Ancient Rome Vocabulary

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A collection of the words that you will need to know about ancient Rome.

Byzantine Empire

The name by which the eastern half of the Roman empire became known some time after AD 400.

Carthage

An ancient city on the north coast of Africa. This city is famous for fighting against Rome in the Punic Wars.

Colosseum

A large stadium in ancient Rome where athletic events and gladiator matches took place.

Constantinople

A city established as the new eastern capital of the Roman empire by the emperor Constantine in AD 330, now called Istanbul.

Forum

The city market and meeting place in the center of ancient Rome.

Pantheon

A large, domed shaped temple built in ancient Rome to honor many gods and goddesses.

Pompeii

An ancient city in southwestern Italy that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

Tiber River

A river flowing through the city of Rome.

Augustus

First Roman emperor, won the civil war following Julius Caesar's assassination and went on to unify the empire and establish the Pax Romana.

Cleopatra

Ruler of the Egyptian government in Alexandria who backed Caesar in the civil war he waged.

Constantine

Roman emperor who founded Constantinople as the new eastern capital of the Roman Empire.

Diocletian

Roman emperor who divided the empire in two and oversaw the eastern part.

Hannibal

General of Carthage who marched his army and elephants from Spain to Rome in the Second Punic War.

Julius Caesar

Roman general who became the republic's dictator.

Scipio

Roman general who defeated Hannibal in the Battle of Zuma outside Carthage.

Aqueducts

A high, arched structure built to carry water over long distances.

Architecture

The science of planning and constructing buildings.

Census

A count of all the people living in a country.

Civil war

An armed conflict between groups within one country.

Consuls

One of two elected officials of the Roman Republic who commanded the army and were supreme judges. These elected officials had veto power.

Dictator

A ruler who has absolute power.

Dictatorship

A system of government with a ruler who has absolute power.

Gladiator

A Roman athlete, usually a slave, criminal, or prisoner or war, who was forced to fight for the entertainment of the public.

Patricians

A member of the noble families who controlled all power in the early years of the Roman Republic.

Pax Romana

A period of peace for the Roman Empire that began with the rule of Augustus and lasted for about 200 years.

Peninsula

An area of land almost entirely surrounded by water.

Plebeians

A common farmer, trader, or craftworker in ancient Rome.

Polytheism

The belief in many gods and goddesses.

Punic Wars

A series of conflicts between Rome and Carthage ending in a victory for Rome.

Representative

A person who is elected by citizens to speak or act for them.

Republic

A form of government in which citizens elect representatives to speak or act for them.

Senate

The lawmaking body and most powerful branch in ancient Rome's Republic.

Tribunes

Elected leaders of ancient Rome who represented the interests of the plebeians. One of the branches of the Roman Republic government.

Twelve Tables

The earliest written collection of Roman laws, drawn up by patricians, became the foundation of Roman law.

Veto

A vote that blocks a decision, Latin for "I forbid"

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