Rome (Higher Tier)

The focus of this option is the everyday life of an ancient Roman citizen in the capital of the empire. Candidates should have a basic understanding of Rome’s status as the ruler of a vast empire.

Candidates are required to have knowledge and understanding of three main areas of Roman life:

• religion – its role and importance in the lives of the Romans

• the family in Rome – the roles and duties of its individual members

• entertainment and recreation in Rome – the appeal of leisure activities in the context of Roman society and their value to the emperor in the control of its people.

Candidates will be expected to respond to sources and to draw conclusions about the values and priorities of the citizens of Rome and the image Rome portrayed to the rest of her empire.


Specific Topics:

State gods and goddesses: Jupiter, Neptune, Mercury, Mars, Pluto (Hades), Apollo, Juno, Venus, Minerva, Diana, Vesta and Ceres. Their responsibilities and symbols and how they are typically represented in Roman art.

Temples: Religious and other functions: the position of the altar, the cult statue, use by worshippers.

Sacrifice: Its purpose, surroundings, officials, animals, the ritual from the selection of the animal to the disposal of the remains.

Life in the home: The role of the paterfamilias: his rights over family members and slaves, his involvement in the education of his son, duties connected with religion, family finance; his responsibilities towards his clients. The wife: status, rights and duties, daily activities, spinning and weaving, the supervision of slaves, the wife as mother. The dinner party (cena): the organisation, guests, entertainment, purposes. Slaves: ways to become a slave, skilled and unskilled slaves, the purchasing of slaves, duties inside and outside the home for both male and female slaves, opportunities for freedom.

Education: The education of boys and girls in preparation for their adult roles. Subjects studied at the schools of the litterator, grammaticus and rhetor; school equipment (stilus, wax tablet, pen, ink, papyrus).

A typical day at the Colosseum: The Colosseum: the arena, size, access, seating, structure. Animal shows: types of animal, the bestiarius, men versus animals, performing animals, fights between animals, hunts. Executions. Gladiator shows: origins as funerary honours, types of gladiator; retiarius, secutors (samnite, myrmillo), armour, weaponry, typical training for fights (ludi gladiatorii), oaths, status. Audience involvement. The significance of the shows for both the Emperor and his citizens. A typical day at the races The Circus Maximus: the day’s events. The arena, its structure, size, the seating, the track, the spina, the metae, the carceres. The teams and colours, the dangers, the status of charioteers and horses, public attitudes, audience involvement, betting, the social significance of such events.