Background: The period of great cultural achievements for the Roman Empire is referred to as the Pax Romana, or “Peace of Rome.” Beginning after the Republican Wars in 27 B.C., and lasting to about 180 A.D., this era was marked by general tranquility and unity across the empire. By this time, Rome had overtaken most of the Mediterranean world and had spread its culture. Family & Religion
The family was the basic unit of Roman society. Under Roman law, the male head of the household, usually the father, had absolute power in the family. He enforced strict discipline and demanded total respect for his authority. His wife was subject to his authority and was not allowed to administer her own affairs. Changing Role of Women: The ideal Roman woman was loving, dutiful, dignified and strong. During the late republic and early empire, however, women gained greater freedom. Patrician woman, especially, played a larger role in society than did Greek women. They went to the public baths, dined out, and attended the theater or other public entertainments with their husbands. Some imperial women, such as Livia and Agrippina the Younger, had highly visible public roles and exercised significant political influence.
Women from all classes ran a variety of businesses, from small shops to major shipyards. Those who made their fortunes earned respect by supporting the arts or paying for public festivals. Most women, though, worked at home, raising their families, spinning, and weaving. This memorial pays tribute to an unknown woman named Claudia:
“This is the unlovely tomb of a lovely woman. Her parents named her Claudia. She loved her husband with her whole heart. She bore two sons, one of whom she leaves on Earth; the other she has placed beneath the ground. She was charming in conversation, yet her conduct was appropriate. She kept house; she made wool.” Education: Girls and boys alike learned to read and write. Even lower-class Romans were taught to write, as can be seen from the jokes, messages, and other graffiti that archaeologists found scrawled on walls around the city.
By the late republic, many wealthy Romans were hiring private tutors, often Greek slaves, to teach their children. Under their guidance, students memorized major events and developments in Roman history. Rhetoric was an important subject for boys who wanted political careers. Roman Achievements Jigsaw
Background: The period of great cultural achievements for the Roman Empire is referred to as the Pax Romana, or “Peace of Rome.” Beginning after the Republican Wars in 27 B.C., and lasting to about 180 A.D., this era was marked by general tranquility and unity across the empire. By this time, Rome had overtaken most of the Mediterranean world and had spread its culture. Bread & Circuses
Rich and poor alike loved spectacular entertainments. At the Circus Maximus, Rome’s largest racecourse, chariots thundered around an oval course, making dangerously tight turns at either end. Fans bet feverishly on their favorite teams and successful charioteers were hailed as heroes.
Gladiator contests were even more popular. Many gladiators were slaves who had been trained to fight. Led into the arena, they battled one another, either singly or in groups. Crowds cheered a skilled gladiator, and a good fighter might even win his freedom. But if a gladiator made a poor showing, the crowd turned their thumbs down, a signal that he should be killed.
To the emperors who paid for these shows with the taxes collected from the empire, these amusements were a way to control the city’s restless mobs. In much the same spirit, the government provided free grain to feed the poor. Critics warned against this policy of “bread and circuses,” but no one listened.
During the Pax Romana, the general prosperity hid underlying social and economic problems. Later, Roman emperors would face problems that could not be brushed away with “bread and...