Rome (unit 3 continued)

By , October 6, 2011 9:05 pm

Welcome to Rome! We will continue to improve our HTC skill of examining causes and consequences.


Tues. Oct. 29: The Republic: Did Expansion Lead to Decline? Day 1

Rome_Intro_2018  (PPT) – Aristocracy/Democracy/Empire

Today students were put in role for the “Trial of the Assassins”. This will be the upcoming trial of the assassins of Julius Caesar. We will have this trial (in-role) on Tues. Nov. 5. Roles are below if you forget:

Prosecution Witnesses: (Caesar’s supporters)

Marc Antony (Caesar’s best friend) – Zac

Roman legionnaires (from the army) – Erika

Roman plebeians (ordinary people) – Joe

Caesar’s ghost – John

Lawyers for the Prosecution – Alex and Josh


Defense Witnesses

Brutus (a former friend of Caesar’s and a Senator) – Nathan

Ghost of Pompey (a former political ally of Caesar) – Liam

Senators – Lauren and Rebecca

Lawyers for the Defense – Jessica and Korosh


Jury: Annabel, Julian, Salem, Saleh


HW: 1. Read and take notes on 172-176 under these headings:

  • importance of Gauls, Sicily and southern Spain
  • Carthaginians, Hannibal
  • Scipio Africanus
  • Addition of eastern territory (omit)
  • coloniae
  • via appia

HW: 2. find out who your person is. If you’re a juror, there’s not much you can do at this point. 


Wed. Oct. 30: Republic con’t 

Roman Republican Gov’t  – review from Intro PPT.

What can you recall from yesterday:

privileges of Roman citizenship – who wanted them? who didn’t want to give them away to others? Why not? What was the potential for conflict?

government balance – how did they make a monarch-like power without the power of a monarch?

dictatorship: what’s the danger of this position?



HW: Trial preparation – read “Getting Ready for Julius Caesar”  Rome_Lead_Up_Caesar


Thurs. Oct. 31 and Fri. Nov. 1: Trial Preparation Days

La morte di Cesare

  1. Complete Getting Ready for Julius Caesar (handout above).
  2. Complete Alternative Interpretations of Caesar_shortened (handout).
  3. Witnesses help lawyers come up with questions for them.
  4. Lawyers come up with questions to ask the opposing side’s witnesses (for cross examination).

HW: daily practice of the basic facts about Rome so far (here are some sample key words: ‘balanced’ republic, consuls, tribunes, Senators, citizenship, patrician, plebeian, Romanization, triumvirate, rex, …)



Trial tips:

  1. Testimony of witnesses should be about 1 minute each.
  2. Lawyers must choose the order in which they call their own witnesses. After each witness, the opposing side may cr0ss-examine.
  3. Prosecution will call their witnesses first.
  4. Lawyers can write opening and closing statements. They can get witnesses to help with this.


Mon. Nov. 4: Trial

  1. Opening statements.
  2. Prosecution witnesses (including cross examination).
  3. Defense witnesses (including cross examination).
  4. Closing statements.
  5. Jury deliberation.
  6. Delivery of the verdict.
  7. Punishment phase (if guilty).

HW: Notes on aftermath of Caesar’s death, 195-197 (2nd triumvirate, Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian’s rise to sole power).


Tues. Nov. 5 and Wed. Nov. 6: Augustus – the First Roman Emperor but Not in Name

Bust of Augustus from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. late 30s or 40s CE.


Minds On: What lessons did Octavian/Augustus have to learn from what happened to Julius Caesar?

Caesar-v_Augustus_PROJECTOR-slide (quotes)

HTC: primary source evidence

What is your interpretation of Augustus after each document? How does it change with the addition of new information?


Augustus’s Character:

smart, calculating, cunning?

He balanced changes with tradition.



Continuity and change – Caesar to Augustus.


Thurs. Nov. 7  and Fri. Nov. 8: Decline of  the Roman Empire – generic factors

How did this all fall apart?


Read and annotate Decline of the Roman Empire articles (they are all pretty generic, without specific emperor names or dates). Then share with your mixed group and enter information onto the factors page.

Empire overview of decline: Articles_Decline_Rome

Currency and the Collapse of the Roman Empire (infographic) = article 5


Analyzing the Causes: 

In mixed groups, using the white boards, use only the names of the causes (economic, military, etc) and draw arrows between them. Indicate if arrows are direct or indirect causes.


Identify #1 causal factor, and least important causal factor.



Review we started with the key words from each of the factors in decline that were done yesterday:

  • political
    • corruption, disloyalty, fraud, conflict, political incompetence
  • economic
    • hyperinflation, heavy taxes, military spending, trade localization, unemployment, expensive infrastructure, gladiatorial games cost, trade imbalance (import more than export)
  • religious
    • Christian values conflicted with traditional polytheistic Roman beliefs and morality. It was a sudden change that resulted in confusion.
  • social
    • manumission (freeing) of slaves, loss of old Roman values of being a good citizen, reliance on slave labour made Romans behind in technology.
  • external
    • invasions, natural disasters and environmental decline (note that the army was mostly composed of Germanic peoples by the end, not Romans)

Then, we looked at the timeline of Republic to Empire:

  1. 509 BCE start of the Republic
  2. 44 BCE death of Julius Caesar
  3. 476 CE end of the Roman Empire in the west (note that the eastern portion lasted until 1453)

Where did each emperor fit into the timeline?

Augustus (ruled 27 BCE – 14 CE)

Tiberius – Ms. G delivered a short presentation to show you what yours might look like: Tiberius_Contribution_to_Decline_Rome

Nero (ruled 54 – 68 CE)

Trajan (ruled 98-117 )

Hadrian (ruled 117-138 )

Diocletian (ruled 284-305)

Constantine (ruled 306-337)


We began research on how each emperor contributed (or not) to the eventual decline of Rome. CHW 3M Roman Emperors Note-taking Sheets.

It is probably best to divide research into the 5 headings that we started with today.


Mon. Nov. 11 and Tues. Nov. 12: Emperor Research

Research will continue. PLEASE take notes in your own words in point form.

Groups will have 5 slides maximum to share the major achievements of each emperor and how he contributed (or not) to the decline of the empire.

enter your info on these slides:

Shareable Link

After your individual research, come up with your theme (thesis, main argument) about the emperor. This should be about a sentence long and refer to how much or how little he contributed to the decline of Rome.

Preparation of slides. Make sure you use headings to clearly indicate if information is positive achievement, negative contribution, and link to decline. Don’t forget causation!!!! You can use red and green to show contributing to decline not contributing to decline.



Monday HW: work on your individual research and finish it for tomorrow.

Tuesday HW: finish your slides.


Wed. Nov. 13: Sharing of Research About Emperors

share slides

compete for best and worst!



Thurs. Nov. 14: Share

Finish sharing.

Tweet. (that didn’t happen)


Here’s an example of how I might make an argument about how Augustus did NOT cause the decline of Rome. It’s just an example to show you how to provide the connection to generic causes of decline (highlighted in red). Your answer won’t be this long and your question won’t be the same. I just thought this might help you see how to connect to eventual decline!

TS: Augustus did not directly cause the decline of the Roman Empire though he did establish some precedents that later became causes for decline.

Ex 1: Augustus’ treatment of the Senate was fair: he took away Julius Caesar’s old appointees, making the patricians feel happier about being rid of those plebeian-friendly old pals of Caesar. While the Senate remained somewhat powerful, Augustus grew to hold just as much power as he shared power over the provinces with the Senate. He personally owned and controlled Egypt, one of the wealthiest provinces.

Arg and HTC 1: This shows that Augustus was smart enough to please the Senate yet still give himself a lot of power. One of the long-term political causes of the fall of the Roman Empire in the west was the corruption of rulers. Over time the Senate became less and less important and more power was concentrated in the hands of the emperor who could be unscrupulous and devious. Even though Augustus never called himself emperor he certainly demonstrated emperor-like power when he removed the Caesar-friendly Senators and single-handedly decided that Egypt would belong to him. He wasn’t corrupt or devious; he was just smart enough to make it work in his time.

Ex 2: Augustus was very interested in reviving and promoting the old/traditional values of the Republic related to religion and family. He did this by pleasing the priests in many ways: taxing childless couples to push them to have more children; making an example of his daughter Julia by forcing her to marry to provide him with an heir and eventually exiling her for her immoral behaviour with men; building 82 temples in Rome.

Arg and HTC 2: These examples demonstrate that Augustus did not contribute directly to the decline of Rome in the area of religion because he promoted the polytheistic state religion of Rome, not Christianity. Christianity hardly existed at the time of Augustus. Later in the empire when the new religion began to spread amongst Romans, it grew and grew in popularity amongst plebeians who were suffering both socially and economically in the empire. It grew to the point that it made the polytheistic (or pagan) emperors upset when Christians would not sacrifice to the emperor. Persecutions increased until Constantine converted and gave a voice to Christians. Later, as Christianity became the state religion, people became confused and there was uncertainty as to the status of the old Roman values. Augustus cannot be blamed for this. 

Ex 3: When it came to external and military affairs, Augustus can also not be seen as a direct cause of the fall of Rome. Though Augustus did spend money on troops and did send them to fight in many places, including against the Germanic tribes, he learned a lesson later in life that could have had a great effect on his successors: don’t expand. After losing legions against the Germanic troops, he wrote in his will that future emperors should not expand Rome because it was too dangerous.

Arg and HTC 3: Once again Augustus’ actions did not directly lead to the fall of Rome. It was not Augustus’ fault that later emperors, including his own immediate dynastic successors in the Julio-Claudian dynasty, did not heed his warning about the dangers of expansion. What later happened in the empire is that emperors expanded, causing them to have more and more troops to defend the frontiers. These troops were expensive to maintain. When Rome began to stagnate and emperors invited in Germanic troops to be paid to be in the Roman army, they might have foreseen that these troops would not be loyal to the Roman Empire. Augustus once again showed his smart mind by warning about the risks of expansion and thus should not be blamed for future emperors not seeing the consequences. 


CS: For the most part Augustus is innocent of causing the later decline of  Rome; the only thing he indirectly contributed to is gathering emperor-like power into his hands.





1. Introduction to Rome and themes (see PPT)

2. Republic (gov’t, hw notes 172-176)

3. Assassination of Caesar (getting ready for Caesar, alternative interpretations of Caesar). It is very important to know the groups that supported Caesar and the groups that disliked him (plotted to kill him).

4.  Aftermath of Caesar’s death (hw notes 195-197).

5. Augustus Interpretations – his achievement, his character, what did you think as you added new information from the primary sources?

6. Generic factors in the decline of Rome.

7. Roman Emperors – how they contributed to decline (causes and consequences)

Format of test:

  1. 10 multiple choice questions (knowledge)
  2. written question on Julius Caesar using continuity and change (application)
  3. written question on contributions to the decline of the Roman Empire in the west using causes and consequences (application)


Mon. Nov. 18: Rome Test


Tues. Nov. 19: CCA Step 2 in library (see CCA page)

Wed. Nov. 20: CCA Step 2 in library

Thurs. Nov. 21: CCA Step 2 in library (last day)

CCA Step 2 is due on Wed. Nov. 27.



Greece and Rome Web Sites





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