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Dictation 4

From the History of Great Britain

Departure of the Romans

The Romans stopped in Britain for nearly four hundred years, and during the greater part of that time there was peace and quiet in the country. So long as the Roman soldiers were there, there was little fear of any fresh enemy coming and taking the country. But at length there came news from Rome that a formidable enemy was marching against Italy. At such a time every Roman soldier was needed to defend Italy and Rome; and orders were sent that the armies, which were in Britain, should return to Italy.

This was sad news for the Britons, for by this time they had come to look upon the Romans more as friends, than as enemies, and they feared to loose the Roman soldiers who had so long protected them from every enemy. Besides, the Romans had built towns in Britain; many of them were married to British wives, and they had begun to teach the Britons the arts they had brought with them from Italy.

For all these reasons, the Britons were upset when the order came for the Roman legions to sail across the Strait of Dover and leave the white cliffs of Britain behind them. The roman armies left Britain in 410 A.D. because northern tribes, the Huns and Goths, were attacking Rome. They had given the country a system of roads, which was to be important for many centuries; Christianity, which was now the Emperors' religion, and a language, which had a great influence on the way English, is spoken today.

Dictation 5 Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle

A “philosopher” is a person who tries to understand the laws of nature and the universe. A philosopher looks at life by asking such questions as: What qualities make a person good? What type of government best serves the people? What is beauty? How should man be educated? How was the world created? What is love? What laws are fair and just? By seeking answers to these questions, man can improve his knowledge and way of life.

The first great philosophers were Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. All three lived in Greece several hundred years before the birth of Christ. Their studies and teachings had a great influence on the people of ancient Greece, and continued to influence civilization to modern times. After studying mankind and the universe, the philosophers came to certain conclusions about the laws of nature.

Dictation 6 The Roman Republic

In 500 BC, Rome was just one of many small towns in Italy. But by 133 BC, it had gained control of all of Italy and had conquered foreign lands as well. Roman armies won victories in Spain, Greece, Macedonia, Asia Minor, and North Africa.

There were several reasons for the success of the Romans. First, Rome was located in the center of the Mediterranean world. This made it easy for its army and navy to move quickly in any direction. Second, soldiers were courageous and well-trained, and battles were carefully planned ahead of time by able generals. Also, the Romans had the ability to turn their defeated enemies into friends. Eventually, conquered peoples accepted wise and capable Roman rule and the peace that it brought.

The government in the early years of the Roman Republic had three branches – the consuls, the Senate, and the Assembly. Each branch had various powers.