The Ancient Roman Empire
Explore the rich history of Ancient Roman Culture that existed for over 1,100 years. Read on to discover the operations of the Roman government, their dining etiquette, and how Roman numerals are still used today.
Including several million people, the Roman empire was one of the largest cultures of the ancient world. Following in the footsteps of the Greek and the Etruscan civilizations, the Romans have left their unique mark on society. The Romans built cities, aqueducts, baths, a colosseum and many of these structures are still standing today.
At its prime, the Roman Empire covered
over two million square miles!
Roman government also called a Republic, consisted of an Emperor and a Senate with two Consuls, who were the highest in charge. The Senate ruled the state and the army. The Senate consisted of men who were wealthy, owned land and agreed to a lifetime commitment. The Senate gave the Consuls advice and the Consuls would make the laws. The Consuls would have to agree or the law would not go into effect.
An Assembly of adult Roman men were sometimes asked by the Consuls to vote on certain issues. The power of the Assembly was limited since the Senate could block their votes. The Assembly was responsible for electing which members of the Senate would become Consuls. Judges were elected every two years to decide criminal punishments.
A Fascinating Way To Discover Ancient Rome
The largest arena in Rome,
the Circus Maximus could
hold 250,000 people!
Ancient Links - Learn more about ancient worlds
Roman art was greatly influenced by the Etruscans until about 500 B.C.. After this period, the Romans inherited many of their styles from the Greeks.
The Romans created realistic sculptured statues of Gods and heroes. Materials progressed from terra cotta to bronze and marble. Painting was a very popular form of Roman art. Murals, frescoes and panel portraits were the most common styles. Mosaics were made from patterns of colorful marbles and stones.
Roman Baths were not only for bathing. They were used for exercising, socializing and meetings.
Roman Inventions - Still in use today!
- Central Heating Systems
- Perfecting Concrete (their buildings are still standing!)
- Hydraulic Mining
- Roman Numerals
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The dining traditions of the Romans were based on their wealth. Even though most were poor, the few rich Romans would have extravagant dinners prepared by slaves. These dinners would consist of at least three courses of delicacies which may include peacock, ostrich eggs, or cheese. Olives and salad were also served.
Poor Romans often did not have cooking facilities and would eat cold food. Common items were bread, beans, vegetables, porridge (bread soaked in water) and sometimes meat if they could afford it.
Romans ate with their fingers, and depending on the dish, sometimes used a spoon.
As in the Greek culture, wine was the traditional drink. Fresh or dried fruit was served for dessert.
Upper class male Romans ate while reclining on their sides. Women and the poor sat on benches.
Dating back to the early Etruscans, Roman Numerals are still widely used today!
I = 1
V = 5
X = 10
L = 50
C = 100
D = 500
M = 1000
To read Roman Numerals:
Subtract smaller numbers before larger numbers...IX=9
Add smaller numbers after larger numbers...XIII=13
Learn More About Ancient Roman Culture
Look For Roman Numerals Here!
- Movie Credits
- After Men's Names
- To Number Super Bowls and Olympics
- Prefaces of Books
- Public Building Inscriptions
- Pope Names