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A Lesson Plan Introducing Ancient Rome

written by: Noreen Gunnell • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 1/17/2012

This article contains an Ancient Rome lesson plan from its beginnings to the Roman Republic. The lesson plan contains notes, vocabulary, a time line assignment and an extension activity on the history of Ancient Rome.

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    From Rome to Republic

    The world history lesson plan below looks at the history of Ancient Rome.


    • Following a discussion on the facts and events below, have the class create a graphic timeline of the highlighted dates and events below.
    • Assign students topics from the notes below. (Some suggested topics are in bold) Students should draw or find an appropriate picture to accompany their assigned occurrence and, after explaining the event to the class, put it on the timeline.
    • The timeline should be a decoration for the classroom. Consider using yarn to hang each entry (sturdy paper, a hole punch and tacks should help you string the timeline around the room), or just tape students’ creations in order on a bulletin board.
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    Before Rome was Rome

    1. Neolithic people on Italian Peninsula as early as 5000 BC.
    2. Indo-Europeans arrived between 2000 BC and 1000 BC.
      • Umbrians to the north
      • Latins (Latium) in the central plain
      • Oscans in the South
    3. Etruscans-ruled northern Italy from the plains of Etruria (900 BC to 500 BC)
      • Alphabet from Greek but little has been translated.
      • Etruscan art suggests a culture of wealthy overlords, aristocratic priests, and slaves; eventually overthrown by oppressed Etruscan lower classes and other Italian people, (often enslaved after being conquered); Latins were among the latter and their center city was Rome in the central plain of Latium.
    4. Greeks first came into contact with people of Italy around 900 BC.
      • Established colonies in southern Italy and Sicily from about 750 BC to 500 BC.
      • Introduced the olive tree and grapevine
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    Early Rome and the Roman Republic

    1. With all due respect to the story of Romulus and Remus, Rome was founded when Latin villages on the Seven Hills of Rome joined together as one community. (800-700) BCMignard - The Shepherd Faustulus Bringing Romulus and Remus to His Wife 
    2. Etruscans took control around 620 BC. The Tarquins, a wealthy family, held power.
      • Brought brick buildings and tiled roves to Rome
      • Drained marshlands and planned city streets; created the Forum at city center
      • Imparted many Etruscan religious customs.
    3. The Tarquins were removed in 509BC when Romans tired of Tarquin the Proud’s cruelty.
    4. Etruscan artisans remained and a class of wealthy Latin nobles, the patricians, developed and made Rome a republic. Patricians could hold public office unlike the class of plebeians who made up most of Rome’s population.
    5. Patricians formed a two branch government.
      • Executive-headed by two patricians elected for one year, the consuls.
      • Legislative-Assembly of Centuries, elected officials of the executive branch and the Senate-300 patrician men, served for life and advised the consuls, determined foreign policy, proposed laws and approved building and road construction.
    6. In 494 BC, plebeians refused to fight without reforms.
      • Recognized the tribunes and Assembly of Tribes
      • Could no longer be enslaved due to debt
      • Marriage between patricians and plebeians allowed.
      • The Twelve Tables-written law stating that all free citizens were entitled to protection under the law.
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    Republic-government with leaders elected by its citizens.

    Patrician-citizen of Ancient Rome who was part of the aristocratic class.

    Plebeian-a non-aristocratic citizen of Ancient Rome.

    Consuls- two patricians elected for one year to lead the executive branch of government in the Roman Republic; called consuls because they were required to consult with each other before reaching a decision. Either could veto the other’s pronouncement.

    Dictator-leader given temporary absolute power in Ancient Rome during a time of crisis.

    Veto-Latin for “I forbid".

    Tribune-a representative of the plebeians.

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    Extension Activity

    Research Cincinnatus, a beloved dictator in 458 BC

    Part Three of these series of World History Lesson Plans begins with Republic to Empire: The History of Ancient Rome


  • Image Courtesy of Wiki Commons.

World History Lesson Plans for Social Studies Part Two

A series of lesson plans in World History. This series continues with lesson plans on Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. The lesson plans use various teaching methods to meet the needs of different types of learners.
  1. All About Alexander the Great
  2. A Comprehensive Lesson Plan on Alexander the Great
  3. Who was Marc Antony?
  4. Modern Words Derived From Ancient Greek: A Lesson Plan
  5. A Lesson Plan Introducing Ancient Rome