The Ancient Romans were the people who lived on on the Italian Peninsula thousands of years ago! But why should we care about who they were? They’re long gone! But the ancient Romans had a huge impact on the world! Before we learn about what they built and what they did, lets find out a little bit more about who they were. The Romans were the society of people that grew around a city called Rome. Later in our lessons, we will learn why it was called Rome! But these people developed into a high functioning society with a lot of important things! But one thing that the Romans were known for was their class structure. They had two classes, Patricians, the rich ruling class, and Plebeians, the poor lower class. And each person in Roman society had their position, and with it came the jobs that they could have. Patricians held the positions in government, religion, and art. Plebeians were farmers, laborers, and soldiers. The Roman soldiers were charged with keeping Rome and its provinces safe from intruders, and because of that, they had to wear armor to protect themselves. If you would like to make your own Roman Soldier costumes, you can click here! And if you want to make the Roman shoes, check out the tutorial below!
But perhaps you feel more inclined to live like a Patrician? Well, fear not, because I have just the activity for you! If you check out Art for Kids, you can learn how to draw a Roman soldier! You get to see the beauty in the Roman uniforms while maintaining your upper class status!
Now, the Romans lived and worked in a time when they couldn’t just type things into their computer. If they wanted to keep track of information, they had to write it down. But the Romans read and wrote in a language called Latin, and they didn’t have the nice paper that we have today. So if you were trying to write out some of your business operations or write a story, what would you have written on? Why, a wax tablet of course! A wax tablet was a small, wooden tablet that was hollowed on one side and filled with wax. You could then write a message in the wax with a stick, feather, or stylus. If you wanted to write something different on your tablet, you could just smooth out the wax or melt it to flatten it out. Here you can get all the steps to making your own wax tablet!
Now you already know that Romans read and wrote in a language called Latin. But what about their numbers? Surely those weren’t different! But unfortunately, they were. They used a system called Roman Numerals, where each letter had a number associated with it. For example, I = 1. And each numeral could be repeated up to three times, so III would be added together and mean 3! But if they could only be repeated three times, what about numbers higher than three? Well, V = 5, and X = 10! But what about the numbers in between? Well to make numbers smaller than 5 or 10, you put a one before it. So IV would be 5-1, or 4! and to make numbers bigger than 5 or 10, you put a one after it. So XI would be 10+1, or 11! Do you think you can match the Roman Numeral to the correct number?
The Romans lived before electric lighting too! So if they wanted to see anything after dark, they couldn’t just turn the lights on. They had to make their own light, and this often meant that they used oil lamps. Lamps were often made of clay and had lots of decoration on them, but they were more than just something pretty to look at. They served a purpose! They provided light! Do you think you could create a Roman oil lamp? Well, why don’t you give it a try here!
Now that you know what ancient Romans wore, how they wrote, what their math was like, and how they saw at night, wouldn’t you like to know how they bought things that they needed? Well, much like us, they used money! But they didn’t have paper money, only coins that denoted how much each one was worth. But if you grab mom or dad and check out Live Well Bake Often, you can make your own Roman coins! To eat! All you have to do is press your Roman Numerals into the sugar cookies! And be sure to come back tomorrow for “Wow, the Romans Made a lot of Stuff!”