History: Ancient Rome
Interesting Facts about Ancient Rome & Romans for Kids
The ancient Roman Empire was one of the biggest ones the world has ever known, and lasted for more than seven centuries. Despite the fact that this empire fell more than one thousand five hundred years ago, people are still fascinated by Ancient Rome. Here are a few facts about Rome that might be interesting.
Ancient Romans spoke Latin. That language had a big influence on many European languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French - and English! Latin was the official language of the Catholic Church for a long time too.
The first inhabitants of the area that is now Rome lived on the Palatine Hill, about one thousand years BCE. Evidence suggests that they were all farmers.
Ancient Roman legend says that the city was founded by Romulus and Remus, two brothers raised by a female wolf. Romulus killed his brother when he insulted the neww city he was building - and named the city after himself, Rome!
Most of Roman religion was borrowed from the Greeks. The gods and goddesses are often the same, but have different names. For instance the chief Greek god was called Zeus, but the Romans called him Jupiter.
Rome became a Republic in about 500 BCE when they threw out their last king, called Tarquin the Proud. Republican Rome was ruled by the Senate, composed of three hundred senators from the most important families, who were in office for life. Every year the Senate elected two consuls to rule Rome for a year.
Triumphal arches built around Europe are a way for Romans to honor their victories. Many of these are still around today.
Julius Caesar was a famous Roman general and politician. His murder in 44 BCE led to a civil war between Romans. At the end of this war Caesar's adopted son, Octavian, declared himself to be Emperor of Rome. After this Octavian was known as Augustus Caesar. This was the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of Imperial Rome, a long period of peace..
Roman Emperors were responsible for being head of the judicial system, controlling the Empire's religion and commanding the military. History says that many of Rome's emperors were mad, including Nero and Caligula. However, not all were insane.
The Roman Empire was famous for the bravery and discipline of its soldiers. Roman soldiers, called legionaries, usually walked at least eighteen miles a day. The built Roman roads to march along, many of which still exist. Soldiers had to be in the army for twenty-five years.
We think of Romans as wearing togas, but only citizens of Rome could wear them. Foreigners and slaves were forbidden from wearing these garments, and there were many slaves in Ancient Rome. Senators were the only people allowed to wear togas edged in purple cloth, and Emperors were the only ones allowed to wear all purple
The population of Rome reached one million by 50 BCE. The next time a city would ever get as big as Rome would be London in the 19th century!
The Colosseum was opened in 80 CE by Emperor Titus. It was a giant arena for public entertainment. Slaves trained as gladiators fought there for public amusement. Other locations, like the Circus Maximus, presented horse races, foot races, chariot races and wrestling matches. As many as two hundred fifty thousand people could sit in this arena at once.
In 313 CE, Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity. This helped the spread of this religion through his empire, and throughout the world.
In 410 CE, Rome was sacked by tribes from the north. However, the last Roman emperor ruled until 476 CE.
This is an original news article © The Kids Window
One in a series of articles about Ancient history written for children.
Take a look at our Children's Roman dressing up clothes here.
The city started to take over Italy around 400 BCE. This is the beginning of the Roman Empire. This led them into conflict with many of the counties and cities around them. Hannibal, a general from the North African city of Carthage, was one of the most notorious enemies of Rome.