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Unit 4 - Development of Western Mediterranean
  • Unit Question - Are governments necessary for the protection of people in society?
  • Historical Context - Ancient Rome, Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire
  • Final Assessment - Roman Dictatorship Speech/Election (created by student generated questions) including debate of Greek Democracy vs. Roman Dictatorship (see Election Center tab) & Roman Emperor Report Card
Although there is evidence in Roman myth and archaeology of various shepherd villages on Rome's seven hills, the city's history really started with the Etruscans.  The origins of this mysterious people are obscure.  Some ancient sources liked to trace them back to Asia Minor because of their religious practices such as augury (reading flights of birds to tell the future), style of dress (in particular their pointed shoes which resembled those of the Hittites), their use of the arch in architecture, and their obscure language.  However, even to this day, the
origins of the Etruscans remain a mystery. Read more: The Flow of History: The Etruscans & their influence on Rome (c.800-500 BCE)


Read p.364- 369 in your My World History textbook and answer the following The Etruscans - Early Rome questions in your COMP books:


  1. Where were the Etruscans from?  HINT: Try this The Flow of History: The Etruscans & their influence on Rome (c.800-500 BCE)
  2. According to legend, who were Romulus and Remus?
  3. Along what river was Rome built?
  4. How did a good location help Rome grow from a small village to a powerful city?
  5. What does the legend of Rome's founding tell you about how the Romans felt about their place in the world?
  6. What is a republic?  
  7. Critical Thinking:  Why do you suppose the Romans establish a republic after collapse or conflict with Etruscan Kings?

Rome's Beginning The Etruscans

Rise and Fall of the 
Roman Republic
It all began when the Romans overthrew their Etruscan conquerors in 509 B.C.E. Centered north of Rome, the Etruscans had ruled over the Romans for hundreds of years.

It all began when the Romans overthrew their Etruscan conquerors in 509 B.C.E. Centered north of Rome, the Etruscans had ruled over the Romans for hundreds of years.Once free, the Romans established a republic, a government in which citizens elected representatives to rule on their behalf. A republic is quite different from a democracy, in which every citizen is expected to play an active role in governing the state.  Read more: Roman Republic


Roman Republic Resources: 

Roman Republic & Punic Wars

 The three Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome took place over nearly a century, beginning in 264 B.C.E. and ending with the destruction of Carthage in 146 B.C.E. By the time the First Punic War broke out, Rome had become the dominant power throughout the Italian peninsula, while Carthage–a powerful city-state in northern Africa–had established itself as the leading maritime power in the world. The First Punic War broke out in 264 B.C.E. when Rome interfered in a dispute on the Carthaginian-controlled island of Sicily; the war ended with Rome in control of both Sicily and Corsica and marked the empire’s emergence as a naval as well as a land power. In the Second Punic War, the great Carthaginian general Hannibal invaded Italy and scored great victories at Lake Trasimene and Cannae before his eventual defeat at the hands of Rome’s Scipio Africanus in 202 B.C.E. left Rome in control of the western Mediterranean and much of Spain. In the Third Punic War, the Romans, led by Scipio the Younger, captured and destroyed the city of Carthage in 146 B.C.E., turning Africa into yet another province of the mighty Roman Empire.  Discover more: History Channel: Punic Wars Introduction & Video


Read p.370-383 in your My World History textbook and answer the Roman Republic & Punic Wars questions in your COMP books:


  1. Describe similarities (at least 2) of the Roman Republic and our U.S. Government?  Need help?  Try this: Rome vs. U.S.A.
  2. What is a constitution?  Did the Romans write theirs down?
  3. What were the three branches of Roman government?
  4. What jobs did a consul do?
  5. Who was Hannibal Barca and what was his greatest accomplishment?
  6. How did Rome defeat Hannibal Barca?
  7. How did Rome's conquest create major problems for the republic?
  8. Critical Thinking:  Do you believe the patricians shared enough power with the plebeians?  Explain.  

Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire


By the 1st century BC, the times of the Republic are slowly coming to an end. After Sulla and Pompey, another great leader has emerged: Julius Caesar will be your strongest asset to finally defeat the dreaded Gauls north and west of the Alps. The Gallic War will not be simple, but it will be quick. Shortly after, the first triumvirate will come to end, and Caesar named dictator for life. His assassination and yet another civil war will not change the fact that the Republic, as known for nearly five centuries, is now defunct. Julius Caesar (left image).


Rise and Fall Roman Empire Resources:

Pax Romana Roman Emperor Report Cards


Pax Romana (Latin for "Roman peace") was the long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force experienced by the Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD provided by 5 good Roman Emperors after the death of Julius Caesar.  Like everything though, the Pax Romana won't last and for every good or decent emperor there is many miserable, brutal, and some down right destructive Roman Emperors.  Discover more using the Pax Romana Resources below: 

Pax Romana Resources:

Roman Entertainment

The Romans certainly knew how to relax and enjoy themselves (those that could afford it).  Roman entertainment, like Roman roads, Roman baths, Roman villas etc, is etched in people's minds today as a result of recent films. Many people will know of the Roman gladiators, chariot racing, the Colosseum in Rome as we have a great deal of writing and other evidence about these things from the times of the Romans themselves.  Read more: History Lesson: Roman Entertainment

Read p.376-379 & 396-401 in your My World History textbook and answer the Roman Entertainment questions in your COMP books: 

Roman Entertainment questions:
  1. How did most wealthy (Patricians) earn their money?
  2. What are some tasks that slaves worked at?
  3. What did the Romans do to keep their gods happy?
  4. Who was Spartacus?  How does Spartacus' story end?  What threat did the legend of Spartacus represent to the leaders of Rome?
  5. Were gladiators usually slaves or free citizens?
  6. What were two popular types of Roman entertainments?
  7. What do you notice from this famous painting (picture) to your right?

Roman Entertainment Resources:   

The Rise of Christianity

Christianity appears to have its home in Rome.  But that was not always so.  When Christianity was new, Christians were hunted as criminals.  They refused to worship Roman gods and that was against the law.  Even though Christianity was against the law, its numbers or followers grew rapidly. Christians were always trying to convert people.  While some Christians were rich, most of the converts in Rome were from the poorer section. There were two reasons for this.  First, Christians promised that if you lived your life right you went to heaven when you died.  In the other Roman religion, only the gods could live in heaven.  Everyone else was consigned to the underworld.
Second, every Christian considered themselves equal to every other Christian.  There was no nobility or higher caste. Remember the Plebeians and Patricians.)  In 313 CE, Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and made Christianity legal. Under his leadership, Christians could no longer be arrested just for being Christian.  After a fairly short period of time, Christianity became the dominate religion of Rome. After that, it became the law that you must be Christian to be a citizen of Rome.
Read p.402-419 in your My World History textbook and answer The Rise of Christianity questions in your COMP books:

  1. What about Jesus, his followers, and his message made him so unpopular with the leaders of Jerusalem and Rome?  HINT: What about his message made him so popular?
  2. Who were Peter and Paul and what was their major accomplishment?
  3. Why did the Roman emperors persecute Christians?
  4. How do you think the unity of the Roman Empire helped Christianity to become the empire's main religion?
  5. How did the Western Roman empire finally end?
  6. Critical Thinking:  How did many Christian teachings grow out of the Jewish traditions?  HINT:  What two faiths make up the Judeo-Christian tradition?