Roma Mater - Bishop Ireton High School

Roma Mater - Bishop Ireton High School

Roma Mater The heart of ancient Roman civilization Rome in Italy Rome was built on the site of seven hills on the eastern (left) bank of the Tiber river in central Italy. The hills protect the lowest point where the river could be safely forded. Prehistoric Romans would have been in a good position to protect (and tax) the trade of salt from the seacoast inland, and iron from the continent south into Italy. Although the site has no immediate sea access, river trade later took place between the city and the port of Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber.

Early Rome and the Servian Walls During the Roman Monarchy (according to legend, during the reign of Servius Tullius), a wall was built to surround the seven hills of Rome, allowing the city to be built in the valley between the hills as well as just the protected hilltops. The boundary of the early city was known to the Romans as the pomerium, and foreign kings and generals of Roman armies were not allowed to cross inside it. Imperial Rome and the Aurelian Wall By the Imperial era, Rome had grown much larger, with a population which likely was much higher than a

million residents. The Aurelian Wall, built by the emperors Aurelian and Probus, still exists and shows the size that Rome had grown to by this point. Note that the city had expanded across the river to the district known as the Transtiberium, generally a slum but containing as well some fabulous gardens and other edifices. The Vatican Garden was across the river as well, built by Agrippina the Elder. Important sites in Rome The Forum was the heart of Roman government and activity. Romes markets, government buildings, and many of its temples were located

here. Practically everyone who was anyone spent time here. At the end of the republic and into the Empire, very wealthy Romans expanded the forum at great cost. Below are the ruins of the forum built by the Emperor Trajan in the 2nd century A.D.

The Capitoline Hill was the citadel (protected fortress) of very ancient Rome, and was the site of its most important temple to Jupiter Optimus Maximus. When Rome was attacked by the Gauls, this is where they hid (and were saved by Junos geese); this is also the location of the infamous Tarpeian Rock. Near the forum were located the two great centers of

Roman entertainment the enormous Circus Maximus, where chariot races were held, and the impressive Amphitheatrum Flavianum (commonly known as the Colosseum), site of gladiator shows. Rome was famous for its fabulous bathing establishments as well. Romans were very concerned with hygiene, but few could afford indoor plumbing, so the baths were a place of exercise, cleanliness, and relaxation. The ruins of

the baths of Caracalla remain perhaps the most impressive in Rome. Rome was the site of many famous temples, but one of the most impressive is the Pantheon with its enormous open dome. It still stands today, reconsecrated and redecorated as a church. Living in Rome

There were two basic types of housing in Ancient Rome the insula, a multi-story apartment building for those who could not afford their own building, and the domus, a city-house covering an entire city block for those who could afford it. These houses reflected the tremendous gap between the rich and the poor in a city with astronomical land values. (Those living outside of Rome dwelt in casae, cottages for the poor, and villae, enormous country-houses for the rich.) Finally, in the age of the Emperors, the entire Palatine hill was taken over for the Imperial residences, giving us our word palace from palatium.

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