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Ancient Rome & the Rise of Christianity (509 BCE – 476 CE). Mr. Young Kennedy Charter Public School. Ancient Greek Events 490-479 BC: Persian Wars 460 BC: Age of Pericles in Athens 431 BC: Peloponnesian Wars 331 BC: Alexander the Great conquers Persian Empire: Hellenistic Age

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Ancient rome the rise of christianity 509 bce 476 ce

Ancient Rome & the Rise of Christianity (509 BCE – 476 CE)

Mr. Young

Kennedy Charter Public School

Parallel events greece vs rome

Ancient Greek Events

490-479 BC: Persian Wars

460 BC: Age of Pericles in Athens

431 BC: Peloponnesian Wars

331 BC: Alexander the Great conquers Persian Empire: Hellenistic Age

133 BC: end of Greek dominance in Med. world

Ancient Rome Events

509 BC: Rome sets up a Republic

450 BC: 12 Tables of Law

270 BC: Rome controls most of Italian peninsula

264-146 BC: Punic Wars vs. Carthage

133 BC: Roman power extends from Spain to Egypt

Parallel Events (Greece vs. Rome)

Rome as a kingdom first 200 years
Rome as a Kingdom – First 200 Years

  • Geography and People of Italy

  • Rome began as a small city-state located in the center of the Italian peninsula near 7 hills.

  • Apennine mountains run the length of Italy

  • Less rugged than Greek mountains

  • Italy much easier to unify --- no isolated city-states

  • Most Romans settled in the west

  • Fertile plains in the north below the Alps

Early roman people
Early Roman People

  • Latins: ancestors of the Romans

  • Herders and farmers: settled along the Tiber River along the 7 hills

  • Etruscans: ruled central and northern Italy

  • Came from Asia Minor(Eastern Mediterranean)

  • Called themselves Tyrrhenians in honor of their king

  • Romans borrowed Etruscan alphabet, arch and worshipped similar gods/goddesses

  • Greeks: settled in southern Italy/Sicily

Etruscan origins
Etruscan Origins

  • 1828 AD: a plowman and his oxen crashed through a buried stone roof of a tomb

  • Knowledge of the Etruscan way of life comes from their death

  • Kept the ashes of their dead in urns

  • Loved games: chariot races, wrestling, boxing, discus, dice, handball, & knucklebones

Rome as a republic 500 years
Rome as a Republic – 500 Years

  • Romans drove out Etruscan rulers around 509 BC

  • Set up a Republic (govt. of the people)

  • Senate: most powerful governing body made up of 300 patricians (landholding upper class): served for life

Roman senate
Roman Senate

  • 2 consuls elected from the patrician class

  • Job was to consult with the Senate, supervise business of the govt. and command the armies

  • Consuls served 1 year term

  • In times of war: Senate chose a dictator to rule for 6 months

Plebeians demand equality
Plebeians Demand Equality

  • Plebeians (commoners): farmers, merchants, artisans, traders

  • Made efforts to gain power

  • 450 BC: 12 Tables of Law set up in the Forum --- made it possible for plebeians to appeal decision of a judge

  • Later gained right to elect tribunes (10) to protect their interests

  • Tribunes could veto (block) laws that weren’t in the interest of the common people

Roman society

Family: basic unit of society

Male head of household (usually father) had absolute power

Enforced discipline

Demanded respect

Women: played larger role than Greek women

Could run businesses, attend baths, theater and public entertainment – supported arts and public festivals

Most worked at home, however!

Roman Society


  • Girls and boys learned to read and write

  • Wealthy Romans hired private tutors (from Greece) to supervise education of children

  • Rhetoric was important subject for boys who wanted to pursue political success


  • Gods/goddesses resembled Greek and Etruscan deities

  • Statues and temples built throughout Rome

  • Festivals honored the deities



Roman expansion
Roman Expansion

  • During the Roman Republic period, Rome expanded.

  • First Punic War:- Began in 264 BCE- Fought against Carthage – powerful city in North Africa – challenged Roman trade superiority in the Mediterranean- After 23 years of war, Rome is victorious.

Roman expansion continued
Roman Expansion (continued)

  • Second Punic War:- Began in 218 BCE- Fought for similar reasons (plus revenge)- Carthage was led by greatest general of the age, Hannibal, whose army was large including foot & horse soldiers, and ELEPHANTS!- Hannibal attacked the Roman countryside and the Romans countered by attacking Carthage – led by brilliant Roman General Scipio- Scipio defeated Hannibal and Rome again was victorious.

Rome as an empire 500 years
Rome as an Empire – 500 Years

  • It became difficult to manage all the conquered territories and the Republic-style government weakened.

  • Consul’s became power hungry and changed the power system to dictatorships:- Gaius Marius- Lucius Cornelius Sulla

Julius caesar
Julius Caesar

Nephew of Sulla

Was a General who rose in popularity

Joined the “Triumvirate” which was rule by three

Elected Consul in 59 BCE

Declared himself “Dictator for life” in 46 BCE

Was brutally murdered in a conspiracy led by his best friend, Brutus, on March 15

“Beware the Ides of March”

Caesar augustus
Caesar Augustus

  • Several dictator-like rulers followed:- Octavian or Caesar Augustus – “the revered one”- Pax Romana – Roman Peace – peaceful era under Augustus

Rise of christianity
Rise of Christianity

  • Several leaders followed Augustus – Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian.

  • Roman expansion during this time included Israel and the Jewish people.

  • Came into contact with a young carpenter named Jesus Christ

  • His followers were called Christians

  • Many Romans converted to his monotheistic belief system

  • After initially persecuting Christians (Nero), Theodosius officially made Christianity the religion of Rome in 312 CE