Thursday, June 15, 2017

Barbarians at the Gates: The Goths Invade

Explore some of the reasons that caused the Roman Empire to fall apart in the 4th and 5th Centuries A.D. There wasn't one simple reason, but instead a combination of factors.








In the 5th century A.D., the Roman Empire fell apart. There were two main factors that led to the downfall of the world's mightiest empire: corruption and weakness within the empire, and invasions from several barbarian tribes. In class we looked at the Goths, a tribe from Eastern Europe that began migrating into the Balkan area of what is today Bulgaria, Romania, and the former Yugoslavia.

Some key points of discussion:
  • The Goths sack the city of Rome in 410 A.D.
  • The Emperor Valens was killed in a losing battle against the Goths in 378 A.D.
  • The Roman Empire adopts Christianity as the official religion
  • The Goths covert to Christianity under their chief Fritigern
  • The Romans treat the Goths very harshly as they enter the Empire

Monday, June 12, 2017

Roman Emperors: Good, Bad, and Ugly

Once Augustus Caesar established the imperial form of government, Rome was led by four centuries of emperors. Some of those leaders were good, others were pretty awful. Some took power by force, others were the sons or family members of previous emperors, and still others were strong military generals that had the support of the army. All of the emperors in some way pretended that the republic still existed, even though they stacked the Senate with friends and allies, or bullied and threatened the Senators into doing what the emperor wanted.

Using one or several of the following sources, quickly research each Roman emperor on the list. Include their dates, and maybe 5 or 6 bullet points about each emperor's rule. Create a Quizlet about these Roman emperors. Pay attention to each leader's accomplishments, style, and how their reign began and ended.
Caracalla always looked grumpy

  1. Augustus Caesar
  2. Claudius
  3. Nero
  4. Vespasian
  5. Titus
  6. Trajan
  7. Hadrian
  8. Marcus Aurelius
  9. Commodus
  10. Caracalla
  11. Diocletian
  12. Constantine
  13. Romulus Augustulus



Here are some great, reliable resources from which you can find the information you're looking for:

High Rock Media Center: http://www.cavendishsquaredigital.com

Livius.org: http://www.livius.org/misc/list-of-roman-emperors/

De Imperatoribus Romanis: http://www.roman-emperors.org/impindex.htm


Example:

Julius Caesar
100 B.C. - 44 B.C.

  • Roman general and dictator
  • Conquered the province of Gaul for the Romans
  • Reformed the Roman government to benefit the poor
  • Had a romance with Queen Cleopatra of Egypt
  • Assassinated by senators for becoming too powerful
  • Adopted father of Octavian Caesar


Rome Unit Essential Questions

1. How did the location, geography, and climate of Rome affect the development of civilization there?

The location of Rome influenced civilization there because Rome was in the center of Italy so domination of the entire peninsula was easy. Rome was in the center of the Mediterranean Sea so they could control trade in the Mediterranean.
  • 15 miles from the sea --> Protection from pirates
  • Located on the Tiber River --> Water for irrigation
  • Central Italy, center of the Mediterranean Sea --> Great trading location
The geography of Rome was that the city was surrounded by seven hills so it could be easily defended. Rome was on the Tiber River so the Romans could trade along it, but far enough inland so a naval attack would not be easy.

The climate of Rome was a warm Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot, dry summers so a small amount of grain could be grown, but Egypt still produced the most grain in the Mediterranean. Like the Greeks, the Romans could grow grapes and olives for wine and oil to trade.

2. How were the Romans influenced by Greek culture and ideas?

The Romans were influenced by Greek culture and ideas by using variations of Greek gods, and the Romans wore clothes that were similar to the Greeks. Wealthy Romans often spoke Greek, and their children were taught by Greek tutors. The Romans also took the idea that all cities should have some of the same buildings like an amphitheater and a forum. The Romans also used the idea that armies should be professional and well paid. The Romans also admired Greek art, architecture, and literature.

3. How was the Roman Republic founded and organized?

The myth of Rome's founding included the story of Romulus and Remus. The reality was that Rome began as a small fishing village which developed into a monarchy. Later, the Etruscans conquer the Romans and rule them. 
The Roman Republic was founded after one of the Etruscan kings was especially cruel and the Romans rebelled and threw the Etruscans out of Rome. The Romans did not want one person to take power again so they used a republic where the citizens from rich and poor classes elected leaders who made decisions for the benefit of both classes. There could be a dictator if there was an emergency, but after the emergency passed they went back to the republican system.

The main offices of the Republic included the consuls, senators, tribunes, and the citizens’ assembly.

Julius Caesar
4. Who was Julius Caesar and what effect did he have on the Roman Republic?

Julius Caesar was Roman general who conquered Gaul (France) for Rome. Julius Caesar thought that the republic wasn’t working and he thought that Rome needed a centralized government and that he should be in charge.

Julius Caesar had himself declared a dictator for life. Many Senators thought that Julius Caesar was going to get to much power and be like one of the Etruscan kings, so they assassinated him thinking that it would restore the Roman Republic but after a civil war Octavian Caesar became emperor of Rome. The Republic never came back.

Augustus Caesar
5. Who was Augustus Caesar and what were his major accomplishments?

Augustus Caesar was Julius Caesar’s nephew and adopted son. After Julius Caesar died there was a civil war. During the war Augustus (then called Octavian) defeated all his political rivals and had himself crowned “emperor.” Rome had grown during the civil war: Egypt was now entirely under Roman control.

A few of his accomplishments were that he built roads to connect the empire, and he had a fire department. He built Roman cities in conquered lands to spread Roman culture and change the barbarians into proper Roman citizens. There was a period of 200 years of peace begun by Augustus. Augustus rebuilt many temples, started a police force, and gave out food to the poor.


6. What were some of the successes and failures of the Roman Empire?

Some of the successes of the Roman Empire were they conquered the entire Mediterranean area and spread their culture around a lot of the known world. The Romans also built roads, aqueducts to carry water to cities, and used other people’s ideas to a much bigger purpose like using Etruscan arches and making the Coliseum. The Romans built the strongest army and greatest engineering masterpieces in ancient history.

Some of the failures of the Roman Empire were there were occasionally emperors who were mentally unstable and made very bad decisions for the Roman people. The Romans also persecuted people who didn’t worship Roman gods. There also was a very big difference between rich people and poor people, plus the Romans allowed slavery to exist. The Romans built an empire that became too vast to manage and eventually lost control over most of their territory.


7. How did the Roman Empire come to an end?

The Roman Empire ended when the borders got so long that armies couldn’t stop all the barbarians who wanted to invade Rome. Wave after wave of Gothic and Germanic tribes invaded Roman territory. Civil war also killed a lot of men who could fight the barbarians. Eventually barbarians got to the city of Rome itself and sacked it. Major rebellions broke out against Roman control in most of the foreign territories. Lastly, in 410 A.D. and again in 476 A.D., the Goths sacked the city of Rome itself.

Internally, the Roman Empire had tremendous money problems and eventually went broke. The government could no longer pay foreign soldiers to defend against attack. Bad leaders made the situation worse, and the empire broke apart.

8. What were some of the most important contributions of the Romans?

One of the most important contributions of the Romans was the republican form of government that we use today. We have a senate like the Romans and we elect our leaders.

Another contribution of the Romans was in the area of architectural engineering. We use arches now and columns in our government buildings.

We use the Roman alphabet and most of the words in our language come from Latin, as do all of the Romance languages (French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.). 


Friday, June 9, 2017

Julius and Augustus Caesar

Julius Caesar was a famous Roman general and dictator in the time of the late Republic (around 50 B.C.). His adopted son Octavian would become the first emperor of Rome. Both men came from an old noble family of patricians and possessed great wealth and power. Their rules marked the time when the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire.

While Julius Caesar was famously assassinated by a group of senators on the Ides of March (March 15th), 44 B.C. for wanting too much power, Octavian was renamed Augustus ("the Great One") by the Senate, and he ruled for more than 40 years.

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
(from BBC)

Caesar was a politician and general of the late Roman republic, who greatly extended the Roman empire before seizing power and making himself dictator of Rome, paving the way for the imperial system.

Julius Caesar was born in Rome on 12 or 13 July 100 BC into the prestigious Julian clan. His family were closely connected with the Marian faction in Roman politics. Caesar himself progressed within the Roman political system, becoming in succession quaestor (69), aedile (65) and praetor (62). In 61-60 BC he served as governor of the Roman province of Spain. Back in Rome in 60, Caesar made a pact with Pompey and Crassus, who helped him to get elected as consul for 59 BC. The following year he was appointed governor of Roman Gaul where he stayed for eight years, adding the whole of modern France and Belgium to the Roman empire, and making Rome safe from the possibility of Gallic invasions. He made two expeditions to Britain, in 55 BC and 54 BC.

Caesar then returned to Italy, disregarding the authority of the senate and famously crossing the Rubicon river without disbanding his army. In the ensuing civil war Caesar defeated the republican forces. Pompey, their leader, fled to Egypt where he was assassinated. Caesar followed him and became romantically involved with the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra.

Caesar was now master of Rome and made himself consul and dictator. He used his power to carry out much-needed reform, relieving debt, enlarging the senate, building the Forum Iulium and revising the calendar. Dictatorship was always regarded a temporary position but in 44 BC, Caesar took it for life. His success and ambition alienated strongly republican senators. A group of these, led by Cassius and Brutus, assassinated Caesar on the Ides (15) of March 44 BC. This sparked the final round of civil wars that ended the Republic and brought about the elevation of Caesar's great nephew and designated heir, Octavian, as Augustus, the first emperor.


Augustus Caesar (with baby Cupid (to symbolize
his family's connection to the goddess Venus)
Augustus (Octavian) Caesar
(from BBC)

Augustus was the first emperor of Rome. He replaced the Roman republic with an effective monarchy and during his long reign brought peace and stability.

Augustus was born Gaius Octavius on 23 September 63 BC in Rome. In 43 BC his great-uncle, Julius Caesar, was assassinated and in his will, Octavius, known as Octavian, was named as his heir. He fought to avenge Caesar and in 31 BC defeated Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium. He was now undisputed ruler of Rome.

Instead of following Caesar's example and making himself dictator, Octavian in 27 BC founded the principate, a system of monarchy headed by an emperor holding power for life. His powers were hidden behind constitutional forms, and he took the name Augustus meaning 'lofty' or 'serene'. Nevertheless, he retained ultimate control of all aspects of the Roman state, with the army under his direct command.

At home, he embarked on a large programme of reconstruction and social reform. Rome was transformed with impressive new buildings and Augustus was a patron to Virgil, Horace and Propertius, the leading poets of the day. Augustus also ensured that his image was promoted throughout his empire by means of statues and coins.

Abroad, he created a standing army for the first time, and embarked upon a vigorous campaign of expansion designed to make Rome safe from the 'barbarians' beyond the frontiers, and to secure the Augustan peace. His stepsons Tiberius and Drusus undertook the task (Augustus had married their mother Livia in 38 BC). Between 16 BC and 6 AD the frontier was advanced from the Rhine to the Elbe in Germany, and up to the Danube along its entire length. But Drusus died in the process and in 9 AD the annihilation of three Roman legions in Germany (out of 28 overall), in the Varian disaster, led to the abandonment of Germany east of the Rhine.

Augustus was determined to be succeeded by someone of his own blood, but he had no sons, only a daughter, Julia, the child of his first wife. His nephew Marcellus and his beloved grandsons Gaius and Lucius pre-deceased him, so he reluctantly made Tiberius his heir.

Military disaster, the loss of his grandsons and a troubled economy clouded his last years. He became more dictatorial, exiling the poet Ovid (8 AD), who had mocked his moral reforms. He died on 19 August 14 AD.

This map shows how Julius Caesar's conquests expanded the Roman territory
This map details the military campaigns of Julius Caesar, with a close up of his victory against his enemies at Pharsalus 
This map shows the expansion of the Roman Empire after the death of Julius Caesar until its height in 117 A.D.







This coin on display in the British Museum shows Brutus on one side and a freedom cap with daggers on the back


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Roman Republic

Please copy the following chart of the Roman Republic onto a blank page in your notebook or on Notability. Use two different colors, make it neat, and draw all lines with a ruler if you're using paper. Be sure to label all parts accurately. I will check these tomorrow and ask those who do a poor job to try again.

 Use the definitions of your vocabulary words to know the role of each government office.

1. Start by labeling the chart "The Ancient Roman Republic, 508 B.C.E. - 49 B.C.E." Underneath the title, write the definition for republic.
  •   Republic: A system of government in which citizens elect leaders to make decisions
2. Now, make a key that includes one color for patricians and another for plebeians. In this chart, patricians are purple and plebeians are pink, but yours may be different colors if you want.
  • Patrician: A member of the upper class of ancient Rome
  • Plebeian: A member of the middle or lower classes of ancient Rome (mostly shopkeepers, artisans, merchants, soldiers, and peasants)
 3. Draw two consuls at the top of the chart, one being patrician and the other a plebeian.
  • Consul: One of the two executive leaders of the Roman Republic, advised by the Senate
4. Under the consuls and to the left, draw the Senate using three patrician and three plebeian symbols. There were approximately 300 Senators, with equal numbers of patricians and plebeians.
  • Senate: A group of the most important men who made laws, and the most powerful branch of the Roman government.
5. Under the consuls and to the right, draw the tribunes. There were ten tribunes and all of them were plebeians.
  • Tribunes: Elected leaders who represented the plebeians, and had the power to block any action of the Senate
6. Under the Senate and the tribunes, draw the citizens' assembly along the bottom of the chart. The ratio is 4 patricians and 15 plebeians. That means the plebeians outnumbered the patricians by a factor of almost 4 to 1.

This chart displays the functioning of the Roman Republic (around 500 B.C.E. - 49 B.C.E.)

Watch the BrainPop video all about the Ancient Roman Republic by clicking here.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Life in Rome: Engineering an Empire

In the time of the ancient Roman Empire, huge building and engineering projects were undertaken by different emperors who wanted to make their mark. Meanwhile, the rich became even more wealthy as the poor struggled to survive, and the slaves continued to live difficult lives as someone else's property.

First, watch the segments of the video called Engineering an Empire: Rome and make notes on the sheet you downloaded from MyHomework. Especially focus on the segments about aqueducts, roads, the Colosseum, Hadrian's Wall, the Pantheon, and the Baths of Caracalla. Think about what each of these structures' purposes were, and if they are still in existence (even as ruins) today.





Now check out a couple more videos about the life of ancient Romans:









And finally, want to see some truly exciting Roman entertainment? Check out this chariot race scene from the old classic movie Ben Hur (1959)!


And as a bonus, check out this time-lapse video from the Melbourne Museum in Australia showing what it would have looked like to be in Pompeii on the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.