The Colosseum in Rome, Italy
c. 10 B.C.
Livy writes his
History of Rome
Roman Empire
divided into eastern
and western parts
begins rule
B.C. A.D. 100 A.D. 300 A.D. 500
B.C. A.D. 100 A.D. 300 A.D. 500
298–299 Picture Finders Ltd./eStock
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Chapter Preview
The Romans developed a civilization as well as an
empire. Read this chapter to find out about Roman
achievements that still influence your life today.
View the Chapter 9 video in the World History:
Journey Across Time Video Program.
Life in Ancient Rome
The Romans learned from the Greeks but changed
what they borrowed to suit their own needs. The
lives of rich and poor Romans were very different.
The Fall of Rome
Rome finally fell when Germanic invaders
swept through the empire in the A.D. 400s. Roman
achievements in government, law, language, and
the arts are still important today.
The Byzantine Empire
As the Western Roman Empire fell, the Eastern
Roman, or Byzantine, Empire grew rich and
powerful. The Byzantines developed a culture
based on Roman, Greek, and Christian ideas.
Chapter Overview Visit for a preview
of Chapter 9.
Organizing Information Make this foldable to help you organize and analyze
information by asking yourself questions about Roman civilization.
Reading and Writing
As you read the chapter,
write the main ideas for
each section in the
appropriate columns
of your foldable.Then
write one statement
that summarizes the
main ideas in each
Step 1 Fold a sheet of
paper into thirds from
top to bottom.
Step 2 Turn the paper
horizontally, unfold, and
label the three columns
as shown.
The Fall
of Rome
Th e
Life in
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& Reflecting
Your Point of View
An important part of reading involves thinking about and
responding to the text from your own point of view.
Read the following paragraph about daily life in Rome and
look at how one student reflects as she reads.
The city of Rome was crowded,
noisy, and dirty. People tossed
garbage into the streets from their
apartments, and thieves prowled
the streets at night. Most people in
Rome were poor. They lived in
apartment buildings made of stone
and wood. High rent forced families
to live in one room.
—from page 306
“Reminds me
of a city I
visited once”
“Sounds like it
would be very
and crowded!”
“Were they
like apart-
ment build-
ings today?”
“What would
that look like?
What would
it smell like?”
While you do not want
to daydream as you are
reading, you do want to
think about the text.
Good readers’ minds are
busy, almost “talking
back” to the text as
they read.
298-301 CH 9 CO-824133 3/16/04 4:37 PM Page 300
Between the ages of 14 and 16, a
Roman boy celebrated becoming a
man. He would burn his toys as
offerings to the household gods.
Then he would put on a toga, a loose-
fitting robe that Roman men wore.
Once he came of age, a man might
join his family’s business, become a
soldier, or begin a career in the gov-
ernment. Roman women did not
become adults until they married. A
woman usually wore a long flowing
robe with a cloak called a palla.
—from pages 307–308
Reflect and Respond
Read the following paragraph. Take a few minutes
to reflect on what you have read and then respond by
exchanging thoughts with a partner. Some suggested
topics are listed below.
In Section 2, you will
read why historians
believe the Roman
Empire fell. Choose one
of the reasons and
respond to it, explaining
why you think this is
the most likely reason
for the decline of the
Roman Empire.
Read to Write
As you read, keep a reader’s note-
book. Record responses to facts or
ideas that you find interesting.
Do boys do anything today to show that
they have become men?
What does a toga look like? What does a
palla look like?
Why did a woman have to wait until she
married to become an adult?
Why were boys and girls treated so
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73 B.C.
Spartacus leads
revolt of
enslaved people
c. A.D. 80
100 B.C. A.D. 1 A.D. 100
100 B.C. A.D.1 A.D. 100
302 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
c. 10 B.C.
Livy writes his
History of Rome
What’s the Connection?
You have already learned about
Rome’s rise to power. Life in Rome
was not easy, but as the empire grew,
its people accomplished many things
in art, science, and engineering.
Focusing on the
In addition to their own developments
in science and engineering, Roman
artists and writers borrowed many
ideas from the Greeks.
(page 303)
The rich and poor had very different
lives in the Roman Empire, as did
men and women.
(page 306)
Meeting People
Virgil (VUHRjuhl)
Horace (HAWRuhs)
Galen (GAYluhn)
Ptolemy (TAHluhmee)
Spartacus (SPAHRtuhkuhs)
Building Your Vocabulary
vault (VAWLT)
satire (SATYR)
ode (OHD)
anatomy (uhNAtuh mee)
Forum (FOHRuhm)
gladiator (GLAdeeAY tuhr)
(PA tuhrfuhMIHleeuhs)
rhetoric (REHtuhrihk)
Reading Strategy
Compare and Contrast Use a Venn
diagram like the one below to show
similarities and differences between
the rich and the poor in Rome.
302-310 CH 9 S1-824133 3/16/04 4:53 PM Page 302
Roman Culture
In addition to their own developments
in science and engineering, Roman artists and writ-
ers borrowed many ideas from the Greeks.
Reading Focus Are there people in your life that you
admire? What have you learned from them? Read to
find out what the Romans learned from the Greeks.
The Romans admired and studied Greek
statues, buildings, and ideas. They copied
the Greeks in many ways. However, they
changed what they borrowed to suit their
own needs. In one important way, the
Romans were very different from the
Greeks. The Greeks loved to talk about ideas.
To the Romans, ideas were only important if
they could solve everyday problems.
What Was Roman Art Like? The Romans
admired Greek art and architecture. They
placed Greek-style statues in their homes
and public buildings. Roman artists, how-
ever, carved statues that looked different
from those of the Greeks. Greek statues
were made to look perfect. People were
shown young, healthy, and with beautiful
bodies. Roman statues were more realistic
and included wrinkles, warts, and other
less attractive features.
In building, the Romans also turned to
the Greeks for ideas. They used Greek-style
porches and rows of columns called colon-
nades. But they also added their own fea-
tures, such as arches and domes. Roman
builders were the first to make full use of
the arch. Arches supported bridges, aque-
ducts, and buildings. Rows of arches were
often built against one another to form a
(VAWLT), or curved ceiling. Using this
technique, the Romans were able to build
domes from many rings of shaped stone.
The Romans were the first people to
invent and use concrete, a mixture of vol-
canic ash, lime, and water. When it dried,
this mix was as hard as rock. Concrete
made buildings sturdier and allowed them
to be built taller.
Rome’s concrete buildings were so well
built that many still stand today. One of the
most famous is the Colosseum, completed
about A.D. 80. It was a huge arena that could
seat about 60,000 people. Another famous
building is the Pantheon, a temple built to
honor Rome’s gods. The Pantheon’s domed
roof was the largest of its time.
This Roman bridge still stands in Spain. In what other
structures were arches used?
Nik Wheeler/CORBIS
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Roman Literature Roman authors based
much of their writing on Greek works. For
example, the Roman writer Virgil (VUHR
juhl) drew some of his ideas from Homer’s
Odyssey. Virgil’s epic poem, the Aeneid (uh
NEEuhd), describes the adventures of the
Trojan prince Aeneas and how he came to
Italy. Virgil presents Aeneas as the ideal
Roman—brave, self-controlled, and loyal to
the gods.
Rome’s other famous writers also
looked to the Greeks for inspiration. Using
Greek models, the poet Horace (HAWR uhs)
wrote satires (SATYRZ). These works poked
fun at human weaknesses. Horace also
composed odes (OHDZ), or poems that
express strong emotions about life. The
Roman writer Ovid wrote works that were
based on the Greek myths. The poet Catullus
also admired Greek writings. He wrote short
poems about love, sadness, and envy.
Like the Greeks, Rome’s histori-
ans recorded the events of their civi-
lization. One of Rome’s most famous
historians was Livy. He wrote his
History of Rome about 10
B.C. In this
book, Livy describes Rome’s rise to
power. Livy greatly admired the
deeds of the early Romans, and he
believed that history had important
moral lessons to teach people.
Livy celebrated Rome’s great-
ness, but the Roman historian Tacitus
took a darker view. He believed that
Rome’s emperors had taken people’s free-
dom. Tacitus also thought Romans were
losing the values that made them strong.
He accused them of wasting time on sports
and other pleasures.
Also like the Greeks, the Romans
enjoyed plays. Roman plays were often
based on Greek tragedies and comedies.
Playwrights such as the tragedy writer
Seneca and the comedy writers Plautus and
Terence wrote plays for religious festivals.
Romans especially liked plays with humor.
Roman authors influenced later writers
in Europe and America, but the language of
the Romans, Latin, had an even bigger
impact on future generations. Latin became
Europe’s language for government, trade,
and learning until about A.D. 1500. Latin
became the basis of many modern
European languages, such as Italian,
French, and Spanish, and shaped many
others. Many of the English words we use
today come from Latin as well.
Roman Science and Engineering The
Romans also learned from Greek science. A
Greek doctor named Galen (GAY luhn)
304 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
The Book of
In this poem excerpt, Horace praises the
lifestyle of those who farm their fam-
ily’s land.
“Happy the man who, far from
business and affairs
Like mortals of the early
May work his father’s fields
with oxen of his own,
Exempt [free] from profit,
loss, and fee,
Not like the soldier roused by
savage trumpet’s blare,
Not terrified by seas in rage,
Avoiding busy forums and the
haughty doors
Of influencial citizens.”
—Horace, The Book of Epodes
According to Horace, what kinds of things
does the farmer avoid?
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The Colosseum in Rome could hold some 60,000 people.
The arena even had a removable canvas awning to protect
spectators from the hot Roman sun.
What was concrete
made from?
brought many medical ideas to Rome. For
example, he emphasized the importance of
anatomy (uh NA tuh mee), the study of
body structure. To learn about inner organs,
Galen cut open dead animals and recorded
his findings. Doctors in the West studied
Galen’s books and drawings for more than
1,500 years.
Another important scientist of the
Roman Empire was Ptolemy (TAH luh
mee). Ptolemy lived in Alexandria, in Egypt.
He studied the sky and carefully mapped
over 1,000 different stars. He also studied
the motion of planets and stars and created
rules explaining their movements. Even
though Ptolemy incorrectly placed Earth at
the center of the universe, educated people
in Europe accepted his ideas for centuries.
While Roman scientists tried to under-
stand how the world worked, Roman
engineers built an astonishing system of
roads and bridges to connect the empire.
Have you ever heard the saying “All roads
lead to Rome”? Roman engineers built
roads from Rome to every part of the
empire. These roads were well built and
made travel and trade more accessible.
The Romans also used advanced engi-
neering to supply their cities with fresh-
water. Engineers built aqueducts to bring
water from the hills into the cities.
Aqueducts were long troughs supported by
rows of arches. They carried water
over long distances. At one time, 11 great
aqueducts fed Rome’s homes, bathhouses,
fountains, and public bathrooms. Roman
cities also had sewers to remove waste.
How was the
character Aeneas an ideal Roman?
A system of cages, ropes, and
pulleys brought wild animals up
to the Colosseum floor from
rooms underground.
The Roman Colosseum
The Roman Colosseum
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Daily Life in Rome
The rich and poor had very different
lives in Rome, as did men and women.
Reading Focus Do you think there is a big difference
in the lives of boys and girls you know today? Why or
why not? Read to learn how the lives of Roman boys
and girls were very different from each other.
What was it like to live in Rome over
2,000 years ago? Rome was one of the
largest cities in the ancient world. By the
time of Augustus, over a million people
lived there. Rome was carefully planned, as
were many Roman cities. It was laid out in a
square with the main roads crossing at right
angles. At its center was the Forum (FOHR
um). This was an open space that served as a
marketplace and public square. Temples
and public buildings were built around it.
Wealthy Romans lived in large, comfort-
able houses. Each home had large rooms,
fine furniture, and beautiful gardens. In the
center was an inner court called an atrium.
Wealthy Romans also had homes called vil-
las on their country estates.
The city of Rome was crowded, noisy,
and dirty. People tossed garbage into the
streets from their apartments, and thieves
prowled the streets at night. Most people in
Rome were poor. They lived in apartment
buildings made of stone and wood. High
rent forced families to live in one room.
Roman apartments were up to six stories
high. They often collapsed because they were
so poorly built. Fire was a constant danger
because people used torches and lamps for
lighting and cooked with oil. Once started, a
fire could destroy entire blocks of apartments.
To keep the people from rioting, the
Roman government provided “bread and cir-
cuses,” or free grain and shows. Romans of all
classes flocked to the chariot races and gladi-
ator contests. Gladiators (GLAdeeAY tuhrz)
Ancient Roman Sports Sports were
important to the Romans. Paintings on
vases, frescoes [moist plaster], and stone
show Romans playing ball, including a
version of soccer. Roman girls are shown
exercising with handheld weights and
throwing an egg-shaped ball. Balls were
made of different materials such as wool,
hair, linen, sponges, and pig bladders
wrapped in string.
Some Roman sporting events took
place in the Colosseum, amphitheaters,
and the Circus Maximus. Wild beast
fights, battles between ships, and
gladiator contests attracted Roman
spectators by the thousands. Chariot
racing was held in the Circus Maximus,
and the drivers wore team colors of
red, white, green, and blue.
Scene showing gladiators in battle
Connecting to the Past
1. How do we know sports were important to
the Romans?
2. How are today’s sports different from
Roman sports? How are they similar?
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fought animals and each other. Most gladia-
tors were enslaved people, criminals, or poor
people. Gladiators were admired, much like
sports heroes are today.
What Was Family Life Like? Family life
was important to the Romans. Their families
were large. They included not only parents
and young children but also married chil-
dren and their families, other relatives, and
enslaved servants. The father was the head
of the household. Called the paterfamilias
(PA tuhrfuhMIHleeuhs), or “father of the
family,” he had complete control over fam-
ily members. For example, he punished chil-
dren severely if they disobeyed. He also
arranged their marriages.
In some cases, the paterfamilias made
sure his children were educated. Poor
Romans could not afford to send their chil-
dren to school. Wealthy Romans, however,
hired tutors to teach their young children at
home. Some older boys did go to schools,
where they learned reading, writing, and
rhetoric (REHtuhrihk), or public speaking.
Older girls did not go to school. Instead,
they studied reading and writing at home.
They also learned household duties.
Between the ages of 14 and 16, a Roman
boy celebrated becoming a man. He would
burn his toys as offerings to the household
gods. Then he would put on a toga, a loose-
fitting robe that Roman men wore. Once he
came of age, a man might join his family’s
business, become a soldier, or begin a career
Chariot races were held in an arena called the Circus Maximus,
one of the largest arenas ever made. Besides chariot races,
what other types of shows attracted Romans?
A Roman teacher and student
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In the dining room, family members
ate while reclining on couches.
Rainwater from the
gutters collected in
the pool below.
Guests and business
associates were
entertained in the
living room/study.
Some homes had shops
or workshops that
opened onto the street.
A Roman House
A Roman House
in the government. Roman women did not
become adults until they married. A
woman usually wore a long flowing robe
with a cloak called a palla.
Women in Rome Women in early Rome
had some rights, but they were not full citi-
zens. The paterfamilias looked after his wife
and controlled her affairs. However, he
often sought her advice in private. Women
had a strong influence on their families, and
some wives of famous men, including
emperors, became well-known themselves.
For example, the empress Livia (LIHVee
uh), wife of Augustus, had a say in Rome’s
politics. She was later honored as a goddess.
The freedoms a Roman woman enjoyed
depended on her husband’s wealth and
standing. Wealthy women had a great deal
of independence. They could own land, run
businesses, and sell property. They man-
aged the household and had enslaved peo-
ple do the housework. This left the women
free to study literature, art, and fashion.
Outside the home, they could go to the the-
ater or the amphitheater, but in both places
they had to sit in areas separate from men.
Women with less money had less free-
dom. They spent most of their time working
in their houses or helping their husbands in
family-run shops. They were allowed to
leave home to shop, visit friends, worship at
temples, or go to the baths. A few women
did work independently outside the home.
Some served as priestesses, while others
worked as hairdressers and even doctors.
Wealthy Romans often lived in spacious houses with central
courtyards. The houses had high brick walls without windows.
Many of the rooms opened into the courtyard to allow in light
and fresh air. How is a Roman home similar to homes in your
neighborhood? How is it different?
A Roman
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CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization 309
These apartments were built of brick
and stone for wealthy Romans. What
sort of buildings did poor Romans live in?
How Did Romans Treat Enslaved People?
Slavery was a part of Roman life from early
times. But the use of slave labor grew as
Rome took over more territory. Thousands
of prisoners from conquered lands were
brought to Italy. Most spent their lives per-
forming slave labor. By 100 B.C., about 40
percent of the people in Italy were enslaved.
Enslaved people did many different
jobs. They worked in homes, fields, mines,
and workshops. They helped build roads,
bridges, and aqueducts. Many enslaved
Greeks were well educated. They served as
teachers, doctors, and artisans.
For most enslaved people, life was miser-
able. They were punished severely for poor
work or for running away. To escape their
hardships, enslaved people often rebelled.
In 73 B.C. a slave revolt broke out in Italy.
It was led by a gladiator named Spartacus
(SPAHR tuh kuhs). Under Spartacus, a force
of 70,000 enslaved people defeated several
Roman armies. The revolt was finally
crushed two years later. Spartacus and
6,000 of his followers were crucified, or put
to death by being nailed to a cross.
Roman Religion The ancient Romans
worshiped many gods and goddesses. They
also believed that spirits lived in natural
things, such as trees and rivers. Greek gods
and goddesses were popular in Rome,
although they were given Roman names.
For example, Zeus became Jupiter, the sky
god, and Aphrodite became Venus, the god-
dess of love and beauty. Roman emperors
also were worshiped. This practice
strengthened support for the government.
Romans honored their gods and god-
desses by praying and offering food. Every
Roman home had an altar for their house-
hold gods. At these altars, the head of the
family carried out rituals. Government offi-
cials made offerings in temples. There the
important gods and goddesses of Rome
were honored. Some Roman priests looked
for messages from the gods. They studied
the insides of dead animals or watched the
flight of birds, looking for meaning.
A Roman family at
the dinner table
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Reading Summary
Review the
Roman art, literature, and science
borrowed much from the Greeks.
Roman engineers made advances,
including the development of
cement, the arch, aqueducts, and
Religion and family were impor-
tant parts of Roman life. Enslaved
people carried out many different
tasks in Roman society.
1. What were some of Ptolemy’s
scientific achievements?
2. How were the Roman and
Greek religions similar?
Critical Thinking
3. Compare and Contrast
Draw a chart like the one
below. Fill in details to com-
pare and contrast Roman and
Greek art and architecture.
Analyze Explain the impor-
tance of the language of the
Describe Describe the educa-
tion of Roman children.
Conclude The Romans bor-
rowed ideas from other peo-
ples. Do you think our culture
today borrows ideas from
other peoples? Explain your
Responding and
Look at the art
showing the Roman house on
page 308. Write five things that
come to mind as you view this
What Did You Learn?
Study Central
Need help with the
material in this section? Visit
310 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
As the empire grew larger, Romans
came into contact with other religions.
These religions were allowed, as long as
they did not threaten the government.
Those that did faced severe hardships. You
will read about one of these religions—
Christianity—in the next chapter.
Compare the life
of upper-class women to women of other classes.
Greek Art Roman Art
The Romans also bor-
rowed ideas from Greek
philosophy. For exam-
ple, they borrowed and
modified the Greek
philosophy of Stoicism.
For Romans, however,
Stoicism was not a-
bout finding happiness
through reason like it
was for the Greeks. In-
stead, Stoicism encour-
aged Romans to live in
a practical way. Stoic
philosophers urged peo-
ple to participate in
public affairs, to do their
civic duty, and to treat conquered peoples
Roman God
god of war
wife of chief god
Jupiter chief god
Ve nu s goddess of love
Diana goddess of the hunt
Minerva goddess of wisdom
Mercury messenger god
Pluto god of the underworld
Neptune god of the sea
Vulcan god of fire
Greek God
Greek and Roman Gods
Greek and Roman Gods
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Do you know a person who is
always friendly and generous, no
matter what the circumstances?
In this story, a good-natured
husband and wife are rewarded
when they receive special guests
into their home.
Retold by Geraldine McCaughrean
Before You Read
The Scene: This story takes place in ancient Rome in the legendary time
when gods visited Earth to interact with humans in person.
The Characters: Philemon and Baucis are the man and woman who
welcome guests to their home. Clio is their goose. Jupiter and Mercury are
two ancient Roman gods.
The Plot: A husband and wife welcome two guests into their cottage. They
have no food for the guests, but they do have a pet goose. As the pair try to
provide their guests with food, the guests reveal their identities and reward
the host and hostess for their generosity.
Vocabulary Preview
fowl: bird
wielding: controlling
gaped: hung open
quills: feathers
hospitality: friendliness and
generosity toward guests
ramshackle: falling apart
disintegrated: broke
into small pieces
gilded: decorated
with gold
preening: grooming
and making pretty
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As You Read
Keep in mind that this story is a myth. Like the
Greeks, Romans passed myths from one generation
to the next to explain some aspect of the world.
Often, the stories involved gods and goddesses as
well as humans.
Aknock at the door. A pair of passing
strangers. Philemon and Baucis did not know
the two men on their doorstep, but they had
never yet failed to offer a warm welcome to
anyone who called at their little cottage.
“Come in! Sit down! My wife will cook you
supper!” said Philemon.
His wife tugged at his sleeve. She did not
need to say more. Both of them knew there
was no food in the house. Not a bite. Baucis
and Philemon themselves had been living on
eggs and olives for days. There was not even
any bread.
Philemon smiled sadly at Baucis, and she
smiled sadly back. “It’s the goose, is it?” he said.
“The goose it is,” she replied.
Clio was all they had left. She was more
like a pet than a farmyard fowl. And yet, guests
are a blessing sent by the gods, and guests
must be fed. So Philemon fetched his sharp ax
and Baucis began to chase the goose, trying to
drive it into the cottage.
Jupiter sat back in his chair and waited
patiently for dinner. “Do you think we should
help?” he said to Mercury, hearing the
commotion in the yard.
“I know we shall have a wait,” replied
“Here—you try,” said Baucis, passing the
ax to Philemon.
The goose was squawking, Baucis was
yelping, and Philemon was coughing as he ran
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about wielding the ax. He struck at Clio, but the goose moved, and he demolished a bush.
He swung again and hit the wooden pail. The goose shrieked with outrage, then with terror,
and slapped about on her big, triangular feet—plat, plat, plat—skidding into their
homemade altar piled high with flowers, into the fish-drying rack,
into the washing on
the tree.
Olives rained down on the roof of the shack.
“Do you think we should go?” said Jupiter, as he and Mercury listened to the
wild-goose chase and their hungry stomachs growled quietly.
At last Philemon and Baucis cornered the goose against the cottage door. Her
orange beak gaped. Philemon raised the ax . . . and Clio bolted backward into the shack,
running around the room like a black-footed pillow fight until she caught sight of Jupiter.
Now, animals are not so easily fooled by disguises, and although Jupiter and Mercury
were dressed as peasants, in woolen tunics and straw hats, she instantly recognized the
King of the gods and threw herself on his mercy. Neck outstretched, eyes bulging, she ran
straight between his knees and into his lap. He was overrun with goose.
A thousand pardons, friend,” gasped Baucis, crawling in at the door, her hair stuck
with goose quills. “Won’t you take an olive while you wait?”
Jupiter stroked the goose, which stood paddling
on his thighs, and spat out a few
feathers. “Shield me! Save me! Protect me!” said the goose, in the language of geese.
fish-drying rack: large wooden structure on which fish are hung to dry
washing on the tree: laundry hung on the tree branches to dry
paddling: moving its feet
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Jupiter tickled it under the beak. “Your hospitality is a marvel, dear Philemon,
gentle Baucis. In all my long travels over the face of the world, I have never met
such unselfish hosts. Here is your only goose, and you were ready to cook it for us!
Your generosity surpasses that of the gods themselves!”
“Now, sir,” said Baucis sternly. “You may be a guest, but I’ll have no ill spoken
of the gods in this house. Though we have little to offer, the gods have been good
to us, have they not, my love?”
“They have, they have,” said Philemon. Mercury concealed a grin.
And they shall be good to you ever after!” declared Jupiter, rising to his feet.
He rose and rose, ’til his head touched the rafters, and his face brightened ’til the
room was light as day. His disguise fell away and Mercury folded it small and
smaller ’til it fit inside one fist and was gone.
As you see, I am Jupiter, King of the gods, and this is my messenger, Mercury.
We like to travel the world and visit the people whose sacrificial smoke perfumes
the halls of Heaven. But travel where we may and stay where we might, we never
met with such hospitality as yours! Name any favor and it shall be your reward. A
small kingdom, perhaps? A palace? A chest of sea treasure from the vaults of
Wings to fly or the gift of prophecy? Name it!”
Mercury looked uneasy. He had seen the greed and ambition of mortals all too
often. This mild-looking couple would probably demand to be gods and to dine at
the table of the gods; would ask for immortality or a banner of stars wide as the
Milky Way, spelling out “Philemon the
“Baucis the Beautiful.
Baucis looked at Philemon, and
Philemon smiled back and wrung his
hat shyly between his hands.
Almighty Jupiter, you have
done our little house such an
honor today that we have
Poseidon: Roman god of the sea
philanthropist: someone who is
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hardly breath enough to speak our thanks. Our greatest joy in life has always been
to worship at our humble little altar—out there in the yard. What more could we
ask than to go on doing that—oh, and both to die at the same hour, so that we
may never be parted. My Baucis and I.
Jupiter complained of a speck of dust in his eye and went outside. He could be
heard blowing his nose loudly. When he ducked back through the door, his eyes
were quite red-rimmed. “Come, priest and priestess of my shrine! Your temple
awaits you!”
All of a sudden, the drafty, ramshackle little hut disintegrated, like a raft of
leaves on a river. Around and above it rose the pillars of a mighty temple. The
simple cairn
of stones that had served for an altar still stood there, piled with
firewood and swagged with flowers, but now it stood on a marble floor, and from
that floor rose forty marble pillars cloaked with beaten gold, supporting a roof
gilded with stars. The living quarters for priest and priestess were piled with
feather mattresses and silken pillows, and priestly robes of soft cotton hung
waiting about the shoulders of Carrara
cairn: mound
Carrara: an Italian city known for its white marble
quarries and statues
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1. Why do Philemon and Baucis fail to recognize their guests? Which character
does recognize them?
2. Jupiter said that he and Mercury like to “visit the people whose sacrificial
smoke perfumes the halls of Heaven. Who does he mean?
3. Cause and Effect What is the result of Jupiter’s gift to Philemon and Baucis?
4. Analyze Why do Philemon and Baucis not ask the gods for fame and power?
5. Read to Write Imagine that friends who live in another town visit
you. What would you provide for them? Would it be different from the things
you provide for yourself? Imagine you are Philemon or Baucis, and write one or
two paragraphs explaining how you would have treated their guests.
Responding to the Reading
Already, from all corners of the landscape, pilgrims were
setting out at a run to visit the marvelous new temple of
Jupiter, whose red roof signaled to them across miles of
open countryside. Philemon and Baucis would be kept busy
receiving their sacrifices, tending the sacrificial flame,
sweeping up the ashes.
But they thrived on the hard work, just as they had
always done. The worshipers brought not only flowers for
the altar but baskets of delicious food for the priest and
priestess whose fame spread far and wide. Tirelessly they
worked until, being mortal, even Baucis and Philemon
became exhausted. Watching from the terraces of Heaven,
Jupiter saw them pause now, each time they passed one
another, and lean one against the other for a moment’s rest,
Baucis laying her head on Philemons shoulder.
“They are weary,” said Mercury.
“You are right,” said Jupiter. “It is time for them to rest.
So instead of breathing in the fragrance from the altar
below, he breathed out—a breath that wafted away the white
robes of priest and priestess and left behind two noble trees at
the very door of the temple. One was an oak, the other a
linden tree, and they leaned one toward another, their branches
intertwined, casting welcome shade over the threshold.
Clio the goose liked to rest there at noon,
preening her . . . feathers and singing.
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CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization 317
What’s the Connection?
In Section 1, you learned about
Roman life and achievements when
the empire was at its height. Over
time, however, the Roman Empire
began to have problems, and it
gradually grew weaker. Eventually,
Rome fell to outside invaders.
Focusing on the
Poor leadership, a declining economy,
and attacks by Germanic tribes weak-
ened the Roman Empire.
(page 318)
Rome finally fell when invaders
swept through the empire during
A.D. 400s. (page 322)
Rome passed on many achievements
in government, law, language, and
the arts.
(page 325)
Locating Places
Meeting People
Diocletian (DYuhKLEEshuhn)
Constantine (KAHNstuhnTEEN)
Alaric (Aluhrihk)
Odoacer (OHduhWAY suhr)
Building Your Vocabulary
plague (PLAYG)
inflation (ihnFLAYshuhn)
barter (BAHRtuhr)
reform (rihFAWRM)
Reading Strategy
Sequencing Information Create a
diagram to show the events that led
up to the fall of the Western Roman
A.D. 284
Diocletian tries
to reform empire
Roman Empire
divided into eastern
and western parts
Rome’s last
A.D. 250 A.D.350 A.D.450
A.D. 250 A.D.350 A.D.450
Fall of the
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The Decline of Rome
Poor leadership, a declining economy,
and attacks by Germanic tribes weakened the
Roman Empire.
Reading Focus What do you do when you face a diffi-
cult problem? Do you try to solve it yourself? Do you ask
other people for help? Read to learn about the problems
the Roman Empire faced and how its leaders responded.
In A.D. 180 Marcus Aurelius died. His
son, Commodus (KAHmuhduhs), became
emperor. Commodus was cruel and wasted
money. Instead of ruling Rome, Commodus
spent much of his time fighting as a gladia-
tor. In A.D. 192 the emperor’s bodyguard
killed him. Nearly a century of confusion
and fighting followed.
After Commodus, emperors called the
Severans ruled Rome. Much of their time
was spent putting down revolts and pro-
tecting Rome’s borders. The Severans
stayed in power by paying the army well,
but they ignored the growing problems of
crime and poverty.
Political and Social Problems When the
last Severan ruler died in A.D. 235, Rome’s
government became very weak. For almost
50 years, army leaders fought each other for
the throne. During this time, Rome had 22
different emperors.
Poor leadership was not Rome’s only dif-
ficulty. Fewer Romans honored the old ideals
of duty, courage, and honesty. Many govern-
ment officials took bribes. As problems
Weak Roman Government
• Dishonest government officials
provide poor leadership.
Eastern Roman Empire
• Constantinople becomes the new capital.
The empire survives attacks and prospers.
Byzantine Empire
This empire is created from the Eastern Roman Empire
and lasts nearly 1,000 years.
Western Roman Empire
• Numerous attacks threaten the empire.
Territory is slowly lost to invaders.
Social Problems
• Famine and disease spread
throughout the empire.
Declining Economy
• Income and wages fall.
Wealthy fail to pay taxes.
Reform Fails and Rome Divides in Two
• Government fails to keep order.
Violence and tension increase.
• Diocletian divides the empire.
Rome Falls
The city of Rome falls in A.D. 476.
The Western Roman Empire is divided
into Germanic kingdoms by A.D. 550.
The Decline of Rome
The Decline of Rome
Many issues, including a weak government, lack
of food, and fewer jobs, led to Rome’s decline.
1. According to the flow chart, what occurs
after reform fails?
2. Cause and Effect What were the final effects
of the Roman Empire being split in two?
317-326 CH9 S2-824133 3/17/04 4:32 PM Page 318
increased, talented people often refused to
serve in government. Many wealthy citizens
even stopped paying taxes. Fewer people
attended schools, and a large number of the
empire’s people were now enslaved. Wealthy
Romans supported slavery because it was a
cheap way to get work done.
Economic and Military Problems During
the A.D. 200s, Rome’s economy began to fall
apart. As government weakened, law and
order broke down. Roman soldiers and
invaders seized crops and destroyed fields.
Farmers grew less food, and hunger began
to spread.
As the economy worsened, people
bought fewer goods. Artisans produced
less, and shopkeepers lost money. Many
businesses closed, and the number of work-
ers dropped sharply. Many workers had to
leave jobs and serve in the army. A plague
(PLAYG), or a disease that spreads widely,
also took its toll. It killed one out of every
ten people in the empire.
Rome also began to suffer from inflation
(ihn FLAY shuhn), or rapidly increasing
prices. Inflation happens when money loses
its value. How did this happen? The weak
economy meant fewer taxes were paid.
With less money coming in, the Roman
government could not afford to defend its
territories and had to find a way to pay its
soldiers and officials. One way for the gov-
ernment to get the money it needed was to
put less gold in its coins.
By putting less gold in each coin, the
government could make extra coins and
pay for more things. People soon learned
that the coins did not have as much gold in
them, and the coins began losing value.
Prices went up, and many people stopped
using money altogether. They began to
(BAHR tuhr), or exchange goods
without using money.
Slavery in the Roman Empire Public
and private slavery were common in
Roman society. Public slaves were
owned by the state. They took care of
important buildings and served
government officials. Educated public
slaves were used to help organize the
governments of conquered areas.
Private slaves were owned by
individuals. They were often forced to
work long hours and could be sold at
any time. Wealthy Romans had
hundreds or even thousands of
enslaved people. Most enslaved
people worked on farms.
Most enslaved people were men.
This was probably because their work
required great strength. Some
enslaved men also became gladiators.
Enslaved women made clothing and
cooked for their owner’s family.
Connecting to the Past
1. What was the main difference between
public and private enslavement?
2. Which jobs were probably considered the
most desirable by enslaved people?
Roman slaves
at work
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Meanwhile, invaders swept into the
empire. In the west, Germanic tribes raided
Roman farms and towns. In the east, armies
from Persia pushed into the empire’s terri-
tory. As fighting increased, the government
could no longer enlist and pay Romans as
soldiers. It began using Germanic warriors
in the army. However, these Germanic
soldiers were not loyal to Rome.
What Were Diocletians Reforms? In
A.D. 284 a general named Diocletian
(DY uh KLEE shuhn) became emperor. To
stop the empire’s decline, he introduced
reforms (rihFAWRMZ), or political changes
to make things better. Because the empire
was too large for one person to rule,
Diocletian divided it into four parts. He
named officials to rule these areas but kept
authority over all.
Diocletian also worked to boost the
economy. To slow inflation, he issued rules
that set the prices of goods and the wages to
be paid to workers. To make sure more
goods were produced, he ordered workers
to remain at the same jobs until they died.
Diocletian’s reforms failed. The people
ignored the new rules, and Diocletian did
not have enough power to make them obey.
Who Was Constantine? In A.D. 305
Diocletian retired from office. After a
period of conflict, another general named
Constantine (KAHN stuhn TEEN) became
emperor in A.D. 312. To aid the economy,
Constantine issued several orders. The
sons of workers had to follow their
fathers’ trades, the sons of farmers had to
work the land their fathers worked, and
the sons of soldiers had to serve in the
Constantine’s changes did not halt the
empire’s decline in the west. As a result,
Constantine moved the capital from dying
Rome to a new city in the east. He chose the
site of the Greek city of Byzantium (buh
ZANteeuhm). There he built a forum, an
amphitheater called the Hippodrome, and
many palaces. The city became known as
Constantinople (KAHN STAN tuhnOHpuhl).
Today, Constantinople is called Istanbul.
How did Diocletian
try to reverse the decline of Rome?
320 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
Distrust of
As the Roman Empire
declined, people refused
to trust the value of
money issued by each
“Whereas [because] the
public officials have assem-
bled and have accused the
bankers of the exchange
banks of having closed
them because of their
unwillingness to accept
the divine coin of the
emperors, it has become
necessary to issue an
order to all owners of the
banks to open them and
to accept and exchange all
coin except the absolutely
spurious [false] and coun-
terfeit—and not alone
to them but to those who
engage in business
transactions of any kind.”
—“Distrust of Imperial Coinage,
Oxyrhynchus Papyrus, no. 1411, Vol. 2,
A.S. Hunt, trans.
What do you think was happening to the
economy of the empire as people stopped
using the official money?
Roman coins
The Newark Museum/Art Resource, NY
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. 280–337
First Christian Roman Emperor
Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to become a
Christian, although he was not baptized until near his death in
. 337. He first came to believe in Christianity many years
earlier, when he was a military leader. Constantine believed he
had seen a flaming cross in the sky that said, “By this sign thou
shall conquer. The next day his army was victorious in an
important battle. He believed that the cross was a call to the
Christian God.
During his reign, Constantine granted new opportunities to
Christians and helped advance the power of the early Catholic
Church. At the Council of Nicea in
. 325, he encouraged
discussion about the acceptance of the Trinity (Father, Son, and
Holy Spirit). He also boosted the political positions and power of
bishops within the Roman government.
Even though Constantine had many political and religious
successes, his life was filled with controversy and tragedy.
Constantine married a woman named Fausta. His eldest son
from a previous marriage was named Crispus. Fausta accused
Crispus of crimes
and claimed that he was planning
to seize the throne. Constantine was
so shocked that he had his son killed.
Constantine later discovered that
Fausta had lied because she wanted
her own son to be in line for the
throne. He then had Fausta killed.
Modern-day Constantinople
Constantine believed freedom of religion was
important for the success of his empire and
made sure that Christians could no longer be
persecuted. What part of the U.S. Constitution
protects freedom of religion?
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Rome Falls
Rome finally fell when invaders swept
through the empire during the
. 400s.
Reading Focus How would you feel if a favorite
place—a shop, park, or recreation center—was closed
after being open for many years? Read to learn how the
Romans had to face an even greater loss when their city
and empire fell.
Both Diocletian and Constantine failed
to save the Roman Empire. When
Constantine died in A.D. 337, fighting broke
out again. A new emperor called
(THEE uh DOH shuhs) finally
gained control and ended the fighting.
Ruling the empire proved to be difficult.
Theodosius decided to divide the empire
after his death. In A.D. 395, the Roman Empire
split into two separate empires. One was the
Western Roman Empire, with its capital at
Rome. The other was the Eastern Roman
Empire, with its capital at Constantinople.
Rome Is Invaded As Rome declined, it was
no longer able to hold back the Germanic
tribes on its borders. Many different
Germanic groups existed—Ostrogoths,
Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Angles, and
Saxons. They came from the forests and
marshes of northern Europe.
These Germanic groups were in search
of warmer climates and better grazing land
for their cattle. They also were drawn by
Rome’s wealth and culture. In addi-
tion, many were fleeing the Huns,
fierce warriors from Mongolia in
In the late A.D. 300s, the Huns
entered Eastern Europe and defeated
the Ostrogoths (AHStruhGAHTHS). The
Visigoths, fearing they would be next,
asked the Eastern Roman emperor for
protection. He let them settle just
inside the empire’s border. In return they
promised to be loyal to Rome.
Before long, trouble broke out between
the Visigoths and Romans. The empire
forced the Visigoths to buy food at very
high prices. The Romans also kidnapped
and enslaved many Visigoths.
Rome Is
In this excerpt from one
of his letters, the
Christian leader Jerome
describes attacks on the
Roman provinces.
“Who would believe that
Rome, victor over all the
world, would fall, that she
would be to her people
both the womb and the
tomb....Where we cannot
help we mourn and mingle
with theirs our tears....There
is not an hour, not even a moment, when we are
not occupied with crowds of refugees, when the
peace of the monastery is not invaded by a horde
of guests so that we shall either have to shut the
gates or neglect the Scriptures for which the gates
were opened.”
—Jerome, “News of the Attacks”
Does Jerome think the gates of the
monastery should be shut? Explain.
Saint Jerome
Web Activity Visit and
click on Chapter 9Student Web Activity to
learn more about Roman civilization.
322 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
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CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization 323
Finally, the Visigoths rebelled against
the Romans. In A.D. 378 they defeated
Roman legions at the Battle of Adrianople
(AY dree uh NOH puhl). After that defeat,
Rome was forced to surrender land to the
The Germanic tribes now knew that
Rome could no longer defend itself. More
and more Germanic warriors crossed the
borders in search of land. In the winter of
A.D. 406, the Rhine River in Western Europe
froze. Germanic groups crossed the frozen
river and entered Gaul, which is today
France. The Romans were too weak to force
them back across the border.
In A.D. 410 the Visigoth leader Alaric
(Aluhrihk) and his soldiers captured Rome
itself. They burned records and looted the
treasury. Rome’s capture by Alaric was a
great shock to the empire’s people. It was
the first time Rome had been conquered in
800 years.
Another Germanic group known as the
Vandals overran Spain and northern Africa.
They enslaved some Roman landowners
and drove others away. Then the Vandals
500 km
500 mi.
Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area
Black Sea
Mediterranean Sea
Germanic Invasions of Rome c.A.D. 200–500
A number of invasions led to the
fall of the Roman Empire.
1. Who attacked both Britain and
northern Gaul?
2. Why do you think the Eastern
Roman Empire experienced very
few invasions?
Find NGS online map resources @
Western Roman Empire
Eastern Roman Empire
317-326 CH9 S2-875047 9/16/06 1:34 PM Page 323
sailed to Italy. In A.D. 455 they entered
Rome. They spent 12 days stripping build-
ings of everything valuable and burning
them. From these attacks came the English
word vandalism, which means “the willful
destruction of property.”
Rome Falls By the mid-A.D. 400s, several
Germanic leaders held high posts in Rome’s
government and army. In A.D. 476 a
Germanic general named Odoacer (OHduh
WAY suhr) took control, overthrowing
the western emperor, a 14-year-old boy
named Romulus Augustulus (RAHM yuh
luhs awGUHS chah luhs). After Romulus
Augustulus, no emperor ever again ruled
from Rome. Historians often use this event to
mark the end of the Western Roman Empire.
Odoacer controlled Rome for almost 15
years. Then a group of Visigoths seized the
city and killed Odoacer. They set up a king-
dom in Italy under their leader, Theodoric
(thee AH duh rihk). Elsewhere in Europe,
other Germanic kingdoms arose.
By A.D. 550, the Western Roman Empire
had faded away. Many Roman beliefs and
practices remained in use, however. For
example, Europe’s new Germanic rulers
adopted the Latin language, Roman laws,
and Christianity. Although the Western
Roman Empire fell to Germanic invaders,
the Eastern Roman Empire prospered. It
became known as the Byzantine Empire
and lasted nearly 1,000 more years.
Which event usu-
ally marks the fall of the Western Roman Empire?
324 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
An image showing the Visigoths invading Rome. What
leader did the Visigoths overthrow to take control of Rome?
Mary Evans Picture Library
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The Legacy of Rome
Rome passed on many achievements in
government, law, language, and the arts.
Reading Focus Do you know where the words
doctor,” “animal,” “circus,” and “family” come from?
These words come from the Latin language spoken by
the Romans. Read to discover other things we have
borrowed from the Romans.
Our world would be very different if the
Roman Empire had never existed. Many
words in the English language and many of
our ideas about government come from the
Romans. The same is true for our system of
laws and our knowledge about building. As
you will read in the next chapter, the peace
and order brought by Roman rule also
allowed the Christian religion to spread.
Roman Ideas and Government Today
Roman ideas about law, as first written in the
Twelve Tables, are with us today. We, like the
Romans, believe that all people are equal
under the law. We expect our judges to
decide cases fairly, and we consider a person
innocent until proven guilty.
Columns, domes, and arches
still appear in many modern
buildings. Banks, homes, and
government buildings often use a
Roman style. What Roman architectural
styles do you see in your neighborhood?
Roman and Modern Architecture
Early Romans borrowed architectural ideas
from the Greeks, but they also developed their own
style. Roman designs often included vaults,
columns, domes, and arches. New
architectural ideas meant that buildings
could be constructed in new ways.
Because of concrete and a new design,
Roman theaters did not have to be built
on natural slopes to have tiered seating.
The Pantheon in Rome
The Rotunda at the
University of Virginia
CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization 325
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Reading Summary
Review the
A series of weak emperors, inva-
sions by outsiders, disease, and a
number of other factors led to a
greatly weakened Roman Empire.
Numerous invasions by Germanic
peoples led to the fall of Rome in
A.D. 476.
Roman ideas about government
and Roman architecture are just
some of the legacies of ancient
1. What social problems helped
cause the empire’s decline?
2. Why did the Roman govern-
ment use Germanic warriors in
its army?
Critical Thinking
3. Summarizing Information
Draw a diagram like the one
below. Fill in details about
Rome’s legacies in the areas of
government, law, and citizenship.
Cause and Effect How did
inflation affect Rome?
Describe Who were the
Visigoths, and how did they
contribute to the fall of Rome?
Identify Give examples of
Roman ideas in language and
architecture that exist today.
Persuasive Writing Imagine
you are living in Rome around
the time of the fall of the
empire. Write an editorial for a
newspaper identifying what
you think is the main reason
for the decline and fall of the
empire, and what might have
been done to prevent it.
What Did You Learn?
Study Central
Need help with the
material in this section? Visit
326 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
Roman ideas about government and cit-
izenship are also important today. Like the
early Romans, Americans believe that a
republic made up of equal citizens is the
best form of government. We also believe
that a republic works best if citizens do
their duty, participate in government, and
work to make their society better.
Roman Influence on Culture Today the
alphabet of the Latin language, which
expanded from 22 to 26 letters, is used
throughout the Western world. Latin shaped
the languages of Italy, France, Spain,
Portugal, and Romania. Many English words
also come from Latin. Scientists, doctors, and
lawyers still use Latin phrases. Every known
species of plant and animal has a Latin name.
Today, we also still admire the works of great
Roman writers such as Virgil, Horace, Livy,
and Tacitus.
Ancient Rome also left a lasting mark
on building in the Western world. We still
use concrete today for much of our con-
struction, and Roman architectural styles
are still seen in public buildings today.
When you visit Washington, D.C., or the
capital city of any state, you will likely see
capitols with domes and arches inspired
by Roman architecture.
Christianity As you probably know,
Christianity is one of the major religions in
the world today. Christianity began in the
Roman Empire. When Rome’s government
adopted Christianity in the A.D. 300s, it
helped the new religion to grow and
spread. After Rome’s fall, many Roman
ideas blended with those of Christianity.
Which aspects of
the Roman Empire are reflected in present-day
Roman Legacies
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What’s the Connection?
In the last section, you learned
that even though the Roman Empire in
the West fell, the Eastern Roman
Empire survived and prospered. It
became known as the Byzantine
Empire.The Byzantines developed a
new civilization based on Greek,
Roman, and Christian ideas.
Focusing on the
The Eastern Roman Empire grew rich
and powerful as the Western Roman
Empire fell.
(page 328)
The policies and reforms of Emperor
Justinian and Empress Theodora
helped make the Byzantine Empire
(page 329)
The Byzantines developed a rich
culture based on Roman, Greek, and
Christian ideas.
(page 332)
Locating Places
Black Sea
Aegean Sea
Meeting People
Justinian (juhSTIHneeuhn)
Theodora (THEEuhDOHRuh)
Belisarius (BEHluhSAReeuhs)
Tribonian (truhBOHneeuhn)
Building Your Vocabulary
mosaic (mohZAYihk)
saint (SAYNT)
regent (REEjuhnt)
Reading Strategy
Cause and Effect Complete a chart
to show the causes and effects of
Justinian’s new law code.
Emperor Justinian
begins rule
Hagia Sophia
A.D.525 A.D.550 A.D.575
A.D.525 A.D.550 A.D.575
CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization 327
New Code of Laws
327-334 Ch9 S3-824133 3/17/04 5:14 PM Page 327
The Rise of the Byzantines
The Eastern Roman Empire grew rich
and powerful as the Western Roman Empire fell.
Reading Focus Think of your own community. How
have groups of people from different backgrounds con-
tributed to its character? What would your town or city
be like without these contributions from all the differ-
ent groups? Read to learn about the different groups
that made up the Byzantine Empire.
The Eastern Roman, or Byzantine,
Empire reached a high point in the A.D. 500s.
At this time, the empire stretched west to
Italy, south to Egypt, and east to the border
with Arabia. Greeks made up the empire’s
largest group, but many other peoples were
found within the empire. They included
Egyptians, Syrians, Arabs, Armenians,
Jews, Persians, Slavs, and Turks.
Why Is Constantinople Important? In
the last section, you learned that Emperor
Constantine moved the capital of the
Roman Empire from Rome to a new city
called Constantinople. Constantine’s city
became the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
By the A.D. 500s, Constantinople was thriv-
ing and had become one of the world’s
great cities.
One reason for Constantinople’s success
was its location. It lay on the waterways
between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea
(ih JEE uhn). Its harbors offered a safe shel-
ter for fishing boats, trading ships, and war-
ships. Constantinople also sat at the
crossroads of trade routes between Europe
and Asia. The trade that passed through
made the city extremely wealthy.
Constantinople had a secure land loca-
tion. Lying on a peninsula, Constantinople
was easily defended. Seas protected it
on three sides, and on the fourth side,
a huge wall guarded the city. Later a
huge chain was even strung across the
city’s north harbor for greater protec-
tion. Invaders could not easily take
Influence of Greek Culture The
Byzantines at first followed Roman
ways. Constantinople was known as
the “New Rome.” Its public buildings
and palaces were built in the Roman
style. The city even had an oval arena
called the Hippodrome, where chariot
races and other events were held.
Byzantine political and social life
also were based on that of Rome.
Emperors spoke Latin and enforced
Roman laws. The empire’s poor peo-
ple received free bread and shows.
Wealthy people lived in town or on
large farming estates. In fact, many of
them had once lived in Rome.
328 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
The ancient walled city of Constantinople
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Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area projection
500 km
500 mi.
0° 20°E40°E
Danube R.
Tigris R.
Black Sea
Red Sea
CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization 329
As time passed, the Byzantine Empire
became less Roman and more Greek. Most
Byzantines spoke Greek and honored their
Greek past. Byzantine emperors and offi-
cials began to speak Greek too. The ideas of
non-Greek peoples, like the Egyptians and
the Slavs, also shaped Byzantine life. Still
other customs came from Persia to the east.
All of these cultures blended together to
form the Byzantine civilization. Between
A.D. 500 and A.D. 1200, the Byzantines had
one of the world’s richest and most-
advanced empires.
Why did the
Byzantine Empire have such a blending of cultures?
Emperor Justinian
The policies and reforms of Emperor
Justinian and Empress Theodora helped make the
Byzantine Empire strong.
Reading Focus Do you sometimes rewrite reports to
make them easier to understand? Read to learn how
Justinian rewrote and reorganized the Byzantine law code.
Justinian (juh STIH nee uhn) became
emperor of the Byzantine Empire in A.D. 527
and ruled until A.D. 565. Justinian was a
strong leader. He controlled the military,
made laws, and was supreme judge. His
order could not be questioned.
The Byzantine Empire A.D. 527–565
Justinian attempted to restore the
Roman Empire in the Mediterranean.
1. Describe the area of the Byzantine
Empire before Justinian’s
2. How far west did the empire
extend after Justinian’s conquests?
Byzantine Empire
before Justinian,
Area added to Byzantine
Empire during Justinian's
327-334 Ch9 S3-875047 9/16/06 1:27 PM Page 329
Justinian’s wife, the empress Theodora
(THEE uh DOHR uh), helped him run the
empire. Theodora, a former actress, was
intelligent and strong-willed, and she
helped Justinian choose government offi-
cials. Theodora also convinced him to give
women more rights. For the first time, a
Byzantine wife could own land. If she
became a widow, she now had the income
to take care of her children.
A.D. 532 Theodora helped save
Justinian’s throne. Angry taxpayers threat-
ened to overthrow Justinian and stormed
the palace. Justinian’s advisers urged
him to leave Constantinople. Theodora,
however, told him to stay and fight.
Justinian took Theodora’s advice. He stayed
in the city and crushed the uprising. By
doing this, Justinian not only restored order
but also strengthened his power to rule.
Justinian’s Conquests Justinian wanted to
reunite the Roman Empire and bring back
Rome’s glory. To do this, he had to conquer
Western Europe and northern Africa.
He ordered a general named
Belisarius (BEH luh SAR ee uhs) to
strengthen and lead the Byzantine
When Belisarius took command,
he reorganized the Byzantine army.
Instead of foot soldiers, the Byzantine
army came to rely on cavalry—sol-
diers mounted on horses. Byzantine
cavalry wore armor and carried bows
and lances, which were long spears.
During Justinian’s reign, the
Byzantine military conquered most
of Italy, northern Africa, and Persia in the
east. However, Justinian conquered too
much too quickly. After he died, the
empire did not have the money to main-
tain an army large enough to hold the ter-
ritory in the west.
Justinian’s Law Code Justinian decided
that the empire’s laws were disorganized
and too difficult to understand. He
ordered a group of legal scholars headed
by Tribonian (truhBOHneeuhn) to reform
the law code.
The group’s new simplified code
became known as the Justinian Code.
Officials, businesspeople, and individuals
could now more easily understand the
empire’s laws. Over the years, the Justinian
Code has had a great influence on the laws
of almost every country in Europe.
What did Justinian
accomplish during his reign?
330 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
Theodora Refuses
to Flee
Justinian’s court historian recorded
Theodora’s opinion about whether to
escape or fight during the
A.D. 532 revolt.
“My opinion then is that the present time
inopportune [not a good time] for flight, even
though it brings safety....For one who has
been an emperor, it is
unendurable to be a
fugitive....May I not
live that day on
which those who
meet me shall not
address me as
empress. If, now, it is
your wish to save
yourself, O Emperor,
there is no difficulty.”
—Procopius, ”The Nika
Why did the empress not wish to escape?
Scala/Art Resource, NY
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. 500–548
Theodora began life in the lower class of
Byzantine society but rose to the rank of
empress. The historian Procopius recorded the
events of her early life. According to
Procopius, Theodora’s father worked as a bear
keeper at the Hippodrome. After his death,
Theodora followed her mother’s advice and
became an actress. A career in acting was not
as glamorous then as it is now. It was a job of
the lower class, like wool spinning, which
was Theodora’s other job.
Even though Theodora was of the lower
class, she began dating Justinian. Justinian
was attracted to Theodora’s beauty and
intelligence. Because Justinian wanted to
marry Theodora, his uncle, the emperor,
changed the law that prevented upper-class
nobles from marrying actresses. The two
were married in
. 525.
Justinian considered Theodora his
intellectual equal. In his writings, Justinian
said he asked for Theodora’s advice on laws
and policies. At Theodora’s urging, he granted
more rights to women. Some historians believe
Theodora had great power within the royal court,
perhaps more than Justinian. For example, nearly
all the laws passed during Theodora’s reign as
empress mention her name. Theodora and
Justinian had no children together. When
Theodora died from cancer in
. 548,
Justinian was overcome with grief. He
had her portrait incorporated into many
works of art, including numerous
Byzantine mosaics.
Empress Theodora advises Emperor Justinian.
“She was extremely
clever and had a
biting wit.”
—Procopius, The Secret History
Name a modern-day female political leader
that you think has great influence in making
and changing laws. Explain your choice.
Andre Durenceau/National Geographic Society Image Collection
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Byzantine Civilization
The Byzantines developed a rich cul-
ture based on Roman, Greek, and Christian ideas.
Reading Focus Do you think a multicultural popula-
tion adds to a country’s interest and success? Read to
learn how the diverse groups of the Byzantine Empire
contributed to its culture.
The Byzantine Empire lasted approxi-
mately 1,000 years. For much of that time,
Constantinople was the largest and richest
city in Europe. The Byzantines were highly
educated and creative. They preserved and
passed on Greek culture and Roman law to
other peoples. They gave the world new
methods in the arts. As you will learn, they
also spread Christianity to people in
Eastern Europe.
The Importance of Trade From the A.D. 500s
to the A.D. 1100s, the Byzantine Empire was
the center of trade between Europe and
Asia. Trade goods from present-day Russia
in the north, Mediterranean lands in the
south, Latin Europe in the west, and Persia
and China in the east passed through the
empire. From Asia, ships and caravans
brought luxury goods—spices, gems, met-
als, and cloth—to Constantinople. For these
items, Byzantine merchants traded farm
goods as well as furs, honey, and enslaved
people from northern Europe.
This enormous trade made the
Byzantine Empire very rich. However, most
Byzantines were not merchants. Instead
they were farmers, herders, laborers, and
artisans. One of the major Byzantine indus-
tries was weaving silk. It developed around
The style of the Hagia Sophia, shown here, and other
Byzantine churches influenced the architecture of
churches throughout Russia and Eastern Europe.
What does the name “Hagia Sophia” mean?
Sculpture showing chariot
racing at the Hippodrome
Byzantine jewelry
(l)Giraudon/Art Resource, NY, (c)Brian Lawrence/SuperStock, (r)Ronald Sheridan/Ancient Art & Architecture Collection
327-334 Ch9 S3-824133 3/21/04 10:42 AM Page 332
A.D. 550. At that time, Byzantine travel-
ers smuggled silkworm eggs out of
China. Brought to Constantinople, the
silkworms fed on mulberry leaves and
produced silk threads. Weavers then
used the threads to make the silk cloth
that brought wealth to the empire.
Byzantine Art and Architecture
Justinian and other Byzantine emperors
supported artists and architects. They
ordered the building of churches, forts,
and public buildings throughout the
empire. Constantinople was known for
its hundreds of churches and palaces.
One of Justinian’s greatest achievements
was building the huge church called
Hagia Sophia (HAHjeeuh sohFEEuh),
or “Holy Wisdom.” It was completed in
A.D. 537 and became the religious center
of the Byzantine Empire. It still stands
today in Istanbul.
Inside Hagia Sophia, worshipers
could see walls of beautiful marble and
mosaics. Mosaics (moh ZAY ihks) are
pictures made from many bits of colored
glass or stone. They were an important
type of art in the Byzantine Empire.
Mosaics mainly showed figures of
saints (SAYNTS), or Christian holy people.
Byzantine Women The family was the
center of social life for most Byzantines.
Religion and the government stressed the
importance of marriage and family life.
Divorces were rare and difficult to get.
Byzantine women were not encour-
aged to lead independent lives. They
were expected to stay home and take care
of their families. However, women did
gain some important rights, thanks to
Empress Theodora. Like Theodora her-
self, some Byzantine women became well
educated and involved in politics. Several
Byzantine Mosaics Imagine taking bits
of glass and turning them into beautiful
masterpieces. Byzantine artists did just
that starting around
A.D. 330. Roman
mosaics were made of natural-colored
marble pieces and decorated villas and
buildings. Byzantine mosaics were
different. They were made of richly
colored, irregular pieces of glass and
decorated the ceilings, domes, and
floors of Byzantine churches.
Byzantine mosaics were created to
honor religious or political leaders. The
centers of domes—because they were
the highest points of the churches—
were commonly reserved
for images of Jesus.
Mosaics were
expensive. They were
ordered and paid for by
emperors, state officials,
or church leaders. Many
mosaics are still intact
and can be seen today
inside churches,
monasteries, and
Connecting to the Past
1. Why do you think the name of the
person who paid for the mosaic—
rather than the name of the person
who made the mosaic—was often
recorded in the inscription?
2. What types of art do present-day
artists make with glass?
Mosaic from the
Byzantine Empire
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Reading Summary
Review the
With its capital at
Constantinople and strong Greek
influences, the Byzantine Empire
grew powerful and wealthy.
The Byzantine emperor, Justinian,
reconquered much of the land
that had been held by the old
Roman Empire in the Mediter-
ranean. It also issued a new law
code known as the Justinian
As the Byzantine Empire grew
wealthy from trade, art, architec-
ture, and education flourished.
1. What is a mosaic, and where
were mosaics found in the
Byzantine Empire?
2. How did silk weaving develop
in the Byzantine Empire?
Critical Thinking
3. Organizing Information
Draw a diagram like the one
below. Fill in details about
Constantinople’s location.
Describe What were some of
the trade items that were
exchanged between merchants
in Constantinople?
Explain Why were divorces
difficult to get in the Byzantine
Analyze What important
service did Byzantine writers
provide to the rest of the
world? Explain its significance.
Persuasive Writing Which
civilization do you think was
the most advanced—that of
the Greeks, the Romans, or the
Byzantines? Write a speech
explaining your answer.
Location of
What Did You Learn?
Study Central
Need help with the
material in this section? Visit
334 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization
royal women served as regents. A regent
(REEjuhnt) is a person who stands in for a
ruler who is too young or too ill to govern. A
few ruled the empire in their own right.
Byzantine Education Learning was
highly respected in Byzantine culture. The
government supported the training of
scholars and government officials. In
Byzantine schools, boys studied religion,
medicine, law, arithmetic, grammar, and
other subjects. Wealthy Byzantines some-
times hired tutors to teach their children.
Girls usually did not attend schools and
were taught at home.
Most Byzantine authors wrote about
religion. They stressed the need to obey
God and save one’s soul. To strengthen
faith, they wrote about the lives of saints.
Byzantine writers gave an important gift to
the world. They copied and passed on the
writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Without Byzantine copies, many important
works from the ancient world would have
disappeared forever.
What church is
one of Justinian’s greatest achievements?
This Byzantine religious text is beautifully
What did Byzantine boys
study at school?
Ancient Art & Architecture Collection
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The Byzantine Empire
The Fall of Rome
Life in Ancient Rome
Focusing on the
In addition to their own developments in science and engineering, Roman
artists and writers borrowed many ideas from the Greeks.
(page 303)
The rich and poor had very different lives in the Roman Empire,
as did men and women.
(page 306)
Focusing on the
Poor leadership, a declining economy,
and attacks by Germanic tribes weakened
the Roman Empire.
(page 318)
Rome finally fell when invaders swept through the empire during
A.D. 400s. (page 322)
Rome passed on many achievements in government, law, language,
and the arts.
(page 325)
Focusing on the
The Eastern Roman Empire grew rich and powerful as the Western Roman
Empire fell.
(page 328)
The policies and reforms of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora
helped make the Byzantine Empire strong.
(page 329)
The Byzantines developed a rich culture based on Roman, Greek, and
Christian ideas.
(page 332)
A Roman family at
the dinner table
CHAPTER 9 Roman Civilization 335
Study anywhere, anytime!
Download quizzes and flash cards
to your PDA from
335-337 CH9 CRA-875047 9/16/06 2:31 PM Page 335
Responding and Reflecting
Your Point of View
17. Read the following information from page 330. Write at least five things you might reflect
on as you read this information.
In A.D. 532 Theodora helped save Justinian’s throne. Angry
taxpayers threatened to overthrow Justinian and stormed the
palace. Justinian’s advisers urged him to leave Constantinople.
Theodora, however, told him to stay and fight. Justinian took
Theodora’s advice. He stayed in the city and crushed the
To review this skill,see pages 300–301.
Review Main Ideas
Section 1 • Life in Ancient Rome
9. What did the Romans borrow from the
Greeks? What did they develop on their
10. What were the lives of the rich and poor
like in Rome?
Section 2 • The Fall of Rome
11. What weakened the Roman Empire?
12. What caused the fall of Rome in the
A.D. 400s?
Section 3 • The Byzantine Empire
13. What policies and reforms helped make
the Byzantine Empire strong?
14. What different groups of people
contributed to the Byzantine culture?
Critical Thinking
15. Cause and Effect Why did Alaric’s cap-
ture of Rome shock the Roman people?
Predict What do you think would have
happened if Theodosius had not divided
the Roman Empire?
Review Vocabulary
Match the definitions in the second column to
the terms in the first column.
1. plague a. pictures made of
many bits of colored
glass or stone
2. anatomy b. rapidly increasing
3. inflation c. father of a family
4. gladiator d. emotional poem
about life’s ups
and downs
5. regent e. study of the body’s
6. mosaic f. a disease that spreads
7. paterfamilias g. a person who stands
in for a ruler who
cannot govern
8. ode h. a warrior who fought
animals and people
in public arenas
336 CHAPTER 9 Roman Civiliziation
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Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area projection
500 km
500 mi.
0° 10°E20°E
Danube R.
The Roman Empire did have some laws
to prevent the extreme abuse of slaves.
At the present time neither Roman citi-
zens nor any other persons who are under
the rule of the Roman people are permit-
ted to treat their slaves with excessive and
baseless [reasonless] cruelty....A man who
kills his own slave without cause is ordered
to be held just as liable as one who kills
another’s slave.
—Gaius, “Legislation Against the
Abuse of Slaves”
25. How does this law pertain to people
passing through the empire?
26. How does this statement leave a
loophole in the regulation of abuse
against slaves?
Geography Skills
Study the map below and answer the follow-
ing questions.
Place Which areas were conquered by
Justinian’s military?
Human/Environment Interaction Why
do you think Justinian decided to conquer
lands to the west of his empire?
Movement What made it difficult for the
Byzantine Empire to hold on to Justinian’s
Read to Write
21. Descriptive Writing Suppose you are a
newspaper reporter living in the time of
the Roman Empire. Write a front-page arti-
cle about the slave revolt in 73
B.C., the
content of Theodosius’s will, or the
removal of Romulus Augustulus.
Remember to include a headline.
Using Your Use the information
you wrote in your foldable to create a brief
study guide for the chapter. For each sec-
tion, your study guide should include at
least five questions that focus on the main
Linking Past and Present
23. Analyzing In the chapter, you learned that
the culture of the Byzantine Empire was
greatly influenced by the Romans and
Greeks, as well as the Egyptian, Slavic, and
Persian cultures. Think about the culture of
the United States, in which many cultures
have blended. Work with a classmate to
identify aspects of the U.S. culture that
were originally part of other cultures.
Building Citizenship Skills
24. Analyzing Growing political and social
problems helped set the stage for Rome’s
final fall. Traditional Roman ideas of duty,
courage, and honesty lost their importance.
Why do you think duty, courage, and hon-
esty are important in keeping a society and
political system strong?
Self-Check Quiz To help you prepare for
the Chapter Test, visit
Byzantine Empire
CHAPTER 9 Roman Civiliziation 337
Byzantine Empire before Justinian,
Byzantine Empire after Justinian's
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