CH:5 Rome and the Rise of Christianity:  Section 3:  Roman Culture and Society

CH:5 Rome and the Rise of Christianity: Section 3: Roman Culture and Society

Author: Mark Biancuzzo
See More
Introduction to Psychology

Analyze this:
Our Intro to Psych Course is only $329.

Sophia college courses cost up to 80% less than traditional courses*. Start a free trial now.


Section 5:3 Vocabulary

Primary:  Schooling for younger children.  What we call elementary school.

Paterfamilias:  The dominant male in a Roman family.

Contractors:  Using slaves, helped to build roads, aqueducts, and other public structures used in Rome.

Insulae:  Apartment blocks where the poor lived in Rome.


Source: Glencoe World History McGraw Hill/Glencoe 2008

Section 5:3 Notes


Romans adopted many features of the Greek style of art.  They placed many handmade statues in their public buildings and houses.  One difference between Roman and Greek art was the detail of the sculptures. Roman sculptures were more realistic when compared to the Greeks.  Roman sculptures included both attractive and unattractive features while the Greek art focused on only the attractive features.  

The Romans excelled in architecture.  While they still used Greek ideas while constructing buildings, they included the use of the arch, the vault, and the dome.  The Romans were also the first to use concrete, which has allowed many of their buildings to still remain.  Romans also had superb (strong) engineering skills.  They were able to build roads, aqueducts and bridges.



The high point of Latin Literature happened during the Age of Augustus.  It was called the golden age of Latin Literature.

Below are some of the great writers during this time:

Virgil:  Wrote his masterpiece (most-prized work) called Aeneid.  It was written in honor of Rome and was meant to rival the work of Homer.  In the story, Aeneas is the ideal Roman whose virtues are duty, piety, and faithfulness.  Aeneas accomplishes his goal by establishing the Romans in ITaly and starting Rome on its mission to rule the world.


Horace:  was a friend of Virgil and enjoyed pointing out the weaknesses of humans.  In his work called the Satires, he directs attack against job dissatisfaction and greed.


Livy:  wrote the most famous piece of work of that time called The Early History of Rome.  This work consisted of 142 books (only 35 still exist).  His books traced Roman history to 9 B.C.  His stories were not always factual as he liked to tell a good tale with his work.



Romans, unlike the Greeks, raised their children at home.  All upper class Roman children were expected to learn how to read.  The father decided whether to send the children to school, hire a teacher (tutor), or teach them himself.  Many teachers were Greek slaves.  

At age 16, childhood ended for Roman boys.  They turned in their purple-edged toga for a plain white one.  This plain white toga represented manhood.  

Daughters of upper class families were educated by a hired tutor or were sent to a primary school.  Many females did not go to secondary school because that was the age many were entering into marriage.  

Roman believed that females were weak and always needed a male guardian.  When the father passed away, his son or the nearest male would become the guardian.  Many fathers also arranged  (picked a husband) marriages for their daughters.  Legal age to marry in Rome was 12, but many waited until 14.  For males, the legal age for marriage was 14, although many married later.

Marriage in Rome was considered to be for life, but in the 3rd century, divorce was introduced and was easy to obtain (get).  Both the man or the woman could ask for divorce.  

By the 100s A.D., things within the Roman family were changing.  No one had absolute (total) control over the entire family.  Women began to receive more rights.  They could own, inherit, and sell land.  Women could attend the theater and amphitheater; however they had to sit in a separate family section.  Women still could not vote, but influenced politics through their husbands.



Romans relied on slave labor more than any other empire.  Romans would bring back captured people from wars to be slaves.  Greek slaves were in high demand.  Many were used as doctors, tutors, musicians, and artists.  Slaves of all nationalities were used for household chores/jobs.  The conditions that slaves lived in were horrible.  Some slaves revolted (fought back) against their owners.  Some slaves even murdered their owners.  This led to great concern among the Romans.  If a slave owner was murdered, all of the household slaves would be executed.  

The most famous slave revolt in Italy occurred in 73 B.C.  It was led by a gladiator called Spartacus.  This revolt happened in southern Italy and involved 70,000 slaves.  Spartacus was able to defeat several Roman armies before being trapped and killed in 71 B.C.  The Romans crucified him (put to death by nailing to a cross) along with 6,000 of his followers.  



Rome was at the center of the Roman Empire.  IT had the largest population of any empire (close to 1 million by the time of Augustus).    Its public buildings made the city look magnificent and unequaled anywhere in the world.  Rome was also an overcrowded and noisy city.  Wagon traffic was banned during the day and allowed only at night, which made it difficult to sleep.  It was dangerous to walk at night, even with Augustus organizing a police force.  People were still robbed and assaulted.   Without plumbing like today, waste and trash were often thrown out the windows.  

There was a large gap between the wealthy and poor.  The rich had comfortable villas to live in while the poor lived in massive apartment blocks called insulae.  Fire was also a constant threat due to the use of stoves, candles, torches and lamps used for heat and light.  A famous fire in A.D. 64 burned down a large portion of the city.  High rents forced families to live in one room apartments.  

Due to the poor living conditions, many Roman citizens would spend most of their time outside.  Citizens could attend public spectacles (events)   provided by the emperor.  At Circus Maximus, horse and chariot races could be seen.  Dramatic performances were held in theaters, but the most famous attraction was the gladiator shows at the Coliseum.  

Source: World History McGraw Hill/Glencoe 2008

Virgil's story of the Aeneid.

A brief summary of Virgil's story of the Aeneid.

Source: Youtube Johnm1717

I'm Spartacus!

The Roman slave Spartacus and his followers have been captured. When asked by the Roman general to identify who Spartacus is and all of his followers would not be punished; why do all of the slaves say that they are Spartacus?

Source: youtube VGUpload

Spartacus Crucifixion

Source: youtube Karvayo777

History of the Roman Colosseum

Source: History Channel

Roman Culture and Society Worksheet

Using the notes and videos above to complete the worksheet.

Full Screen