Download unit 11 notes (22105) - SRO - Social Science

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1. The natural environment:
Rome is located in the banks of the river Tiber (Italian Peninsula).
In the 8th century, the Italian peninsula was inhabited by the Etruscans, the Latins
and the Greeks.
2. The history of Ancient Rome:
2.1 Monarchy:
Rome was founded by Romulus in 753 B.C.
With the Etruscans the city was a monarchy. The last Etruscan king was deposed in
509 B.C. for being a tyrant.
2.2 Republic:
From 509 to 27 B.C. Rome was a republic.
The power was shared in:
1. People's assembly: formed by the citizens who decided and voted on laws.
2. Magistrates: elected annually.
3. Senate: was responsible for foreign policy and controlled the army, religion, the
law and the court. Senators were very powerful and ruled the republic.
During the republic Rome expanded through the following territories:
* Control of the Mediterranean Sea: Rome fought against Carthage for years.
Three important wars (the Punic Wars) ended with the victory of Rome in 146 B.C.
* Control of the Iberian Peninsula: Romans conquered the Iberian Peninsula
between 218 and 19 B.C (Hispania).
The republic ended with Julius Caesar and some magistrates who took control of
2.3 Empire:
Began with Augustus in 27 B.C.
Some important periods during this time were:
* Pax romana: social, political and economic stability until the 2nd century A.D.
* Territorial conquests: maximum expansion.
* Crisis of the Third Century: period of decline because of corruption, barbarian
invasions, increased taxation and communication problems with its territories.
The Germanic people deposed the last emperor in 476 A.C. After that, the
Byzantine Empire started and lasted until the 15th century.
3. Life in Ancient Roman Cities:
Rome was the capital of the Ancient world.
3.1 The Economy:
a) Agriculture:
New farming techniques were introduced: fallow.
Raised livestock.
Used many tools and animals to carry out farming tasks.
Small farms belonged to peasants and the big ones (villas) to the richest people.
Tenant farmers and slaves worked on the villas.
b) Craftwork:
Urban activity. Made textiles, furniture, weapons, jewellery, pottery, etc.
Produced different types of food.
c) Trade:
Rome traded with the rest of the Empire: wheat, wine garum and metals form
Hispania; gold, silver, copper and textiles from Syria, etc.
They also traded outside the empire: bought amber, wheat, slaves, animal skins
from the north and east of Europe; gemstones, slaves, gold and ivory from Africa;
spices, sik and perfumes from Asia.
Romans built a lot of roads and sea transport was of a great importance.
3.2 Society:
It was divided into:
a) Free people:
* Patricians: they were very rich nobles (minority) who held political rights.
(Senators, landowners and businessmen were part of it).
*Plebeians: had some rights (majority). Demanded the same rights as the patricians
during the republic. Created the Plebeian Tribune to defend their interests.Later,
had the same rights.
Slaves: were not considered people and did not have any rights.They worked but
weren´t paid. People became slaves if:
-prisoners of war
- If didn't pay their debts
- If children of slaves.
Freed slaves were called liberty: the ones who were freed by their owners or bought
themselves their liberty.
Tenant farmers: were free people but subjugated to the landowners.
Women: belonged to their fathers or husbands; couldn't vote but owned property.
Fathers arranged marriages. Women were responsible for the housework, weaving
and spinning.
3.3 Towns:
- Cities were designed on a grid system; they were surrounded by defensive walls
and had two main streets: the cardo and the decumanus. At the crossed of these
streets there was a forum.
- Houses:
a) The domus: rich people lived there (one family per house9.It had a courtyard
(atrium) surrounded by bedrooms, dining room (triclinium) and tablinum (visitor's
room).It could also have an inner garden.
b) Insulate: tall buildings with apartments generally rented by less wealthy families.
They were made of poor quality materials so they often collapsed or caught fire.
There was no running water or heating. Animal's skins were used as curtains.
4. Religion:
Romans believed in many gods. There were two types:
* State gods: like Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. Romans offered sacrifices in religious
* Household deities: these were domestic gods who protected the household
(Lares, manes and penates).
Some emperors were deified and worshipped as gods; temples were built in their
4.2 Christianity:
Christians were monotheist and also believed in the equality of all humans and the
existence of life after death.
Lots of Christians were prosecuted because they didn't want to adore the emperors
so they hid in catacombs.
In 313 A.D. the Edict of Milan was published by the Emperor Constantine which
established freedom of worship in the empire.
In 380 A.D. emperor Theodosius proclaimed Christianity as the official religion of the
Roman Empire.
5. Arts and Sciences:
5.1 Arts
Latin was the language used by the empire and spread out the culture.
Romans contributed to:
- Legislation: developing laws which were used in the Middle Ages and were the
base of modern Western legislation.
- Philosophy: Seneca and Cicero were very important. Cicero wrote treatises.
- Literature: Virgil wrote the Aeneid, an epic poem.Plautus and Terence were
famous for their plays.
- History: Julius Caesar, Tacitus, Plutarch and Livy were famous historians.
5.2 Sciences:
Important advances in medicine by Claudius Galenos (Galen) who wrote several
books preserved by the Arabs and later became the basis for the medicine in the
Middle Ages.
Julian calendar: used by the Romans and developed by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C.
6. Architecture and Art
6.1 Architecture
Different buildings of different sizes and materials (mortar) were constructed by the
The following architectural elements were used:
- Semicircular arch
- Vault
- Greek columns
- Composite columns.
6.2 Sculpture:
There were two types:
- Portrait: face of a person that could be realistic or idealised.
- Historical relief: depicted military victories as relief on triumphal arches and
commemorative columns.
6.3Other Art Forms:
- Paintings were used to decorate buildings.
- Mosaics.
7. The Germanic People:
They settled on the northern borders of the Roman Empire (close to the rivers Rhine
and Danube).
They lived in scattered villages.
They were organised in tribes having tribal chiefs who led the people in times of
Hunting, raising livestock and agriculture were the based of their economy. They
moved to another place when resources were finished.
They worshipped various gods.
In the 3rd century A.D. they started to invade the Roman Empire. In some cases,
pacts were signed (allies) and in others they were hostile to the Empire.
At the end of the 4th century, the Huns, guided by the king Attila, started to attack
the Germanic tribes so these were forced to move to the Western Roman Empire.
In 476 A.D. the Barbarians conquered the Western Roman Empire.