Writing a Travel Guide About Daily Life in Ancient Rome
Assignments to hand in: Notes About Ancient Roman Daily Life & Illustrated Travel Guide to Ancient Rome
Step 1: Introduction - Look at the pictures below and read the following text:
Map of the Roman Empire at its height or greatest expansion.
A bustling scene in the Roman Forum.
Beginning with the
Emperor Augustus' reign in
27 B.C.E., the Roman Empire enjoyed what is called the
Pax Romana, or "Peace of
Rome" - a period of governmental and social stability that lasted over 200
years. During the Pax Romana, the empire expanded in territory and flourished
economically. At its height, under the emperor
Hadrian circa 125
C.E., the Roman Empire stretched from the north of England 2,500 miles south,
through present-day Spain, France, Holland, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, and Iraq. The
Roman army secured these frontiers and protected the trade routes within them
from invasion. Unique and exotic trade goods such as silk, perfumes, bejeweled
weapons, and musical instruments from the far corners of the empire were for
sale in the Roman street markets.
This increase in trade brought great wealth to Rome and funded massive building projects. Funds were available for developing public services such as fire brigades and healthcare centers. Money was also spent on lavish parades celebrating the successes of the Roman armies, elaborate theatrical productions, and Olympic-style festivals of athletic games honoring Roman Gods and Goddesses.
In direct contrast to the trappings of this flourishing society, the poor made up the majority of Rome's population. They lived in squalid conditions in neighborhoods where disease and crime were prevalent, performed back-breaking jobs for inadequate pay, and has little time and money for leisure activities. Most children of the Roman poor did not live to be 10 years old. Roman leaders relied on exciting and relatively inexpensive public entertainment like gladiatorial combat and chariot racing to keep the poor placated.
Step 2: Complete Notes Handout: Complete the Notes About Ancient Roman Daily Life handout by looking at each topic area. Look at the corresponding pictures and read the Informational Handouts.
This is a Roman school. A bearded teacher sits in the center and instructs students holding scrolls, and another student stands at right. This marble relief was found on a Roman sarcophagus.
Informational Handout on Education
Trivia Question: Why did Roman students stop at "bars" before attending school each morning?
This is two scenes of Roman family life. At left, a mother nurses her infant son as the father looks on; at right, the boy has grown a little, and the father holds him. The scenes are part of a marble relief found on a Roman sarcophagus dating to the mid-second century C.E. Other scenes on this relief show the boy playing with a cart and reciting his lessons at school.
Informational Handout on Family Life
Trivia Question: What did Roman parents place around their newborn infant's neck?
Food and Drink
This is a market stall selling food and drink in Rome. A merchant stands near bowls of fruit and a tall, dense basket used to hold live snails. Other animals for sale include chickens, rabbits, and geese that poke their heads out from the bottom of the stall. The two monkeys are intended to attract customers. This marble relief was found on a Roman funerary stele dating to approximately the second century C.E.
Informational Handout on Food and Drink
Trivia Question: What do cooked mice, roasted parrots, and salted jellyfish have in common?
This is a Roman physician using a surgical implement to treat a wounded leg. The patient is Aeneas, and the scene appears in a first-century C.E. Roman fresco at Pompeii.
Informational Handout on Healthcare
Trivia Question: Why did Roman politicians and lawyers often eat walnuts?
These are two ancient Roman homes. At top, we see a room in the House of Neptune and Amphitrite, a lavish home at Herculaneum in Italy. It features a fountain in the middle of the room and wall mosaics that date to 79 C.E. At bottom, we see middle-class Roman apartments situated above shops along a street at Herculaneum.
Informational Handout on Housing
Trivia Question: Why was there such a risk of fire in ancient Rome?
Law and Order
This is an artist's rendition of a court proceeding in ancient Rome. The case is tried in front of senators, who are seated in the background.
Informational Handout on Law and Order
Trivia Question: Why would a wealthy Roman man wear a dirty old toga on purpose?
This is an artist's rendition of a chariot race in the Circus Maximus. The chariots rush past the emperor, seated at left, while thousands of other Romans look on.
Informational Handout on Recreation
Trivia Question: Where was the best place to find a boyfriend or girlfriend in ancient Rome?
Trade and Travel
Ancient Romans busily unloading bundles of goods from one ship as another ship passes by. In the background, a tiny Colosseum is visible. This relief appears on Trajan's Column, which is erected in Rome following the death of Trajan in 117 C.E.
Informational Handout on Trade and Travel
Trivia Question: What was the most important thing for a Roman to do before beginning a journey?
Step 3: Travel Guide - Read the Guidelines for Creating an Illustrated Travel Guide to Ancient Rome and follow all directions given.
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