Unit 5 – Table of contents

    1. The foundation of Rome.
    2. Monarchy (753-509 BCE).
    1. Political system and institutions.
    2. Social conflicts: the fight over political rights.
    3. The territorial expansion of Rome.
    4. The end of the Republic.
  3. THE EMPIRE (27 BCE-476 AD).
    1. The High Roman Empire (1st to 3rd centuries AD)
    2. The Low Roman Empire (4th and 5th centuries AD)
    1. Society
    2. Roman urbanism and cities.
    3. Roman economy.
    1. Roman gods and worship.
    2. Christianity.
    3. Roman culture.
    1. Architecture.
    2. Sculpture.
    3. Other art forms.

Unit 5 – Timeline of Ancient Rome

Complete a timeline of the history of Ancient Rome with the following dates:


  • 753 BCE – 509 BCE – Monarchy.
  • 509 – 27 BCE – Republic.
  • 27 BCE – 284 AD – High Empire.
  • 284 – 476 AD – Lower Empire.


  • 264-146 BCE – Punic Wars.
  • 44 BCE – Assasination of Julius Caesar.
  • 330 AD – Capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople.
  • 395 AD – Division of the Empire into Eastern and Western.

Careful with the BCE and AD difference, and follow the instructions for doing timelines.

Informative texts

Here you have the topics for the informative texts for this unit:

  • The Roman Republic: political institutions and territorial expansion.
  • The origins of the Roman Empire: the end of the Republic, the beginning of the Empire and political organisation.
  • The evolution of the Roman Empire: the High Roman Empire.
  • The evolution of the Roman Empire: the Lower Roman Empire.

Remember the characteristics of informative texts, with an introduction and sequence of ideas separated by paragraphs. Remember to take the notes into account, and not the textbook.

Text – Romulus and Remus: the foundation of Rome

“Romulus and his twin brother, Remus, were the sons of a priestess named Rhea Sylvia and of Mars, the god of war. Rhea Sylvia was the daughter of Numitor, who was the rightful king of Alba, but the throne had been taken away from him by his wicked brother Amulius. Amulius, being afraid that the children of Numitor might try to take his crown as he had taken their father’s, had killed Numitor’s sons and obliged his daughter, Rhea Sylvia, to become a vestal virgin. Vestal virgins were the priestesses of Vesta, one of the heathen goddesses, and their chief duty was to look after the sacred fire that burned in her temples, and to see that it never went out. There was a severe law against their marrying and having children.

So, when Amulius made Rhea Sylvia a vestal virgin, it thought there would be no fear of any one after her doing him any harm. He was therefore very angry when Rhea Sylvia became the mother of Romulus and Remus, and declared that Mars was her husband. He had her buried alive, and the two little infants were put in a basket and thrown in the river Tiber to be drowned. […] The basket was carried by the tide till it reached a place where the water was very shallow. […] They would have perished of hunger and cold had it not been for a she-wolf, who fondled and fed them as if they were her own offspring until a shepherd named Faustulus found the two boys and carried them home to his wife.

Romulus and Remus were unusually robust and beautiful infants, and as they grew into boyhood they were noted for their bravery. In public games both showed remarkable skill, and their manners were so kind and affable that everybody loved them. In course of time they became famous because of their readiness to defend the oppressed, and their courage in punishing robbers and other wicked people.

[…] Romulus and Remus did not wish to stay at Alba, because so long as their grandfather lived they would not assume the reins of government. So, after placing Numitor on the throne, they resolved to return to the spot where their infancy had been passed, and there try to build up a city.

[…] Romulus and Remus occupied themselves at once with the laying out of their city, but a dispute arose as to its site, for the former selected a square which he called Rome, while the latter chose a piece of ground on the Aventine Mount which he called Remonium. Neither was willing to yield, for each thought that the spot he had chosen possessed more natural advantages than the other. At last, no amount of argument proving of any avail in bringing the brothers to an agreement, it was decided to settle the question by means of an augury. Placing themselves at a considerable distance apart in the open air, Romulus and Remus waited to see what would happen.

After a while the latter announced that he had seen six vultures, whereupon the former declared that he had seen twelve, and the contest was therefore decided in favor of Romulus. […] But Romulus told an untruth, for he did not really see more vultures than his brother did. When Remus discovered the cheat, he was so angry that he ridiculed the ditch that Romulus had dug for his foundation wall, and jumped over it, contemptuously exclaiming, “Just so will the enemy leap over.” “And in this manner will our citizens repulse the enemy,” cried a bystander, as he dealt Remus a deadly blow.

Romulus buried his brother, and then proceeded with the building of his city. […] Romulus marked out the bounds of the city with a brazen ploughshare, to which he yoked a bull and a cow.

[…] It is supposed that on the 21st of April the building of Rome began, and the Romans always regard that day as their country’s birthday.”


The Punic Wars

Download the text here: The Punic Wars

“In the year 264 BCE, when reaching the South of the Italian Peninsula, the Romans clashed with a city-state of Phoenician origin placed in North Africa: Carthage. This city had already established its power in the West of Sicily. In many aspects, Carthage was the opposite of Rome: it was a sea and maritime power, and their wealth and influence were based on trade. Also, since they could never be sure of the loyalty of those peoples under their rule, they depended on many mercenaries for fighting their wars.

During the First Punic War (264-241 BCE) the Romans crossed the sea and defeated the Carthaginians with the assistance of other Italian tribes. As a result of this conflict, Rome had a new province in the year 241 BCE, Sicily, and they soon occupied and included Sardinia under their domains.

In the year 218 BCE the Carthaginians challenged Rome again attacking Saguntum, in Hispania, causing the Second Punic War (218-202 BC). From their bases in the recently-added province of the Iberian Peninsula, and led by a military genius –Hannibal-, the Carthaginian army invaded Italy through the western part of the Alps.

Rome fought for its very survival for sixteen years in Italian land. However, the Senate could cope with the successive crisis and disasters, and could turn the situation over: their Italian and Greek allies maintained their loyalty; a Roman military force disembarked in Hispania and cut the communications between Hannibal and his army and their bases; an increasing number of soldiers were recruited among the Italian peasants for fighting the Carthaginians.

Eventually, under the command of the great general Scipio the African (Scipio Africanus) the Romans conquered Northern Africa, forcing Hannibal to leave Italy, and then being beaten in 202 BC. Carthage never recovered its splendour”.

WALBANK, F.W. La pavorosa revolución. La decadencia del Imperio Romano de Occidente (Madrid: Alianza Universidad, 1987), pág. 15. [Adapted and translated by JJAC]

  1. Mention all the geographical locations of this text.
  2. How long did the Punic Wars lasted for? Do a diagram with the dates and locations of the Three Punic Wars.
  3. Why is Carthage –according with the text– the opposite of Rome? How was Rome?
  4. What was the consequence of the First Punic War?
  5. Look for information about Hannibal (birth and death dates and places, family, main events of his life, etc.) and write three lines about him.
  6. Look for the main victories of Hannibal in Italy.
  7. What military tactics did the Romans use for defeating Hannibal?
  8. What areas were new Roman provinces as result of the Second Punic War?