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Step 1: Understanding the Information Historical Background (509 bc – ad 476)

753 BC – Romulus and Remus establish Rome, according to legend.

509 BC – Latin populace of Rome drive out Etruscans, Roman republic is established and Republican Period begins.

450 BC – Laws of the Twelve Tables are set down in writing.

390 BC – Gauls burn Rome.

246 – 146 BC – Rome overtakes Carthage in Punic Wars, begins overseas expansion to include all of Italy, entire European Mediterranean coast, and part of North Africa.

100 BC – Economic problems plague the Republic.

88 BC – Sulla becomes dictator, restores stability to government and strengthens the Senate.

60 BC – First Triumvirate is established

58 - 51 BC – Julius Caesar conquers Gaul, later becomes sole ruler of Roman world, Romans invade Britain.

44 BC – Caesar is assassinated by those wanting to restore the Republic.

27 BC – Augustus becomes first Roman emperor, Golden Age of Rome (Pax Romana) and Imperial Period begin.

13 – 9 BC – Ara Pacis is built.

AD 14 – Augustus dies.

AD 30 – Romans crucify Jesus Christ for treason, Christianity begins to spread.

AD 79 – Mt. Vesuvius erupts, destroying Pompeii and Herculaneum.

AD 81 – Arch of Titus is constructed.

AD 96 – 180 – Roman Empire reaches height of prosperity.

AD 98 – 117 – Rule of Trajan, Trajan’s columns constructed (106-113).

AD 117 – 138 – Rule of Hadrian, Hadrian’s Wall is built.

AD 135 – Hadrian’s Hunting Memorial is erected.

AD 161 – Marcus Aurelius becomes Emperor.

AD 180 – Commodus begins tyrannical rule, finishes Aurelius’s column, Pax Romana ends.

AD 200 – Roman Empire reaches its high point.

AD 193 – 284 – Title of Emperor changes many hands; breakdown of Roman Empire is hastened.

AD 203 – Arch of Septimus Severus is erected.

AD 286 – Diocletian divides Roman Empire into East and West.

AD 306 – Constantine becomes emperor of Eastern Empire.

AD 312 – 315 – Arch of Constantine is built.

AD 313 – Edict of Milan establishes freedom of worship.

Ad 324 – Constantine reunites the Empire.

AD 337 – Constantine dies, Empire is redivided.

AD 392 – Christianity becomes official religion of Roman Empire.

AD 395 – Empire is split for last time.

Ad 476 – Last Roman Emperor of the West is deposed, Rome falls.

AD 533 – Justinian codifies Roman laws.

Part I

Pre-Viewing Questions and Activities

  • Devise and refine a definition of the word architecture. Much of what we know about Ancient Rome is based on their architecture, including their columns, temples, memorial arches, aqueducts, and amphitheatres. Look for some of these constructions in Part I and be ready to explain why architecture was such an important art for the Romans.

  • Hypothesize what a twenty-fifth century archeologist might be able to tell about current culture by examining one of modern skyscrapers.

  • Briefly review the history and time line of the Ancient Greeks. Look for Greek influences on Roman culture in Part I.

  • When did Rome establish itself as a republic? What did it set up as its ruling body?

While watching the film find the answers to the following questions

  1. What is Roman art indicative of?

  2. What were the changes of tastes in Ancient Rome reflected in?

  3. Where did the original Latin people come from?

  4. What people moved into the area north of Rome?

  5. Who took over the rule of Rome during the 7-th century BC?

  6. When were the Etruscan Kings tossed out by the Latin populace?

  7. Two hundred years BC the Romans controlled all of Italy and the entire Mediterranean coast in Europe and part of North Africa didn’t they?

  8. What were the culture and the structure of the Republic which the Romans developed once they had ousted the Etruscan rulers? (a bourgeois, agricultural people, to remain basically unsophisticated, practical and earthbound, the most utilitarian of the arts, the invention of concrete, the use of the arch on a monumental scale, to enable smb. to build roads, bridges, amphitheatres, great size and scope were valued above painstaking detail, the matter of fact character of the Roman mind, the realism of Roman portrait sculpture, especially when compared with the Greek)

  9. How does the Roman face contrast with the idealized innocence of the Greek face? (to contrast dramatically with, a careworn face)

  10. What did the Greeks seek? (the ideal)

  11. What did the Romans prefer? (the ordinary and the everyday)

  12. Who used analogies of man and god to describe historical events?

  13. Who preferred to see the actual events in complete everyday factual detail?

  14. What did the Romans have a terrific knack for?

  15. What is still a model for modern societies? (the organization of the Roman Republican government, Senate, to consist of the most learned or influential people in the country)

  16. Did the loyalty of the well organized and efficient Roman armies also contribute to the stability of the early Republic?

  17. What did the Romans exercise towards the conquered peoples?

  18. What was worshipped by the Romans? (a superstitious nature worship, the concept of family)

  19. During the Imperial Period, after the death of Christ, Christianity began to threaten the personality cult that surrounded the Emperor, didn’t it?

  20. What did the Roman leaders try to do from that time on? (to control religion and make it a tool of the state)

  21. What did the Romans show tolerance for? (for foreign religious practices, for foreign ideas in general) Was it a significant virtue of Roman civilization?

  22. Who were the Romans’ acknowledged masters in the field of art and culture?

Post-Viewing Questions and Activities

  • How did the invention of concrete contribute to Roman culture? How might it be considered an appropriate symbol of the Roman character?

  • Why is the period from 509 BC to 27 B.C. called the Republican Period? What values, institutions, and practices made the Republican Period of Ancient Rome so successful?

  • What influence did the Greeks have on the religion, art and culture of Ancient Rome?