KS2: Everything you need to know about the Romans in 365 words!

By Robert Reed

Legend has it that Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus on 21 April 753 BC.  The legend doesn’t say at what time of day this occurred, but it was probably after breakfast.  The city was named in honour of Romulus.

KS2 Ideas: There is a fantastic and very funny play for primary schools available at http://artdramascripts.com/lost_eagles , which includes dressing up as Roman soldiers.

At first, Rome was ruled by kings; however, that ended in about 509 BC when Lucius Junius Brutus established the Roman Republic based on elections and assemblies.

There were some tough times for the Romans, the Gauls looted Rome in the third century and Hannibal gave the legions a fright with some elephants, but the Romans won the day. With a highly professional and skilled army, Rome began to conquer all her neighbours, which brought a flood of wealth and slaves (including Spartacus).

Soon Rome was divided between a super-rich elite and a mass of poor folks.

In 27 BC, Augustus became emperor after having defeated Antony and Cleopatra’s forces.  It was always dangerous being emperor, because someone -usually your nearest and dearest- wanted to murder you as soon as possible.

Under Trajan in 117 AD, the empire reached its greatest territorial extent: stretching from Britain to Egypt.

Marcus Aurelius was the last of the ‘Five Good Emperors’.  There were also some very mad and dangerous emperors, like Nero and Caligula.  Definitely not the kind of people who should become head teachers, but great names for class pets.

Popular entertainments were used to pacify the masses: like gladiatorial combat and chariot racing.

Political divisions, civil wars, economic problems, plague and a whole load of invading tribes meant trouble for the Imperium Romanum.  In 410 AD, the Visgoths trashed Rome and the once all-powerful Roman army ceased to exist, and that was the end of the Western Roman Empire.  However, in the East the empire continued as the Christian Byzantine Empire for another thousand years.

The Romans were great builders, leaving behind roads, aqueducts, monuments, temples, palaces and baths.  All this building was partly made possible by the invention of concrete.

Moreover, the Romans left a lasting legacy in many fields including art, literature, law, government, warfare, language and many more. However, there is no evidence that they invented Marmite, or PlayStations.

If the cohort in your class are researching the Romans, I suggest they visit this site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/romans/ .

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