The Roman Republic was the dominant power in the Mediterranean region by the first century B.C. Over five centuries it expanded from an isolated city-state to a regional powerhouse.
The Roman Republic GeoStory is an excellent way to explore the development of the republic. With students, you can explore the myths surrounding the founding of Rome and then delve into how the Romans viewed their ancestors and how they connected their society to the past. This can naturally progress students’ exploration into how Rome’s society developed. Point out to students what daily life was like in ancient Rome, the divisions between the patricians and plebeians, and Rome’s increasing activity as a maritime trading power.
The significant moments in the republic’s history are also reviewed. Help students discover how Rome crushed its chief rival, Carthage, in the Punic Wars, or the tumultuous period of social reform movements initiated by the Gracchus brothers that introduced escalating political violence to the city of Rome.
Finally, guide your students through the great internal conflict between Julius Caesar and his rivals. From the formation of the First Triumvirate to Octavius’s victory at the Battle of Actium, Rome descends and collapses from its republican form and is reborn as an empire under Augustus. Students can utilize the questions included with this GeoStory to check their understanding and learn additional facts about the Romans with the Fast Facts section.
Guide your students to visit the links included in the Explore More section to dive even deeper into Rome’s world.
Rome made many technological advances and contributed to the spread of information. Rome produced some of the world’s first newspapers, called Acta Diurna or (daily acts). These newspapers would be written on stone or metal and convey public notices, including information about military victories, gladiatorial games, and prominent family news, such as births, deaths, and marriages. These “newspapers” were often displayed in the city center.
Similar to ancient Greeks, ancient Romans were originally polytheistic, meaning they believed in and worshipped many gods. The early Romans worshipped their gods at a temple on Capitoline Hill. Each of the gods, like Greek gods, had human characteristics and represented human emotions such as jealousy, hate, and love.
The Romans imported goods from every corner of their territory. Wine from Gaul, olive oil and gold from Spain, and silks from their eastern provinces. The Romans developed perhaps the most advanced trading system in the ancient world. For example, archeological evidence has led researchers to estimate that olive oil factories in Spain could produce 100,000 liters a year!
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry Aeneas Noun
mythical hero of the Trojan War said to have been involved in the founding of Rome.
style and design of buildings or open spaces.
material remains of a culture, such as tools, clothing, or food.
Battle of Actium Noun
battle fought in 31 B.C. between the Roman armies of Gaius Octavius and an alliance of Mark Antony and Egyptian ruler Cleopatra; the battle is won by Octavius.
Battle of Carrhae Noun
battle fought between Rome and Parthia in 53 B.C. where the Parthian general Surena defeated the Roman army led by Marcus Licinius Crassus, who died at the battle.
Battle of Pharsalus Noun
battle fought in 48 B.C. between factions of the Roman Republic led by Julius Caesar against his rival, Pompey the Great in an ancient Greek city; the battle is won by Caesar’s army, defeating Pompey who flees to Egypt.
ancient city located in modern day Tunisia in northern Africa.
independent political state consisting of a single city and sometimes surrounding territory.
complex way of life that developed as humans began to develop urban settlements.
Encyclopedic Entry: civilization Conflict of the Orders Noun
(494 – 287 B.C.) ongoing conflict between the plebeian and patrician classes in the Roman Republic, mostly concerning the distribution of power within the government and plebeian rights.
to overcome an enemy or obstacle.
one of two chief officials of the ancient Roman republic who were elected every year.
person with complete control of a government.
(~768 BCE-264 BCE) people and culture native to Etruria, in what is now northern and central Italy.
good or service traded to another area.
First Triumvirate Noun
informal political alliance formed in 60 B.C. between Julius Caesar, Pompey the Great, and Marcus Licinius Crassus to control the Roman Republic.
Gaius Gracchus Noun
Roman tribune in 123 B.C., sponsored state-subsidized grain for poorer citizens, and pushed for full enfranchisement of Italian peoples as Roman citizens; committed suicide during an assault on his supporters by allies of his opposition in the Roman Senate.
Gaius Octavius Noun
(63 B.C. -14 A.D.) first Roman emperor; defeated Caesar’s assassins and political rival Mark Antony, establishes the Roman Empire.
professional fighter in ancient Rome fought to the death for public spectacle.
(247-183 BCE) general of the Carthaginian Empire.
Encyclopedic Entry: Hannibal Julius Caesar Noun
(100 BCE-44 BCE) leader of ancient Rome.
Lucius Junius Brutus Noun
(6th-century B.C.) military leader in ancient Rome that defeated an Etruscan king to begin the period of the Roman Republic.
Marcus Crassus Noun
(115 B.C.-53 B.C.) leader of ancient Rome, a member of the first triumvirate.
Marcus Lepidus Noun
(died c.12 B.C.) Roman statesman and ruler of Rome with Mark Antony, and Octavius (later Emperor Augustus) as part of the Second Triumvirate.
Mark Antony Noun
(83 B.C. –30 B.C.) general of ancient Rome under Julius Caesar, who was allied with Cleopatra.
Roman god of war.
Roman god of trade and commerce.
hill on which the city of Rome was founded.
ancient empire that conquered the Middle East in the second century B.C.; the Roman General Crassus was killed attempting to invade the region in 53 B.C.
a noble or person of high rank.
piece of land jutting into a body of water.
Encyclopedic Entry: peninsula plebeian Noun
common or low-ranking person.
(106 BCE-48 B.C.) leader of ancient Rome, a member of the first triumvirate.
governor or military commander of an ancient Roman province, often as an administrator.
Ptolemy XIII Noun
(62 B.C. -47 B.C.) Egyptian pharaoh during the Roman civil war between Caesar and Pompey; initially aids Pompey’s military but orders him to be executed following Pompey’s defeat at Pharsalus and arrival to Egypt.
Punic Wars Noun
three wars waged by Rome against Carthage, 264–241, 218–201, and 149–146 B.C., resulting in the destruction of Carthage and the annexation of its territory by Rome.
Queen Dido Noun
(c. 813 B.C.) legendary founder and queen of the city of Carthage.
Quintus Hortensius Noun
Roman dictator in 287 B.C., known for ending the Conflict of the Orders by passing the Lex Hortensia, stating all resolutions of the plebeian assembly were binding on all Roman citizens without the approval of the Senate.
twin brother of Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome, who was killed by his brother.
system of government where power rests in citizens who vote and representatives who stand for those citizens. The United States is a republic.
mythical founder of Rome after killing his twin brother, Remus.
shallow river in northern Italy that Julius Caesar and his army crossed in 49 BCE, beginning a civil war in ancient Rome.
(236-183 B.C.) general of the Roman Republic who defeated Hannibal in the Second Punic War; known as Scipio Africanus.
Second Triumvirate Noun
a coalition formed in 43 B.C. between Gaius Octavius, Mark Antony, and Marcus Lepidus to wage war against the conspirators who carried out Julius Caesar’s assassination and seize power of the Roman Republic.
elected lawmaking assembly.
land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.
Tiberius Gracchus Noun
Roman tribune in 133 B.C., sponsored agrarian reforms in the republic, was assassinated by members of the Roman Senate.
Tiber River Noun
river that runs through the city of Rome.
group or association of three.
Trojan War Noun
(~1194-1184 BCE) ancient conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans, written about by ancient poets and historians in works such as the Iliad.
ancient city on the Aegean coast of what is now northwestern Turkey. Also called Troia and Ilion.
Roman goddess of love and beauty.