The Coliseum in Rome

Rome – History and Culture

Introduction to Ancient Rome

‘Introduction to Ancient Rome’ offers students a broad overview of the ancient Roman world and introduces key areas of Roman political, social, and cultural history.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a basic knowledge of the broad period of Roman history.
  • Develop a basic understanding of key topics within Roman history.
  • Develop an appreciation of the different sources modern historians can use to study the ancient Roman world.

Session 1: Introduction to Roman History

Learn about how Rome grew from a small settlement in Italy to one of the largest empires in history!

Session 2: Introduction to Ancient Roman Life
Discover what life might have been like for an Ancient Roman! Students will explore aspects of Roman daily life through a variety of sources from Pompeii, Ostia, and Rome and compare the experiences of men and women, rich and poor, citizens and slaves.

Session 3: Introduction to Roman Culture
Romans believed that many divine powers influenced their lives. Learn about Roman gods and goddesses, the parts of life and society they oversaw, and the ways in which Romans tried to gain favour with their divine protectors.

 

Early Rome

Explore the Rome before she became an ancient superpower! Learn about the myths of Rome’s foundation, Rome’s legendary seven kings, and ancient Roman views of their own origins.

Learning Objectives

  • Study a defined period of ancient history in greater detail.
  • Become familiar with key figures and their role in a defined period of ancient history.
  • Acquire an appreciation for the different sources modern historians can use to study the ancient world.

Session 1: Founding Rome
Learn about two of the most popular Roman myths: the myth of Aeneas and the origins of the Roman people and the myth of Romulus, Remus, and the founding of Rome.

Session 2: The Mythical Roman Kings
Meet Rome’s legendary seven kings and their contributions to the development of the ancient city. Learn about how the age of Roman kings came to an end and find out how later generations of Romans looked back on this period of legendary history.

Session 3: Evidence of Early Rome
Should we believe these myths and legends of early Rome? Examine the ‘hard’ ancient evidence and decide for yourselves!

 

The Roman Republic

Explore the great age of Roman expansion! Find out how the Roman state was run and how you could rise to the top of the political system, how the Romans spread throughout the Mediterranean world, and how they dealt with opposition from foreign enemies.

Learning Objectives

  • Study a defined period of ancient history in greater detail.
  • Become familiar with key figures and their role in a defined period of ancient history.
  • Acquire an appreciation for the different sources modern historians can use to study the ancient world.

Session 1: The Roman Republic
Learn about the history of the Roman Republic, how and when it came to be and how and when it came to an end. Find out about different levels of Roman politics and see how ambitious individuals rose to power only to meet very sticky ends…

Session 2: Roman Expansion

Discover some of the territories conquered by the Romans during the Republic. Learn about how and why the Romans invaded new lands and examine some of the evidence of Roman occupation from throughout the growing Roman empire.

Session 3: Roman Enemies
Not everyone was happy about Roman expansion! Use ancient historical accounts to meet some of the leaders who fought against Roman rule.

 

Roman Emperors

Learn what it meant to be one of the most powerful figures in the ancient world! Gain a broad understanding of the history of the Roman Empire and come face to face with some of history’s most famous (and infamous!) figures.

Learning Objectives

  • Study a defined period of ancient history in greater detail.
  • Become familiar with key figures and their role in a defined period of ancient history.
  • Acquire an appreciation for the different sources modern historians can use to study the ancient world.

Session 1: The Roman Empire
Learn about the history of the Roman Empire, when it came to be and when it came to an end. Find out about how emperors rose and fell and how politics behind the scenes in the imperial household could determine who ruled the Roman Empire.

Session 2: Good and Bad Emperors
Use a range of ancient sources to take a closer look at some of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Roman emperors. What made a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emperor? Do all the sources use the same criteria to determine whether an emperor was ‘good’ or ‘bad’? Examine the evidence and decide for yourself!

Session 3: The Ideal Emperor
What characteristics would an ‘ideal’ emperor have? Use your knowledge of Roman Emperors to design your own emperor! Will you survive to rule the empire or will your peers consider you a ‘bad’ emperor and have you overthrown?

 

Julius Caesar

Meet the man who coined the phrase ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’! Discover Caesar’s life, ambitions, successes, and downfall through a variety of ancient sources. Follow Caesar from the battlefields of Gaul to the Roman forum and discover how he became one of the most powerful figures in the Roman world.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a broad understanding of the life of Julius Caesar.
  • Use a range of ancient sources to gain insights into the life and times of Julius Caesar.
  • Appreciate the strengths and limitations of different sources for our study of the ancient world.

Session 1: Who Was Julius Caesar?
Find out about the life of Julius Caesar as general, statesman, and tyrant. Learn about his military victories, his political ambitions, and his violent assassination at the hands of his friends.

Session 2: Ancient Views of Caesar
Explore a range of ancient sources including some of Caesar’s own surviving writings to learn about different ancient views of Caesar and his actions.

Session 3: Julius Caesar: Hero or Villain?
Put your knowledge of Caesar’s life to the test, decide whether he was a Roman hero or an ancient villain, and try to convince your peers in a light-hearted debate.

 

Cicero

Meet one of history’s most eloquent men! Delve into the life of Marcus Tullius Cicero, the famous lawyer, statesman, and orator, and discover how Cicero continues to influence the modern world today.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a broad understanding of the life of Cicero.
  • Use a range of ancient sources to gain insights into the life and times of Cicero.
  • Appreciate the strengths and limitations of different sources for our study of the ancient world.

Session 1: Who Was Cicero?
Explore Cicero’s life through a range of ancient sources including Cicero’s own letters. Learn about his rhetorical training, his rise to political fame, and his gristly downfall.

Session 2: Cicero’s Speeches
Get to grips with one of Cicero’s own speeches! Learn about how Roman law courts differ from our modern legal systems and discover how Cicero persuaded the courts of his clients’ innocence. Will you be convinced by Cicero’s arguments?

Session 3: Speak Like Cicero
Learn some ancient rhetorical tricks and put your knowledge of Cicero’s speeches to the test! Produce your own speech based on a legal case or political campaign and deliver it in the style of Cicero.

 

Hannibal

Meet the Carthaginian statesman and general who threatened Rome with an army of elephants!

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a broad understanding of the life of Hannibal.
  • Use a range of ancient sources to gain insights into the life and times of Hannibal.
  • Appreciate the strengths and limitations of different sources for our study of the ancient world.

Session 1: Who Was Hannibal?
Learn all about Hannibal’s life from his birth in northern Africa to his invasion of Italy and eventual exile.

Session 2: Ancient Views of Hannibal
Delve into ancient accounts of Hannibal’s invasion of Italy and explore the complex depiction of Hannibal and his actions in Roman thought.

Session 3: Inspirational Hannibal
The memory of Hannibal continued to influence and inspire military leaders for millennia after his death. See how commanders such as Napoleon Bonaparte followed in Hannibal’s footsteps and decide for yourself whether this ancient Carthaginian leader is a good role model!

 

Boudica

Meet one of the most famous women of Roman Britain! Learn how Boudica stood up to the Romans and discover what Roman authors and historians made of this feisty and fearsome female leader.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a broad understanding of the life of Boudica.
  • Use a range of ancient sources to gain insights into the life and times of Boudica.
  • Appreciate the strengths and limitations of different sources for our study of the ancient world.

Session 1: Who Was Boudica?
Learn all about Boudica’s life, from her royal birth to her daring rebellion and the varying accounts of her death. Discover the world of the Iceni, Boudica’s tribe, through archaeological remains and ancient historical accounts. 

Session 2: Ancient Views of Boudica
Were the Romans afraid of Boudica, or did they admire her? Examine a range of ancient historical sources to find out just what the Romans thought of Boudica.

Session 3: Was Boudica Unique?
Boudica may have been a remarkable example of an ancient woman standing up for her people, but she was not the only one to resist Roman rule. Explore accounts of other Roman encounters with feisty Britons and discover the determined and rebellious spirit of Britain’s native inhabitants.

Cleopatra

As one of the most famous house-hold names from history, Cleopatra has been remembered innumerable times in great cultural works, from Shakespeare to Elizabeth Taylor. She has gained a reputation as a cunning and passionate beauty who seduced both Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. But is the popular perception of the Queen of Egypt true? We will examine the life of Cleopatra and her relationship with the Roman world, and how she stood to benefit from the alliances she made. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Analyse primary source material.
  2. Understand the key events of the life of Cleopatra VII.
  3. Learn how to debate for and against a position.

Session 1
We will begin by introducing the story of Cleopatra’s rise to power in Egypt. This will include creating a timeline of the major events in her life, introducing key Roman figures such as Pompey, Caesar, and Mark Anthony, as we go.

Session 2
We will focus on two key events in Cleopatra’s life: meeting Mark Anthony, rolled up in a carpet, and her suicide when captured by Caesar Octavian, son of her ex-lover Julius Caesar. Excerpts from Plutarch’s Life of Mark Anthony will be the primary source we will be using for these events. We will discuss methods of analysing and contextualising historical sources and develop your own critical opinions.

Session 3
In our final session you will be put in teams in order to create a mind map of Cleopatra’s life, comparing arguments for her being a manipulator of Roman generals or as a puppet of the Roman state. Only one team can win the debate, but everyone will come away will the skills to win an argument, for you to use in school or everyday life.

 

Virgil’s Aeneid

Explore one of the most famous works of Roman literature! Learn about how one of the legendary stories about Rome’s origins became a monumental poem which would be studied for millennia to come. 

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a broad understanding of the plot of Virgil’s Aeneid
  • Become familiar with different ancient representations of the character of Aeneas.
  • Develop an awareness of how ancient literary texts engage with their contemporary world.

Session 1: Virgil and the Aeneid
Meet Virgil, the author of the Aeneid, and learn about the Roman world in which he lived and wrote. You will discover the twists and turns of the Aeneid’s plot and be introduced to some of story’s main characters.

Session 2: Aeneas
Get up close and personal with the Aeneid’s central character, Aeneas. Read selected passages of the Aeneid to discover how Virgil presents his main man and compare these with other versions of Rome’s origin myths. Are all versions of the stories the same?

Session 3: The Aeneid and Rome
How can reading a story like the Aeneid help with our understanding of the ancient world? Read key passages of the Aeneid to see how Virgil looks forward to the future glory of Rome. Does Virgil’s vision of Rome match that of his wider world?