2 The Beginning of the Roman Empire The Romans were some of the greatest conquerors in the ancient world.The Roman Empire began in Italy. Italy is also on a peninsula.Around 753 B.C. people began to build the city of Rome. These people were called Romans.They did not want a king or a queen, so they became a republic. In a republic, people vote for their leaders.The Roman republic was led by the Senate. People in the Senate were called Senators.The Roman republic was NOT a democracy. Rich people had much more power than poor people. Poor people could not be leaders in Rome. Only some citizens were allowed to vote. Most Romans were not citizens.
3 The Beginning of the Roman Empire cont’d Early Romans were divided into two classes: patricians and plebeians. The patricians were the wealthy landowners. These nobles made up Rome’s ruling class.Most of Rome’s people were plebeians. This group included artisans, shopkeepers, and owners of small farms.Both patrician and plebeian men were Roman citizens.The Romans borrowed the Latin alphabet from the Greeks, who also influenced Roman art, religion, and mythology. They believed in many of the Greek gods. They gave these Greek gods Roman names.The Romans built good roads, bridges, and aqueducts. Aqueducts were used to bring water to the city.
4 Roman GovernmentThe top officials were the consuls. Two consuls – both patricians – were chosen every year.They headed the army and ran the government.The consuls kept each other in line because each could veto, or reject, the other’s decisions. The word “veto” is Latin for “I forbid”.Other important officials were praetors. Their main job was to interpret law and act as judges in court cases.There were other officials to perform various jobs like keeping tax records, handling public finance, etc.Rome’s most important legislative, or lawmaking, body was the Senate. This was a select group of 300 patrician men who served for life.In the beginning the Senate only advised the consuls, but over time they grew in power and were able to propose laws, hold debates on important issues, and approve building programs.Another legislative body was the Assembly of Centuries. It elected important officials, such as consuls and praetors, and passed laws.
5 Roman laws we see today A person is innocent until proven guilty. People accused of crimes could defend themselves before a judge.All free citizens had the right to be treated equally by the legal system.The law should apply to everyone equally and that all people should be treated the same way by the legal system. (this was called the “rule of law”.
6 Carthage The empire became large when the Romans conquered Carthage. Carthage was a great city in North Africa.The Phoenicians had built the city of Carthage.Rome and Carthage both wanted to rule the land around the Mediterranean Sea. Rome and Carthage fought each other for more than 100 years.
7 Julius Caesar Leader of the Roman army In 49 B.C. he was named ruler of Rome.He ruled Rome for 5 years.He gave land to poor Romans.He gave Romans jobs building new roads and temples.The Senate thought that Caesar had too much power and assassinated him in 44 B.C.
8 Augustus Caesar and Mark Antony Octavian (Augustus Caesar) and his two generals, Mark Antony and Lipidus defeated Julius Caesar’s assassins.Lipidus was forced to retire from politics and the two leaders divided the Roman Empire between them. Octavian took the west and Antony took the east.Conflict began between to two.They fought and Octavian won. He became the first emperor in 27 B.C. He took the title of Augustus which means “the revered or majestic one”Rome was no longer a republic. Rome was now an empire. Augustus Caesar was the one ruler of all the lands in the Roman Empire.He ruled for 41 years.The Roman people lived in peace for 200 years.
9 Life in ancient Rome The Romans admired Greek art and architecture. The Coliseum could hold some 60,000 people. The arena even had a canvas awning to protect spectators from the elements.Romans built roads to connect the empire. The saying “All roads lead to Rome” is talking about how Roman engineers built roads to all parts of the empire.Worshipped many gods and goddesses. They also believed that spirits lived in natural things such as trees and rivers. Greek gods and goddesses were popular in Rome but they were given Roman names. For example, Zeus became Jupiter, the sky god, and Aphrodite became Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.