Roman Culture, History, and Mythology
In its day Rome was the center of the world and the most powerful nation on the face of the earth. Through military conquest and wise governing, the Romans spread their culture to the edges of the known world. All subsequent western nations have been influenced by their successes and failures. But who were the Romans? What was it like to live in ancient Rome? There are many surprising differences between the Roman culture and our own. On the other hand, you may be equally shocked to discover how similar to us the Romans actually were.
On this page you will find resources for teaching Roman culture, history, myth, and legend including Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Rome's greatest epic, the Aeneid."LIFE IN ANCIENT ROME" ACTIVITY
This 8-page, illustrated packet of information will introduce students to daily life in ancient Rome covering topics such as gladiators, Roman religion, politics, family, slavery, the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus, death and burial, and many more! The information in this packet will give students the historical background they need to understand Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. A handout of 40 guided questions with key is also included."MASTERS OF ROME" ACTIVITY
What is Pompey's Porch? And why is everyone so worried about Cicero's gray hair? This 6-page, illustrated packet introduces students to the key players they will need to know before reading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar including: Julius Caesar himself, Cicero, Marcus Brutus, Pompey the Great, Mark Antony, Cleopatra, and Octavian (Caesar Augustus). The packet also provides background on legendary Roman figures such as Aeneas and Romulus and Remus. A handout of 30 guided questions with key is also included.SPARTACUS! VIEWING GUIDE
"I'm Spartacus!" Spartacus (1960) is more than just a classic film; it's a dramatization of one of history's greatest heroes: the gladiator-turned-freedom-fighter, Spartacus. I use this film to immerse my students in the Roman world before we begin Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. (Young Julius Caesar even stars as a minor character.) This download includes viewing guides and keys.
This handout presents a scholarly review of Robert Miola's book Shakespeare's Rome, which analyzes the different ways the playwright presents the Romans in his various plays. The review places special emphasis on Julius Caesar.
This presentation supports the reading of the "Shakespeare's Rome" handout (above) by providing colorful images, succinct bullet points, and important quotes.CAESAR MUST DIE CLASSROOM GAME
Want a surefire way to engage your students in the assassination of Julius Caesar and the Shakespeare play based upon it? Use this social-deduction game to immerse your students in the political intrigue of Rome in 44 B.C. Soon they will be wondering, "Who is loyal to Caesar? And who is (literally) trying to stab him in the back?" Featuring original artwork and Among Us-style gameplay, this activity is bound to be a hit with your students! Along the way they will learn the key players in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Just print and play to bring the world of Caesar to life.
PLUTARCH'S LIFE OF CAESAR Give your students a chance to explore one of the most important ancient sources related to the life of Caesar. These excerpts from Plutarch's Life of Caesar focus on the civil war between Caesar and Pompey. Guided questions keep them on task and lead them to analyze the question: Was Caesar a tyrant? This download also includes a key.
RINSE THE BLOOD OFF MY TOGA This classic comedy sketch is a hilarious parody of Julius Caesar, which adds a gangster spin to the assassination of "Big Julie."
THE RISE OF CHRISTIANITY AND THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE This handout charts the rise of the Christian religion within the Roman Empire, the persecution of Christians by Roman Emperors, the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the Jewish Diaspora, the conversion of Emperor Constantine, and the influence of the Christian religion via the Roman Empire on the world at large.
LATIN PHRASES Studying ancient Rome is always a good opportunity for my students to learn a bit of Latin. These common phrases are a good place to start. A blank student sheet is also included.REACHING OLYMPUS: THE ROMAN MYTHS
The 11 script-stories in this textbook re-tell the best stories from Roman mythology, including the entirety of the Aeneid, the voyage of the warrior Aeneas after the burning of Troy. Other favorite tales include Arachne the weaver, Romulus and Remus, and Cupid and Psyche. The textbook is available in print and digital formats.
This classic tale of love and bravery centers around the forbidden love of Cupid, the Roman god of love, and Psyche, a mortal maiden. For the full story check out Reaching Olympus: The Roman Myths.
Listen to the story of Cupid and Psyche dramatized by the crew at Chatterbox Audio.
This handout presents the story of Romulus and Remus from a historical source and asks students to respond using thoughtful questions.
This handout gives the background of Rome's greatest epic poem, the Aeneid, which earns the distinction of the world's first literary epic. While many epics began with oral tradition, the poet Virgil wrote the Aeneid to be read. He also wrote it with a specific political purpose, which this handout explores. This handout is a great way to teach Author's Purpose.
This handout is a great way to teach Author's Purpose as it explores the background of the Roman author Ovid, his scandalous personal life, and his political motivations for writing his epic, the Metamorphoses. Caution: The content of this packet is most appropriate for high-school-aged learners.