Find out why teachers and school leaders love PlanBee
Find out why teachers and school leaders love PlanBee
The Romans were a fascinating civilisation that lasted for 500 years. Check out these fascinating Roman facts to help you find out all about the Romans and the Roman Empire!
The ancient Roman civilisation began in 753 BC when King Romulus founded the city of Rome (naming it after himself). Over the next thousand years, this small city grew into a large empire. The ancient Romans became one of the most influential civilisations in history, conquering areas in Europe, Africa and Asia.
Ancient Rome began as a kingdom and was ruled over by kings for 240 years. It then became a republic. This means that it was run by elected officials called senators and that there was a constitution agreeing how the republic should be run. Nearly five hundred years later however, Rome became an empire that was ruled over by an emperor. Caesar Augustus was the first Roman emperor. Emperors had almost complete control over the whole empire.
Julius Caesar first invaded Britain in 55 BC. There were several battles between the Roman army and the Celtic tribes who lived in Britain at the time, but the Romans didn’t have a large enough army and they retreated. The following year, Julius Caesar attacked Britain again with a larger army. They still didn’t defeat the Celts but the Romans promised to leave Britain if the Celts paid tribute to Rome.
It wasn’t until Emperor Claudius invaded for a third time nearly a hundred years later in 43 AD that the Romans finally conquered Britain. Battles continued for several years afterwards but eventually the Romans gained control and Britain became part of the Roman Empire.
The Romans had a very well organised army which allowed them to conquer other countries. The Roman army was one of the most successful armies in history and far more advanced than any other army at the time.
The Roman army was made up of legions which had nearly 5000 men each. Legions were organised in a very specific way:
Roman soldiers had to be very tough and highly trained. They had to walk long distances to battles carrying heavy equipment, such as weapons, tents and food.
Life in ancient Rome depended very much on which social class you belonged to. Roman society was hierarchical, meaning some people were considered to be much more important than others:
Women had few rights in Rome, however rich or poor they were. Women couldn’t vote and were controlled by the ‘paterfamilias’ – the male head of the household.
Romans generally ate foods they could grow, rear or catch. Poorer Romans would eat vegetables and grains, only having meat occasionally when they could afford it (or catch it for themselves). Richer Romans had a much wider variety of foods and ate meat regularly.
The Romans ate three meals a day. They had breakfast (which they called ientaculum), lunch (which they called prandium) and their main meal in the evening (which they called cena).
If you lived in a city, you probably lived in an insula. This was an apartment building between three and five stories high. These were often cramped and badly built. If you were richer, you would live in larger single homes called domus. These usually had many rooms off an atrium which was a room in the centre of the house with an open roof.
Poor Romans who lived in the countryside would live in shacks or cottages while rich Romans would live in large, sprawling villas.
The Romans built communal bath houses for people to bathe in. Bathing was important in ancient Rome, both for keeping clean and as a social activity. People would go to the bathhouses to socialise and relax, as well as to keep clean.
The Romans had much more advanced technology than many other civilisations at the time. They developed many things that had been used before and made them better, such as sewers, aqueducts and roads, but they also invented lots of new things, many of which we still use today:
Lots of different factors caused the downfall of Rome. With such a large empire to rule, it became difficult to manage all the different territories and communicate from one place to another. There were also lots of threats from the Huns, barbarians and many other tribes. The army became weaker until eventually, the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was defeated and replaced by a Germanic prince called Odovacar. The Roman Empire, which had existed for 500 years, was over.
The Romans did lots for us, from the roads we still use today to the language we speak, their influence on Britain can be seen in lots of places.
The buildings built prior to the Romans were mainly made from timber and they were small and round. The Romans built using stone, rather than wood. Their buildings were much larger than those previously built in Britain and they lasted longer.
The Romans kept towns and forts clean by using fresh water and drainage. Aqueducts brought water into towns, and drains kept the streets and houses clean. The remains of Roman toilets and baths can be seen in many Roman forts.
The Romans constructed wide, straight roads to help transport goods around their empire. Their empire was large and they needed reliable routes around it. They built small local roads and long, broad highways spanning thousands of miles. About 2,000 miles of these roads were in Britain.
Looking for a free downloadable Roman roads resources for your class? Click here!
Lots of modern languages were derived from (this means came from) Latin. About 60 percent of the words in the English language have Greek or Latin roots. There are some Latin words you might use without realising it, for example the words acumen, agenda, obvious, ego, semi, versus, vice versa, rapport and ambiguous. There are also English words that are based on the Latin word, for example the word plumbing exists because the Romans made their pipes out of lead and the word for lead in Latin is plumbum.
The Roman calendar originally consisted of 10 months and 304 days. This calendar is thought to have been introduced by Romulus in 700s BC. The 10 months were named Martius, Aprilis, Maius, Junius, Quintilis, Sextilis, September, October, November, and December.
The months January and February are thought to have been added by the Roman ruler Numa Pompilus, in 700-600s BC. This made the calendar 355 days long. He also added an additional month called Mercedonius, which was included in the calendar every other year. In these years the calendar was 377 days long.
In 46 BC the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar, was the first to have 365 days in a year and a leap year every 4 years. This is the basis of the calendar we use today. Our calendar is called the Gregorian calendar. Did you know that the months of our year are based on Roman names?
You may be wondering why the ordinal numbers given to the months aren’t consistent with where they appear in our calendar today. This is because the names of these months haven’t changed since Romulus’ original Roman calendar. In Romulus’ original calendar July was called Quintills meaning fifth month and August was called Sextilis meaning sixth month.
The Romans were not the first people to make coins in England, but they introduced the idea of using coins as currency to buy things. Roman coins could be used in lots of different countries including Britain, North Africa and Turkey.
The Romans introduced street stalls to Britain, could this tasty convenient food be the first example of fast food?! They also brought other staples like apples, pears, plums, grapes, peas, onions and carrots to Britain.
The Romans introduced a number of animals to Britain including the hare, peacock, pheasants and domestic cats.
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