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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

World History
Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

Ancient Rome

Roman Life

Cities were the centers of the culture.

Class System
The upper class consisted of wealthy landowners, merchants, doctors, and lawyers. Some scholars, writers, artists, and senatorial families lived a pretty nice life. The poor didn't share in politics or culture. There was widespread unemployment because the slaves did the all of the work. The poor got free food from the government.

Eventually their slaves were not treated so badly.

Family discipline became less harsh. The Romans started spoiling their children. Women got more freedom and girls could attend school / classes.

There were schools for boys, but girls were taught at home. A "litterator" was a reading and writing teacher, and a "calculator" was a math teacher. Greek slaves introduced them to Greek art, literature, science, philosophy, etc.

Roman ColosseumRoman Colosseum
Left: Colosseum, Exterior View
Roman Colosseum, Interior. Click Interior for an enlargement.

The Romans enjoyed violent sports, games such as chariot races, and betting.


The life history of Jesus was not written down at the time, but eventually his life was recorded by Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus was born a Jew and was raised in Bethlehem.

Believed God created all human beings equally.

Thought people should love God and one another.

His popularity was a threat to Jewish leaders and to Roman authorities. He was convicted of treason because the emperor was to be treated as a god. Pontius Pilate, a Roman governor and judge, had him crucified. Reportedly Jesus rose after three days, after reportedly going to hell and sending Adam and Eve to paradise. Thus, Jesus supposedly died for the original sin, and thus, the sins of mankind.


Jesus became known as "Christ" from the Greek word "Christians" meaning Messiah. The Greek symbol for "Christians" is an "X," therefore, calling Christmas "X-Mass" is not non-religious.

Christianity's Effect on Rome
Romans made Christianity illegal at first because the Christians didn't worship the emperor. The Christians refused military service and did not take part in the politics or law of the Romans because these things included pagan traditions and beliefs. Obviously, the Romans questioned the Christians loyalty to Rome. But, persecutions were sporadic, usually didn't last long, and were not uniformly carried out throughout the empire.

The Spread of Christianity
Word spread through disciples such as Paul. Paul set up the doctrines that are the basis for Christianity:

All humans are sinful because of Adam and Eve.

Jesus was sent by God to redeem humanity from sins.

By dying on the cross, Jesus made it possible for humans to be saved.

Anyone could be saved through faith in God.

Christianity spread because of its appeal to those who led hard lives. Christianity gave a sense of community and fellowship to the people. The people saw others who were willing to die for a religion.

Constantine I
Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantius

Constantine became the first Christian emperor in 312 after seeing a vision of a cross with the words, "Follow me," during a big battle. Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 312 making Christianity legal.

Theodosius I
Theodisius the Great

In 380 AD Theodosius the Great made all other religions illegal.

Back to the Top

I - The Etruscans / Romulus and Remus

II - The Roman Republic

III - Augustus Caesar

IV - Rise of the Roman Empire

V - Roman Life and the Spread of Christianity

VI - The Pax Romana and Roman Culture

VII - Decline of the Roman Empire

Class Activity
Roman Aqueduct Project

Further Topical Reading
Historical Jesus

More Information
The Emperors of Rome

Malaria May Have Hastened the Fall of Rome

Virtual Tour of Ancient Rome - Past & Present

The Ancient City of Pompeii

Historical Periods of
World History Class Study

| Prehistory | Mesopotamia & Phoenicians |
| Ancient Egypt | Greece | Rome |
| Medieval History | Renaissance and Reformation |
| Exploration | National Monarchies |
| The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment |
| Colonial America and American Revolution |
| The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era



Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Modern European History | Advanced Placement European History | Rise of England | World History |
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