Identify aspects of city life in the Roman Empire.
Chrisp, Peter. The Roman Empire: Make It Work! Chicago: World Book, 1996.
Clare, John D. Classical Rome: Living History. San Diego: HBJ, 1993.
Hinds, Kathryn. The Ancient Romans. New York: Benchmark Books, 1997.
Roman aqueducts are also discussed in an Art lesson on the Pont du Gard this month.
Ask: What is the name of the first Roman Emperor? (Augustus) Tell the students that the rule of Emperor Augustus marked the beginning of a long period of stability which became known as the Pax Romana, which means Roman peace. A peace that lasted for 200 years.
Tell the students that the Romans welcomed this time of peace in the Roman Empire. Explain that there had been a number of conflicts within Rome and within its territories; the Roman people were ready for a time of peace.
Explain that many Romans lived in large cities and at the heart of each city was a forum (write the word on the board). Explain that the forum was a large open area, used as a market and a public meeting place. Tell the students that because the only wealthy people had cooking areas in their homes, most people went to the forum to eat their meals. Explain that there were food stands in the forum where people could buy cooked food. Tell the students that temples for worshipping gods and the current emperor were also built in the forum.
Tell the students that public entertainment was another important aspect of city life. Explain that amphitheaters (large open buildings--like stadiums), and circuses (long race tracks), were built to hold public sporting events. You may wish to show the students a picture of the Colosseum in Rome as an example of an amphitheater. If you are able to show the students a picture of the Colosseum, tell the students that the Colosseum is the one of the most famous Roman amphitheaters and is the largest Roman structure left standing today.
Tell the students that the amphitheaters housed gladiator fights. Ask the students if they know what a gladiator is (some students may be familiar with the American Gladiators). Tell the students that gladiators during Roman times were men who fought against another gladiator or an animal. Explain that the gladiators wore armor and used weapons. Explain that gladiators were usually slaves who were owned by masters or criminals. The contests lasted until one gladiator was killed or badly wounded; the wounded man threw away his weapons and begged for mercy from the crowd and the emperor.
Explain that the crowd would shout out its verdict, but the final decision was left up to the emperor. If the gladiator had fought well, the emperor could spare his life by giving the "thumbs-up" sign; if the gladiator had not fought well, the emperor would give the thumbs-down sign and the winner would kill the losing gladiator. Tell the students that if the gladiator won, he would sometimes win his freedom.
Explain to the students that the long race track of the circus was used for chariot racing. Tell the students that the most famous Roman circus was called the Circus Maximus in Rome.
Tell the students that two or four teams (riders, chariots, and horses) would compete by racing seven times around a long, narrow track which had turning points at each end. Tell the students that each chariot was pulled on average by four horses that ran side by side. Explain that chariot racing was very dangerous--men and horses were often killed when chariots crashed. The teams were named after colors; there were the reds, whites, blues, and greens. Explain that just as there are sports fans that follow football, baseball, or basketball today, people in Ancient Rome supported their favorite charioteers.
Ask: What modern day sports event is similar to a gladiator event--without the deaths? (wrestling, boxing, American Gladiators) Chariot racing? (car racing, horse racing, motorcycle racing)
Tell the students that many Romans also enjoyed going to public bathhouses. Explain that the public bathhouses were places were people went to not only wash their bodies, but to also exercise and socialize. Tell the students that instead of soap, Romans used olive oil to clean their skin. They rubbed the oil onto their bodies and scraped the oil and the dirt off with a curved metal tool called a strigil (STREE-gil). Tell the students that the bathhouses had many different rooms with hot or warm water baths, cold water baths, and swimming pools for exercise and entertainment.
Tell the students that as they can imagine the baths required a good deal of water. Explain that the Romans had developed structures called aqueducts to bring water from rivers and lakes into Roman cities. Explain that an aqueduct is a channel for carrying water on a bridge across a valley or underground in pipes. Tell the students that for Romans it was extremely important to provide a supply of water to the towns, not just for drinking, but to provide water for bathhouses. If possible show the students a picture of an aqueduct from one of the books listed above.
Give each student a sheet of white lined paper. Have the students choose in which of the above Ancient Roman pastimes they would have liked to have taken part. Ask them to describe the pastime and tell why they would have chosen to take part in it.
Third Grade - World History - Lesson 28 - Pompeii
Identify reasons why Roman roads were considered to be well-built.
Identify what archaeologists can learn about the past from artifacts and ancient ruins.
Classroom-size world map
The starred books in the list contain photographs of the ruins at Pompeii.
*Humphrey, Kathryn Long. Pompeii: Nightmare at Midday. New York: Franklin Watts, 1990.
This book describes the destruction of Pompeii and modern efforts to excavate and reconstruct the site of the ancient city.
Steele, Philip. The Romans and Pompeii: Hidden Worlds. New York: Dillon Press, 1994.
This book describes the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. that destroyed the town of Pompeii, and how archaeologists are able to learn about early Roman life through excavations there.
Andrews, Ian. Pompeii. Minneapolis: Lerner, 1980.
*Connolly, Peter. Pompeii. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
*Goor, Ron and Nancy. Pompeii: Exploring a Ghost Town. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1986.
*Hicks, Peter. Pompeii and Herculaneum : Digging up the Past. New York: Thomson Learning, 1996.
Ask: What is the name of the structures that carried water into Roman cities? (aqueducts) How was the water carried? Tell the students that the Romans were master architects--in addition to building aqueducts to carry water, they also built an amazing system of roads and bridges throughout the Roman Empire.
Explain that the Romans had an extensive system of roads because the first thing that the Roman army did after conquering a new area was build roads to make it easier for the troops to move quickly. Tell the students that in order to make the roads easy to travel they were built as straight as possible and the surface of the road was raised in the middle so that the water would not collect on the roads, but would instead run off to the sides where gutters were dug. Explain that the roads also tied the Roman Empire together by making the movement of people and goods within the empire easier.
Tell the students that the Roman roads and bridges were built so well that many of them are still used today. Remind the students that the roads began being built over 2,000 years ago. Explain to the students that the roads have lasted for such a long time because the Romans built roads in layers to make them extra strong. The steps involved were: soldiers and slaves dug a wide trench, and the layers of the road--sand, concrete blocks, small stones, and stone blocks--were built up to make the road very strong. Draw and label on the board a cross-section showing the different layers of the road (example below).
Tell the students that one famous Roman road, called the Appian Way, started from Rome and went to the southern tip of Italy's boot heel. Show the distance on the board by having a student locate Italy and Rome on the world map and then point out the heel of Italy's boot. Explain that most often when the Romans began building a road in a newly conquered territory they would start by building the road in the direction of Rome. This is how the saying "All roads lead to Rome" began. Ask: What does this expression say about Rome? (Rome was an important city.)
Ask: How do you think historians came to know as much as they do about what life was like during Ancient Rome? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Explain that in addition to written documents, maps, and artifacts, Roman roads, bridges and buildings have been preserved and are still standing in many parts of what was the Roman Empire. Tell the students that one of the best sources of information about daily life in Ancient Rome is a city in Italy called Pompeii.
Explain to the students that Pompeii was an Ancient Roman city that was buried under ash after a volcano erupted. Tell the students that when the volcano, Mt. Vesuvius, erupted the volcanic ash killed thousands of people who lived there and buried the city. Explain that nearly 1,500 years later the city was rediscovered and archaeologists began digging it out. Tell the students that the exciting thing about the discovery of Pompeii was that the city was frozen in time--the archaeologists found that were shops, restaurants, and temples; the remains of people's bodies where they had fallen; signs and paintings on the walls of buildings; and even bread that had been baking in ovens. Show students pictures of the ruins at Pompeii (see Suggested Books).Ask: What kind of information could we learn from a city frozen in time? What could you learn about the people of Pompeii by knowing what kind of shops they had in their town? restaurants? tools? public buildings--such as government buildings? Explain that from all of these things we can learn what kinds of goods and services were provided for the people of Pompeii and what some did to earn a living.
Tell the students that one archaeologist named Giuseppe Fiorelli realized that the volcanic ash had molded around the people from Pompeii's bodies, so he decided to pour plaster into the holes made by the bodies. Explain that after the plaster dried he was able to remove the outside covering to get a plaster cast of the bodies. Tell the students that if they were to visit Pompeii today, they could walk around the streets of Pompeii and see the plaster figures--showing their bodies and sometimes even the impressions of the peoples' clothing, shoes, jewelry, and facial expressions. Show students pictures of plaster figures (see Suggested Books).
Give each student a sheet of white lined paper. Have the students complete the following writing activity
Become familiar with the historical beginnings of Christianity.
Recognize Constantine I as the first Christian emperor of Rome.
Classroom-size world map
Map of the Roman Empire (attached) - for transparency
Watson, Carol. Christian: Beliefs and Cultures. Danbury, CT: Childrens Press, 1996.
This book introduces Christianity by presenting some of its teachings and historical development. It includes suggestions for craft projects related to topics presented.
Roberts, Paul C. Ancient Rome. New York: Time-Life Books, 1997.
Tell the students that during the reign of Augustus, a man named Jesus Christ also lived. Explain that Christ began preaching to people who believed in his words and became his followers. Christ's followers believed that Christ was chosen by their God to lead them.
Tell the students that the Romans were generally tolerant of religions, except Christianity. Christians, the followers of Christ, refused to worship and make sacrifices to the Roman emperor because the teachings of Christ said that there was only one true God and no other should be worshiped. Explain that this conflicted with the official Roman view that the Roman emperors were gods and because of this the Romans resented and persecuted (harassed) the Christians.
Explain that thousands of Christians were killed or put in prison for their beliefs. Have the students recall the gladiator events held for entertainment. Tell the students that many Christian prisoners were used for these events. Ask: Why do you think Roman officials would be against allowing people to disagree with the government? (The Roman rulers were afraid that the followers of Christ would undermine their power.)
Tell the students that Christ was declared a rebel against the state of Rome and he was ordered to be killed. After Christ's death, the Christian religion was carried on by his followers. Tell the students that Christianity was a popular religion because it said that no matter who you were, rich or poor, you were promised life in heaven after death if you followed the beliefs of Christianity.
Tell the students that the religion spread quickly and 300 years after the death of Jesus Christ the emperor Constantine I became the first Christian emperor of Rome and he made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Tell the students that Constantine changed the Roman Empire in three main ways. (As you list the ways the empire changed, write them on the board.)
Explain that the first was that he issued a statement saying that all religions were free to exist in Rome and that Christians in particular were not to be bothered. Secondly, he moved the capital of the empire from Rome to the city of Byzantium, which is today the city of Istanbul in Turkey. Point to the two cities on a world map to show the change. Explain that the empire had gotten so large that Constantine made a third change--he divided the empire into two parts, and had one of his sons rule the Eastern Roman Empire and the other rule the Western Roman Empire.
Remind the students that the Roman Empire was made up of what are today known as southern England, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Germany and France. Using a world map, show how large an area this is. Next, display the map transparency and direct the students' attention to the dark line at the center of the map. Tell the students that the part to the left of the line is the Western Roman Empire and the part to the right is the Eastern Roman Empire.
Explain that Constantine had hoped that by splitting the empire it would be easier to rule and protect from outside invaders. Ask: Do you think splitting the empire into two areas was a good or bad idea? Why? Tell the students that it was still difficult to keep order in the two areas of the empire. Not only were people within the empire rebelling, but a real problem came from outside the empire. Explain that outside invaders were attacking the borders of the empire and the Romans could not defend themselves on all sides at once. Show on the map that it would be difficult to defend the Roman Empire at all of its borders because the empire was so large. Ask the students to name the directions from which the invaders might have attacked (the routes they may have traveled).
Ask: What do you think happened to the Roman Empire? Tell the students that in the next lesson they will learn what happened to the Roman Empire.
Third Grade - World History - Lesson 30 - The Fall of the Roman Empire
Identify the reasons behind the fall of the Roman Empire.
Describe the changes that occurred after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Map transparency from Lesson 29
Classroom-size world map
Chart paper or sentence strips
Hirsch, E. D. What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know. New York: Dell, 1992.
Ross, Stewart. Spotlight on Medieval Europe. East Sussex, England: Wayland, 1986.
Remind the students that although the Roman Empire began in the city of Rome, it gradually expanded over hundreds of years to include what are today known as southern England, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Germany and France. On a world map, show how large an area this is. Review with the students that as the Romans conquered new lands, they brought order and civilization to the places they took over. Ask: What did the Romans do after they conquered a new territory to accomplish this? (They built roads and buildings similar to the ones they had in Rome and they had a strong army to protect the empire from attacks.)
Display the transparency of the Roman Empire. Tell the students that the shaded area shows the Roman Empire. Ask: What are some things you notice about the Roman Empire? (Prompt students to discuss the size of the Empire--that it spread across Europe and Asia, and into northern Africa.) Direct the students' attention to the dark line at the center of the map. Ask: Why did Emperor Constantine divide the Roman Empire into two parts. (Because the empire was large, it was difficult for one person to rule.) Ask: What is the part of the empire to the left of the line called? (the Western Roman Empire) To the right? (the Eastern Roman Empire)
Explain that even though the empire was split, it was still a very large area to rule and protect. Tell the students that there were groups of people to the north who wanted to take over the lands of the Roman Empire. The groups as a whole were called Germanic tribes. Write the phrase on the board. Direct the students' attention back to the map transparency. Point to the area north of the Roman Empire from which the Germanic tribes came. Tell the students that the names of some of the tribes were the Franks, the Vandals, the Visigoths, and the Saxons. Write these names on the board. Explain that these groups attacked cities in the Roman Empire killing people, stealing, and destroying entire villages.
Tell the students that one reason the Germanic tribes attacked cities in the Roman Empire was that they wanted to take over the wealthy cities and the good farming land that existed in the Roman Empire. Also the tribes were being forced out of their homelands by a tribe from Asia called the Huns. Write the name on the board. Tell the students that the leader of the Huns was named Attila (the Hun) and he was a fierce leader. Attila and his warriors drove the Germanic tribes out of their land in the area north of the Roman Empire.
Explain that even the powerful city of Rome did not last against the attacks of the tribes. Tell the students that the Visigoths attacked Rome in 410 A.D. Next, the Vandals attacked Rome in 455 A.D. Ask: What word do we use today to describe when someone destroys someone else's property? (vandalize) Explain that the word vandalize and vandalism came from the name of the Vandal tribe (write the words on the board) because of the way they destroyed cities, including Rome. Explain that the end of the Roman Empire is said to have happened in 476 A.D., when the last Roman emperor was overthrown by a general from one of the Germanic tribes. Explain that after Rome was overthrown, the Roman Empire was divided into small regions that were ruled by different tribes.
Write the words Roman Empire on the board. List the characteristics of the Roman Empire under this heading on the board as you discuss them with the students. Tell the students that the Roman Empire was made up of planned cities, an organized system of roads on which to travel, a smoothly running government, laws to keep order and safety, a system of money, and a system of writing. Have the students also recall what they know about Roman aqueducts and buildings.
Ask: What do you think happened to the Roman civilization after the Germanic tribes moved in and took over? Remind the students about the word vandal and give the students a hint by telling them that the time period after the fall of the Roman Empire is sometimes called the Dark Ages. Write the words on the board. Record appropriate student responses on the board.
Tell the students that the term Dark Ages referred to the fact that
the Germanic leaders who took over areas of the Roman Empire were not able
to keep up the accomplishments of the Romans before them. Therefore a good
deal of what the Romans had done in the areas of the arts, medicine, literature,
government, architecture, and science were forgotten.
Dineen, Jacqueline. The Romans: Worlds of the Past. New York:
New Discovery, 1992. (0-02-730651-8)
Hughes, Jill. Imperial Rome. New York: Gloucester Press, 1985. (0-531-17003-9)
Humphrey, Kathryn Long. Pompeii: Nightmare at Midday. New York: Franklin Watts, 1990. 0-531-10895-3)
James, Simon. Rome: Great Civilizations. New York: Franklin Watts, 1987. (0-531-103994)
Steele, Philip. The Romans and Pompeii: Hidden Worlds. New York: Dillon Press, 1994. (0-87518-538-X)
Watson, Carol. Christian: Beliefs and Cultures. Danbury, CT: Childrens Press, 1996. (0-516-08085-7)
Andrews, Ian. Pompeii. Minneapolis: Lerner, 1980. (0-8225-1220-3)
Chrisp, Peter. The Roman Empire: Make It Work! Chicago: World Book, 1996. (0-7166-1727-7)
Clare, John D. Classical Rome: Living History. San Diego: HBJ, 1993. (0-15-200513-7)
Connolly, Peter. Pompeii. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. (0-19-917159-9)
Goor, Ron and Nancy. Pompeii: Exploring a Ghost Town. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1986. (0-690-04515-8)
Hicks, Peter. Pompeii and Herculaneum : Digging up the Past. New York: Thomson Learning, 1996. (1-56847-398-2)
Hinds, Kathryn. The Ancient Romans. New York: Benchmark Books, 1997. (0-7614-0090-7)
Roberts, Paul C. Ancient Rome. New York: Time-Life Books, 1997. (0-7835-4909-1)
Robinson, Charles Alexander. Ancient Rome. New York: Franklin Watts, 1984. (0-531-04728-8)
Odijk, Pamela. The Romans: The Ancient World. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Silver Burdett, 1989. (0-382-09885-4)