Teach Ancient Rome!
It is astounding to consider that from a small city on several hills, the Romans built the mightiest empire of the ancient world! Between 400 B.C. and A.D. 100, Roman armies conquered Italy, defeated the Greeks, and then took control of North Africa, Spain, the Middle East, and parts of Britain:
Make sure you teach your students that the Romans were not just soldiers and conquerors! Over 2,000 years since the collapse of the Ancient Rome, its impact continues in almost every aspect of our lives. For example, many of the laws that we know today originated in Ancient times. Romans believed that no one could be found guilty of a crime before the facts were thoroughly examined. They also believed that the accused had a right to defend themselves before a judge. The Latin word for “law” is “jus”, which became our word for “justice.” Besides the words we use in our language and the laws we live by, other influences include the letters of our alphabet and the engineering and construction of today’s buildings.
And any discussion of the Roman Empire would be incomplete without mention of the grand colisseum. To this day, it is still one of Rome’s most extraordinary buildings.
During ancient times, spectators crowded into the colisseum to watch the gladiator games. In order to make thrilling entrances and escapes, hidden elevators and trap doors enabled animals and men to pass through. Gruesome battles between gladiators and wild animals packed the colisseum with spectators who applauded and cheered as gladiators (who were slaves and convicted criminals) fought lions, tigers, and even each other to the death. Gladiators who satisfied the crowds might win their freedom; those who were especially brave and powerful were much admired.
Sometimes the floors of the Colosseum became flooded in order for gladiators to participate in sea skirmishes. Enormous, hungry crocodiles swam around the small ships in which the gladiators fought, anxious to devour those who tumbled overboard.
However, remember that when you teach history, it is your responsibility to be objective and fair to the history itself. So make sure your students understand that not all Romans enjoyed these brutal displays. In fact, some people, like the Roman politician Cicero, were disgusted by gladiator fights. Cicero wrote, "What pleasure can it give a person....when a feeble human being is torn to pieces by a strong wild animal?"
In order to teach a complete and thorough unit on the Ancient Roman Empire, you might need to assign some homework (see my philosophy regarding homework at the Getting Started section of OwlTeacher.com). This ensures that students acquire some critical background information so that class time is more devoted to discussions and classroom activities/projects.
You definitely want your students to learn and understand as much as possible regarding this civilization which continues to influence our world today. Depending on what aspect of Ancient Rome you would like to pay particular attention to, you will find a variety of films and books in our
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