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ROME Document-Based Question Taylor – World History. The Origins of Rome . Site chosen for its fertile soil and strategic location Romans found a republic — government in which citizens elect leaders. DOCUMENT 1

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the origins of rome
The Origins of Rome
  • Site chosen for its fertile soil and strategic location
  • Romans found a republic— government in which citizens elect leaders


  • Not without reason did god and men choose this spot for the site of our city – the salubrious hills, the river to bring us produce from the inland regions and sea-borne commerce from abroad, the sea itself, near enough convenience yet not so near as to bring danger from foreign fleets, our situation is in the very heart of Italy – all these advantages make it of all places in the world the best for a city destined to grow great.
  • Lily, The Early History of Rome
  • 1A: Identify two advantages given here that its geographic location offered Rome.
  • 1B: Choose one advantage and explain how it played a direct role in Rome’s expansion.
early rome
Early Rome
  • Elected leaders
  • Dictators are appointed briefly in times of crisis
  • Legion — military unit of 5,000 infantry; supported by cavalry
  • Army is powerful; key factor in Rome’s rise to greatness
rome s commercial network
Rome’s Commercial Network
  • Establishes large trading network
  • Access to Mediterranean Sea provides many trade routes
  • Carthage, powerful city-state in North Africa, soon rivals Rome
  • Gap between rich and poor widens as Roman Republic grows
    • Civil War
  • Military leader Julius Caesar elected consul
  • Caesar is named dictator for life in 44 B.C.
    • Assassinated
pax romana
  • Under Augustus, Rome moves from a republic to an empire. Power no longer resides with citizens, but a single ruler
  • Rome enjoys 200 years of peace and prosperity known as PaxRomana
  • Augustus, creates lasting system of government
    • glorifies Rome with beautiful public buildings
    • sets up civil service to administer empire


What territory did Rome add between 500 BC and 117 AD?

agriculture and trade
Agriculture and Trade
  • Agriculture most important industry in empire
    • 90% of Romans farm
  • Common coin, denarius, makes trade within empire easier
  • Vast trading network, includes China and India
  • Network of Roman roads links empire to Persia, Russia (Next week: Silk Road)
roman life
Roman Life
  • Slaves become gladiators
  • Worship of emperor becomes part of official religion
  • Rich live well; most people are poor, receive grain from government
  • 150 holidays and Colosseum events created to control the masses


1a: What are the physical characteristic of the Tigris and Euphrates river valley? For example, in which direction do they flow? Where are they located?

1b: What geographic factors made this valley ideal for civilization?

the rise of christianity1
The Rise of Christianity

We’ll come back to this topic in a couple of weeks.

the fall of the roman empire
The Fall of the Roman Empire

Internal problems and innovations spur the division and decline of the Roman Empire

the fall of rome
The Fall of Rome
  • What economic problems did Rome face?
  • Who was Constantine?
  • What role did Attila play in the collapse of Rome?


4a: List two negative qualities of the Huns, according to Marcellinus.

4b: What does their regard for their enemy say about how the Romans likely viewed themselves.

The nation of the Huns … surpasses all other barbarians in the wilderness of life … And though [the Huns] do just bear the likeness of men (of a very ugly pattern), they are so little advanced in civilization that they … feed upon the … half-raw flesh of any sort of animal … When attacked … they fill the air with varied and discordant cries … they fight in no regular order of battle, but by being extremely swift and sudden in their movements, they disperse … spread havoc over vast plains, and … pillage the camp of their enemy almost before he has become aware of their approach.”

- AmmianusMarcellinus



5A: What group of invaders came from the greatest distance?

5B: What areas of the empire were not threatened by invasion?



6A: What does feel was the underlying reason for Rome’s fall?

6B: What does Gibbon find surprising about the Roman Empire?

The decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and, as soon as time or accident had removed artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight. The story of its ruin is simple and obvious; and instead of inquiring why the Roman Empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long.

- Edward Gibbon, Historian

rome and the roots of western civilization
Rome and the Roots of Western Civilization

The Romans develop many ideas and institutions that become fundamental to Western Civilization.

the legacy of rome
The Legacy of Rome
  • Romans adopt aspects of Greek and Hellenistic culture
    • Greco-Roman culture, or classical civilization
  • Romans borrow from Greek philosophy and literature
    • Poet Virgil writes epic Aeneid modeled after Homer’s Greek epics
the legacy of rome1
The Legacy of Rome
  • Latin was official language of Roman Catholic Church until 1900s
    • French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian
    • More than half the words in English stem from Latin
  • Master Builders
    • Arch, domes, concrete
    • Create aqueducts—structures to bring water into cities, towns
the legacy of rome2
The Legacy of Rome
  • System of Law
    • Principles of Roman law form basis of modern legal systems
  • Enduring Influence
    • By preserving and adding to Greek civilization, Rome strengthened the Western cultural tradition

LuciusQuinctius Cincinnatus

Extra Credit: Who am I? What is my legacy? 100 words due tomorrow.

historical context
Historical Context

Over the course of several centuries, Rome built one of the largest empires the world had ever know. By 120 A.D., the Romans controlled portions of three continents, spreading their civilizations across much of the ancient world.


  • Describe the rise of and the two biggest reasons for long duration of the Roman Empire.
  • Discuss the difficulties associated with such a vast empire, and explain what led to its fall.
  • Conclude with a detailed discussion of the legacy of Rome.
more directions
More directions

Write a well-organized essay that includes an introduction, several paragraphs, and a conclusion. Address all aspects of the task by accurately analyzing at least four documents. Support your response with relevant facts, examples and details. Include additional outside information.

  • The textbook will be helpful: Chapter 6.4 and 6.5
  • No outside research is necessary. Use the documents, your textbook and class notes.
  • Respond to all three parts of the prompt.
  • Follow the high school essay format expectations.


  • Name information
  • Title (not “essay”)
  • No word art
  • Paragraphs
  • Indents
  • Double spaced
  • Textbook-style font
  • 10-12 size font
  • 1-inch margins
  • (usually parenthetically)
  • No bibliography needed on a DBQ

Abraham Lincoln

Nov. 19, 1863

Fifth Hour

Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this (document #3).

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom— and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.