a Roman.

source 2.8.2
A Roman legionair (present-day drawing).
source 2.8.3
A diploma of a Batavian soldier, proving he served time in the army. The diploma, dated 98 AD, was found at Elst.

Slide 8 - Slide

1. What four benefits were there if you became a Roman citizen?

Slide 9 - Open question

2. Was it easy to become a Roman citizen?
Explain your answer.

Slide 10 - Open question


During the Roman conquests their culture spread throughout the empire. Wherever they went, roads, temples, bathhouses and aqueducts were built, even in the Netherlands. Often local and Roman culture mixed. Slowly the locals would become more like the Romans. That is called Romanisation. Locals started to use Roman buildings, wear Roman clothes, speak Latin or worship Roman gods (often besides their own gods).
Sometimes foreign gods became very popular in Rome too. The Romans added many cults to their religion. A cult is a small sub religion or a different form of a religion. Cults were allowed as long as the worshippers did two things: pay taxes and worship the emperor. The Jews and Christians refused to worship the emperor, because they only believed in one god, so they had a monotheistic religion. When Christians preached against worshipping the emperor, they were arrested. If they refused to change their minds, they could end up in the arena.
source 2.8.5
The Pont du Gard is a famous Roman Aquaduct in the south of France, built between 38 and 52 AD.
source 2.8.4
The Pont du Gard is a famous Roman Aquaduct in the south of France, The Roman baths in Bath, in the south of present-day England, were constructed in the 2nd century AD. First elements (temple) were created between 60 and 70 AD.

Slide 11 - Slide

3a. What is Romanisation?

Slide 12 - Open question

3b. Look at source 2.8.4
The source shows a picture of the remains of a Roman bathhouse in England
Is this an example of Romanisation?
Explain your answer.

Slide 13 - Open question

4a. What two things did people in the Roman empire always have to do?

Slide 14 - Open question

4b. Which of these two things did the Jews and Christians refuse to do? Explain why.

Slide 15 - Open question

Batavians in the personal guard of the emperor

Some of the best jobs in the empire were held by people who had yet to earn Roman citizenship. For instance, the personal guard of the emperor included Batavians. These men from what is now called the Netherlands could find themselves in high places. Sometimes literally, as some Batavians were stationed at Hadrian’s wall (England). They were there to man the wall and protect the empire from the Scottish Celts.
We found some personal letters there that these Batavians sent home. These letters were written in Latin, not in the Germanic dialect that the Batavians used to speak. So either the Batavians became very Romanised in only one century, or there were people in the Roman army that would write down messages for soldiers. They would then be read or translated for the Batavians back home. The Romans rotated troops from different parts of the empire to keep the peace. So army service not only got you citizenship, it also got you places!
source 2.8.6
Modern map of the Netherlands in Roman times. The Batavians lived in today's Betuwe region.
source 2.8.7
Modern reconstructions of Batavian cavalry soldiers (in the Roman army)
source 2.8.8
Modern map of Britain and Scotland with Hadrian's Wall (a wall built by order of emperor Hadrian)
source 2.8.9
Modern reconstructions of one of the many Roman milecastles along Hadrian's Wall

Slide 16 - Slide

Local people were not allowed to be the garrison in their own territory after 69 AD. The Romans feared locals were too likely to side with their people against Rome.
Some Batavians were stationed at Hadrian’s Wall in England. They were there to protect the empire from the Scottish Celts. So army service not only got you citizenship, it also got you places!
source 2.8.10
Modern reconstructions of a Batavian cavalry soldier's armour and equipment.
source 2.8.11
military mask of a Batavian soldier, 1st century AD. Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen.

Slide 17 - Slide

5a. In what part of the Netherlands did the Batavians live?
the middle
the north
the south
along the coastline

Slide 18 - Quiz

5b. What language did the Batavians speak?

Slide 19 - Open question

5c. Is the fact that there were letters in Latin from Batavians proof of their Romanisation? Explain your answer.

Slide 20 - Open question

5c The Romans made sure that troops were rotated. This meant that Batavians from the Netherlands were keeping the peace in England instead of the Netherlands. Why did the Romans prefer to use Batavians in England rather than in the Netherlands? Explain your answer.

Slide 21 - Open question

Bread and Games

Another thing the Romans brought was entertainment. Roman leaders knew that people remain happy if you feed and entertain them. Or, to quote Julius Caesar: “give them bread and games”. The Romans liked to organise gladiator games in amphitheatres.
Amphitheatres are oval shaped theatres, like the Colosseum in Rome. Gladiators, who were trained slaves, would fight each other, wild animals or criminals. In other events criminals had to fight wild animals. Sometimes they just executed people between events. In the late 1st and 2nd centuries, Christians were also thrown into the arena to die as entertainment for the spectators.
source 2.8.12
Roman amphitheater in Nimes (France) from the 1st century AD.
source 2.8.13
Roman wall painting of a gladiato fighting a wild animal. 1st century AD

Slide 22 - Slide

6a. What did Caesar mean by “Give them bread and games”?

Slide 23 - Open question

6b. Gladiators could become rich and famous. Is that so very different from professional athletes today? Explain your answer.

Slide 24 - Open question

Roman culture in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, local and Roman religion mixed too. The largest temple North of the Alps was built just South of Arnhem, at Elst. It was dedicated to the Batavian god Magusanus. The Romans called him Hercules. The Roman army built the temple around 110 AD, before the legion left Nijmegen. It seems only fair that they built a new temple, because the Romans had destroyed the old one.

To be fair, the Romans had good reasons to destroy it. The Batavians rebelled against the Romans in 69 AD. During this Batavian Revolt, they defeated Roman armies and burned down Xanten. But after some time Rome got the upper hand. The Batavian leader, Julius Civilis, met with the Romans and surrendered. As punishment the Romans destroyed the temple at Elst. They also placed a legion just South of the Batavians, and from this the city of Nijmegen grew!
source 2.8.14
modern reconstruction of the temple at Elst. The original temple was built to honour the Batavian god Hercules Magusanus.
source 2.8.15
Altar stone for the god Hercules Magusanus, from the first century AD.
The stone was found in 1514 in Westkapelle (Zeeland).

Slide 25 - Slide

7. Look at source 2.8.14. Is this temple an example of Romanisation? Explain your answer.

Slide 26 - Open question

Pax Romana

There were other good reasons to be part of the Roman Empire: the network of roads was protected by the Roman army and offered a fast, safe way to travel. The Roman state also made good silver coins, called denarii. These coins could be used all over the empire and helped trade to blossom. Whether it was a trader selling perfume, or an Egyptian grain trader, everyone knew what the coins were worth. This made trade easier.

With better trade, some people became rich. It was a Roman tradition to use your wealth for public good, so rich Romans would spread their wealth by, for instance, building a bathhouse. Most Roman cities improved this way. They built public toilets (so people stopped peeing in the street), bathhouses (so people were clean) along with libraries and sporting facilities. In other words the Romans brought wealth and, as long as you obeyed Roman law, peace. So it was Roman peace, or Pax Romana.
source 2.8.16
Romans enjoyed going to the toilet together and even shared one cleaning stick (instead of paper) (Ostia Antica, Rome, 2nd century AD).
source 2.8.17
Modern reconstruction drawing of Roman soldiers using a toilet in an army camp.

Slide 27 - Slide

8. What three benefits did the Roman empire offer for trade?

Slide 28 - Open question

9. Use the sources 2.8.16 and 2.8.17 to defend the statement that secondary sources are based on primary sources.
(also mention which of the 2 sources is a primary and which is a secondary source)

Slide 29 - Open question

Conflict with the Germanic tribes

There was one downside to Rome’s wealth and success. In the North there were Germanic tribes. These tribes envied Rome the fertile lands of Gaul and the wealth Rome had gathered. They also remembered the wars they had fought with Rome. The Teutons and Cimbri that Marius had defeated were also Germanic. After more than 200 years the conflict was far from over. But after a few failed attempts to conquer Germany, the Rhine became the frontier with the Germanic tribes.

Slide 30 - Slide

10. In the first century AD, what did the Germanic tribes want?

Slide 31 - Open question

11. Look at the names of the different Germanic tribes in the map.
Can you recognise three modern regions that are named after them?

Slide 32 - Open question

Drag the names (A - F) and the pictures (G - L) to the correct building
triumphal arch

Slide 33 - Drag question


Slide 34 - Slide

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Slide 36 - Slide

Slide 37 - Video