Ancient Rome Facts for Kids

Woman playing akithara, from the Villa Boscoreale, 40-30 BC.

Bust of Caesar from theNaples National Archaeological Museum.

Roman fresco of ablondmaiden reading a text, Pompeian Fourth Style (60-79 AD),Pompeii, Italy

Pont du Gardin France is a Roman aqueduct built in c. 19 BC. It is aWorld Heritage Site.

Choregos and theater actors, from the House of the Tragic Poet,Pompeii, Italy. Naples National Archeological Museum

ThePantheon, Rome, built during the reign ofHadrian, which still contains the largest unreinforcedin the world

Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus, c. 122 BC; the altar shows two Roman infantrymen equipped with longscutaand a cavalryman with his horse. All are shown wearingchain mailarmour.

According to legend,Rome was foundedin 753 BC byRomulus and Remus, who were raised by a she-wolf.

The Temple of Hercules Victor, Rome, built in the mid 2nd century BC, most likely by Lucius Mummius Achaicus, Roman commander in the Achaean War that destroyedCorinth

Romanculturespread to WesternEuropeand the area around theMediterranean Sea. Its history still has a big influence on the world today. For example, Roman ideas aboutlawsgovernmentartliterature, andlanguageare important to European culture. The Roman language,Latin, slowly evolved, becoming modernFrenchSpanishItalian, andRomanian. Latin also influenced many other languages likeEnglish.

The Patrician Torlonia bust ofCato the Elder, 1st century BC

TheRoman Empireat its greatest extent underTrajanin AD 117

Remains of Roman work and architecture have been found in the furthest corners of the late Empire.

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German and Hun tribes invaded the Roman Empire, 100500 AD. These invasions eventually caused the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD

Bust ofVespasian, founder of the Flavian dynasty.

A gold glass portrait of a Roman family. According to legend, it has been believed to depict Galla Placidia and her children, and even Queen Ansa and her children;the Greek inscriptionon the medallion may indicate either the name of the artist or thepater familiaswho is absent in the portrait. Academics have suggested it may actually be a family from Roman Egypt (with clear similarities to the Fayum mummy portraits); the central knot worn by the woman in the center most likely indicates her as a cult follower of the; gold glass portrait (most likely by an Alexandrian Greek due to the Egyptian dialect of the inscription), dated 3rd century AD

A Roman follis depicting the profile ofDiocletian

The Orator, c. 100 BC, an Etrusco-Roman bronze statue depicting Aule Metele (Latin: Aulus Metellus), an Etruscan man wearing a Romantogawhile engaged inrhetoric; the statue features an inscription in the Etruscan alphabet

The Temple of Portunus, Rome, built between 120-80 BC

Ancient Romeis the name for acivilization. It began as a small farming community inItalyin the 8th centuryBC. It grew to become the largestempirein the ancient world. It started as amonarchy, then became arepublic, then an empire.

TheBattle of Actium, by Laureys a Castro, painted 1672, National Maritime Museum, London.

Extent of the Roman Empire under Augustus. The yellow legend represents the extent of the Republic in 31 BC, the shades of green represent gradually conquered territories under the reign of Augustus, and pink areas on the map representclient states; however, areas under Roman control shown here were subject to change even during Augustus reign, especially inGermania.

Bust ofCaracallafrom the Pergamon Museum, Berlin

The Byzantines were threatened by the rise ofIslam, whose followers took over the territories ofSyriaArmeniaandEgyptand soon threatened to take overConstantinople. In the next century, the Arabs also captured southern Italy andSicily.

The Aula Palatina ofTrier, Germany (then part of theRoman provinceofGallia Belgica), a Christianbasilicabuilt during the reign ofConstantine I(r. 306-337 AD)

Modern replica of lorica segmentata type armor, used in conjunction with the popular chainmail after the 1st century AD.

Night view of Trajans Market, built by Apollodorus of Damascus.

Beginning with EmperorNeroin the first century AD, the Roman government did not likeChristianity. At certain points in history, people could be put to death because they were Christians. Under EmperorDiocletian, thepersecution of Christiansbecame the strongest. However, Christianity became an officially supported religion in the Roman Empire underConstantine I, who was the next Emperor. With the signing of theEdict of Milanin 313, it quickly became the biggest religion. Then in 391 AD by an edict of EmperorTheodosius Imade Christianity Romes official religion.

The Justice of Trajan(fragment) byEugne Delacroix.

TheRoman Empirewas so big that there were problems ruling a territory which stretched fromBritainto theMiddle East. In 293 AD,Diocletiansplit the empire into two parts. A century later, in 395 AD, it waspermanentlysplit into theWestern Roman Empireand theEastern Roman Empire. The Western Empire ended because of the Germanic tribe, theVisigothsin 476 AD. In the 5th century AD, the western part of the empire split up into different kingdoms. The eastern Roman Empire stayed together as theByzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire was defeated by theOttoman Empirein 1453.

Roman bronze bust ofScipio Africanus the Elderfrom theNaples National Archaeological Museum(Inv. No. 5634), dated mid 1st century BC Excavated from the Villa of the Papyri atHerculaneumby Karl Jakob Weber, 1750-65.

The Appian Way (Via Appia), a road connecting the city of Rome to the southern parts ofItaly, remains usable even today.

The Augustus of Prima Porta, 1st century AD, depictingAugustus, the firstRoman emperor

The West responded with theCrusades, eventually resulting in theFourth Crusadewhich conquered Constantinople in 1204. New countries including Nicaea took pieces of the now smaller empire. After the recapture of Constantinople by Imperial forces, the empire was little more than aGreekstate confined to theAegeancoast. The Eastern Empire came to an end whenMehmed IIconquered Constantinople on 29 May 1453.

This bust from the Capitoline Museums is traditionally identified as a portrait of Lucius Junius Brutus, Roman bronze sculpture, 4th to late 3rd centuries BC.

TheRoman Forum, the political, economic, cultural, and religious center of the city during theRepublicand laterEmpire.

Etruscan painting; dancer and musicians, Tomb of the Leopards, in Tarquinia, Italy.

The Byzantines survived during the 8th century and, beginning in the 9th century, took back parts of the conquered lands. In 1000 AD, the Eastern Empire was at its largest point, and culture and trade flourished. However, the expansion was suddenly stopped in 1071 at theBattle of Manzikert. This finally made the empire start becoming weaker. After centuries of fighting andTurkicinvasions, EmperorAlexius I Comnenuscalled for help from the West in 1095.

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