Ancient Rome

Republic to Empire

Roman Republic and Empire

Unit Description

In this unit learners will explore the civilization of Ancient Rome to learn how the ideas, events, architecture, laws and religion of this civilization continues to impact the world today. Students will focus on the legacy of Ancient Rome and determine whether textbooks typically tell the true story.

Key Concept


For individuals and societies, the concept of change allows examination of the forces that shape the world: past, present and future. The causes and effects of change can be natural and artificial; intentional and unintentional; positive, negative or neutral. The subject group explores the role of individuals and societies in shaping change.

Related Concepts



Global Context



Statement of Inquiry

Transitions in power and structure create both opportunity and tension in the world.

Inquiry Questions


What were the characteristics of the Roman Republic, and how did they change over time?


What is the legacy of the Roman Republic and Empire?


Are republics unsustainable?

Learning Objectives

Students will know:

  • The legacy of the ancient Romans includes republic, Twelve Tables, checks and balances, tripartite government, civic duty, roads, basilicas, amphitheaters, aqueducts, arches, concrete, city/urban planning, frescoes, sculptures, and literature.

  • The civilizations that developed in Greece and Rome had an enduring impact on later civilizations.

  • The Roman Empire also played an instrumental role in the spread of Christianity through a network of roads.

  • Although Christians were persecuted for centuries by the Romans; it eventually became the official religion of the empire.

  • Rome weakened for many reasons, including but not limited to, the split between Western and Eastern Roman Empires, government corruption, civil war, lack of conquest, weakening military, shifting power from West to East, moral decline, and inflation.

  • The decline of the Roman Empire in the West was hastened by Germanic invasions.

  • The Roman Empire collapsed due to various internal and external factors (political, social and economic) which led to the development of feudalism and the manorial system in the region.

  • The fall of Rome and later invasions also allowed for the creation of new empires in the region.

  • The Roman Republic expanded the Greek model of democracy. It was a representative government with elected officials, division of powers, and an emphasis on civic duty.

  • The powers of the Roman government were divided among the Senate, the Consuls, and the Assemblies. Roman citizens had rights and were expected to vote, register for the census, and perform military service.

  • Roman citizens consisted of males with a parent who was a citizen, freed slaves, and other males who made a huge payment to the government.