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Ancient Rome: Historical Era Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 1st, 2021

The Roman era lasted from the 10th century B.C. to the 5th century A.D. It can be described as a period of immense progress on many fronts, especially political, cultural, and technological. In this remarkable era, there came an efficient form of governance that built the backbone for forms of government in many countries over the world. Their culture, and mostly so the Latin language, has contributed enormously to languages used by billions around the world today while roman religion gave us our calendar. Technologically, Roman roads and architecture built centuries ago still exist today and are in use by Italy’s modern cities.

Ancient Rome was founded in 753 B.C. in what is now central Italy. It began as a farming village on the seven hills beside the Tiber River. Over the next 12 centuries, it expanded to become a vast empire covering Europe from England to North Africa as well as from Arabia up to the Atlantic Ocean. Rome passed through three periods. Starting 753–509 BC, it first developed from a village settlement into a city ruled by kings. Between 509–27BC, the Romans took over to form the Roman republic. This later collapsed, leading to the third period between 27 BC-AD 476, where it became an empire and stayed that way for the next five centuries. The existence of Rome has many lessons to teach to the civilized world today. (Kishlansky, Geary and O’Brien, 2004).

Early Romans particularly valued family relations. They had a patriarchal system with the father exercising supreme authority though still leaving other important tasks to the mother. The parents took a key interest in their children’s education. Sons would accompany their fathers to observe public meetings in preparation for their roles as citizens or leaders. This element has caused quite a number of rows in the modern society where the parental role in education has been almost minimized to payment of fees and provision of other means of accessing learning. Parents in contemporary society have left learning to schools and teachers and curriculums they themselves barely understand, for the roman parent education was used to secure their children’s future as well as to cultivate family pride. By taking a more front seat approach, parents in modern society can bequeath their children in real-life skills along with information and attitudes essential for appropriate adjustment to their community as well as to the larger society.

Another important role left to us by ancient Rome has to do with the relationship between husbands and wives. In ancient Rome, women had the role of child-rearing and household management. They were also a source of moral guidance to their children. The woman also shared any honors and respect given to her spouse. The law allowed for equal sharing of property in cases of death where a will is lacking though in most cases where one did exist, a provision was usually made for the daughters. In modern society, especially in more traditional settings, gender roles are still strictly adhered to but mostly have a stifling effect on women and their daughters. It is not uncommon for them to be denied basic education in order for them to do household duties. In many cases, they are also denied the right to inherit property is that they are to be married off to another family. (Solway and Connolly, 2001).

Another lesson we can get from this involves governance. Rome was ruled by kings elected from its major tribes in turns. However, unlike traditional monarchies where absolute power was vested in the king or queen, this king had a senate formed from heads of noble families to act as his advisors. The senate was composed of quite powerful individuals, but its authority was only to advise. There was also the Comitia Curiata which could endorse and ratify laws recommended by the king. The third administrative assembly was the Comitia Curata which would gather the people to give an announcement or bear witness to certain acts such as the proclamation of a new king or a declaration of war. This has a huge bearing on modern forms of government all over the world. The appointment of administrative assemblies which had representatives from all over the empire provided solid representation for the citizens of the empire. Where representation was given, then it provided stability, making way for progress. Compare this to nations such as Swaziland, where the king appoints his prime minister and cabinet as well as appointing 20 out of a 30 man senate. This has led to widespread abuse of his power to the detriment of his country and its people as a whole. (Kishlansky, Geary and O’Brien, 2004).

Ancient Rome also showed the importance of innovative or progressive planning in terms of technological advancement. Rome was superior in both military and structural engineering. It constructed hundreds of roads and bridges, , , , as well as , a lot of which still can be seen today. Water was conveyed into the city from adjacent hills through fourteen aqueducts, three of which are still in use, the first having being built about 313 B.C. The aqueducts allowed Roman agriculture to flourish through irrigation. Sewers also intersected Rome, and some were of immense size. The largest, Cloáca Maxima, with an arch of fourteen feet diameter, is still in use.

The is a road built in 312 BC. It linked the city of to southern parts of and still remains usable. The roads allowed trade to prosper as well as communication; for example, they could manage to have horse relays that allowed a message to travel up to 800 km in 24 hours. Its application to contemporary society is simple. Progress comes through applying novelty. We can also learn that social and economic development can be directly linked to how strong a country’s infrastructure is. This disparity can easily be seen between 1st and rd world countries whereby both may have equal recourses, but the poorer country has no way or means to ship them from the farm to the market due to poor or complete lack of roads.

Rome finally fell around the 5th century to German invaders. This was on its west side due to a combination of factors. They included its geography since it had a longer border to manage. There was also an unequal distribution of resources with the eastern empire, which had a tradition of urbanization that gave it continual support. It also had a strong economic base following lucrative trade with India, China, and Arabia, while the west was run by peasants. Once conquered, the west could not assist economically through taxes and tributes, leading the east to raise their own taxes. However, it wasn’t enough to sustain themselves, pay their army, and pacify the invaders. These factors combined led to its quiet demise in 476BC. The rise and fall of Rome teach us to avoid disparities in development since they might bring a weak point to an otherwise stable state leading to total collapse. It also advises against dependence on one factor in the economy, such as taxes alone, and preaches diversity.

References

Andrew Solway and Peter Connolly 2001, Ancient Rome, London, Oxford University Press.

Kishlansky, M., P. Geary and P. O’Brien 2004, A Brief History of Western Civilization: The Unfinished Legacy. New York, NY: Pearson/Longman. (4th Edition).

Robert F. Pennell., Ancient Rome From The Earliest Times Down To 476 A.D. . 2008. Web.

Ancient Rome, 2008. Web.

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