Thursday, May 21, 2015

Carthage and the Punic Wars

The Punic Wars were a series of three wars that Rome fought with the city of Carthage in North Africa between 264 B.C. and 149 B.C. Carthage was originally a colony of the ancient civilization of the Phoenicians. Defeating the Carthaginians meant that Rome was well on its way toward creating a vast Mediterranean empire.

Hannibal crosses the Alps with a force of elephants during the Second Punic War
The First Punic War
Roman Commander: Marcus Atilius Regulus
Carthaginian Commander: General Hamilcar
Why did the War Start? Romans and Carthaginians fought for control of the strategic island of Sicily
What Were the Results of the War? Rome wins in 241 B.C.E. and takes possession of Sicily

The Second Punic War
Roman Commander: Scipio Africanus
Carthaginian Commander: Hannibal
Why did the War Start? Carthage attacked a Roman town in Spain called Saguntum
What Were the Results of the War? Rome completely defeated Carthage taking all of its territory, ships, and money

The Third Punic War
Roman Commander: Scipio Aemilianus
Carthaginian Commander: Hasdrubal
Why did the War Start? In 149 B.C.E. the Carthaginians rebel against the Romans
What Were the Results of the War? Rome puts down the Carthaginian rebellion and destroys Carthage, selling the people into slavery and pouring salt into the farmland

Over this period of time, the Romans begin to conquer vast amounts of land across the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, civil war and other trouble was brewing at home in the city of Rome...

What were five reasons that the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean went well?
1. Romans are highly motivated because they are fighting for love of the REPUBLIC
2. Rome makes conquered countries into new allies
3. Rome’s army is the most powerful in the world (highly professional and paid)
4. Romans valued military success and that leads to powerful political roles (like Julius Caesar)
5. The wealth of conquered lands flows into Rome

What were five major domestic problems of the Romans during that time?
1. Food shortage because Carthaginians destroyed farmland during Punic Wars
2. Farmers are forced off their land and their jobs are taken by slaves
3. Farmers move into the cities but even THERE slaves take their jobs
4. In the city of Rome, there is MASSIVE unemployment, overcrowding and all the ingredients for trouble
5. Civil unrest (slave rebellion, farmers rise up) leads to political unrest, brings dictatorship like Julius Caesar

Territory during the First Punic War
Check out these (goofy) video clips about the Punic Wars as an an overview of the basic facts about the events of the wars and their outcomes.

For a more graphic novel type narration focusing on the Carthaginian general Hannibal, check out this video from the History Channel called "Hannibal the Annihilator." Keep in mind, it's a mix of history and entertainment.

For a good look at the glory of Carthage before the Romans destroyed the city, check out the Engineering an Empire episode about the Phoenician colony that almost conquered Rome:

Monday, May 18, 2015

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.

The Mysterious Etruscans

A Map of the Etruscan settlements
Before Rome was anything more than a collection of Neolithic fishing villages on the banks of the Tiber River, the Etruscans established their civilization throughout central Italy. This mysterious culture showed signs of being from Eastern Europe or beyond, used an alphabet based upon those of the Phoenicians and Greeks, and traded with several Mediterranean kingdoms including Egypt.

The High Rock Media Center database has some great information:
The Etruscans originated in central Italy around 900 B.C. and were absorbed into the Roman Empire in the 80s B.C. During the first millennium B.C., they developed the earliest complex society in Italy. In common with other Mediterranean civilizations of their time, the Etruscans lived in city-states, had a specialized agricultural and craft economy, and exchanged goods and ideas with their neighbors. Distinctive to the Etruscans was their religion, social and political structure, and language. There is a wealth of archaeological evidence for Etruscan settlements, economy, society, and culture, including the remains of cities, towns, cemeteries, and everyday objects.
The Etruscans loved a good party!
Now, click on this link to KHAN ACADEMY and read and watch their article about the Etruscans.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Greece and Rome: Cultural Diffusion

Keep notes on the following information concerning the influence Greek culture had on the Romans.

How did the Greeks influence Roman culture in the following areas?

Zeus became Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Jupiter the Highest and Best)
- The Romans worshiped Greek gods but gave them new names
- Examples: Zeus = Jupiter, Aphrodite = Venus

- Roman writers were inspired by Greek writers
- Virgil wrote the Aeneid, an epic poem about the end of the Trojan War and the hero Aeneas
- Virgil based the Aeneid on the Iliad and the Odyssey

- Romans adopted Greek forms such as temples with columns, pediment, and a rectangular floor plan
- The Romans also used the arch, which they learned from the Etruscans

- Wealthy Romans study Greek literature
- Romans often hired Greek teachers and tutors
- Greek was the language spoken by the upper class

How did the following practical skills of the Romans advance their society?

- Legal system of courts, judges, and lawyers spread around the Mediterranean area
- The Roman system influences the laws of many modern European countries

- Developed surveying and engineering skills to build an entire highway system
- Connected all parts of the Roman territory
- Used roads for trade and army movement
- Invented the use of arch and concrete

- The Roman army was determined and disciplined
- Roman soldiers were experienced and professional
- The army was organized to have long campaigns
- Specially trained troops for desert, mountain, and naval battles

Ancient Greek and Roman art: From the Utah System of Higher Education (with special thanks to Dr. Nancy Ross). Video by Ydraw.

Copy down this list of Greek gods and their Roman names:

Greek Name                Roman Name
Zeus                             Jupiter/Jove
Hera                             Juno
Ares                             Mars
Apollo                          Apollo
Artemis                       Diana
Aphrodite                   Venus
Kronos                        Saturn
Demeter                      Ceres
Hades                          Pluto
Persephone                 Proserpina
Hermes                       Mercury
Poseidon                     Neptune
Hephaestus                Vulcan
Hestia                         Vesta
Dionysus                    Bacchus
Athena                       Minerva

The Founding of Rome

The Founding of Rome
The Founding of Rome is very much told through myth.
 Traces found by archaeologists of early settlements of the Palatine Hill date back to about 750 B.C.E. 
This ties in very closely to the established legend that Rome was founded in April of 753 B.C.E., which was traditionally celebrated in Rome with the festival of Parilia. 
Two founding legends exist - Romulus and Remus and Aeneas.
 Rather than contradict each other, the tale of Aeneas adds to that of Romulus and Remus.
Romulus and Remus with "mom"

Romulus and Remus
King Numitor of Alba Longa was overthrown by his younger brother Amulius. To do away with any further possible pretenders to his throne, Amulius murdered Numitor's sons and forced Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, to become a vestal virgin. (Vestal virgins were priestesses to the goddess Vesta and were expected to never marry, under penalty of death). 
However Mars, the god of war, fell in love with Rhea Silvia and married her. As a result of this Rhea Silvia had twins, Romulus and Remus.
 A furious King Amulius had Rhea Silvia thrown into the Tiber River where she was caught beneath the waves by a river god who married her.

The twins were set adrift on the river in a reed basket. They floated downstream until the basket was caught in the branches of a fig tree. This was where they were found by a she-wolf who nursed them (wolves are sacred to Mars) until a shepherd found them.

Another version of the same story tells of the shepherd finding them and taking them to his wife, who had just lost her own child and who cared for them.

As the two boys had grown to men in the care of the couple, they were told of their true origins. True to their heroic status they raised an army and marched on the city of Alba Longa. Amulius was killed in battle and Numitor was restored to his throne. 
The twins decided to start a new city close to where they had been washed ashore, caught by the fig tree. The twins disputed which hill their city should be built on, Romulus favouring the Palatine, Remus choosing another (possibly the Aventine).
 Taking the looking at omens and trying to understand the will of the gods, Remus on his hill saw six birds, Romulus saw twelve. So it was decided that Romulus’ choice was the right one and he and his followers took to building their city on Palatine Hill.
 After an awful argument and fight, Remus was killed by his twin brother Romulus.

Aeneas runs out of Troy with his family
If the tale of Romulus and Remus appears the more popular Roman myth today, then the tale of Aeneas was perhaps even more popular in the days of the Roman Empire. Written by the Roman poet Virgil, the Aeneid became the national epic of the Roman Empire and the most famous poem of the Roman era.

Aeneas was said to have been a hero fighting the Greeks in the Trojan War. The son of Venus and a mortal father, he escaped as the great city of Troy was sacked. After quite a journey, he landed in Latium through which the Tiber River flows. Aeneas married the daughter of King Latinus, only to anger King Turnus of Rutuli who himself had his eye on her. As usual in ancient tales, there ensued a war for the princess between Turnus and Aeneas, who was by then supported by King Tarchon of the Etruscans.

Naturally Aeneas, son of Venus, was triumphant.

The sack of Troy is dated to around 1220 BC. To fill the years from Aeneas to Romulus the Romans therefore were required to produce a string of fictional Kings to make the tale work. This was done across all the generations with some ease from Ascanius, son of Aeneas to Numitor, grandfather of Romulus and Remus.
Neolithic Rome

Historical Background (What REALLY Happened)

The tribe of people known as the Latins settled in the wider area of Rome around 1000 BC. Though those early settlements were not anything like a city. They kept pigs, herded sheep, goats, cattle and lived in primitive, round huts.

So how could such simple beginnings ever lead to a city of power which would rule the world? The rise of Rome was certainly not certain, but it had many advantages right from the start. Rome lies only a few miles from the sea with all its possibilities of trade. It lies central to the Italian peninsula, which in turn lies central to the entire Mediterranean Sea. Italy is guarded by the Alps to the North and by the sea all around.

Along with this development was the influence of the Greeks who were settling southern Italy, founding cities like Cumea and Tarentum and bringing advanced civilization to the country. From the Greeks the Romans learned skills such as reading and writing, even their religion is almost entirely taken from Greek mythology.

If the Greeks settled to the south of them, then the Roman had the Etruscans to the north. Etruria was predominantly an urban society, drawing its considerable wealth from sea trade. The extravagant Etruscans were generally seen by the more hardy Romans to be fancy and weak. While being distinctly unique in their own right, the Etruscans too owed much of their culture to the Greeks.

At around 650 to 600 B.C.E. the Etruscans crossed the Tiber and occupied Latium. It is through this that the settlement on the Palatine Hill was brought together with the settlements on surrounding hills, either in an attempt to fend off the invaders, or by the Etruscan king who sought to rule through a structure of city states. It is at this point that the first known, rather than mythical, kings emerge.

Finally, take these notes into your notebook or on Notability:

What do legends tell us about these Roman kings?



*Abandoned as a baby into the Tiber River

*Raised by a she-wolf

*Adopted by a shepherd

*Killed his twin brother Remus

*Built Rome, named it for himself

*Rome’s second king

*Brought peace to Rome

*Founded the Roman religion (based on Greek gods and goddesses)

What was the government of Rome like under the early kings?

*Kings advised by the Senate
*Kings were elders from Rome’s leading families
*Decisions voted on by citizens’ assembly
*Government and religion closely connected
*King was chief priest (Pontifex Maximus)

How was Roman civilization influenced by the Etruscans?

*Etruscan civilization was more advanced
*Romans adopted Etruscan alphabet, new building techniques like the arch
*Etruscans were builders of temples, arenas, and sewer systems
*Etruscan women had far more rights than other women

Describe the geography of Rome:

*Built on several hills on the Tiber River, which flows into the Mediterranean
*Centered on the Italian peninsula, which sticks out into the Mediterranean
*Close enough to the coast for trade, but inland enough for protection
An early view of Rome as a small village
How was the geography of Rome advantageous?



*Hills helped to protect Rome from enemy attacks

*15 miles from the sea keeps Rome safe from naval attacks

*Tiber River good for trade within Italy, and connects Rome to the sea

*Central location of Italy in the Mediterranean makes an easy trip to Greece, Spain, Northern Africa

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ancient Rome: Maps and Geography

Today was the unofficial start of our Rome unit. Here are both blank and filled-in maps.

Click image for larger version

Click image for larger version
Please label:

Tyrrhenian Sea
Adriatic Sea
Mediterranean Sea


Po River
Tiber River


The city of Rome started off small, and was surrounded by more powerful civilizations

Over a couple of centuries, the Romans came to dominate the entire Italian peninsula. How did they do it?